Tuesday 17 January 2017

Papal visit could be the wake-up call the church here needs

Published 29/09/2015 | 02:30

Pope Francis blesses a child during his visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families
Pope Francis blesses a child during his visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families

There is a certain irony in the fact that the Catholic Church has chosen the one country in the world that collectively rejected its reductive definition of the family to host its World Meeting of Families.

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But perhaps the resounding result of the same-sex marriage referendum, and its symbolism in casting off Ireland's international reputation as a devout Catholic country, is the reason the conference is coming here - an attempt at renewal.

The words "Irish" and "Catholic" were once synonymous, but the church here has latterly been riven by multiple child abuse scandals, revelations about mother-and-baby homes and society's rejection of rigid dogma in favour of secularism.

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