Clever speech to pope sets out new covenant for Leo Varadkar

The mastery of the Taoiseach’s address to Pope Francis was the balance he struck, being both gracious and grave, honest but never confrontational

In a speech at Dublin Castle, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spoke about the failings of church and state, followed by Pope Francis saying historical episodes in Ireland brought shame to the church.

The symbolism of the setting for the Taoiseach’s speech in Dublin Castle on Saturday bore down from above with a heavy weight.

Beneath a ceiling panel depicting the introduction of Christianity into Ireland, showing St Patrick directing the lighting of a paschal fire on the Hill of Slane, Leo Varadkar aimed to rekindle the relationship between the Catholic Church and the State in Ireland as a “more mature” relationship, “a new covenant for the 21st century”.

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