Papal visit ‘could spark a backlash’ from abuse victims

Irish Independent

Sarah MacDonald

A Papal visit by Pope Francis to Ireland could spark angry protests by survivors of clerical sexual abuse.

Marie Kane met the Pontiff last year in the Vatican and told him about her abuse at the hands of a Dublin cleric.

The 44-year-old mother of two told the Irish Independent that she personally would welcome a visit by the Pope but “my view does not represent all survivors and there are a lot of really angry people. There could be a backlash”.

For her, a papal trip would be “a gesture of openness”.

“It would demonstrate a willingness to confront the demons of the Church’s past,” she said.

The Carlow-based counsellor said a big gesture of solidarity and repentance towards a large group of survivors was needed if trust is to be rebuilt, adding: “It could be an opportunity for him to meet other survivors and give him an opportunity to translate his words into action.”

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