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Thousands rally against Pope’s visit to a very different Ireland

Thousands rally against Pope’s visit to a very different Ireland

When Pope John II came to Ireland in 1979 he was given rock star treatment by over 2.7 million people. Contrast that with Pope Francis’s visit at the weekend, when fewer that 130,000 of an expected 500,000 attended a Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.

And to reinforce the message that country has shattered the chains that once bound it so tightly to a church which imagined itself to be above reproach, thousands gathered three miles away at the Garden of Remembrance to hear survivors of abuse and others rattle off a long list of crimes committed against the people of Ireland by the Catholic clergy.

One speaker at the Stand4Truth rally – dressed as a nun with bloodied hands – said:

As the mother of gay children I will not allow any church to tell my fucking children that they don’t matter, because they do.

According to this report, Jenny Moore-Mcgowan, holding a sign that read: “Apologies are not enough”, said:

We can never, ever, ever have these abuses again in Ireland. The lives of people for generations were ruined, not just the people who were in the institutional schools, the Magdalene Laundries, the mother-and-baby homes, but their children and grandchildren. It ran right through this country like a virus.

The Pope’s visit to Ireland came amid an intensifying outcry over a global clerical sex abuse crisis, following damning reports in the United States, Chile and Australia, detailing decades of institutional cover-ups. The revelations hung like a cloud over the trip.

In Temple Bar, a nightlife quarter packed with pubs, you wouldn’t know the Pope was in town, save for a few fluttering Vatican flags and shuttered streets. At one of the few papal souvenir stands in the city center, Paul Preston said he was having trouble selling merchandise. He said:

People aren’t coming out to support the Pope in droves like they did in ’79. The church’s influence since then has gone kaput. People are disenchanted with all the controversies, all the sexual scandals.

Aoibhin Meghen, a 19-year-old Dubliner who attended the Pope’s Mass with her mother, said:

The Pope needs to take responsibility for the actions of his clergy. Although he hopefully hasn’t had any involvement in the abuse, he is the figurehead for the church, so it’s his responsibility to promise action and retribution for the people who have been wronged.

Just hours before celebrating Mass, Pope Francis faced calls for his resignation from the former Vatican ambassador to Washington, who said the Pontiff did nothing about allegations of sexual abuse against the prominent Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, despite knowing about them in 2013.

Later, speaking to the press on his flight back to Italy from Ireland, Pope Francis said, “I will not say a single word on this,” although he added that after some time passes, “I may speak.”

The Pope told reporters he believes the statement from former Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano speaks for itself.

I read the statement this morning, and I must tell you sincerely … read the statement carefully and make your own judgment.

In his homily on Sunday, the Pope acknowledged “abuses of power and conscience” in Ireland, and asked for forgiveness for all the times the church did not provide survivors with compassion, justice, truth, or “concrete actions.”

At the Stand4Truth rally, Belfast singer Brian Kennedy performed a rendition of a John Lennon classic with a new verse added: “Imagine there’s no paedophiles.” In a moment of levity, the crowd, which had been largely somber, broke into laughter and cheered, waving their placards aloft.

12 responses to “Thousands rally against Pope’s visit to a very different Ireland”

  1. Broga says:

    What must be insisted on are priests having to defend their beliefs and their bible in debate with atheists. And why not? Think about it? Consider the outrage, the offence that is being done to you when not even a few minutes a week is allowed for a challenging opinion against a priesthood infested with paedophiles and financial thieves and abusing children while claiming to be celibate.

    Why are they still allowed to preach incredible superstitions without challenge. They claim, indeed insist, that they know the truth and are confident and certain of it. The BBC, paid for by the public must open up the debate. Let’s get stroppy. We atheists are so civil and decent and fair while being exploited. You can’t get elected in the USA if you say you are an atheist and I don’t hear any of our politicians declaring the advantages of atheism i.e. rational and objective thought over superstition. Mrs May at No 10 is proud of her superstition and the government pays for faith schools. How many atheist schools are funded?

    Rant over. I got carried away.

  2. Terry says:

    Just think of it … babies taken from their mothers, maltreated to death, records falsified and then buried in a septic tank.

    … babies taken from their mothers, records falsified and babies sold off to rich foreigners.

    … midnight visit by a priest to the home of an unmarried 7 month pregnant young woman who then tells her parents that she has brought shame and infamy to the village and then the priest takes her to an institution 20 miles away on the crossbar of his bike. That’s like a visit from the gestapo.

    And the fucking pope rolls up in Ireland and expects a rock star welcome. That’s not stupidity, that is a callous disregard from an institution that is not calibrated to reality, decency or morality.

    But well done to the Irish for letting the shitehawk visit and rub his nose in the caca of his horrible organisation.

  3. andym says:

    I think Ireland is a comfort and inspiration to all of us at the moment. For decades people there must have thought they would never be free of Vatican imperialism, but it’s folding just like all confronted bullies.

  4. Stephen JP says:

    Terry and andym, too right and well said.

    Broga, that’s not a bad idea! But I wonder whether even our best-known atheists (Dawkins and Grayling, for example) might be too ‘decent and civil’, in your words, to have the effect that’s needed. I would love to see a no-holds-barred debate involving a UK equivalent of Richard Carrier, for instance. Dammit, I would like to see you or Barrie up against any apologist you care to mention. I wouldn’t mind a go myself.

  5. AgentCormac says:

    @ Terry
    ‘But well done to the Irish for letting the shitehawk visit and rub his nose in the caca of his horrible organisation.’

    Very well stated. While Frankie flew back to Vatican State in his private jet I truly hope that he reflected on just how Ireland has changed. With more information, more enlightenment and more courage the ‘faithful’ around the rest of the world will hopefully will follow Ireland’s lead.

    It’s going to be a long journey, but if Ireland of all places can fall then there’s most certainly hope. There really is.

  6. Broga says:

    So a priest says a few words and you are married. Your drunken thug of a husband beats you but you cannot get divorced. Unless you sweeten the plea with loads of money. I know, and still know, a woman who got a divorce after two years on the grounds of non consummation and a shed load of bribes.

    She has since had three kids. The divorce came after a massive pantomime with which I will not trouble you.

  7. Robster says:

    It would appear that silly old Frank the pope’s on the nose, not just a bit. The smell is not of the unwashed. Hail the Irish!

  8. AgentCormac says:

    This article on today’s Guardian website is well worth a read.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/28/religion-ireland-catholicism-abusers

  9. L.Long says:

    Do something important people, protest OK, but it would be a lot better if you all wrote in a petition that you all quit the damned RCC. But most likely not as you are all still brainwashed and terrified of death!

  10. Laura Roberts says:

    We need to grow this “quit the RCC” meme. I’ve seen it in several places — humanist/atheist sites only, though. I’d love to see a discussion on how we can genuinely encourage Catholics to leave their church — for another church, if necessary, but reducing the RCC to rubble should be an audacious long-term goal.

  11. chattur Chamar says:

    religions should evolve or perish. The catholic church needs to reform as the followers are learned and intelligent people. pope has no choice change .

  12. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    How can religions evolve? By invoking a modern day, net savvy, beer guzzling Jesus or Mo-ham-head.

    The concept of every religion is the same. Make the masses afraid and fearful of the wrath of an imaginary deity and then fuck them of their money, possessions as well as body.

    Religion is followed only by people who don’t wish to think, are timid and weak.

    Pope should be hauled up in prison for running a criminal organization and same should be done with every Maulana, Rabbi and so called holy men of every religion.

    Unfortunately, this is just wishful thinking on my part. This would never happen because politicians and priests, unholy nexus has been screwing masses since time immemorial and sadly this would continue.

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