Papal visit: Pope Francis travels to Knock Shrine

Glen Norman
August 26, 2018

"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 the responsibility of their protection and education", he said, as translated by RTE News.

Francis' trip to Ireland, the first by a pope in 39 years, has been overshadowed by renewed outrage over the Catholic Church's systemic failures to protect children, following revelations of sexual misconduct and cover-up in the US church hierarchy, a growing crisis in Chile and the prosecutions of top clerics in Australia and France. "I think it's an opportunity for a little bit of celebration and a little bit of looking at where we are at the moment", said Dubliner Kyle O'Sullivan.

Colm O'Gorman, who is leading a solidarity rally on Sunday in Dublin for abuse victims, said Francis' remarks about sharing the shame felt by Catholics were an "insult to faithful Catholics, who have no reason to feel shame because of the crimes of the Vatican and the institutional church".

He was speaking after Irish PM Leo Varadkar said the failures of the Church, the state and wider society had created a "bitter and broken heritage for so many, leaving a legacy of pain and suffering".

Irish society has changed fundamentally and abuse scandals have shredded the church's moral authority.

He added: "In place of Christian charity, forgiveness and compassion, far too often there was judgment, severity and cruelty, in particular towards women and children and those on the margins. Above all, Holy Father, I ask to you to listen to the victims and survivors".


He referenced the words of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who in a letter to the Catholics of Ireland recognized the gravity of the situation of child sex abuse and demanded "truly evangelical, just and effective" measures in response to the betrayal of trust.

On Tuesday the grand jury in Pennsylvania issued a report that 300 Catholic priests across the USA state sexually abused children over seven decades, protected by church leaders.

"These wounds are still open", he said, appealing to the pope to ensure that there would be no repetition of the "unspeakable crimes perpetrated and obscured by people to protect the institution". He could have talked to us all in a way that was blunt, that was clear, that was frank, that was human and that was accessible.

The church has also been tarnished by clerical abuse scandals and victims and their supporters will hold a "Stand for Truth" demonstration in Dublin during the Sunday mass.

Around half a million people are expected to gather to hear Pope Francis address a huge outdoor Mass on the second day of his historic visit to Ireland.

The Irish president, Michael D Higgins, had made a similar case when he and his wife had met with the Pope at his official residence.


The Popemobile then travelled along Westmoreland Street and Dame Street before dropping the Pope off at Capuchin Day Centre where he met with those affected by the homelessness crisis in Dublin.

Pope John Paul II visited the shrine on the last papal tour of Ireland in 1979.

Burke said the victim "preferred to remain anonymous". Abortion, divorce and gay marriage are now legal.

"At times in the past we have failed", he said.

On Saturday evening, he presided over a Festival of Families concert in Dublin's Croke Park stadium, which drew a crowd of about 80,000 people.

Hundreds of thousands more will attend a Mass celebrated by the Pope at the city's Phoenix Park on Sunday afternoon, with all 500,000 tickets for the free event booked out.


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