The Pope’s visit to Ireland marked the first papal visit to the country in 39 years by acknowledging that the failure of Church authorities to address “repugnant” clerical child abuse crimes adequately there continues to be a source of shame for the Catholic community.
He talked during a state reception attended by some abuse survivors. Pope Francis stated: “I cannot 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.”
He added: “The failure of ecclesiastical authorities – bishops, religious superiors, priests and others – adequately to address these repugnant crimes has rightly given rise to outrage and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community.”
Colm O’Gorman, one of the abuse survivors who were present during the event, said that the remarks of the Pope were a staggering effort at the deflection that failed to acknowledge the role of the Vatican in covering up the crimes.
O’Gorman was a leading abuse campaigner. During an interview with RTE, a national broadcaster, he stated: “It was quite shocking actually in some ways.”
Pope Francis landed at the Dublin Airport at 10.30 in the morning. He was greeted by the daughters of Simon Coveney, the Irish Foreign Minister. They presented him with flowers.
The Pope then drove to Aras an Uachtarain, the presidential residence, that is located in Dublin’s Phoenix Park to meet President Michael D Higgins.
Pope Francis is in Ireland for the World Meeting of Families. It was an event that is focused on promoting family values.
The number of people who lined the streets or joined the Pope in prayer is expected to be around a quarter of the 2.7 million who greeted John Paul II. It marked how the rock that was once Irish Catholicism has eroded since cases of child abuse came to light in the 1990s.
Some protests from LGBT campaigners were also initiated over the papal visit due to the teachings of the Catholic Church on homosexuality.