11 Pope's visit to Ireland to focus on today’s families - Cindy Wooden

posted Aug 21, 2018, 11:32 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 21, 2018, 11:32 AM ]
Pope Francis will visit Dublin and Knock Aug. 25-26, mainly for the World Meeting of Families. But he also will meet Irish government leaders and is expected to meet with survivors of abuse.

"Ireland is a country that has suffered tremendously, and suffered at the hands of the Church, also; so many cases of abuse: sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse," said Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, the Irish-born prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, which helped organise the World Meeting of Families.

Revelations of the extent of the abuse and the long-delayed response of Church officials have devastated Irish Catholics, sent church attendance plummeting, and contributed strongly to the waning influence of the Irish hierarchy in public discourse.

"Ireland is certainly a different country today" from what St Pope John Paul II experienced in the late 1970s, Cardinal Farrell told Catholic News Service. "The Church was a powerful force in Ireland - for good or for bad, it's not my position to judge - but, certainly, that is not the Ireland of today."

The people of Ireland and the Catholic Church in Ireland must find ways to work together and support each other in dealing with the new, multicultural, pluralistic reality of the country, he said.

"Pope Francis has tried to teach us that over the last five years," he said. "You've got to remember: People aren't the way we would like them to be; they are the way they are. And we have to bring the message of God and the word of God to people where they are, in this place, at this particular moment."