The International Eucharistic Congress opened in Ireland on Sunday, with the Archbishop of Dublin, mindful of the scandal which is rocking the previous bastion of Catholicism.
Martin was mixed in his remarks. He spoke with deep regret and sorrow for the past but held out hope for the future, saying the Church is on the way to being renewed, but he warned it is likely to be a “lengthy journey”.
Calling to mind all who suffered abuse at the hands of those they trusted, Martin called the Church to a spirit of repentance and asked the 20,000 participants to remember each of the victims in the silence of their hearts.
The archbishop also prayed for a renewal in priestly and religious life.
As well as praying for the victims, Sunday’s ceremonies also featured the unveiling of a symbolic ‘healing stone’ with a poem written by a victim of a pedophile priest.
Around 50 protesters picketed the Congress’ opening and used the occasion to continue to call for the resignation of Primate of all Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, one of a number of Church officials who made made aware of sex abuse being carried out by pedophile preist Brendan Smyth.
Irish coordinator of the Irish Survivors of Child Abuse, John Kelly, said the Eucharistic Congress was a chance for the Catholic Church to move forward, but that it would not happen until Cardinal Brady resigned.
In a sign that ‘all is not well’, a survey published in the Irish Times found that just 38% believe Ireland today would be in worse shape without its dominant church, 40% did not even knew the Eucharistic Congress was happening in Ireland and only 4% of Ireland’s Catholics intended to attend the Congress.
Mixed among the shared experiences of the Eucharistic Congress’ first day on Twitter are many calls for people to boycott the Congress and show solidarity with ‘survivors’ the Congress permeate Twitter.
People from 123 countries will take part in the International Eucharistic Congress, an event that happens every four years.
News category: World.