Archbishop unlikely to get key Vatican invite

Archbishop unlikely to get key Vatican invite Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

The Vatican is unlikely to invite Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to participate at a key summit on abuse due to be held in the New Year, one of the organisers has indicated.

Pope Francis has called the heads of bishops’ conference from around the world – including Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin – to Rome in February for the meeting aimed at coordinating global action on abuse.

While Archbishop Eamon will represent Ireland as president of the bishops’ conference, he said last month he thought the presence of the Dublin prelate at the summit would be “hugely positive”.

However, Fr Hans Zollner SJ, who the Pope has asked to co-ordinate the gathering, told The Irish Catholic that while the meeting is still in the planning phase “we need to take into account that we can’t invite only speakers who are clergy, and come from the Western world”.

He said that the planning committee – which also includes US Cardinal Blase Cupich, Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna – “certainly will take into consideration the participation of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin”.

Fr Zollner said there are “already a number of good candidates [to invite]”. He also cautioned against too many speakers from the West confirming a prejudice in developing countries that abuse is a Western problem.

According to Fr Zollner, the committee is aware that expectations for the February 21-24 meeting are extremely high. “And it is understandable that this is so, given the gravity of the scandal that has shocked and wounded so many people, believers and non-believers, in so many countries”.