KNOCK, Ireland (CNS) — On a foggy, soggy day at a Marian shrine in County Mayo, Pope Francis said he prayed before a statue of Our Lady of Knock for all those who suffered sexual and physical abuse by Catholic clergy or in Catholic-run institutions in Ireland.
“None of us can fail to be moved by the stories of young people who suffered abuse, were robbed of their innocence or who were taken from their mothers and left scarred by painful memories,” the pope said Aug. 26.
(See a related video.)
The “open wound” of the memory and trauma of abuse “challenges us to be firm and decisive in the pursuit of truth and justice,” the pope told thousands of people filling the shrine church and seated outside. “I beg the Lord’s forgiveness for these sins and for the scandal and betrayal felt by so many others in God’s family.”
He prayed that Mary would “intercede for the healing of the survivors and to confirm every member of our Christian family in the resolve never again to permit these situations to occur.”
The pope made no mention, not even obliquely, to reports published the night before that he had known for years and did nothing about allegations that now-Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick sexually harassed seminarians.
Despite repeated requests from journalists, the Vatican had not responded to the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former Vatican nuncio to the United States.
Instead, Pope Francis’ focus at the shrine was on Irish families and on devotion to Mary.
The pope left at the shrine a golden rosary and told the people his gift was a recognition of “how important the tradition of the family rosary has been in this country. Who can tell how many hearts, of fathers, mothers and children alike, have drawn comfort and strength over the years from meditating on Our Lady’s participation in the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of Christ’s life!”
“Amid the storms and winds that buffet our times,” he prayed that Irish families would be “a bulwark of faith and goodness, resisting, in the best traditions of this nation, all that would diminish our dignity as men and women created in God’s image and called to the sublime destiny of eternal life.”
The tiny town of Knock became a popular pilgrimage site after local people claimed to witness a vision of Mary — with St. Joseph and St. John — outside the parish church Aug. 21, 1879. Church authorities later ruled the apparition worthy of belief.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103