Pope Francis has traveled to Ireland to address the widespread issues of priestly assault and abuse.
He is the first pontiff to visit the island nation in nearly four decades despite the high population of Catholic faithful.
Pope Francis is currently facing calls for his resignation as a result of the mounting number of sex scandals within the church.
“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 of shame for the Catholic community.” — Pope Francis
A former Vatican official released a letter this past Sunday accusing the pope of inaction after he was informed of allegations of sex abuse by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington state.
So far the pope has refused to comment on the allegations.
“We’re looking for unqualified, wholehearted apologies. And certainly we got one today from the pope, but whether that will translate into a huge official apology from the church is another matter. But it’s whether that translates into actual actions. That’s what really matters to us. That’s what really matters to us and to survivors around the world and to 1.2 billion Catholics around the world who are desperate to see their own church actually finally just confess and atone for their sins. And it’s long overdue.” — Paul Redmond, an abuse survivor
The pope’s visit comes days after a Pennsylvania grand jury report found that at least 1,000 children were abused by some 300 Catholic clergy members over the course of decades.
The revelation has reportedly caused many in the community to avoid attending mass. Some have said that they are doing so as a display of solidarity with those who have suffered at the hands of the church.
“And I’m thinking ‘is this our last Mass?’ And it’s hard. I can’t fathom when she’s 8 years old saying ‘no we don’t go to church, sorry you can’t receive communion, even though your mom and dad did, your grandparents did, you don’t get to do that.’ ” — Courey Leer
The Catholic Church has long struggled with allegations of sexual abuse and assault; issues which may be a driving factor behind the rapidly declining number of Catholics regularly attending mass.
Iron Triangle Press will continue to follow this story.