Pope Francis responds strongly to criticism made by Ireland's Prime Minister.
After arriving in Dublin and greeting the President of Ireland, Pope Francis traveled to Dublin Castle where he was received by the Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar.
Varadkar addressed the Holy Father, praising the historic role of the Catholic Church in Ireland, “The Catholic Church has always helped us to understand that we are citizens of a wider world and part of a global family.”
However, Varadkar was quick to point out the failings of the Catholic Church in Ireland, giving a laundry list of Church crimes to Pope Francis, “There are ‘dark aspects’ of the Catholic Church’s history, as one of our bishops recently said … It is a history of sorrow and shame. In place of Christian charity, forgiveness and compassion, far too often there was judgment, severity and cruelty, in particular, towards women and children and those on the margins.”
The Prime Minister brought up the “brutal crimes” recently uncovered in Pennsylvania, adding that “it is a story all too tragically familiar here in Ireland.”
Pope Francis responded strongly to the accusations, saying, “I cannot fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the Church charged with responsibility for their protection and education.”
“The failure of ecclesiastical authorities – bishops, religious superiors, priests and others – to adequately address these repugnant crimes has rightly given rise to outrage, and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community. I myself share those sentiments.”
The Holy Father continued, “It is my hope that the gravity of the abuse scandals, which have cast light on the failings of many, will serve to emphasize the importance of the protection of minors and vulnerable adults on the part of society as a whole. In this regard, all of us are aware of how urgent it is to provide our young people with wise guidance and sound values on their journey to maturity.”
At the same time, Pope Francis also commented on the current state of the “throwaway culture,” present in Ireland that has been, “increasingly indifferent to the poor and to the most defenseless members of our human family, including the unborn, deprived of the very right to life.” A recently passed vote in Ireland has removed protection for the unborn and has made abortion more widely available.
Pope Francis now begins a tour of the city of Dublin before giving a speech to those assembled for the Festival of Families.
Pope Francis arrives in Ireland for first apostolic visit