Pope Francis during his visit to Dublin last Saturday. The group expected a half an hour maximum, but the pope heard them out for an hour and a half. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

The most extraordinary meeting in the long history of the Catholic Church in Ireland was a hastily arranged affair. Eight survivors of clerical abuse(...)

Pope Francis waves to a crowd gathered in St Peter’s Square  in the Vatican. File photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

When Pope Francis comes to Ireland in two weeks’ time it will be 39 years since the last visit by a head of the Catholic Church. Since then the status(...)