Wednesday 21 November 2018

1,200 hundred journalists from 30 countries to descend on Ireland for papal visit

Pope will lead mass in park. Photo: Getty Images
Pope will lead mass in park. Photo: Getty Images

Ralph Riegel in Rome

THE visit by Pope Francis to Ireland will be reported on by more than 1,200 journalists from over 30 countries.

Incredibly, Ireland's second Papal visit will generate roughly twice the media attendance as a US Presidential visit.

The revelation came as the issue of how the Church handles the legacy of clerical abuse scandals threatens to dominate the two-day visit to Dublin and Knock by Pope Francis.

While Pope Francis is attending the World Meeting of Families (WMOF), the build-up to Ireland's first Papal visit since 1979 has been dominated by legacy issues surrounding clerical abuse scandals.

Pope Francis has agreed to meet with a group of abuse survivors in Dublin - but that visit is strictly private.

The meeting with abuse survivors is not listed on the Papal itinerary which was issued by the Vatican.

However, it is expected that the meeting will take place on Sunday at an undisclosed location.

The Pope is not expected to comment on the proceedings of the meeting - though the survivors who attend are free to react to what was discussed.

Pope Francis addressed the issue of how the Church failed to protect children in his pre-visit message to Ireland.

The Argentine Pontiff will also pray at a special perpetually lighting candle in St Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin.

The candle was lit to commemorate those who were the victims of abuse.

Clerical abuse scandals in the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand has resulted in enormous global interest in how Pope Francis confronts the issue in Ireland.

Amongst the media groups confirmed to cover the Irish Papal visit are the BBC, US pool TV, Italian State broadcaster RAI, AP, Reuters, US station NBC as well as Ireland's own RTE and TV3.

Some of the world's leading newspapers are also sending correspondents to Ireland including The New York Times, El Pais, La Republicca, The Wall Street Journal, La Nacion, LE Monde and Corriere Della Sera.

Across Ireland, parishes have set up special viewing entries in churches, town halls and even sports centres to allow those unable to travel to Croke Park or the Phoenix Park to watch the key Papal ceremonies over Saturday and Sunday.

Weather depending, it is expected that more than 500,000 people who attend various elements of the Pope's 36 hours in Ireland.

The Papal flight into Ireland at 10.30am (Saturday) will contain almost 70 media members drawn from TV, radio and newspapers across Europe and North America.

However, Vatican sources confirmed that accreditation for coverage on various aspects of the Irish Papal visit have been received from more than 1,200 media personnel.

Special media centres have been set up across Dublin and in Knock to facilitate coverage of Pope Francis' historic Irish visit.

By tradition, Pope Francis will host his special press conference about his Irish visit on his flight from Dublin back to Rome on Sunday evening.

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