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'Disappointing, nothing new' - Pope Francis receives lukewarm reception by abuse victims

'Disappointing, nothing new' - Pope Francis receives lukewarm reception by abuse victims

Pope Francis faced a lukewarm reception and scattered protests Saturday on his trip to Ireland, with even his vow to rid the church of the "scourge" of sexual abuse and his outrage at those "repugnant crimes" dismissed as a disappointment by some of Ireland's wounded victims.

"The failure of ecclesiastical 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", he told them.

He said his predecessor Pope Benedict's frank and decisive intervention incentivised efforts of the Church's leadership to remedy past mistakes and adopt stringent norms meant to ensure that they do not happen again.

"He could have talked to us all in a way that was blunt, that was clear, that was frank, that was human, that was accessible", he said.

More than three-quarters of Ireland's population flocked to see Pope John Paul II in 1979 when divorce and contraception were illegal.

Collins, who a year ago resigned from a Vatican commission for child protection over its inaction, told reporters that the pope's speech was "disappointing" and "nothing new".

Varadkar, an openly gay leader and a symbol of Ireland's liberalising culture, demanded from Pope Francis "that from words flow actions" for victims in a strongly-worded speech.

Pope Francis arrived Saturday in Ireland, ground zero of the Catholic Church's sex abuse crisis, with the institution under fire across the globe for its systemic failures to protect children from rapists or to punish bishops who hid the crimes.

The Pope is expected to meet later with some Irish victims of clerical sexual predators.

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The 500,000 tickets issued for the mass were quickly snapped up, although an unknown number have been booked by a boycott group called "Say Nope To The Pope" which encouraged protesters to order tickets and not use them.

Francis is making the first papal visit to Ireland in nearly four decades, but the reception he received in Dublin was a contrast to the raucous, rock star welcome that greeted St. John Paul II in 1979.

But there will also be protests over the church's handling of multiple clerical sexual abuse scandals that have catastrophically damaged its moral authority and standing in Irish society. Sunday he will celebrate afternoon Mass at Phoenix Park following a morning visit to Knock Shrine, a Catholic pilgrimage site in the western county of Mayo.

His refusal to do so during a 2016 trip to Mexico riled some victims, given the country is home to the founder of the Legion of Christ, the Reverend Marcial Maciel, perhaps the most notorious paedophile of the 20th century Catholic Church.

Pope Francis will join the Festival of Families one hour into the event and following a tour of Croke Park will deliver an address to all gathered in the stadium.

Irish society is virtually unrecognisable from that time.

Francis will be greeted by major crowds but could also see signs of anger and defiance.

"The actions of the church do not match the words, and they are in fact totally the opposite", Collins said.

Clerical abuse survivor Marie Collins, who resigned previous year from a special Vatican commission created by Pope Francis to tackle child abuse, saying that senior clerics in the Church refused to implement their suggested safety policies, said she wanted to see action, not words.


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