Pope Francis has come and gone, and it is interesting to note how his visit meant so many different things to so many different people in a fractionated population with regard to the Catholic Church.
To most people of all persuasions and nationalities living in Ireland it was a memorable event, especially among those who were physically close to him, who shook hands and spoke with him. But among a sizeable percentage of Catholics, amongst whom those directly hurt by clerical abuse, opinions differ.
For some Pope Francis was sufficiently touched and apologetic for the behaviour of some of his clerical representatives, for some others his visit and what he said was disappointing and for a minority of them it was a total travesty. Perhaps the latter expected the Pope to openly say: “Now I will sack all those responsible for covering-up the abuses and here is x number of millions from the Vatican to compensate the abuse victims”. Would this have appeased them?
Yes, he could have been more proactive in his intentions to make good what he classified as a deep wound for the Church, although it is quite well known that He alone cannot radically change what seems to be an endemic modus operandi amongst those who surround him in the Vatican. Not without the full support of his Curia. It all points out at the fact that for a long time, apart from the cover-up attitude about abuses amongst high ranking members of the Clergy in and outside the Vatican, there has been a tendency to hide certain facts from this Pope or Popes in general. Apparently the Pontiff, at a crucial meeting with eight abuse victims, when informed about the infamous Magdalene Laundries, was taken by surprise as he apparently knew nothing or very little about them.
At any rate it is hoped by all that in due time Pope Francis will do a proper clean up of the Vatican starting from his Curia as well as outside the Vatican and will make a factual gesture towards reparation in one form or another for the damages suffered by some of his Catholic flock in Ireland by the hands of the Clergy, although this may not happen soon enough.

Concetto La Malfa

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