Survivors of clerical sex abuse have labelled the Pope’s speech in Dublin Castle this afternoon as a wasted opportunity.
Campaign groups have warned that Pope Francis’ words did not go far enough.
Speaking at the state reception in the capital this afternoon, Pope Francis said the failure of Church authorities to adequately address clerical child sex abuse within the Church remains a “source of pain and shame” for Catholic leadership.
He said he “could not fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the Church charged with responsibility for their protection and education.”
He also noted that he shares the “pain and shame” of the Catholic community over the failure of Vatican hierarchy to “adequately to address these repugnant crimes.”
Following the speech however, survivors of abuse, including Amnesty International director Colm O’Gorman warned that the comments were inadequate.
“He talked about the failings and the sins of others but he said nothing of the covers and conspiracies orchestrated at a global level by the Vatican – and driven by it,” he said.
“What we saw, it seemed to me was, was a deflection of responsibility again off on to ordinary Catholics.
“He was saying he feels shame and pain and he shares their feelings.
“Well ordinary Catholics are not responsible for the cover-up that his institution directed.”
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that while the acknowledgement was welcome, the Church must now take action.
In his speech, the Taoiseach Leo Vardkar urged Pope Francis to use his power and influence to offer justice for all those who suffered at the hands of members of the clergy.
He warned that there “can only be zero tolerance for those who abuse innocent children or who facilitate that abuse.”