Pope in Ireland vows to end cover-up of clergy sex abuse

Pope in Ireland vows to end cover-up of clergy sex abuse

The Pope veered off his script when speaking out about abuse, saying he had set out a "greater commitment to eliminating this scourge in the Church, at any cost".

But the defining moment of the first papal visit to Ireland in almost 40 years did not take place on camera.

Mr Varadkar said there could be zero tolerance for those who abuse children or who facilitate that abuse and that from words action must flow.

Years of sexual abuse scandals have shattered the credibility of the church as a moral leader in Ireland.

Francis' trip to Ireland, the first by a pope in 39 years, has been overshadowed by renewed outrage over the Catholic Church's systemic failures to protect children, following revelations of sexual misconduct and cover-up in the USA church hierarchy, a growing crisis in Chile and the prosecutions of top clerics in Australia and France. "I myself share those sentiments", the Pope said. But his trip is being dominated by the issue of sexual abuse - both the decades long legacy of church-linked crimes in Ireland and a string of recent bruising revelations about priests and prelates across the world.

"The actions of the church do not match the words, and they are in fact totally the opposite", Collins said.

The Catholic Church has been vilified in Ireland after 9,000 reported cases of child abuse by priests - and for a past in which 30,000 single mothers were locked away in Catholic-run institutions.

Pope Francis will spend 32 hours in Ireland this weekend.

The last papal visit to Ireland was by Pope John Paul II in September 1979.

The pope touched down in a sunny Dublin at 0926 GMT where he was greeted by Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, his children, who presented Francis with flowers, and a number of Irish bishops.

However, he failed to specifically mention the current scandal raging over a USA grand jury report documenting at least 1,000 cases of clerical pedophilia.

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Pope Francis, center, is flanked by Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, right, as they arrive to meet authorities, in Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018.

Around 100,000 people lined Dublin's streets this afternoon as the pontiff travelled through the city in his Popemobile.

The abuse scandal - which has exploded anew in the USA but has convulsed Ireland since the 1990s with revelations of unfathomable violence and humiliation against women and children - took centre stage on the first day of Francis' two-day trip.

He said Ireland's multiple historic scandals were "stains on our state, our society and also the Church".

Irish abuse survivor and advocate Marie Collins, who resigned in frustration from O'Malley's board past year, told the safeguarding panel that if Francis claims to be on the side of victims, the Catholic Church should no longer lobby to block the ability of victims to sue and prosecute abusers after the statute of limitations expires.

Later, at St Mary's Pro Cathedral in Dublin, he held a silent prayer in front of a candle that commemorates abuse victims, before answering questions from couples of all ages on the subject of marriage.

Varadkar plans to tell the Pope that the exclusion of LGBT+ people from the Catholic Church "really hurts".

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

On Sunday, the pontiff will fly to visit Knock Shrine - a Catholic pilgrimage site in County Mayo - before heading back to Dublin for a 3pm mass at Phoenix Park. Abortion, divorce and gay marriage are now legal.

World renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli will take centre stage in Croke Park Stadium and will join the cast of thousands including Nathan Carter, Daniel O'Donnell, Celine Byrne, Seán Keane, Eimear Quinn, Cuthbert Tura Arutura, the Palestrina Choir and the Choir of Ages.

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