In Ireland, Pope Francis confronts nation shattered by Catholic Church’s abuse crisis

26 August, 2018, 02:17 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • Pope Francis speaks during the Festival of Families at Croke Park during his visit to Dublin

"I can not fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the Church charged with responsibility for their protection and education", the Pope told political leaders and dignitaries at Dublin Castle.

The pontiff made the remarks at a state reception during the first speech of his two-day trip to Ireland, about two hours after landing in Dublin on Saturday.

Marie Collins, who was abused by a priest when she was being treated in hospital at the age of 13, was also among the eight. The location is Tuam, site of a mass grave of hundreds of babies who died at a church-run home.

"We feel hopeful there will be more movement from the Church", Redmond said in a statement put out by the Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors.

The Vatican has said Francis will meet Irish victims of clergy sexual abuse, but the pope will also be under pressure to address the recent scandals that have led to the Church's worst credibility crisis in more than 15 years.

Varadkar, who is Ireland's first openly gay Taoiseach, said there is a conflict for LGBT+ Catholics between "who they are and the rules of the faith which they follow."

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Varadkar went on to speak about the "judgement, severity and cruelty" that has been suffered by women and children in Ireland. "Holy Father, I ask that you use your office and influence to ensure that this is done here in Ireland and across the world".

Francis' trip to Ireland, the first papal visit in 39 years, comes on the heels of a damning report released last week by a grand jury in Pennsylvania that found 300 Catholic priests across the state had abused more than 1,000 children in the past 70 years.

Irish society is virtually unrecognisable from that time.

As well as meeting the president, he will make a speech at Dublin Castle, visit St Mary's Pro-cathedral where he will meet 370 recently married couples, and appear at a festival of the family on Saturday evening.

"The important thing for the Pope is to listen", Mr Burke said.

World renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli will take centre stage in Croke Park Stadium and will join the cast of thousands including Nathan Carter, Daniel O'Donnell, Celine Byrne, Seán Keane, Eimear Quinn, Cuthbert Tura Arutura, the Palestrina Choir and the Choir of Ages.

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He cited Francis' own call for "zero tolerance" of abuse and said: "We must now ensure that from words flow actions".

The pope wrote a letter to the world's 1.3 billion Catholics vowing to prevent future "atrocities" but conceding no efforts "to fix the harm done will ever be sufficient".

The pope touched down in a sunny Dublin at 0926 GMT where he was greeted by Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, his children, who presented Francis with flowers, and a number of Irish bishops. The reviews concluded that thousands of children were raped or molested by priests or physically abused in church-run schools, and Irish bishops worked for years to hide those crimes.

The main goal of the trip to Ireland is to close a week-long worldwide Catholic gathering on the theme of the family that takes place every three years in a different city. About half as many are expected Sunday for Francis.

Citing what it learned from meetings across the country and written responses from Catholics, Ireland's Association of Catholic Priests said this month that there is "huge support" for "radical reform" among Irish Catholics, including the ordination of female priests.

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