Policy engagement at Queen’s

Pope Francis Can’t Redeem Irish Catholicism

If the Church doesn't embrace the people's demand for change, it'll wither away says Dr Gladys Ganiel.

Pope Francis Can’t Redeem Irish Catholicism

The official reason for Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland over the weekend was the Roman Catholic Church’s World Meeting of Families, an international event held every three years to celebrate the importance of family in church life. But by the time Francis left, the visit had taken on a far greater significance. It had become an unofficial referendum on the papal handling of clerical sexual abuse—and on the future of a church that once dominated almost every aspect of Irish life.

Francis’s visit raised hopes that the church would be more compassionate toward survivors and more transparent about what is perceived as a worldwide cover-up of abuse.

These hopes intensified in the week leading up to the event with the publication of a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing decades of abuse and cover-up. Ireland is familiar with such investigations: There have been six major state-funded inquiries into church abuses since 2005, each confirming the horrifying scope of predation.

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Article originally appeared on foreignpolicy.com

The featured image in this article is used under a Creative Commons licence.

Dr Gladys Ganiel
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Dr Gladys Ganiel is a Research Fellow in the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice and works across the disciplines of sociology, politics, anthropology and religious studies. She specialises in religion, conflict transformation and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and South Africa; the emerging church movement; evangelicalism; and religious change on the island of Ireland.

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