Pope Francis in Ireland Sunday “begged for God’s forgiveness” for the child sexual abuse scandal rocking the church but faced accusations by a former Vatican official he had personally ignored claims against senior clergy.
Francis is due to speak in front of some 500,000 faithful in Dublin’s Phoenix Park as part of his two-day visit to the former Catholic stronghold of Ireland, as abuse victims and their supporters gathered in a “Stand for Truth” rally in the city centre to demand justice.
During Sunday’s address to 45,000 supporters at the rain-soaked Knock shrine, the pope “begged for God’s forgiveness” for the “open wound” of the scandal and demanded “firm and decisive” measures to find “truth and justice”.
The scandal has dogged the visit, and intensified overnight when a former Vatican envoy to the US accused Francis of personally ignoring sexual abuse claims against prominent US cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was forced to resign last month.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano wrote in a letter published in the National Catholic Register that he had told Francis of the allegations in 2013, but that he had responded by lifting sanctions imposed on McCarrick by predecessor Pope Benedict. -AFP