The PEOPLE's RESPONSE
Most Irish appear unimpressed by the letter from Rome
ON Dublin's main thoroughfare of O'Connell Street yesterday morning, shoppers appeared unimpressed by the Pope's letter to the Republic's millions of Catholics.
Adrienne Kelly, on a day out from Co Meath, said the papal letter of apology had come too late. "The damage is already done," she said. "There's doesn't seem to be any way back for the church now after all the scandal and the abuse. It's very sad, but people are very angry over what has been done to children in this country by so-called men of God. You just cannot make all this scandal go away in one letter."
Maureen Murphy from Killmainham, Dublin, said she didn't think the Pope's latest intervention would make much difference. "It must be terrible for older people in Ireland who love their church to hear all this. But younger people don't listen any longer to the hierarchy. They are spiritual in their own way and don't want to be told what to do.
"It's also a shame for all the really good holy men still in the church who have done no wrong. It would be unfair to tar them all with the same brush. But this letter won't change things now. There has been too much scandal, too much horrible stuff that has come out."
Along O'Connell Street and nearby Talbot Street no one spoke up in favour of Cardinal Sean Brady remaining in his post after the revelation that he knew about child victims being forced to sign oaths of silence for the church.
Nor did they believe the letter would halt the decline of the Catholic Church in Ireland.
But an exception was to be found in the form of a small group of elderly men and women outside Dublin's pro-cathedral in nearby Marlborough Street. One woman, Maura Kennedy, said she was "heartened" by the Pope's concern for victims of abuse in Ireland.
"The Holy Father has called for justice in his letter and I think everyone will listen to that. I think that means the abusers can't hide from the law any more. That is a good thing not only for Ireland but for Catholics everywhere," she said.
Asked if Cardinal Brady should resign, she added: "The cardinal is a good man and deserves time and space to do what he thinks is right, but personally I believe he should stay."
A group of teenagers from Co Kildare in Dublin for yesterday's rugby international between Ireland and Scotland said that while they believed in God they did not have any faith left in the church hierarchy.
Brian Dillon, 19, said: "No one listens to the church authorities among our generation. After all that has gone on with all the abuse and the paedophile priests, why would we?"