POPE FRANCIS has used his Mass at Phoenix Park in Dublin to ask for forgiveness for a litany of abuses carried out by members of the Catholic Church in Ireland.
Meanwhile at the Garden of Remembrance, thousands gathered for the Stand for Truth event to show solidarity with – and seek justice for – abuse victims.
Yesterday the Pope met with and apologised to eight abuse survivors and condemned those involved in covering up crimes.
This morning at the Knock Shrine in Co. Mayo, he asked for the Lord’s forgiveness for clerical abuse.
However at Phoenix Park this afternoon he elaborated further, seeking forgiveness for a range of abuses, including the exploitation of people ‘through manual work’ and the separation of mothers and babies.
“We ask forgiveness for the abuses in Ireland,” said the pontiff, who was speaking in Spanish while his words were translated through his interpreter.
“Abuses of power, conscience, and sexual abuse perpetrated by members with roles of responsibility in the Church.
“In a special way we ask pardon for all the abuses committed in various types of institutions run by male or female religious [representatives] and by other members of the Church, and we ask forgiveness for those cases of exploitation through manual work that so many women and men were subjected to. We ask forgiveness.
“We ask forgiveness for the times that, as a Church, we did not show survivors of whatever kind of abuse compassion, and seeking of justice and truth through concrete actions. We ask forgiveness.
“We ask forgiveness for some members of the Church’s hierarchy who did not take charge of these painful situations and kept quiet. We ask forgiveness.
“We ask forgiveness for all those times when many single mothers were told that to seek their children who had been separated from them, and the same being said to daughters and sons themselves, that this was a mortal sin. This is not a mortal sin. We ask forgiveness.
“Lord, sustain and increase this state of shame, and give us the strength to work for justice. Amen.”
Around 500,000 were expected to attend the Mass at Phoenix Park, however the rain appeared to have deterred some from visiting.
At the same time the Pope was speaking, thousands gathered at the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square as part of the Stand for Truth event.
The campaign is calling for the Church to act openly and honestly in dealing with abuse in Ireland.
The campaigners took park in a solidarity march for victims of clerical abuse that wound its way to the site of a former Magdalene Laundry on Sean McDermott Street, the last such institution to close.
Meanwhile a march and vigil took place in Tuam, Co. Galway to remember the victims and survivors of the Tuam mother and baby home.
Around 1,000 people gathered at the Town Hall for the 30-minute walk to the site.
It is estimated the bodies of 796 children are buried at the site in unmarked graves.