Those behind drug abuse and criminal violence in Ireland are ruining lives without even having the courage to show their faces, the archbishop of Dublin said.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin criticised organisers of "evil deeds" during the way of the cross procession in Phoenix Park to mark Good Friday.
He said the church was called upon to enlighten and restore while being present for saints and sinners.
The senior Catholic cleric added: "Too often those who are the organisers of evil deeds never appear, but remain hidden in apparent respectability, without the courage even to show their faces.
"Their poor compromised agents do the dirty work. We see this daily, in the way that those whose business is to ruin the lives of others through drug abuse or criminal violence, never make their faces known, but assign the dirty work to others, not that these can evade the responsibility for what they do."
A few days ago a window cleaner was shot dead as he cycled to work during the morning rush hour.
A lone gunman opened fire on John O'Regan, 48, at Gateway Avenue, in Ballymun, north Dublin, at around 8.45am before fleeing the scene.
The shooting happened close to two schools and the cul-de-sac would normally have been busy with children and parents at the time but the schools were closed for the Easter holidays.
Mr O'Regan, who had also worked as a security guard, was not known to gardai for any involvement in organised or serious crime.
It was the latest in a series of attacks around the country.
Last month a man with dissident republican links and wanted over a double murder was shot in the head outside a creche in one of Dublin's gangland-style attacks.
The shooting was part of an upsurge in gun crime which culminated in drug trafficker and Veronica Guerin murder suspect John Gilligan leaving Ireland.
His associate Stephen Dougie Moran was shot dead in Lucan.
On March 1 gangster Gilligan was shot several times after spending a day celebrating a child's christening at his brother's home in Clondalkin.
The archbishop made his comments during reflections on the way of the cross.
He added: "The church has to find ways in which it is present for saints and sinners, to those who lead a simple, honest life but are open to greater things, and to those whose lives have been distorted and destroyed but who are still never beyond redemption.
"The church must also be there with those who mourn and who weep for what is happening to them and their children in a world which is beyond their control."