Pope 'ashamed' by Church's abuse failures

Pope 'ashamed' by Church's abuse failures

On the first papal visit to the country in nearly four decades, Francis used a speech at a state event that was also attended by some abuse survivors to acknowledge that it was to the Church's shame it had not addressed these "repugnant crimes".

"There can only be zero tolerance for those who abuse innocent children or who facilitate that abuse", said Varadkar.

The letter directly referred to the Pennsylvania report, which "detailed the experiences of at least 1,000 survivors, victims of sexual abuse, the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately 70 years", the Pope wrote.

Pope Francis said Saturday that the "failure of ecclesiastical authorities" to address sexual abuse has "rightly given rise to outrage", his first acknowledgment during his trip to Ireland of the traumas here that have radically diminished the Roman Catholic clergy's once-towering authority.

The country has not forgotten the church's history of abuses. But he said only that they and their children, who were sent to orphanages, "endured particularly hard situations".

The Vatican has said Francis will meet Irish victims of clergy sexual abuse, but the pope is also be under pressure to more fully address the scandals that have led to the Church's worst credibility crisis in more than 15 years.

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Supporters wait to see Pope Francis outside Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Dublin.

Earlier this week, Pope Francis issued a letter to "the people of God" acknowledging the recent sex abuse scandals and insisting that "the heart-wrenching pain of these victims, which cries out to heaven, was long ignored, kept quiet or silenced".

Calling the entire world a type of family, he said bonds of common humanity should drive us to take care of the weakest among us, even though we are often left feeling powerless in the face of "persistent evils", such as racism, ethnic hatred, violence, and contempt for human dignity.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Ireland's openly gay prime minister, told a crowd of dignitaries and lawmakers at Dublin Castle, "Wounds are still open and there is much to be done to bring about justice and truth and healing for victims and survivors".

The Amnesty director said Pope Francis could've been more direct with an apology to people and children abused by the Catholic church: "The Pope was speaking not to the faithful, it wasn't a sacramental moment it was a State occasion".

So the president of Ireland, the prime minister of Ireland, and the survivors of abuse in Ireland were hoping for more than tough talk.

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It would be up to those invited if they wanted to make public statements afterwards, said Greg Burke, the Vatican spokesperson.

Savia, a group of survivors and victims of institutional abuse, set up a protest outside Dublin Castle, on the route of the popemobile. More than a million people gathered for the papal Mass in Phoenix Park on that occasion, according to the Irish Times, representing about a third of the country's population at the time.

The Pope heard Mr Varadkar, a gay man, speak out against the traditional Catholic teaching on the family.

Around 100,000 people are expected to welcome the Pope in Dublin on Saturday afternoon as he passes through. In 1979, contraception, homosexuality, divorce and abortion were illegal, and more than nine in 10 people attended mass each week.

World renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli will take centre stage in Croke Park Stadium and will join the cast of thousands including Nathan Carter, Daniel O'Donnell, Celine Byrne, Seán Keane, Eimear Quinn, Cuthbert Tura Arutura, the Palestrina Choir and the Choir of Ages.

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