Friday 15 December 2017

Comparisons with John Paul II's 1979 tour - but some are less welcoming

Ger Roche
Ger Roche
Brendan Staunton
Richard Culhane
Oliver O'Flanagan
Maeve Hegarty
Ryan Culley

Patrick Kelleher

Those who attended Pope John Paul II's historic 1979 visit to Ireland have expressed great excitement about Pope Francis's 2018 visit.

However, others have dismissed the Papal visit saying it has "zero relevance to modern Ireland".

Ger Roche (43) from Youghal, Co Cork, believes the visit will bolster confidence around the country - even if it's not on the scale of Pope John Paul II's visit.

"A lot of people will have memories of Pope John Paul II's visit to Ireland back in 1979," he said. "This visit won't be on the grand scale of that.

"But it will be a great thing for the country because after what Ireland has been through over the last 10 years, big boom to big bust, it'll boost confidence.

"It'll be a reassurance that the Pope is with us again".

Brendan Staunton (71) from Limerick went to the last Papal visit and is looking forward to Pope Francis's arrival.

He described Pope Francis as "down to earth" and expressed his admiration for him.

Richard Culhane (18) from Limerick is a practising Catholic and thinks the visit reflects how highly the Vatican views Ireland.

"It shows that we're important, so that's very good," he said.

However, some are less enthusiastic. Oliver Flanagan (60) from Churchtown, Dublin, told the Irish Independent: "Ireland has changed so much in the last 10 to 15 years.

"The scandal that has hit the Catholic Church, I'm glad it's out there; it's about time, so the visit has zero relevance."

Maeve Hegarty (29) from Smithfield, Co Dublin, thinks that it will be a much smaller event than Pope John Paul II's visit.

"Historically, it was a big fanfare, but I don't think it'll be quite so big anymore. I wouldn't have any excitement for it," she said.

Ryan Culley (27) cares "quite a bit" about the Pope's visit, but fears the visit may be unpleasant for the Pope.

"After a long time of trying to throw off certain shackles, a visit is not going to be the most pleasant thing for him. I think he's going to find it's an interesting visit. I definitely see a few Repeal the Eighth protests," he said.

Irish Independent

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