He was grateful that the Catholic Church set up schools and hospitals when governments seem oblivious to the needs of their people.
For once the Taoiseach managed to acknowledge the homeless crisis without putting up a hallow defence of government policy.
“Even today, as we struggle with a housing shortage and homelessness, Catholic organisations and people inspired by their Catholic faith fill a gap in providing services, for example, through organisations like CrossCare,” he said.
And he pleaded with the Holy Father to ensure “that from words flow actions” when it comes to dealing with child abuse.
But it was what he said about “the Ireland of the 21st century” that made this his best contribution since becoming Taoiseach.
While most of the build up centred on how Pope Francis would address the abuse scandals, Mr Varadkar overshadowed the Pontiff who repeated much of what we heard before about “pain and shame”.
Remember after his election as Fine Gael leader, Mr Varadkar declared that prejudice “has no hold” on this country. This could easily have been the second instalment of that speech.
He appealed to the Catholic Church to know its place in a society where people now “adhere to other faiths, or who are comfortable in declaring that they subscribe to no organised religion”.
Mr Varadkar urged that Church and State learn for their “shared mistakes” in order to ensure that while religious “is no longer at the centre of our society” it can still have “an important place”.
“Holy Father, I believe that the time has now come for us to build a new relationship between church and state in Ireland - a new covenant for the 21st Century,” Mr Varadkar said.
That meant the Church allowing for greater diversity when it comes to the patronage of schools and that publicly-funded hospitals base their work on science.
At the same time, Mr Varadkar assured the Pope: “Modern Ireland is still a country with faith and spirit and values. Family, community, enterprise, social justice, diversity, openness and internationalism, equality before the law, and individual liberty -these values describe the Republic we aspire to be.”
And in case the Pope failed to understand why Ireland has changed so much in recent years, the Taoiseach listed out Magdalene Laundries, Mother and Baby Homes, industrial schools, illegal adoptions and clerical child abuse as “stains on our State, our society and also the Catholic Church”.
“Wounds are still open and there is much to be done to bring about justice and truth and healing for victims and survivors,” he said.
And it was all beamed around the world from the same castle where people will recall seeing images of the marriage and abortion referendums results being announced.
Tomorrow the Pope will get to have his say in front of 500,000 faithful in the Phoenix Park – but he can be in doubt about the tone that wider society would like to hear.