Pope Francis Meets Irish Abuse Victims, Expresses 'Shame'

26 August, 2018, 11:59 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Around 37,000 people are expected to attend the World Meeting of Families event in Dublin this week

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.

Pope Francis waves from a auto as he leaves Dublin Castle at the end of his meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018.

The Ireland that the Pope is visiting is a different country to that which greeted Pope John Paul II in 1979. No one from the public was at the airport or the roads nearby, though by late afternoon crowds had started to grow outside Dublin's cathedral, basking in gloriously sunny weekend weather. "He could have talked to the people of Ireland, beyond just those who might identity as faithful Catholics".

He referred to an investigation in the USA state of Pennsylvania that found that more than 1,000 identifiable minors had been abused by 300 priests.

But there will also be protests over the church's handling of multiple clerical sexual abuse scandals that have catastrophically damaged its moral authority and standing in Irish society.

This year's visit coincides with the World Meeting of Families, a global Catholic gathering which is held every three years.

"I'm delighted he is coming, I think it makes a great change from the last few years of bad news for the Church".

In his speech welcoming the pope, Varadkar said Ireland had a "bitter and broken heritage" of abuse that had left "a legacy of pain and suffering, a shared history of sorrow and shame".

"The church in Ireland, past and present, has played a role in the welfare of children that can not be obscured", the pope said.

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The selection of themes and artists featured in the event reflect numerous priorities in the ministry of Pope Francis including homelessness and those on the margins; migrants and refugees; care for our common home and the importance of the family.

Ireland's prime minister has urged Pope Francis to use his "office and influence" to ensure clergy sex abuse victims worldwide receive "justice and truth and healing".

The Coalition said that Pope Francis agreed to include a message that natural mothers who lost their children to adoption did nothing wrong in his Phoenix Park mass on Sunday. "It's a story all too tragically familiar here in Ireland".

Meanwhile, memories of Ireland's own abuse scandal are still vivid. Old laws banning contraception and divorce have been overturned, and more recently, two referendums led to the approval of same-sex marriage and the end of a ban on abortion.

The Irish government in 2015 launched a commission to investigate 18 such homes - the last of which closed in 1996 - after revelations that up to 800 infants may have died over several decades at one run by Catholic nuns in Tuam.

Pope Francis will begin the second day of his historic trip to the Republic of Ireland at the Knock Marian shrine in County Mayo.

In his inaugural speech, Francis referred euphemistically to the plight of Irish women who were forced for generations to work in laundries or other workhouses because they got pregnant outside of marriage. They said Francis described the corruption and coverup in the church as "caca" - translated by the Vatican translator for the English speakers as "filth as one sees in the toilet".

It's a very different reception - and a very different Ireland - to the last papal visit in 1979, when Pope John Paul II was greeted like a rock star in Phoenix Park by almost one-third of the country's population.

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