Pope heads to Ireland amid new global outrage over sex abuse
DUBLIN — Pope Francis arrives 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 priestly rapists or punish bishops who hid the crimes.
Francis is expected to meet with victims during his 36-hour visit to Dublin and will have “many opportunities” to speak out about abuse, the Vatican says.
But neither Francis’ words nor a new meeting with victims is likely to calm the outrage among rank-and-file Catholics in Ireland and abroad following new revelations of sexual misconduct and cover-up in the U.S., an ongoing crisis in Chile and prosecutions of top clerics in Australia and France.
Ireland has had one of the worst records of abuse in the world, crimes that were revealed to its 4.8 million deeply Catholic people over the past decade by a series of government-mandated inquiries. They revealed thousands of children raped and molested by priests and physically abused in church-run schools, and bishops who covered up the crimes.
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