Abuse protest at Easter Sunday mass

Easter Sunday Mass at Dublin’s Pro Cathedral was briefly interrupted as protesters placed children’s shoes at the altar to represent the victims of clerical sex abuse.

Around five people walked to the steps of the altar where one man shouted “shame” at Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who was celebrating the packed Mass.

Other protesters who mingled outside the city centre cathedral claimed they also tried to leave shoes but were prevented by gardaí.

Rachael Moran, from Dublin, said she was disgusted that so many people had attended the Mass in the wake of the abuse revelations.

“We’re just a collection of Irish people who’ve had enough,” she said.

“I am beyond disgusted that there are hundreds and hundreds of people in that church, it just really goes to show how warped the Irish mindset is.”

Joanne Connolly, from Rathfarnham, south Co Dublin, said she took the action to ensure the child victims would not be forgotten.

“Remember the children. Because nobody wants to know,” she said.

“They want to forget about it and get on with their lives.”

Both women said they were verbally abused by parishioners as they walked up the aisle.

Robert Mangan, who said his family has been affected by clerical child abuse, said the church was being hypocritical in claiming to be Christian.

Around a dozen people protested outside the Cathedral during Mass, strapping scores of children’s pink shoes to the railings and holding placards aloft as parishioners left.

Before Mass began, Archbishop Martin, who has called for full accountability in the church over child abuse, spoke with the protesters and was heckled and verbally abused by one man.

During his homily the senior clergyman said the truth would set the church free, even it was difficult to take.

And he said the Church in Ireland was being greatly scrutinised and examined.

“There are exposes of the failings of the church, there is questioning of the role of the church in Irish society in the past and in whatever our future may be,” he said.

“The role of the church in Ireland is being examined under a microscope and from every possible direction.”

The Archbishop called for the sins of the church to be exposed to the spotlight of the media.

The church in Ireland and the Vatican have both been under mounting pressure in the last month after Primate of All-Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady admitted holding secret interviews with two young victims of one of the church’s most heinous sex abusers, the late Brendan Smyth, in the 1970s.

Following that Pope Benedict faced claims he failed to properly investigate a serial abuser in a children’s home for the deaf in Wisconsin, United States, in the late 1990s.

Cardinal Brady has faced calls for his resignation over the affair and said he would address the issue on Pentecost Sunday, May 23.

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