The Pope has begged for God’s forgiveness for the “open wound” of church abuse in Ireland as he called for “firm and decisive” action to secure “truth and justice”.
The Irish News report:
“Speaking at the Knock Holy shrine in Co Mayo this morning, Pope Francis addressed around 45,000 people the day after he held a meeting with survivors of clerical sex abuse and expressed “pain and shame” over failures to tackle the scandals.
Pope Francis was speaking as he began his second day of engagements in the first Papal visit to the Republic in nearly 40 years.
During his address, Francis said no-one could be failed to be moved by stories of young abuse victims who were “robbed of their innocence” and “left scarred by painful memories”.
The pontiff said: “This open wound challenges us to be firm and decisive in the pursuit of truth and justice.”
The Pope’s visit in Ireland is linked to the World Meeting of Families 2018.
Vatican News reports that when on Saturday, the Pope addressed the gathering, he described it as “a family celebration of thanksgiving to God for who we are: one family in Christ, spread throughout the world”. Pope Francis’ speech was filled with references to his Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, on the joy of love. “God wants every family to be a beacon of the joy of His love in our world”, said the Pope. “All of us are called to find, in the family, our fulfilment in love”, he continued, and immediately qualified his statement by adding that “No one said this would be easy”.
That’s when Pope Francis compared building relationships within the family to the most familiar of all Irish pastimes: brewing a pot of tea. “It is easy to bring the water to a boil”, he said, “but a good cup of tea takes time and patience. It needs to brew!”. In the same way, it is Jesus who, every day, “warms us with His love and lets it penetrate our whole being”, he said. He referred to three small words “Sorry”. “Please”. “Thanks”: these are the three small words that Pope Francis often suggests as antidotes to the tensions that can arise within the family.
“There is no such thing as a perfect family”, he reminded his audience. “Without the grace of forgiveness, families can grow sick and gradually collapse”. On the contrary, said the Pope, “small and simple acts of forgiveness, renewed each day, are the foundation upon which a solid Christian family life is built”.
The Pope spoke about the positive use of social media as a way to build, what he called, “a web of friendships, solidarity and mutual support”. Social media, he said, “can be beneficial if used with moderation and prudence”. While families can “connect through the internet and draw nourishment from it”, the Pope warned of overusing social media to the extent that it risks “imprisoning us in a virtual reality” that isolates us from “the very relationships that challenge us to grow to our full potential in communion with others”.
Although he didn’t mention Fr Patrick Peyton by name, the “good Irish priest” quoted by Pope Francis, was most likely recognizable to his audience. The families that are united by prayer, are able to support other families that live in challenging and difficult situations, he said. Again referring to his Exhortation on love and the family, the Pope confirmed that it is “the love of Christ that renews all things” and that “makes possible marriage and conjugal love marked by fidelity, indissolubility, unity and openness to life”.
In this regard, the Pope thanked another family, with their ten children, for their “witness of love and faith”. It is in “mutual self-giving”, said Pope Francis, that spouses are able to become “one flesh” and to “open their hearts to those in need of love, especially the lonely, the abandoned, the weak and the vulnerable, so often discarded by our throw-away culture”.
The Pope also reserved a special word for the older generation: “A society that does not value grandparents is a society that has no future”, he said. Grandparents are the ones who teach us “the meaning of conjugal and parental love”, he continued.
Which is why it’s a “big mistake not to ask the elderly about their experience, or to think that talking to them is a waste of time”.Pope Francis’ final request to the families gathered in Croke Park Stadium, and to all those participating in the event via media platforms around the world, was to “help God’s dream come true”. By witnessing to the Gospel, he concluded, “you can help to draw all God’s children closer together, so that they can grow in unity and learn what it is for the entire world to live in peace as one great family”.