Wednesday 17 July 2019

Pope will meet sexual abuse victims in Ireland - Vatican

Pope Francis and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin at the Vatican in March. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin at the Vatican in March. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis (John Stillwell/PA)
The giant altar on the site where Pope Francis is to give the closing Mass in the Phoenix Park. Photo: Sam Boal/
A giant altar is constructed for outdoor masses as part of the World Meeting of Families taking place at the RDS in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)
The Papal cross in Dublin’s Phoenix Park (Brian Lawless/PA)

Philip Pullella

Pope Francis will meet victims of clergy sexual abuse during his visit to Ireland this weekend, the Vatican confirmed this afternoon.

Spokesman Greg Burke told reporters at a briefing on the Aug 25-26 trip that the meeting will not be announced until after it is over and that it will be up to the victims if they want to speak afterwards.

This is normal procedure for when the pope meets victims of clergy abuse during his trips outside Rome.

Burke said the trip would remain focused on the family but that the pope would have many opportunities to talk about sexual abuse while in Ireland, one of several countries still reeling from abuse scandals that have hurt the Church's prestige and credibility.

On Monday, Francis wrote an unprecedented letter to all Catholics, asking each one of them to help root out "this culture of death" and vowing there would be no more cover-ups.

He attacked the self-referential clerical culture that has been blamed for the abuse crisis, with church leaders more concerned for their reputation than the safety of children.

Francis wrote: "We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.

"The extent and the gravity of all that has happened requires coming to grips with this reality in a comprehensive and communal way.

"Today we are challenged as the People of God to take on the pain of our brothers and sisters wounded in their flesh and in their spirit. If, in the past, the response was one of omission, today we want solidarity, in the deepest and most challenging sense, to become our way of forging present and future history," he said.

However, campaigners have said “this is one of a long series of apologies that we’ve heard from the Vatican” which failed to recognise the Vatican’s involvement in covering up clerical abuse.

“Every time there is an independent inquiry the same pattern emerges that the church has acted to protect the reputation of the church rather than to protect children,” said Maeve Lewis, CEO of One in Four.

“The Vatican for example is not acknowledging its role in the cover up over the years at all. There is no mention of that in the letter,” she said speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

More to follow...


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