Pope to meet victims of clerical sex abuse

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

Pope Francis will meet clerical sex abuse victims when he visits Ireland this weekend, the Vatican has confirmed.

He is due to arrive in Dublin on Saturday for two days of meetings with families and political authorities as well as a trip to a shrine revered by Catholics.

Earlier this week the leader of the world’s Catholics condemned the “atrocities” of child sex abuse and clerical cover-ups in a strongly worded letter to members of the church.

The Catholic Church in the Republic has been rocked by revelations of wrongdoing by members of the religious orders stretching back decades.

A spokeswoman for the Vatican, when asked about the Pope’s meeting with Irish survivors, confirmed it would take place.

Protesters have arranged a series of rallies coinciding with the pontiff’s trip to the Republic to highlight what they believe has been the church’s failure to properly address wrongdoing.

Last week a grand jury report outlined seven decades of abuse in Pennsylvania.

The investigation found more than 1,000 children had been abused by 300 priests.

The Pope has apologised after defending a bishop in Chile who was accused of hiding abuses by a priest.

The latest Vatican intervention on the issue comes as Ireland gears up for its first papal visit in 40 years during which at least half a million people are expected to attend a papal mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.

Several protests by groups campaigning for clerical abuse victims are set to take place during the visit.