The Pope Lands In Ireland, Overshadowed By Church Scandals


The reviews concluded that thousands of children were raped or molested by priests or physically abused in church-run schools - and Irish bishops worked for years to hide those crimes.

Vigano's letter railed against "homosexual networks present in the Church" - the word "homosexual" appears 18 times, while the word "child" appears only twice, in both cases in the titles of Church documents Vigano sites.

The eight included a victim of Catholic priest Tony Walsh, who abused hundreds of children over a period of almost two decades before he was finally cast out of the priesthood and imprisoned.

A Vatican spokesman had no comment on the details of what was said in the meeting.

Mr Varadkar, Ireland's first openly gay prime minister, also used his speech to highlight an "increasingly diverse" Ireland, telling the Pope it was a "different country than it was 39 years ago".

The pope's visit to Ireland risks being dominated by criticism over the Catholic Church hierarchy's handling of predator priests who sexually abused children.

"Holy Father, I ask that you use your office and influence to ensure this is done here in Ireland and across the world", Varadkar said, and asked the Pope to listen to the victims.

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The demand for action has grown to such a deafening crescendo that words are not enough, even if they are swear words.

The pope later attended a Festival of Families in Croke Park Stadium with more than 82,000 people in attendance. A total of 500,000 free tickets have been distributed for the landmark religious event in Dublin's Phoenix Park this afternoon.

Francis responded to the outcry by vowing to end sex abuse and coverup during a speech to Irish government authorities at Dublin Castle.

When his Alitalia plane arrived Saturday morning, he was greeted on the tarmac with a bouquet of posies, then traveled in a motorcade to the presidential residence, where he wrote in the guest book, "With gratitude for the warm welcome I have received".

Francis urged the Irish to recognize that for all its failings, the Catholic Church educated and cared for generations of Irish children in times of starvation and great poverty.

CNN's Vatican analyst John Allen said the Pope's statement on abuse scandals likely will leave survivors disappointed.

Critics of the Church have also been preparing for Francis. A gathering for victims of clergy abuse is planned for the same time as the papal Mass on Sunday. Varadkar acknowledged the Catholic Church had provided generations of Catholics with education and health care when the Irish government did not.

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Pope Francis today revealed that he is ashamed of the Catholic Church's failure to adequately address the "repellent crimes" of sex abuse by members of the clergy.

The Supreme Pontiff met privately for 90 minutes with eight survivors of abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church.

Priests and nuns from across Ireland have flocked to the capital, where merchandise - from candles to dolls to t-shirts all bearing his image - are on sale.

On Monday, Francis noted the "heart-wrenching pain" of victims following a Pennsylvania grand jury report that detailed decades of sexual misconduct by priests and repeated failures by bishops to hold priests accountable.

Wuerl has defended his record, but withdrew from a speaking role during the pope's visit to Dublin.

O'Malley had been expected to headline the panel in person, but he backed out at the last minute, citing a new inquiry he launched into his diocesan seminary amid sexual misconduct allegations - one of three big USA seminaries that have launched such investigations in recent weeks.

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