Congress 'happy' with attendances


The secretary general of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress taking place in Dublin this week today said he is “happy, absolutely, with the attendance” and that it was expected to be even larger tomorrow and Thursday.

“We have reached figures which are approximately twice the daily attendance at Quebec” - where the 49th Eucharistic Congress took place in 2008 - Fr Kevin Doran said.

He was speaking at the RDS earlier this afternoon where it was disclosed that 11, 500 pilgrims had attended yesterday, with between 800 and 1,000 more at the Taize youth event last night.

Fr Doran also said the seven-churches Camino pilgrimage in Dublin city was also going well. Approximately 500 people had visited St Ann’s on Dawson Street in the city centre yesterday on the pilgrimage route, he said.

It was also announced there were just 2,000 places left for the Croke Park closing ceremony next Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster, the Congress website or at the Simmonscourt complex in Ballsbridge.

Earlier today, an Archbishop from the Philippines told a workshop at the Eucharistic Congress the abuse crisis "invites us to reassess our relationship with the media".

"As we challenge them to be fair and truthful in whatever they are reporting, the Church should also be prepared to be scrutinised by media, provided the norms of fairness and truthfulness are applied to all, especially the victims," Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Tagle said.

However, "media practitioners observe that when they report on abuses committed by politicians, financiers, etc, the Church appreciates them. But when they expose anomalies within the Church, they are branded as anti-Church and anti-Catholic, even if the information comes from people close to the Church."

He added: "We cannot ignore the fact that, however that in some parts of Asia, an anti-Christian sentiment has penetrated social communications."

In a lengthy address to a crowded hall which included cardinals, archbishops and bishops, priests and laity he spoke of the abuse crisis from an Asian perspective.

"When the crisis erupted in the Northern hemisphere, there was a tendency to think of the problem as mainly tied to Western cultures," he said.

But such a view changed when similar cases surfaced in Asia where there was now "a pressing need to formulate national pastoral guidelines for handling such cases". This was being completed in the Philippines, Archbishop Tagle said.

There the bishops had identified certain responses to the crisis, he said. First was the pastoral care of the victims and their families, then the pastoral care of the hurting community, the pastoral care of the priest offender, the care of his family and of non-offender clergy.

There was also the pastoral care of superiors and bishops.

"It is difficult and painful to be a superior or a bishop nowadays. They feel lost when a cleric commits sexual abuse . . . superiors feel battered from all sides. They are accused of covering up if they try to be discreet. If they are firm, they are accused of lack of compassion," the archbishop added.