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Five years after attacking Catholic 'narcissism', Enda Kenny meets the Pope

The Taoiseach’s 2011 speech drew plaudits from victims’ groups.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny briefly meets Pope Francis at St Peter's Square in Rome in 2014, after the canonisation of John Paul II and John the 23rd.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny briefly meets Pope Francis at St Peter's Square in Rome in 2014, after the canonisation of John Paul II and John the 23rd.
Image: Niall Carson/PA

THE TAOISEACH WILL meet Pope Francis at the Vatican today.

Enda Kenny requested the meeting, which will take place at 10am at the Apostolic Palace in the city-state. It follows the decision of the Conference of Irish Bishops to formally invite Pope Francis to attend the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in 2018.

A government spokesman said the Taoiseach will take the opportunity to personally welcome the decision by Pope Francis to hold the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in August 2018.

He is also expected to express the “full support” of the Government for the invitation, and assure him that normal state courtesies and support will be extended to him if he decides to come to Ireland.

The pair are also expected to discuss a number of issues of mutual and global interest, including bilateral relations, developments in the European Union and migration.

It is the first time Enda Kenny has had a one-on-one audience with Pope Francis.

Back in 2011, in the wake of the Cloyne Report, he heavily criticised the “dysfunction, disconnection, elitism, and narcissism” of the Holy See, in an unprecedented attack by a Taoiseach on the Catholic Church.

The speech drew plaudits from survivors of sexual abuse by priests, and prompted the Vatican to recall its papal nuncio to Ireland.

The Department of Foreign Affairs also closed its embassy in the Vatican that year, as part of a cost-cutting programme, although it reopened in 2014.

Read: President Higgins is signing a Book of Condolences for Fidel Castro this morning

Read: Winston Churchill spoke of his “longing” for a united Ireland

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