On the first day of his visit, the Pontiff said people had a right to be outraged at the response of senior church figures to the “repellent crimes” inflicted on young people.
“With regard to the most vulnerable, I cannot fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the Church charged with responsibility for their protection and education,” he said.
“The failure of ecclesiastical authorities – bishops, religious superiors, priests and others – adequately to address these repellent crimes has rightly given rise to outrage and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community. I myself share those sentiments,” Francis continued.
Clerical abuse survivor and head of Amnesty International Colm O’Gorman criticised the Pope, saying his comments were an “extraordinary deflection”. Speaking on Twitter, he said:
“This seems to me to be a shameful deflection of responsibility on the part of the Pope, and an insult to faithful Catholics who have no reason to feel shame because of the crimes of the Vatican and the institutional church.
“To seek to create some kind of grotesque balance sheet that puts on one side the extraordinary efforts of these people, and on the other the rape and abuse of hundreds of thousands of children, women and vulnerable adults, is a staggering effort at deflection.”