Pope Francis on abuse in Ireland: We will eliminate this scourge in the Church at whatever cost of morality or suffering

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The first thing Pope Francis did upon arriving at Dublin Castle was this: mark his visit in the book of honor. He was accompanied by the prime minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, with whom he met in private for a few minutes. 

Later, they headed to the St. Patrick room, where 250 people including members of civil society, officials and the diplomatic corps heard the Holy Father's first address on Irish ground. 

He was welcomed to the sound of this arp played by this 14-year-old girl. 

The leader thanked the pope for his commitment to peace, fighting climate change and aiding refugees. He also recognized the Church's work in his country in areas such as health and education, though he did not overlook the most painful episodes. 

Prime Minister of Ireland
“In place of Christian charity, forgiveness and compassion, far too often, there was judgment, severity and cruelty, in particular towards women and children and those on the margins. Magdalene Laundries, mother-and-baby homes, industrial schools, illegal adoptions and clerical child abuse are stains on our state, our society and also the Church.”

Pope Francis also took the opportunity to reiterate the Church's zero-tolerance policy when addressing sexual abuse. He expressed his sorrow over cases in Ireland not being handled correctly. 

“With regard to the most vulnerable, I cannot fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the Church charged with responsibility for their protection and education.” “The failure of ecclesiastical authorities – bishops, religious superiors, priests and others – adequately to address these repellent crimes has rightly given rise to outrage, and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community. I myself share those sentiments.”

The pope explained every child is a gift from God and, thus, it's necessary to eradicate these crimes in the Church, whatever the cost may be. 

“Recently, in a letter to the people of God, I reiterated my commitment, or rather, a greater commitment to eliminate this scourge in the Church, at whatever cost of morality or suffering.”

The Holy Father also spoke of the protection of human life at all stages. He explained that social progress cannot mean favoring the “throwaway culture.”

“Or could it be that the growth of a materialistic “throwaway culture” has in fact made us increasingly indifferent to the poor and to the most defenceless members of our human family, including the unborn, deprived of the very right to life?”

To conclude, Pope Francis expressed his desire that any socio-political issue decision in modern-day Ireland not be made without recalling the Christian message that sustained it in the past and can assist it in the future. 

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