A WEST Cork priest was applauded for a sermon he gave on Sunday, castigating the church for its failure to safeguard the innocent, following the Tuam babies revelations.
Fr Ger Galvin’s sermon at the Sacred Heart Church in Durrus resonated with parishioners who were horrified by the revelations that an estimated 796 bodies were discarded in a sewerage system in Tuam.
Fr Galvin told The Southern Star: ‘It began with Pope Francis asking for a day of prayer on Friday, March 3rd, for victims of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. I decided to move it to Sunday so that the whole community would have an opportunity to remember and pray for victims, their families, and the families of the perpetrators.’
However, on Friday, the initial findings of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home Commission were made known and Fr Galvin said he was ‘sickened’ by what he heard. And his sermon on Sunday reflected that. When he was ordained in 1979, Fr Galvin said: ‘I assumed that I was becoming a priest in an institution that would be guided always by the words and the life of Jesus, but I have since discovered that that was a rose-tinted illusion.’
In his sermon on Sunday, Fr Galvin admitted: ‘I have lost faith in the institution, but I have not lost faith in Jesus, his life, and his word. I see that as the only way forward.’
As a mark of respect for all of those who have suffered abuse within the church, Fr Galvin placed a pristine white tile, that had been shattered, on a rough cloth in front of the altar.
He said: ‘The tile represents the shattered lives of the victims of all types of abuse and the rough cloth represents the rough justice that many received when they told of their abuse.
‘They were not believed,’ he said. ‘They were told they were liars and many of the perpetrators escaped justice because of the inaction of people in authority.’