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Pope celebrates Mass at Phoenix Park in Dublin Pope celebrates Mass at Phoenix Park in Dublin  (ANSA)

Pope in Ireland asks forgiveness for a litany of abuses

In an unprecedented gesture during the closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, Pope Francis asks pardon for a litany of abuses committed by some members of the Church against men, women, and children in Ireland.

By Vatican News

The Pope’s gesture was both unprecedented and unexpected. It came at the start of the Penitential Rite, the moment during Mass when the celebrant and faithful acknowledge their sins, repent and pray for mercy and forgiveness.

Speaking in Spanish, Pope Francis asked pardon for a list of abuses committed by some members of the Church in Ireland. He began by referencing his meeting on Saturday evening with eight abuse survivors and, on the basis of what they told him, said he wanted to “place before the mercy of the Lord these crimes, and ask forgiveness for them”.

Listen to our report

Pope Francis began by asking pardon for what he called “abuses of power, conscience and sexual abuse, perpetrated by members with roles of responsibility in the Church”. He asked forgiveness specifically for “those cases of exploitation through manual work that so many women and men were subjected to”, on the part of “various types of institutions run by male or female religious and by other members of the Church”.

The Pope’s second appeal for pardon was for all the times the Church has failed to “show compassion to survivors, and for not seeking justice and truth through concrete actions”.

Similarly, he asked forgiveness “for some members of the Church’s hierarchy who did not take charge of these painful situations and kept quiet”.

The Pope’s final prayer referred to the so-called “Mother and Baby” homes for unwed mothers and their children. Infants born there were sometimes put up for adoption without the mother’s consent. Some women were told it would be a “mortal sin” if they tried to reunite with their children.

“We ask forgiveness”, prayed Pope Francis, “for all those times when many single mothers were told that to seek their children who had been separated from them, and the same being said to daughters and sons themselves, that this was a mortal sin. This is not a mortal sin”, the Pope insisted.

Each request for forgiveness was met by applause from the 300,000 strong congregation standing in the rain in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.

Below please find the text issued by the Holy See's Press Office.

Yesterday, I met with eight survivors who have suffered abuse of power, of conscience and sexual abuse. Taking up on what they said to me, I want to place before the mercy of the Lord these crimes and ask forgiveness for them.

We ask forgiveness for the abuses in Ireland, abuses of power, of conscience and sexual abuse perpetrated by members with roles of responsibility in the Church. In a special way, we ask pardon for all the abuses committed in various types of institutions run by male or female religious and by other members of the Church. Furthermore, we ask forgiveness for the cases of exploitation through manual work that so many minors were inflicted.

We ask forgiveness for the times that as a Church we did not show survivors of all kinds of abuse: compassion and the search for justice and truth through concrete actions. We ask forgiveness.

We ask forgiveness for some members of the Church’s hierarchy who did not take charge of these painful situations and kept quiet. We ask forgiveness.

We ask forgiveness for the children who were taken away from their moms and for all those times when many single mothers were told that to seek their children who had been separated from them – and the same was told to their daughters and sons who were looking for their mothers – that this was a mortal sin. This is not a mortal sin but the Fourth Commandment. We ask forgiveness.

Lord, sustain and increase this state of shame and repentance and give us the strength to commit ourselves so that these things never happen again and justice may be done. Amen.

26 August 2018, 16:53