General Audience after Ireland trip: The pope on World Meeting of Families and Sexual Abuse

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After his trip to Ireland, the pope has returned to celebrate the General Audience. This time on St. Peter's square after the intense heat in Rome has begun to cool down.

Pope Francis commented on his trip to Ireland for the Ninth World Meeting of Families. He was moved by the testimonies “given by families living in vastly different situations” and on his call to authorities to support families in “essential role in society.” Stressing the importance for families as well to pass down the faith through “daily dialogue of grandparents, parents and children.”

Pope Francis also commented on the sexual abuse committed by members of the Church and how it brought sadness to his visit in Ireland. Begging “forgiveness for these crimes” and to encourage efforts made to “ensure that they are not repeated.”


Dear brothers and sisters:

This past weekend I travelled to Ireland for the Ninth World Meeting of Families, whose theme was The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World. Husbands, wives and children from throughout the world came together to witness to God’s loving plan for marriage and family life. I was moved by the testimonies of faith, love, reconciliation and solidarity given by families living in vastly different situations. 

In my address to the authorities, I spoke of the need to support families in their essential role in society, while in my meetings in the Cathedral and at the great Vigil in Phoenix Park, I stressed the importance of cultivating God’s gift of love and passing on the faith, as it were, “around the family table” in the daily dialogue of grandparents, parents and children. 

At Knock Shrine, I commended all families to Our Lady and offered a warm greeting to the people of Northern Ireland. Sadly, the joy of my Visit was clouded by the recognition of the suffering caused by the abuse of minors and young people by some members of the Church. 

I begged forgiveness for these crimes and encouraged the efforts made to ensure that they are not repeated. As we look forward to the next World Meeting of Families, to be held in Rome in 2021, let us pray that families everywhere will grow in faith, love and missionary zeal, and truly became, as they are meant to be, “joy for the world.”

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