Irish primate reminds synod of abuse, violence in families

The Primate of Ireland has criticised the synod on the family’s working document for not recognising the impacts of domestic violence and abuse on families.

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh said it would be a mistake for the synod to overlook the “shattering” effects of clerical sexual abuse on families.

In his synod intervention, Archbishop Martin urged his fellow bishops to “not forget families which have experienced the trauma of abuse and domestic violence”.

He admitted that his “very deliberate intervention” had “undoubtedly been influenced” by the experience of the Church in Ireland

“We know only too well the horrific impact of sins and crimes of abuse in the Church family: the betrayal of trust, the violation of dignity, the shame – both public and private, the anger and alienation, the wound that never seems to heal,” he told the Irish Catholic.

Noting that he also referenced domestic violence, Archbishop Martin said he felt that the synod’s working document “had not sufficiently taken account of the awful impact and horrible reality” of such issues.

“I felt that the synod, being more conscious of these realities, may be more careful in its portrayal of what we like to call the ‘Good News’ of the family,” he said.

“We are very much aware that an awful lot of families go through immense pain, immense suffering, immense hurt and trauma and if we are able to hold that terrible sense of betrayal, shame, lost childhoods and lost lives that abuse domestic violence represents, then it may make our approach to families more pastoral, more compassionate and more understanding.”

The archbishop did not support allowing bishops’ conferences to develop their own policies regarding Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.


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