BY NICOLE WINFIELD
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Irish church officials are hoping that a meeting of Catholic families that is expected to bring Pope Francis to Ireland next year will help families regain trust in the church following the clerical sex abuse scandal.
Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said Thursday that young people in particular “have been very scandalized” about the decades of abuse and cover-up that have eroded the credibility of the church in Ireland.
Speaking at a Vatican press conference, Martin said he hoped the Aug. 21-26, 2018 World Meeting of Families would be a moment of renewal for the church and help Irish families overcome their fears.
The event would seek to “give new confidence to healthy family life and enable parents to have trust that their children can find a home in the church which is safe,” he said.
After media reports exposed the scandal in the 1990s and 2000s, the Irish government launched several state fact-finding probes into the abuse and how church leaders for decades protected pedophiles and their own reputations at the expense of Ireland’s children. The finding decimated the church’s reputation and standing in the once-devoutly Roman Catholic nation.
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