A support group for victims of clerical child sex abuse has accused the bishop of Raphoe of guilt tripping Catholics.
Speaking last weekend Dr Philip Boyce said the church was being attacked from the outside by the arrows of a secular and Godless culture.
Speaking to worshippers at the Novena at the Marian shrine in Knock, Co Mayo Dr Philip Boyce also said the church was being rocked from the inside by the sins and crimes of priests and consecrated people.
Dr Boyce's comments come ahead of the publication of an independent review of diocesan files relating to child abuse allegations against priests in the bishop's Donegal diocese.
The 'Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests' have said that Bishop Boyce’s comments about the church being attacked from the outside are a carefully calculated, pre-emptive strike by a bishop who is disingenuously posturing as a victim.
The group says that If anything is “under attack,” it’s the heartless and criminal actions of hundreds of Catholic officials who have ignored and enabled heinous and very real attacks on children.
At his address in Knock, Bishop Boyce also urged Catholics to act hopefully and with patience and predicted that the church would rise again.