Pope in Ireland decries abuse cover-up, meets with victims

Pope in Ireland decries abuse cover-up, meets with victims

Pope in Ireland decries abuse cover-up, meets with victims
An image of Pope Francis is displayed in the window of the Veritas religious bookshop in Dublin, Ireland, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. Pope Francis arrives on Saturday for a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) (Matt Dunham)

DUBLIN (AP) — 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.

But others who met with him in private left heartened that he would respond to their plight, including two of the thousands of children who were forcibly put up for adoption for the shame of having been born to unwed mothers. They said Francis described the corruption and cover-up in the church as "caca" — translated by the Vatican translator for the English speakers as "filth as one sees in the toilet."

The abuse scandal — which has exploded anew in the U.S. but has convulsed Ireland since the 1990s with revelations of unfathomable violence and humiliation against women and children — took center stage on the first day of Francis' two-day trip. The visit was originally intended to celebrate Catholic families.

Francis responded to the outcry by vowing to end sex abuse and cover-up during a speech to Irish government authorities at Dublin Castle.

"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. "I myself share these sentiments."

Pope Francis meets with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, right, as he arrives at Dublin Castle, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Pope Francis meets with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, right, as he arrives at Dublin Castle, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

He cited measures taken by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, to respond to the crisis. But while Benedict is credited with cracking down on abusers, he never acknowledged the Vatican's role in fueling a culture of cover-up or sanctioned bishops for failing to protect their flocks from predator priests.

Pope Francis, center, is flanked by Irish President Michael D. Higgins, left, and President's wife Sabina, upon his arrival at the Presidential residence in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Pope Francis, center, is flanked by Irish President Michael D. Higgins, left, and President's wife Sabina, upon his arrival at the Presidential residence in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Francis followed his promise with a 90-minute meeting with eight survivors of both clerical and institutional abuse and prayed quietly before a candle lit for victims in Dublin's cathedral. But neither his words nor the meeting with victims is likely to assuage demands for heads to roll.

Pope Francis, right, is flanked by Irish President Michael D. Higgins, upon his arrival at the Presidential residence in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Pope Francis, right, is flanked by Irish President Michael D. Higgins, upon his arrival at the Presidential residence in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

"Disappointing, nothing new," was the reaction from Irish abuse survivor Marie Collins, a former member of Francis' sex abuse advisory panel who quit last year in frustration. She later took part in Francis' meeting with seven other abuse survivors, including two priests and a public official.

Pope Francis waves as he boards an airplane at Rome's Fiumicino international airport, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis waves as he boards an airplane at Rome's Fiumicino international airport, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Colm O'Gorman, who is leading a solidarity rally on Sunday in Dublin for abuse victims, said Francis' remarks about sharing the shame felt by Catholics were an "insult to faithful Catholics, who have no reason to feel shame because of the crimes of the Vatican and the institutional church."

A gust of wind blows Pope Francis' cape as he boards an airplane at Rome's Fiumicino international airport, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A gust of wind blows Pope Francis' cape as he boards an airplane at Rome's Fiumicino international airport, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

The reception that Francis received in Dublin contrasted sharply with the raucous, rock star welcome that greeted St. John Paul II in 1979 in the first-ever papal visit here. No one from the public was at the airport or the roads nearby when Francis arrived Saturday and the streets near a church-run homeless shelter that Francis visited were practically empty despite barricades designed to hold back crowds.

A gust of wind blows Pope Francis' cape as he boards an airplane at Rome's Fiumicino international airport, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A gust of wind blows Pope Francis' cape as he boards an airplane at Rome's Fiumicino international airport, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

At one protest, people tossed baby shoes to remind the pope of the poor treatment the Catholic Church doled out to the children of unwed mothers.

People with baby shoes tied with black ribbons hanging from their neck, symbolizing the children who died in "mother and baby homes", the homes where children were exiled for the shame of having been born to unwed mothers, protest in Dublin ahead of the visit of Pope Francis, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 . The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit. (Aaron Chown/PA via AP)
People with baby shoes tied with black ribbons hanging from their neck, symbolizing the children who died in "mother and baby homes", the homes where children were exiled for the shame of having been born to unwed mothers, protest in Dublin ahead of the visit of Pope Francis, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 . The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit. (Aaron Chown/PA via AP)

Crowds did throng Francis' popemobile route and gathered outside Dublin's cathedral, basking in the sunny weather, and a stadium was nearly full for his evening vigil to close out the church's family rally.

Protesters call for redress for victims of Catholic Church clerical sex abuses, during a protest they held during Pope Francis' visit to Ireland, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (Aaron Chown//PA via AP)
Protesters call for redress for victims of Catholic Church clerical sex abuses, during a protest they held during Pope Francis' visit to Ireland, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (Aaron Chown//PA via AP)

And two of the Irish adoptees said they were heartened Francis said he would address their concerns at Mass on Sunday. They are asking him to publicly state that their mothers had done nothing wrong and to encourage reconciliation between all unwed mothers, many of them now aged, who were forced by society and the church to give up their children.

Rainbow flags and blue ribbons are tied to Ha'Penny Bridge, Dublin to remember the victims of Catholic Church clerical sex abuse, ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)
Rainbow flags and blue ribbons are tied to Ha'Penny Bridge, Dublin to remember the victims of Catholic Church clerical sex abuse, ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

Paul Redmond, who was born in a home and given up for adoption at 17 days, urged the pope to publicly call on the six orders of Catholic nuns who ran the homes to accept responsibility for the traumas they caused, issue an apology, and pay for the costs of inquiries.

Blue ribbons are tied to Ha'Penny Bridge, Dublin to remember the victims of Catholic Church clerical sex abuse, ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (Aaron Chown//PA via AP)
Blue ribbons are tied to Ha'Penny Bridge, Dublin to remember the victims of Catholic Church clerical sex abuse, ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (Aaron Chown//PA via AP)

"The pope did apologize to all of us for what happened in the homes," he said.

Pope Francis walks upon his arrival at the Presidential residence in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Pope Francis walks upon his arrival at the Presidential residence in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

The coalition of survivors of mother and baby homes estimates 100,000 single mothers were forcibly separated from their babies and that 6,000 babies died at the homes.

Pope Francis, center, is flanked by Irish President Michael D. Higgins, left, and President's wife Sabina at the Presidential residence in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Pope Francis, center, is flanked by Irish President Michael D. Higgins, left, and President's wife Sabina at the Presidential residence in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Deeply Catholic Ireland has had one of the world's worst records of clergy sex abuse, crimes that were revealed to its 4.8 million people over the past decade by government-mandated inquiries. The reviews concluded that thousands of children were raped or molested by priests or physically abused in church-run schools — and Irish bishops worked for years to hide those crimes.

Pope Francis, right, is flanked by Irish President Michael D. Higgins, upon his arrival at the Presidential residence in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Pope Francis, right, is flanked by Irish President Michael D. Higgins, upon his arrival at the Presidential residence in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

After the Irish church enacted tough new norms to fight abuse, it had been looking to the first visit by a pope in 39 years to show a different, more caring church.

Pope Francis sits in a car as he arrived at Dublin international airport, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis sits in a car as he arrived at Dublin international airport, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

More than 37,000 people, most of them young Catholics, signed up to attend a Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families that ends Sunday in Dublin, more than twice the number of a rally in Philadelphia three years ago.

A gust of win blows Pope Francis' cape as he arrives at Dublin international airport , Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Greorio Borgia)
A gust of win blows Pope Francis' cape as he arrives at Dublin international airport , Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Greorio Borgia)

Francis urged the Irish to recognize that for all its failings, the Catholic Church educated and cared for generations of Irish children in times of famine and great poverty.

Navy band march prior to the arrival of Pope Francis at the Presidential residence in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Navy band march prior to the arrival of Pope Francis at the Presidential residence in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar concurred, saying the church stepped in to care for Irish children when the state did not. But in his speech at Dublin Castle, he said both church and state had a history of "sorrow and shame," and he urged the pope to ensure that victims of sex abuse find "justice and truth and healing."

Navy band march prior to the arrival of Pope Francis at the Presidential residence in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Navy band march prior to the arrival of Pope Francis at the Presidential residence in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Varadkar cited the recent Pennsylvania grand jury report, which found 300 priests had abused more than 1,000 children over 70 years in six dioceses, in urging Francis to "ensure that from words flow actions."

Pope Francis holds his cap as he disembarks off a plane upon his arrival at Dublin international airport, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Greorio Borgia)
Pope Francis holds his cap as he disembarks off a plane upon his arrival at Dublin international airport, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Greorio Borgia)

"In recent weeks, we have all listened to heart-breaking stories from Pennsylvania of brutal crimes perpetrated by people within the Catholic Church, and then obscured to protect the institution at the expense of innocent victims," Varadkar said. "It's a story all too tragically familiar here in Ireland."

Pope Francis greets journalist on board of a plane on his way to Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)
Pope Francis greets journalist on board of a plane on his way to Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)

That history of abuse has left its mark. Irish voters in recent years have turned their backs on core Catholic teachings. They have overturned a constitutional ban on abortion and legalized divorce, contraception, previously banned homosexual acts and same-sex marriage.

Pope Francis talks to journalist on board of a plane on his way to Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)
Pope Francis talks to journalist on board of a plane on his way to Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)

Survivors of one of Ireland's wretched mother and baby homes were to hold a demonstration Sunday at Tuam, site of a mass grave of hundreds of babies who died at a church-run home.

A gust of win blows Pope Francis' cape as he arrives at Dublin international airport , Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Greorio Borgia)
A gust of win blows Pope Francis' cape as he arrives at Dublin international airport , Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Greorio Borgia)

Francis will be nearby, visiting the Marian shrine at Knock, but has no plans to visit the grave site.

Pope Francis waves from a car as he leaves Dublin Castle at the end of his meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Pope Francis waves from a car as he leaves Dublin Castle at the end of his meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

He did, however, hear about Tuam on Saturday from Ireland's minister for children, Katherine Zappone. Their conversation wasn't released but Francis said her words "still echo in my ears."

Pope Francis kisses a young girl at the end of his meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis kisses a young girl at the end of his meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

An amateur Irish historian, Catherine Corless, traced the deaths of 796 children at the Tuam home to a grave in the orphanage's sewage area. Corless and survivors of the home and their families want to unearth the site and give the children — all of whom were baptized — proper Christian burials.

Pope Francis talks with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar during their meeting, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis talks with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar during their meeting, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Zappone's ministry is to recommend this fall whether to accept that proposal or build a memorial at the site.

Pope Francis talks with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar during their meeting, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis talks with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar during their meeting, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

___

Pope Francis and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, right, leave at the end of their meeting, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)
Pope Francis and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, right, leave at the end of their meeting, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)

AP video journalist Luigi Navarra contributed.

Pope Francis meets with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, right, as he arrives at Dublin Castle, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Pope Francis meets with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, right, as he arrives at Dublin Castle, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Pope Francis waves from a car as he leaves Dublin Castle at the end of his meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Pope Francis waves from a car as he leaves Dublin Castle at the end of his meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Pope Francis waves to the waiting crowds on College Green, Dublin, as he travels in the Popemobile during his visit to Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. (Joe Giddens/PA via AP)
Pope Francis waves to the waiting crowds on College Green, Dublin, as he travels in the Popemobile during his visit to Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. (Joe Giddens/PA via AP)
Pope Francis waves to the waiting crowds on Christchurch, Dublin as he travels in the Popemobile during his visit to Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. (Brian Lawless/PA via AP)
Pope Francis waves to the waiting crowds on Christchurch, Dublin as he travels in the Popemobile during his visit to Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. (Brian Lawless/PA via AP)