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Pope Francis

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Irish Bishops open up to the Vatican about sexual abuse


After a 10 year hiatus since their last Ad Limina, which usually takes place every five years, the Irish bishops came to Rome to discuss the state of the Church in Ireland.  

They met with nearly all the major departments of the Roman Curia and Pope Francis, where open discussions took place about issues such as migration, secularism, women in the Church and outreach to the poor. However, one main topic of interest was the clerical sex abuse in the country.

Archbishop of Armagh (Ireland)
"We have shared the determined efforts we have been making to put in place robust procedures of safeguarding in the Church in Ireland. We also spoke a lot about the efforts to try to bring healing to those who have been abused and all people who have been affected by the awful trauma of the sins and crimes of people in the Church and others in society.” 

The archbishop said since their last meeting with Benedict XVI, they have been working on four steps of healing and recovery: to establish the truth, to put procedures in effort to prevent future abuse, to adhere to principles of justice and to bring healing. 

Archbishop of Dublin (Ireland)
"There was a recognition of the fact that not so much that we had gone through a difficult time, but we went through a bad time, not for us, but particularly for children who were abused. And anything we did would inevitably be inadequate in responding to the pain that they experienced.”

Thus, one of the first meetings they held in Rome was with the Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors. The bishops discussed entering into a time of renewal, consisting of catechesis and the involvement of lay people in the Church to act as the eyes and ears to help stop this tragedy. 

Archbishop of Armagh (Ireland)
"There is a sense that Ireland now, perhaps has something to say about this issue to the universal Church. Not in any place of status, but...it's a terrible place to be. But having been through this experience and continuing, I saw, to go through this experience, we are able to speak from a position of having reflected and learned a lot in recent years.”

With the World Meeting of Families scheduled in Dublin in 2018, this meeting was a perfect step for Pope Francis' visit and the preparation and promotion for the Church in Ireland.