Irish abuse victims protest Pope's visit

A protester waves a banner accusing the Pope of being the 'head of the biggest pedophile ring in the history of man' (Photo by AFP)

Irish victims of clerical, religious and institutional abuse were joined by activists and supporters on Sunday to protest against the first papal visit to Ireland in almost 40 years, asking members of the public to stand in solidarity with them over what they call an attempt to silence and marginalize those harmed by Church.

The demonstration in Dublin's Garden of Remembrance was organized by Colm O'Gorman, a victim of clerical child abuse under the title "Stand for Truth" and it took place at the same time as Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the nearby Phoenix Park.

Earlier the demonstrators gathered at the Dublin landmark of General Post Office (GPO) ahead of the main demonstration for a separate event advertised on social media under the title "Say Nope to the Pope". The participants said they had urged people to book tickets for the papal visits in Ireland with the intention of not using them to create empty seats and lower attendance numbers.

Hundreds also gathered in the western town of Tuam for a vigil at the site of a former church-run home for unwed mothers where an unmarked grave with the remains of hundreds of babies stored in underground chambers was found in 2014.

Francis asked for forgiveness on Sunday during his highly charged visit to Ireland for the "scandal and betrayal" felt by victims of sexual exploitation by Catholic clergy. On Saturday he said the corruption and cover-up of abuse amounted to human excrement, according to victims.

(Source: Reuters)

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