The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will meet victims of sexual abuse during his trip to Ireland on August 25 and 26. The Holy Father will also attend the Catholic World Meeting of Families in Dublin and visit Knock Shrine in Co Mayo.
Vatican Spokesman Greg Burke noted that the meeting with clerical abuse survivors will not be announced until after it is over and that it will be up to those who attend if they want to speak publicly afterward, as reported by RTE.
The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said it would be “great” for the pope to meet some of the victims and abuse survivors but “the time is very tight,” reported RTE of a comment made by Martin earlier in August.
RTE claims that Archbishop Martin stated he has been pushing for the pope to meet a small representative group of people but “it is never easy” to do that.
The pontiff published a missive on August 20 to members of the Catholic Church regarding the issue of clerical sex abuse. In his 2,000-word letter, Pope Francis stated that no effort would be spared to prevent clerical sex abuse and its cover-up.
He also addressed previous failures to deal with the issue.
“I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in their family members and in the larger community of believers and nonbelievers alike,” said Pope Francis in the letter.
“Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.,” he continued in the letter posted to the Vatican’s official website.
Vatican spokesperson Burke said the pontiff wanted greater accountability not only for those who committed these crimes but also for those who covered them up.
An Opening Ceremony for the World Meeting of Families takes place simultaneously across all 26 dioceses of Ireland and thousands of people from across the world are expected to attend the main ceremony at the RDS in Dublin.
The WMOF will end with a papal mass at Phoenix Park on August 26.