Monday, June 29, 2009

Papal visit not welcome in Ireland

Independent.ie
Papal visit would not be welcome in wake of Ryan report
By Anne-Marie Walsh
Monday June 29 2009

POPE Benedict XVI is not entirely welcome here in the wake of the damning Ryan report, a survey found.

More than half of people surveyed do not want a second papal visit following the revelations in the report on child abuse.

An online survey by radio station Newstalk, in which 1,108 people took part, shows the scenes that greeted the late Pope John Paul II during the first papal visit 30 years ago are unlikely to be recreated.

Back in September 1979, schools and businesses shut as thousands of Catholics flocked to the Phoenix Park during the three-day tour of Ireland.

However, despite strong feeling about a papal visit, the survey showed that the Ryan report has had little impact on the public's religious practices. Just 4pc said the report had changed their Mass-going habits.

In addition, 68pc of people said religious teaching in schools should not include details of clerical abuse.

Historic

There has been speculation that the Pope might come to Ireland this year to mark the 30th anniversary of the historic 1979 visit, but 52pc of the 1,108 surveyed between June 22 and June 25 said he should stay away.

Many interviewees in the internet poll felt he should apologise before a visit could take place, while others said that saying sorry would not make any difference.

"Until he condemns what happened and pays compensation for his vile colleagues' actions, and helps this country prosecute them by handing over all documents in relation to abuse issues and the movement of priests, then he shouldn't be allowed set foot in this country," said one of the interviewees.

Another person said a visit might be an important gesture to reach out to the abused, but only if the perpetrators faced their guilt. Another said they had difficulty taking any authority from the Pope.

"I did not elect him; he is old, lives a sheltered life and does not have to worry about where his next meal is coming from," he said. "I am not sure what he can do now to ease the victims' suffering. The church is churning out 'mea culpas'. I am not sure how his sorry would be any better."

- Anne-Marie Walsh
©Independent.ie

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