CHURCH of Ireland bishops were still angry this week after Dr Williams’s remark that the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland had “lost all credibility” through its handling of the paedophile scandal.
The RC Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, said that Dr Williams telephoned him on Saturday to express his regret for any difficulties caused by his comment.
The C of I bishops were still simmering, however, at what the Bishop of Meath & Kildare, Dr Richard Clarke, called the “careless and reckless use of language by Archbishop Williams”.
Dr Clarke is chairman of the Church of Ireland Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue. He reminded Dr Williams that most RC clergy ministered faithfully and selflessly under very difficult conditions, with the love and support of their people.
The Anglican Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd John Neill, said that he heard the remarks from Canterbury with deep regret. “I also feel for the countless priests and bishops who daily live out their Christian vocation.”
The Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Alan Harper, said: “The lay people of the Roman Catholic Church do not deserve to be criticised for the failings of some of their bishops and priests. . . Those who are now working hard to change that culture are themselves faithful members of the Roman Catholic Church, and deserve to receive support and encouragement.”
In the immediate aftermath of the remarks, Dr Martin had said that he had “rarely felt personally so discouraged as when I woke to hear Archbishop Williams’ comments”. Dr Martin thanked the Irish Anglicans for their support.