Pope Francis welcomed by Ireland’s president during papal trip


Reuters – Pope Francis was greeted by Irish President Michael D. Higgins on Saturday (August 25), for a highly charged visit to a society transformed since the last papal trip 39 years ago and beset by the kind of abuse scandals that have mired the Catholic Church in crisis.

The pope touched down in a sunny Dublin at 0926 GMT where he was greeted by Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, his children, who presented Francis with flowers, and a number of Irish bishops.

He will begin the two-day visit by meeting Higgins and Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who has promised to challenge the pope to do more in dealing with the abuse crisis.

Numbers lining the streets or joining Francis in prayer are expected to be about a quarter of the 2.7 million who greeted John Paul II in 1979, marking how the rock that was once Irish Catholicism has eroded since child abuse cases came to light in the 1990s.