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At a Thursday mass in Dublin's Pro-Cathedral, an Irish Archbishop shocked his congregation, which included numerous priests, by exclaiming that a forthcoming investigative report will reveal that over three decades, Irish Catholic priests have abused "thousands" of children.
"[The report] will make us and the entire church a humbler church," he said.
"The archbishop said the report, compiled by the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation, is expected to show that 'thousands of children or young people across Ireland were abused by priests in the period under investigation and the horror of that abuse was not recognized for what it is,'" reported the Associated Press.
"Martin is seen as a reformer sent in by the Vatican to clean up a church rocked by a decade and a half of scandals," reported the Guardian. "One of the most notorious, in the mid-1990s, involved priest Brendan Smyth and indirectly led to the collapse of Albert Reynolds's government.
"Accusations that the Irish attorney general's office blocked moves to extradite Smyth to Northern Ireland led to the Irish Labour party pulling out of coalition with Reynolds's Fianna Fáil and the government falling."
"The Archdiocese of Dublin is facing challenges of a kind that it has not experienced for many years," he said, according to the Press Association.
"Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin warned that a massive investigation of parishes in the Irish capital will find children were subjected to horrific attacks between 1975 and 2004," the group reported.
According to the BBC, "In 1999, the then Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern delivered an unprecedented apology to the victims on behalf of the state.
"He also set up the commission to report on abuse allegations in institutions such as schools, orphanages, hospitals and children's homes that were funded by the state, but were mainly run by Catholic religious orders.
"Some of the allegations date back to the 1930s."