Trip 'opportunity to revisit issues Church has ignored'
Published 29/11/2016 | 02:30
Both liberals and conservatives within the Catholic Church in Ireland have warmly welcomed news of the papal visit for 2018.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, who is president of the international World Meeting of Families event which the Pontiff is set to attend in August 2018, described himself as "very pleased" about a proposed "short visit".
The Archbishop said it confirmed the importance of the gathering for the Church in Ireland and the global Church.
Dr Martin also welcomed the Taoiseach's reiteration of the Government's commitment to providing all appropriate arrangements for the visit.
Preparations for the World Meeting of Families are already under way. As the Pope was greeting the Taoiseach, Archbishop Martin was leading a delegation to the Vatican to meet Irishman Cardinal Kevin Farrell, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who is planning the event in conjunction with the archdiocese of Dublin.
Separately, Fr Brendan Hoban, co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), told the Irish Independent that the ACP's 1,000 Irish priests welcomed the news.
Stressing the need for leadership in the Irish Church, he said the Pope's visit would "give us the opportunity to revisit some of the issues that the Irish Church has ignored and denied over the last half century".
The Co Mayo-based parish priest said the lead up to the visit would help the ACP place a focus on "the plight of our silenced members".
Rev Trevor Gribben, general secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, said that should Pope Francis visit Northern Ireland, "I would trust that all in our community would take the opportunity to show due respect to such a visit.
"That will indeed be a sign that as a society we are continuing to develop into the kind of country that we all want Northern Ireland to be."