Pope Francis lauded at Knock for raising ‘open wound’ of sex abuse

‘None of us can fail to be moved by the stories of young people who suffered abuse’

Pope Francis on Sunday (August 26) asked for forgiveness for the "scandal and betrayal" felt by victims of sexual exploitation by Catholic clergy as he continued his tour of Ireland in Knock.

 

Pope Francis was applauded by people at Knock Shrine this morning when he returned to the issue of clerical child sex abuse.

“None of us can fail to be moved by the stories of young people who suffered abuse, were robbed of their innocence and left scarred by painful memories,” he said.

He continued that “this open wound challenges us to be firm and decisive in the pursuit of truth and justice. I beg the Lord’s forgiveness for these sins and for the scandal and betrayal felt by so many others in God’s family.

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Pope Francis waves to the crowds during his visit to Knock Shrine on Sunday. Photograph: Maxwell Photography/Getty Images
Pope Francis waves to the crowds during his visit to Knock Shrine on Sunday. Photograph: Maxwell Photography/Getty Images

“I ask our Blessed Mother to intercede for the healing of the survivors and to confirm every member of our Christian family in the resolve never again to permit these situations to occur.”

He said that in his prayers at the Apparition Chapel a short time before, “ I presented to her in particular all the victims of abuse of whatever kind committed by members of the Church in Ireland. ”

A girl waves a flag during Pope Francis’s visit to Knock Shrine in Co Mayo. PhotographL Maxwell Photography
A girl waves a flag during Pope Francis’s visit to Knock Shrine in Co Mayo. PhotographL Maxwell Photography

In extending “a warm greeting to the beloved people of Northern Ireland”, he said that “although my journey for the World Meeting of Families does not include a visit to the North, I assure you of my affection and my closeness in prayer. I ask Our Lady to sustain all the members of the Irish family to persevere, as brothers and sisters, in the work of reconciliation.”

He presented the shrine with a memorial golden rosary, in recognition of how important the tradition of the family rosary has been in this country. In return, he was give a statue of Our lady of Knock.

Pope Francis prays at Knock Shrine in Co Mayo. Photograph: Maxwell/AFP/Getty Images
Pope Francis prays at Knock Shrine in Co Mayo. Photograph: Maxwell/AFP/Getty Images

He extended greetings to men and women serving terms in prison, “especially those who wrote to me”. He assured them and their families “I am very close to you.”

He also recited the Angelus prayer at the shrine.