Pope Francis in Ireland, Day 1

I’ll updated the blog throughout Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland. The most recent posts appear at the top. See full coverage from:

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Here’s a round up of first-day coverage:

Beginning one of the most fraught trips in his five years as pope, Francis described the “repellent crimes” and the church’s inability to deal with them as “a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community” — remarks some Irish criticized as familiar and lacking any mention of concrete steps for reform.

From the outside, it’s easy to conclude that the entire World Meeting of Families unfolding in Dublin this week is a sideshow, since the major question of the moment concerns what Pope Francis is going to say or do on the exploding clerical sexual abuse scandals in the Church. The thing is, however, it’s not a sideshow for the real flesh-and-blood families who are here, and who need the support. … Whatever may be exploding in the media at the moment, Catholic families still have deeply personal challenges for which they look to the Church for help, whether it’s raising a special needs child or coping with the fallout of a divorce.

On Saturday, as small clusters of supporters cheered the pope on sparsely populated streets, Francis sought to build a new church with his trademark pastoral style. He joked about marital spats and shared homespun wisdom with newlyweds, encouraged homeless people at a Capuchin monastery and rallied thousands at a World Meeting of Families event in a Dublin stadium. … The pope’s own advisers have warned that the church’s future depends on its success in addressing the existential threat of the abuse crisis.

If his visit were not so bafflingly short and he had taken the time to do what he does best – spend time with people who are marginalised and suffering – he might really have made a difference. He might have revivified the sense of Christianity as a radical option for the poor as opposed to a form of institutional power. But this visit feels too much like a ceremonial procession with a pastoral purpose added in as an afterthought for that to be possible.

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Pope Francis has arrived in Ireland, giving his first remarks about the clerical abuse scandal in the country.

The failure of ecclesiastical authorities – bishops, religious superiors, priests and others – adequately to 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 these sentiments.

But the speech is drawing criticism for lack of an apology.

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