Pope asks for forgiveness for the “abuses in Ireland

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Pope francis

Pope Francis has begged forgiveness for members of the Catholic Church’s hierarchy who “kept quiet” about clerical child sex abuse.

He was ending a two-day visit to the Republic of Ireland by celebrating a Mass at Dublin’s Phoenix Park.

The Argentine Pope asked forgiveness for the “abuses in Ireland, abuses of power, conscience and sexual abuses” perpetrated by Church leaders.

It was the first papal visit to Ireland for 39 years.

The Pope waved goodbye to dignitaries, including Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, before his plane left for Rome.

Earlier, he said no-one could fail to be moved by stories of those who “suffered abuse, were robbed of their innocence and left scarred by painful memories”, and reiterated his wish to see justice served.

Pope Francis used the penitential rite of the Mass to list a litany of different types of abuse and mistreatment inflicted on Irish people by Church figures, and the cover-ups of sex crimes.

On each occasion he asked for forgiveness, the congregation applauded.

Since the Polish pope’s visit, there have been huge changes in public attitudes to social issues including abortion, contraception, divorce and same-sex marriage.

The country voted for constitutional change on same sex-marriage in 2015 and voted overwhelmingly to overturn its strict abortion law in May.