Pope's peace message ignores abuse victims
THE POPE yesterday avoided any mention of clerical sexual abuse scandals in Ireland when he addressed Catholics in St Peter's Square in Rome, writes John Cooney.
After a year of searing criticism of the church, and the resignations of four Irish bishops, devotees hoped the Pope would at least acknowledge abuse victims.
But instead of addressing the pain of those abused and the low stock of the Irish church, Pope Benedict XVI chose instead to speak about the environment, calling for a global climate deal and a greener future.
Addressing thousands of Catholics in St Peter's Square in Rome on World Day of Peace 2010, he said environmental responsibility was essential for global peace.
He took as his theme: "If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation".
The 82-year-old German pontiff, who had a scare at Christmas Eve Mass when a woman with a history of mental problems knocked him down, also said "ecological responsibility" should be taught as part of the education syllabus in schools.
Referring to last month's gathering in Copenhagen of world leaders for the UN climate conference, the Pope said action at a personal and community level was just as important to safeguard the environment.
"Nevertheless, in this moment, I would like to underline the importance of the choices of individuals, families and local administrations in preserving the environment."
Meanwhile, Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin led worshippers at a special Mass for peace yesterday.
The Mass, which was held at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook, was attended by several former Taoisigh including Bertie Ahern, Albert Reynolds, and Liam Cosgrave.
Dr Martin led prayers of thanks for peace in Northern Ireland and also wished Mass-goers a happy new year.