Archbishop apologises over exclusion of disabled
Dublin Archbishop Dr Diarmuid Martin has said sorry for excluding people with disabilities from church activities, frankly admitting that issues to do with access and participation in the Church "never even crossed the minds" of authorities.
Speaking at St Vincent's Centre for Deaf People in Dublin, he said: "I want to be the first to admit that I have not fully brought my mindset around to thinking fully in terms of making church facilities and ministries accessible for people with disabilities.
"The disadvantage suffered by persons with disabilities was not just not attended to.
"I think that we all have an obligation to apologise for our lack of sensitivity, for our inability to listen."
Dr Martin announced that an audit of every parish in the Dublin Diocese will now be carried out to improve facilities for the disabled.
The Church's social aid agency, Crosscare will ensure that ramps are provided for wheelchairs at church buildings and that water fonts are accessible.
The archbishop said of the innovative Cedar Program: "I will willingly open my doors and the doors of every diocesan office and agency to the audit facility."
He called for co-operation from his priests and said he would report back on progress made in a year's time.
Archbishop apologises over exclusion of disabled (Irish Times 26/11/04)
Archdiocese of Dublin
Crosscare | Cedar Program
29 Nov 2004