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Monday 4 December 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Sam Boal/ Tánaiste Simon Coveney
Clerical Abuse

Coveney says pope has recognised 'magnitude' of abuse but action is now needed

The Tánaiste said Pope Francis is “clearly angered” by what took place.

THE TÁNAISTE HAS said Pope Francis’ condemnation of physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the clergy shows he is “clearly angered” by what took place.

In a meeting with abuse survivors yesterday, the pope is said to have referred to corruption and cover-up within the Catholic Church as “caca” or “shit”.

Without referring to this specific comment, Simon Coveney told RTÉ Radio 1′s This Week Francis’ remarks included “the strongest language I’ve ever heard from a pope”.

Coveney said the pope made a “firm” commitment to survivors about the action that now needs to be taken, describing this as “very welcome”.

Pope Francis begged for “forgiveness for these sins and for the scandal and betrayal felt by so many others in God’s family” while delivering a speech at Knock Shrine in Co Mayo today.

The pontiff also addressed the issue of clerical abuse in his keynote speech at Dublin Castle yesterday, commenting that be could not fail to “acknowledge” the scandal. However, abuse survivors have pointed out he did not apologise to them publicly or mention the overall responsibility of the Church in relation to this abuse.

Coveney said the pope “recognised the magnitude and the shame of what happened”, adding: “People will clearly be watching now after this visit to see what actions follow.”

The Tánaiste, his wife Ruth and children greeted Pope Francis when he arrived at Dublin Airport yesterday.

A different Ireland

Coveney also spoke about how much Ireland has changed since Pope John Paul II visited the country 39 years ago.

“Ireland is a very different place than it was in 1979,” he said. He described the country as “much more diverse … but still deeply influenced by Church and religion”.

“Faith and religion is still a huge part of family life and society in Ireland, despite the cynicism that we sometimes hear in that area,” he stated.


Meanwhile, the Vatican’s retired ambassador to the US has purportedly penned an 11-page letter accusing senior Vatican officials of knowing as early as 2000 that the disgraced former archbishop of Washington, ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, regularly invited seminarians into his bed but they still promoted him to cardinal.

The letter, an extraordinary intervention from a one-time Holy See diplomat, also accuses Pope Francis of having initially rehabilitated McCarrick despite being informed of his penchant for young seminarians in 2013, soon after he was elected pope.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano urges Pope Francis to resign in the letter.

Contains reporting from AP 

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