Friday 16 November 2018

What message will Pope Francis deliver to Ireland this August?

The Pontiff is treading a difficult path between an inclusive pastoral approach and entrenched attitudes, writes Paddy Agnew

REFORM: Pope Francis has demonstrated a humble and engaging style since his election in 2013
REFORM: Pope Francis has demonstrated a humble and engaging style since his election in 2013

Paddy Agnew

Five years into the pontificate of Pope Francis, a curious thought presents itself. Is it possible that when it comes to church reform, the "Great Reformer" can talk the talk, but not walk the walk?

This thought struck me during a working lunch last week in Rome with Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia. As former Prefect for the Pontifical Council of the Family, he was, he likes to say, "the person who chose Dublin for this summer's World Meeting of Families".

The Sunday Independent asked him for his reaction to the Irish abortion referendum result. Did he accept that a majority of Irish Catholics now are either indifferent to or totally reject elements of fundamental Catholic Church teaching? In such a context, what exactly will Pope Francis have to say to the Irish in August in Dublin?

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