Visit of Pope Francis to Ireland to be discussed at Rome synod

Speculation mounts that visit will coincide with 2018 ‘World Meeting of Families’ event

Pope Francis looks at the Statue of Liberty during his US trip. Photograph: Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters

Pope Francis looks at the Statue of Liberty during his US trip. Photograph: Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters

 

The likelihood of a papal visit to Ireland and the World Meeting of Families due to be held in Dublin in 2018 will be discussed at the Synod of Bishops in Rome over the coming weeks.

Speculation is mounting that Pope Francis may visit Ireland almost 40 years after Pope John Paul II’s visit following the pontiff’s announcement in Philadelphia on Sunday that Dublin will be the next city to host the World Meeting of Families.

While previous meetings were attended by the pope of the day a decision has yet to be made on the Dublin event.

“He has a great liking for Ireland and he has a concern for Ireland,” Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin told RTÉ radio this morning.

“He is determined, I think, to see the next World Meeting of Families through and to be in Ireland but it’s too early to say that yet.

“I think he would [like to visit Ireland]. He did learn some English in Ireland and he remembers being in Ireland - it’s a long time ago - anytime he has spoken to me he is quite aware of what life is like in Ireland, the difficulties the Church has gone through in Ireland and his hope that a renewal of the Church in Ireland will come through the renewal of family life.”

“I think he is aware of the damage what was done by the child sexual abuse scandal. He has said that to me on occasion. And, he is aware of the fact that Irish society is changing.

“The place of family in society is changing very much - in western society in general - and he would be aware that that is happening in Ireland.”

Dr Martin said he would speak to the pope during the upcoming synod. A papal visit and the programme of events for the World Meeting of Families are matters that would be looked at, Dr Martin said.

“All of these things are completely open.”

Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland Eamon Martin welcomed the announcement that the next World Meeting of Families will take place in Dublin.

Saying he was “delighted” at the announcement, Dr Martin said he was “confident” that the World Meeting of Families will be “an uplifting event for all of us.”

“I look forward to sharing the joy of this announcement with Archbishop Diarmuid, my fellow bishops and with people from all around the country as we begin thinking about how, together, we can best plan to make this significant international event a success,” he added.

The general assembly of the Synod of Bishops takes place in Rome between October 4th and 25th.