Thursday 18 January 2018

Michael Kelly: Kenny's meeting with the Pope is a chance to give hope to Catholics

Michael Kelly

ENDA Kenny will certainly not be the most high-profile of European leaders meeting Pope Benedict this afternoon. However, despite never having met before, both men have been on opposite sides of a very public spat.

Today's meeting at the Pope's summer residence will be the first time an Irish government minister has met the head of the Catholic Church since a series of high-profile clerical-abuse reports were published. The encounter, albeit brief, is also an opportunity to look forward to a relationship built on mutual respect.

Mr Kenny's 2011 speech excoriating the Vatican's handling of abuse marked a decisive turning point in church-State relations. Never before had a Taoiseach spoken of the Vatican in such stark terms.

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