Pope expresses shame at church's failure to address 'repellent' abuse crimes

Around 37,000 people are expected to attend the World Meeting of Families event in Dublin this week

"He is welcome as a guest but he is going to have to take action rather than repeat platitudes if we are really going to have any respect for the Church generally", said Helen Carey, a visual arts curator, walking past Dublin Castle where the state reception will be held.

"The failure of ecclesial authorities - bishops, religious superiors, priests and others - to adequately address these repugnant crimes has rightly given rise to outrage, and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community. But I think it would be wrong to say that this is a post-Catholic country", he said. He spoke in Italian before a large audience of political and religious leaders as well as foreign diplomats inside Dublin Castle.

"Wounds are still open and there is much to be done to bring about justice and truth and healing for victims and survivors". "It is a story all too tragically familiar here in Ireland".

He also promised to "adopt stringent".

"Holy Father, we ask that you use your office and influence to ensure this is done here in Ireland and also around the world". A gathering for victims of clergy abuse is planned for the same time as the papal Mass on Sunday.

It would be up to those invited if they wanted to make public statements afterwards, said Greg Burke, the Vatican spokesperson.

Pope Francis' visit comes at the back of referendums, in which the Irish electorate overwhelmingly voted to legalise abortion and gay marriage.

"It is my hope that the gravity of the abuse scandals, which have cast light on the failings of many, will serve to emphasise the importance of the protection of minors and vulnerable adults on the part of society as a whole", he said.

A plane carrying Francis and his entourage landed at Dublin International Airport on Saturday after a two-hour flight from Rome.

Though Francis will celebrate mass for hundreds of thousands at Dublin's Phoenix Park on Sunday, he arrives to a different Ireland.

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Around 100,000 people lined Dublin's streets this afternoon as the pontiff travelled through the city in his Popemobile.

There are many difficulties faced by families today - nevertheless, they are "are the glue of society", he said, and should not be taken for granted.

The Pope has met with victims before in Philadelphia, Chile and at the Vatican.

One of the victims of Fr Tony Walsh, a priest and serial abuser who assaulted hundreds of children over almost two decades, was also present but preferred to remain anonymous.

"Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all", the grand jury wrote. All 45,000 tickets for this event are also booked out. But his trip is being dominated by the issue of sexual abuse - both the decades long legacy of church-linked crimes in Ireland and a string of recent bruising revelations about priests and prelates across the world.

He later delivered remarks which echoed a letter he sent to the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics this week, condemning the "atrocities" of child abuse and clerical cover-ups.

The Amnesty director slammed the speech that he claimed, deflected responsibility for clerical sex abuses.

In Ireland on Saturday, Pope Francis said the anger of Catholics at bishops' failure in response to the sexual abuse crisis is appropriate and that he shares those feelings.

The abuse scandal - which has exploded anew in the US but has convulsed Ireland since the 1990s with revelations of unfathomable violence and humiliation against women and children - took centre stage on the first day of Francis' two-day trip.

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