Abuse vigil planned for the same time as Pope’s Mass
Colm O’Gorman: Without simple truth, there can be no justice.
Survivors of clerical sex abuse have been invited to an event in the Garden of Remembrance at the same time as Pope Francis celebrates Mass in the Phoenix Park amid growing anger
over speculation the Pontiff may not meet victims’ groups.
It is understood Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has been pushing for a meeting to take place but that time pressures could mean any meeting would be with a sample or representative group. Any meeting would also likely be held in private.
The situation has sparked anger among survivors and led to Colm O’Gorman, executive director with Amnesty Ireland, outlining plans for a vigil in the Garden of Remembrance at 3pm on Sunday, August 26, when the Pope will be celebrating the Final Mass in the Phoenix Park.
Mr. O’ G or man tweeted: “We cannot and will not allow this visit to simply disappear those who have suffered. This event will be a moment to assert and respect the dignity of those who have been abused and to stand in solidarity with them. To mark an end to the Ireland that allowed this to happen.”
Mr. O’Gorman, speaking later, said the event in the Garden of Remembrance was not meant in any way to disrespect the Mass in the Phoenix Park or the motivations of “deep respect” in those attending it.
But he said: “It is an opportunity for people to stand in solidarity in a way that respects and acknowledges the dignity of people who have been so damaged by the Church”.
He said a meeting with survivors seemed “so down the pecking order”, causing hurt and anger among those affected.
“The only thing that Pope Francis needs to do when he comes to Ireland is to tell the damn truth,” he said.
“Without simple truth, there can be no justice.”
On RTÉ’s Today with Miriam programme, abuse survivor and former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Vatican, Marie Collins said: “He [Pope Francis] should be meeting representatives of the industrial schools, of the Magdalene Laundries, of the mother and baby homes simply as a recognition of those horrors.
“Ignoring an issue is not going to make it go away.”
She added it would be “completely untenable” not to address all survivor groups.