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TV Pick - RTÉ Documentary Will Shed Light On The Shocking Extent Of Catholic Church Abuse

By James Fenton

April 11, 2019 at 9:48am


When RTÉ television first launched in 1961, the idea of tonight's documentary being aired to a national audience would have been alien to most people in Ireland.

Such was the hold of the Catholic Church over the nation, even as much of a whisper of bad word against a priest would have been met with a sizeable level of scorn, or worse.

Thankfully, due to the bravery of countless victims of clerical abuse, the shackles have largely been broken and the country now feels that it can speak about this harrowing chapter of our history.

Tonight's documentary Rome Vs The Republic will take a look at the scandals which have shocked the nation in the past and will also take the audience from those dark days to Ireland's current and future relationships with the Catholic Church.

In it, Archbishop of Dr Diarmuid Martin will reveal that some serial paedophiles he has encountered can't even answer yes or no when asked if they abused a particular person.

He says "There are cases coming forward and my people will ask, for example, a priest, if a new case comes up, from one of these historical cases, does this name mean anything to you? Sometimes they say, 'Yes, I abused that person.' Sometimes, and this is the more worrying one, they say 'the name means nothing, but I can't say, it could have happened.'"

Former President Mary McAleese also features, speaking about her experiences in dealing with some of the most powerful figures in the Vatican.

It's set to be an important and sometimes difficult watch and you can see Rome Vs The Republic on RTÉ One tonight at 10.15pm.

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