Speeches by An Taoiseach, Mr Leo Varadkar and Pope Francis In Dublin Castle

Speech by An Taoiseach, Mr Leo Varadkar


Holy Father, on behalf of the Irish people, I want to greet you using one of the oldest blessings we use to welcome a special guest to Ireland – céad míle fáilte – one hundred thousand welcomes.

And, given the hundreds of thousands of people who will come out to see you, to hear you say mass, and to receive your blessing, I can think of no welcome more appropriate.

I know you spent a few weeks in Dublin in 1980 at the Jesuit centre in Milltown Park learning English, so we are delighted to welcome you back to Ireland.

1980 was a year after the visit of Pope John Paul II and we are so grateful that his prayers for peace on our island were eventually answered through the Good Friday Agreement. A peace we will protect and nurture.

Today I am privileged to welcome representatives from all communities in Northern Ireland and from Britain here today. Together we are guided by your words: ‘Make bridges, not walls, because walls fall.’

We are also joined here today by people from all walks of life, members of government and frontline public servants, those born here and those who have chosen to come here, men and women, young and old, Catholics, as well as members of other faiths and none.

We all share a common home – and it is our duty to nurture this planet and look after its people.

Holy Father, we thank you for your care for the earth, for emphasising the urgent challenge of climate change, and for reminding us of our responsibilities. We thank you for the empathy you have shown for the poor, for migrants, and for refugees.

Although you are here principally for a Pastoral Visit in the form of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, we are grateful that you have found time to do other things, including this event in Dublin Castle, a visit to our President, and Mass in the Phoenix Park. We are also delighted that you are taking time to visit the shrine at Knock, and we hope that, during a future visit, it will be possible for you to travel to Northern Ireland.

Is de bharr do chuairte, tá go leor againne ag smaoineamh níos faide agus níos doimhne anois ar an gcaidreamh atá idir Éirinn agus an Eaglais Chaitliceach Rómánach … creideamh a thugadh go hÉirinn na céadta bliain ó shin.

Sa séú haois, thug file, scoláire agus manach darb ainm Columbán … nó “Saint Columbanus mar a thugtar air sa Bhéarla, teachtaireacht an tsoiscéil ar ais chun na Mór-Roinne. Is de thoisc a chuid oibre, tugadh an teideal an chéad Eorpach na hÉireann air agus Naomh-Phatrún dóibh siúd atá ag iarraidh Eoraip chomhaontaithe a chur i gcríoch


Your visit has caused many of us to reflect further and more deeply on the relationship between Ireland and the Roman Catholic Church, a faith brought to Ireland centuries ago.

In the 6th century it was an Irish poet, scholar and monk, St Columbanus, who brought the message of the gospel back to the continent. Because of his work he has been called Ireland’s first European and the patron saint of all who seek to construct a united Europe.

The Christian faith inspired many of the people, Catholic and Protestant, who led our campaigns for freedom and independence. Indeed both the 1916 Proclamation of Independence and the Constitution invoke God in their opening lines. In more recent years, Christian Democracy and Christian ideas also helped to inform and guide the founders of the European Union inspiring a continent to abandon war in favour of ever closer co-operation.

The Catholic Church has always helped us to understand that we are citizens of a wider world and part of a global family.

Our brave missionary priests and nuns provided an education to many around the world, and helped the sick, the poor and the vulnerable. Today our UN peacekeepers and our international development workers around the world follow in that proud tradition, and charities like Trócaire and Concern help those who suffer from famine today, and also refugees.

People of profound Christian faith provided education to our children when the State did not, in the open air next to hedgerows and in the schools and educational institutions they built. They founded our oldest hospitals, staffed them, and provided welfare for so many of our people. We think of the many wonderful organizations today who continue that work, like St. Vincent de Paul to name just one.

It is easy to forget that the Irish State, founded in 1922, did not set up a Department of Health or a Department of Social Welfare until 1947.

These are now our two largest and best funded Government Departments accounting for more than half of Government spending between them today. Providing healthcare, education and welfare is now considered a core function of our State. When the state was founded, it was not. The Catholic Church filled that gap to the benefit of many generations of our people. We remain profoundly grateful for that contribution.

Even today, as we struggle with a housing shortage and homelessness, Catholic organizations and people inspired by their Catholic faith fill a gap in providing services, for example, through organisations like CrossCare.

Holy Father, during your papacy, we have all witnessed your compassion for those on the edge of our society, those who have not shared in our relative prosperity, those you (sic) have slipped through the net.

Your visit to the Capuchin Day Centre later today reminds us of work we still have to do to ensure that the promise of the New Testament is fulfilled, that we rejoice with the truth, always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere. And never fail.

At times in the past we have failed. There are ‘dark aspects’ of the Catholic Church’s history, as one of our bishops recently said. We think of the words of the Psalm which tells us that ‘children are a heritage from the Lord’ and we remember the way the failures of both Church and State and wider society created a bitter and broken heritage for so many, leaving a legacy of pain and suffering.

It is a history of sorrow and shame.

In place of Christian charity, forgiveness and compassion, far too often there was judgement, severity and cruelty, in particular, towards women and children and those on the margins.

Magdalene Laundries, Mother and Baby Homes, industrial schools, illegal adoptions and clerical child abuse are stains on our State, our society and also the Catholic Church. Wounds are still open and there is much to be done to bring about justice and truth and healing for victims and survivors.

Holy Father, I ask that you use your office and influence to ensure this is done here in Ireland and across the World.

In recent weeks, we have all listened to heart-breaking stories from Pennsylvania of brutal crimes perpetrated by people within the Catholic Church, and then obscured to protect the institution at the expense of innocent victims. It is a story all too tragically familiar here in Ireland.

There can only be zero tolerance for those who abuse innocent children or who facilitate that abuse.

We must now ensure that from words flow actions.

Above all, Holy Father, I ask to you to listen to the victims.

The Ireland of the 21st century is a very different place today than it was in the past. Ireland is increasingly diverse.

One in six of us were not born here, and there are more and more people who adhere to other faiths, or who are comfortable in declaring that they subscribe to no organised religion.

We have voted in our parliament and by referendum to modernise our laws – understanding that marriages do not always work, that women should make their own decisions, and that families come in many forms including those headed by a grandparent, lone parent or same-sex parents or parents who are divorced.

Holy Father, I believe that the time has now come for us to build a new relationship between church and state in Ireland – a new covenant for the 21st Century. It is my hope that your visit marks the opening of a new chapter in the relationship between Ireland and the Catholic Church.

Building on our intertwined history, and learning from our shared mistakes, it can be one in which religion is no longer at the centre of our society, but in which it still has an important place.

One with greater diversity and choice when it comes to the patronage of our schools – and where publicly-funded hospitals are imbued with a civic and scientific ethos.

Ireland is a different country than it was 39 years ago. Modern Ireland is still a country with faith and spirit and values. Family, community, enterprise, social justice, diversity, openness and internationalism, equality before the law, and individual liberty -these values describe the Republic we aspire to be.

We thank you for your visit, and ask for your prayers as we start on that journey together.


Speech by Pope Francis in Dublin Castle

Taoiseach, Members of Government and of the Diplomatic Corps, Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the beginning of my visit to Ireland, I am grateful for the invitation to address this distinguished assembly representing the civil, cultural and religious life of the country, together with the members of the diplomatic corps and guests. I appreciate the friendly welcome I have received from the President of Ireland, which reflects the tradition of cordial hospitality for which the Irish are known throughout the world. I likewise appreciate the presence of a delegation from Northern Ireland.

As you know, the reason for my visit is to take part in the World Meeting of Families, held this year in Dublin. The Church is, in a real way, a family among families, and senses the need to support families in their efforts to respond faithfully and joyfully to their God-given vocation in society.

The Meeting is not only an opportunity for families to reaffirm their commitment to loving fidelity, mutual assistance and reverence for God’s gift of life in all its forms, but also to testify to the unique role played by the family in the education of its members and the development of a sound and flourishing social fabric.

I would like to see the World Meeting of Families as a prophetic witness to the rich patrimony of ethical and spiritual values that it is the duty of every generation to cherish and protect.

One need not be a prophet to perceive the difficulties faced by our families in today’s rapidly evolving society, or to be troubled by the effects that breakdown in marriage and family life will necessarily entail for the future of our communities at every level. Families are the glue of society; their welfare cannot be taken for granted, but must be promoted and protected by every appropriate means.

It was in the family that each of us took his or her first steps in life. There we learned to live together in harmony, to master our selfish instincts and reconcile our differences, and above all to discern and seek those values that give authentic meaning and fulfilment to our lives.

If we speak of our entire world as a single family, it is because we rightly acknowledge the bonds of our common humanity and we sense our call to unity and solidarity, especially with the weakest of our brothers and sisters.

Yet all too often, we feel impotent before the persistent evils of racial and ethnic hatred, intractable conflicts and violence, contempt for human dignity and for fundamental human rights, and the growing divide between rich and poor. How much we need to recover, in every instance of political and social life, the sense of being a true family of peoples! And never to lose hope or the courage to persevere in the moral imperative to be peacemakers, reconcilers and guardians of one another.

Here in Ireland, this challenge has a special resonance, in light of the long conflict that separated brothers and sisters of a single family. Twenty years ago, the international community followed attentively the events in Northern Ireland that led to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Irish government, in union with the political, religious and civil leaders of Northern Ireland and the British government, and with the support of other world leaders, created a dynamic context for the peaceful settlement of a conflict that had caused untold pain on both sides.

We can give thanks for the two decades of peace that followed this historic agreement, while expressing firm hope that the peace process will overcome every remaining obstacle and help give birth to a future of harmony, reconciliation and mutual trust.

The Gospel reminds us that true peace is ultimately God’s gift; it flows from a healed and reconciled heart and branches out to embrace the entire world. Yet it also requires constant conversion on our part, as the source of those spiritual resources needed to build a society of authentic solidarity, justice and service of the common good.

Without that spiritual foundation, our ideal of a global family of nations risks becoming no more than another empty platitude. Can we say that the goal of creating economic prosperity leads of itself to a more just and equitable social order?

Or could it be that the growth of a materialistic “throwaway culture” has in fact made us increasingly indifferent to the poor and to the most defenceless members of our human family, including the unborn, deprived of the very right to life?

Perhaps the most disturbing challenges to our consciences in these days is the massive refugee crisis, which will not go away, and whose solution calls for a wisdom, a breadth of vision and a humanitarian concern that go far beyond short-term political decisions.

I am very conscious of the circumstances of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters – I think especially of those women who in the past have endured particularly difficult situations. With regard to the most vulnerable, I cannot fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the Church charged with responsibility for their protection and education.

The failure of ecclesiastical authorities – bishops, religious superiors, priests and others – adequately to address these repellent crimes has rightly given rise to outrage, and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community. I myself share those sentiments.

My predecessor, Pope Benedict, spared no words in recognising both the gravity of the situation and in demanding that “truly evangelical, just and effective” measures be taken in response to this betrayal of trust. His frank and decisive intervention continues to serve as an incentive for the efforts of the Church’s leadership both to remedy past mistakes and to adopt stringent norms meant to ensure that they do not happen again.

Each child is in fact a precious gift of God, to be cherished, encouraged to develop his or her gifts, and guided to spiritual maturity and human flourishing.

The Church in Ireland, past and present, has played a role in promoting the welfare of children that cannot be obscured. It is my hope that the gravity of the abuse scandals, which have cast light on the failings of many, will serve to emphasise the importance of the protection of minors and vulnerable adults on the part of society as a whole. In this regard, all of us are aware of how urgent it is to provide our young people with wise guidance and sound values on their journey to maturity.

Dear friends, almost ninety years ago, the Holy See was among the first international institutions to recognise the Irish Free State. That initiative signalled the beginning of many years of dynamic cooperation and harmony, with only an occasional cloud on the horizon. Recently intensive endeavour and goodwill on both sides have contributed significantly to a promising renewal of those friendly relations for the mutual benefit of all.

The threads of that history reach back to over a millennium and a half ago, when the Christian message, preached by Palladius and Patrick, found a home in Ireland and became an integral part of Irish life and culture. Many “saints and scholars” were inspired to leave these shores and bring their newfound faith to other lands.

To this day, the names of Columba, Columbanus, Brigid, Gall, Killian, Brendan and so many others are still revered throughout Europe and beyond. On this island monasticism, as a source of civilization and artistic creativity, wrote a splendid page in Irish and universal history.

Today as in the past, the men and women who live in this country strive to enrich the life of the nation with the wisdom born of their faith. Even in Ireland’s darkest hours, they found in that faith a source of the courage and commitment needed to forge a future of freedom and dignity, justice and solidarity. The Christian message has been an integral part of that experience, and has shaped the language, thought and culture of people on this island.

It is my prayer that Ireland, in listening to the polyphony of contemporary political and social discussion, will not be forgetful of the powerful strains of the Christian message that have sustained it in the past, and can continue to do so in the future.

With these thoughts, I cordially invoke upon you, and upon all the beloved Irish people, God’s blessings of wisdom, joy and peace. Thank you.

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  1. Joe O'Leary says:

    I praise Pope Francis.

    Like Jesus in today’s Gospel he is surrounded by gongusmos — strife and complaint, dissension and turbulence.

    He has Fr James speak of welcoming gays — heresy! cry the 60,000 authors of a letter of protest–inadequate, and inconsistent with our exclusion from this event, cry the protestors outside the RDS singing Apartheid era songs.

    He listens to a sermon from our young Taoiseach and reads a mortifying apology for child abuse–immediately and ungraciously denounced as inadequate and “a disgrace” by Colm O’Gorman.

    But Francis never loses his cool, and never moans about being misunderstood.

    Deeply grounded in Jesuit spirituality of identification with Christ he is ever serene, ever kind, clearly living in love of God and neighbor.

    He is like Peter as the bark is tossed by the stormwaves, calm and confident, because at one with the Lord.

    His very mode of being is a permanent witness, far beyond any pomp of state.

    Long may he continue to speak to us thus of Christ.

  2. Brian Fahy says:

    Mediating between separating couples we heard both sides of the story. Each side seemed to contradict the other but in truth they were complementary stories told from different perspectives. Each side was to be respected for the truth it expressed and the perceptions therein. Out of this tale of two separating people we worked to find common ground and a new way of relating as parents for the good of the children.

    I see this pattern and reality now taking place in Ireland between State and Church between clergy and people. What was once a marriage in which one side dominated the other, now we have separation and different tales to tell. The gatherings to protest the papal visit are as equal and as valid as the gatherings to welcome Pope Francis and listen to him. Both sides have their tale to tell. I respect the protest as honestly as I respect Pope Francis.

    Out of this separation we seek to establish a new relationship for State and Church in Ireland and to find new ways of relating to one another for the sake of all the people of that beloved land.

  3. Joe O'Leary says:

    I wrote my thoughts on Pope Francis above before reading the scurrilous attack on him by Abp Viganò. Francis replied wisely on the plane back to Rome, telling the journalists he trusts their intelligence. And indeed the journalists have already sufficiently deconstructed Viganò’s embittered screed to defuse it:




  4. Mary Burke says:

    Joe, thank you for your two eloquent contributions. You speak for me also.

  5. Frances Burke says:

    The left and right wing factions in the Church hierarchy are now conducting a very public battle using the child sexual abuse scandals and gay priests as their weapons, and the media as the vehicle to land their blows.

    How low can you go?

    These Bishops don’t care one toss about children. All they care about is saving their own skins.

    How is the pope going to sort out this mess? God give him strength.

  6. declan cooney says:

    Well done Archbishop Vigano.
    Hopefully the Holy Father will think about what he wrote as he has important revelations, sadly.

  7. Brian Fahy says:

    Pope Francis has been on his own spiritual journey into freedom and has suffered his own dark times and confusions. He has a great devotion to Our Lady as the ‘un-tier of knots’. His honesty and his simplicity are his greatest weapons in the daily struggle of life. He is an example to us all.

    In my student days, marooned in a seminary far from any sign of human society, I came across the Scottish poet Robert Burns, a handsome man like my self, whose life and times were somewhat different from my own. I envied him the company of the ladies.

    In a famous poem he wrote, on seeing a wee louse in the bonnet of a lady in church, he wrote some memorable lines about how other people see us more clearly than we can even see ourselves. They are well worth sharing here and now in these times for the Church. I have slightly anglicised the original.

    ‘O would some power the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see us, it would from many a blunder free us, and foolish notion: what airs in dress and gait would leave us, and even devotion.’

  8. Joe O'Leary says:

    I wrote this reply to George Weigel’d defense of Viganò on the First Things website:

    To whom shall we go? Why, to Christ the Savior of the World, and to Peter his vicar — a role now well upborne by the saintly Francis, whose very mode of being fulfills his teaching office, for in every gesture he serenely shows forth the love of God and the love of neighbor.

    Weigel’s piece carries over the glaring weaknesses in Viganò’s hastily written philippic. Francis, he tells us, “lifted the sanctions against McCarrick that had been imposed (but never seriously enforced) by Pope Benedict XVI”. Sanctions not enforced are not sanctions at all, and a fortiori they cannot be lifted. Indeed so nebulous were the sanctions that Benedict cannot remember them and Francis may never have heard of them.

    Yet this is the chief casus belli in Viganò’s blunderbuss attack on 32 people. It is the most insubstantial pretext for civil war or a coup d’état since the Ems telegram that launched the Franco-Prussian War or the nonexistent WMDs that ‘justified’ prompted the genocidal US invasion of Iraq.

    “First, Archbishop Viganò is a courageous reformer, who was moved out of the Vatican by his immediate superiors because he was determined to confront financial corruption in the Governatorato, the administration of Vatican City State.”

    Is it not the case the Viganò threw out grave accusations against several people at that time, which were examined and found to be baseless?

    No one says he is dishonest; that’s a strawman. But he does seem unbalanced, obsessed with gay issues, somewhat paranoid, prone to hasty judgment and projection, and in sum very much the sort of loose canon that no institution can tolerate for long.

    As to Cardinal DiNardo he scandalously failed to defend the Pope against Thomas Winandy’s insinuations of heresy.

    Now DiNardo wants the church to take Viganò’s rant as a serious text meriting full discussion. Cupich is right: that would be a fruitless trip down a rabbit hold. Francis is right: the text is such a mess that it can safely be left to journalists to decipher.

    Massimo Faggioli plausibly talks of a failed coup. Francis is no snowflake, he will not resign just because shrill bullies exploit the church’s woes to target a man they hate.

  9. Paddy Ferry says:

    Very well said, Joe. I daresay Weigel did not refer in his piece to the fact that his hero, JPII, was the original architect of the Church’s cover up policy with regard to the clerical child sex abuse scandal. Now he’s a saint !!

  10. Mary Burke says:

    Joe, I read DiNardo’s proposal differently and Wuerl’s statement seems to agree. That is, he (DiNardo) appears to suggest that Viganò’s stewardship in Washington ought to be put under the spotlight.

  11. Mary Vallely says:

    From the Guardian editorial Aug 28 2018:-
    ‘The Catholic church is at the moment institutionally dishonest about sexuality, and its caste of celibate clergy is by its nature opposed to allowing lay people authority over their own lives, still less over the clergy’s behaviour. Yet this shift in power must come. When allegations of abuse come to light, the bishops must be held accountable by lay Catholics and not just by their peers. This is what powerful lay voices in the US Catholic church now demand. It is all that will restore some credibility to the institution.’

    Can any of us disagree with this? I was glad to read this call from We Are Church Ireland:-
    “We Are Church is calling for an Assembly of the people of God in Ireland to propose new Structures for the Catholic Church that will include lay Catholics in all decision-making.
     The Assembly will be inclusive, involving all lay Catholics, ecclesiastical organisations, priests and bishops.
    In the wake of Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland and the scandals in the US hierarchy it is necessary to develop church structures that are transparent, that ensure accountability at all levels and that enable all baptized adult Catholics to have a voice in decision making.”

    It is long past the time for us to just accept that others will do what is needed to re- found the Church that Christ intended. We need to change ourselves, our own attitudes of deference and subservience and develop the courage to take responsibility, to speak up and take action!

  12. Chris McDonnell says:

    Once again, the Psalter offers an insight into the experience of our human condition. Psalm 55 has these prophetic words that tell the story.

    ‘If this had been done by an enemy
    I could bear his taunts
    If a rival had risen against me
    I could hide from him.

    But it is you, my own companion
    My intimate friend
    How close was the friendship
    between us.

    We walked together in harmony
    In the house of God’

  13. Ned Quinn says:

    A devout lady (aged 90yrs) said this to me: “The Church needs a reformation on the scale of Martin Luther’s. Only that will bring a true cleansing.”

  14. Paddy Ferry says:

    Mary@11, thanks for sharing that extract from the Gaurdian editorial. That sums it all up so well.

    I enclose a link to Jamie Manson’s latest Grace on the Margins article in NCR. I often read her articles and admire her but I started to think as I read this today, was it really that bad in Dublin last weekend. Is it really that bad? I have just quickly glanced through my Sunday Independent which just arrived today and, at least at first glance,it seems a lot more positive. And, I am looking forward to reading Seamus and Jo above later tonight.


  15. Con Devree says:

    If only ad hominem attacks could compensate for truth!!

    The best and only way of retrieving the crisis is by showing Archbishop Vigano’s claims to be false by a truly credible investigation. A major part of this investigation should not, fortunately, be too difficult, because Viganò himself notes that a lot of very senior Cardinals would inevitably have had access to the information he claims to be revealing. Getting them to testify under oath (while sadly not in itself a guarantee of truth) to affirm what they did or did not know would go some way to resolving the issue. It could create a domino effect if the basis for such exists.

    Serious criticisms have been levelled by a serious (and in the opinion of many who know him) credible person against the Pope. The Pope will hopefully not ignore them as he did the dubia. Surely his associates and defenders know that in the context of the issue of sexual predation, they cannot disregard the substance of the criticisms and instead fling ad hominem attacks at the Pope’s critics. This may have worked to hold the line on previous issues. Hardly this one.

    Why are Archbishop Viganò’s critics not advocating a credible investigation? Failure to do so reeks of hubris seeking to banish nemesis.

  16. Joe O'Leary says:

    A credible investigation into such vague charges is silly. Let Vigano formulate and document his charges first. What “sanctions” is the talking about, and how did Francis “lift” them? What’s his evidence for his opinion that Francis bypassed his advice on episcopal promotions because of McCarrick and not because Francis had had too much of Vigano’s mischievous activities as nuncio? I met Vigano’s second in command Lanheaume, who groaned that the Church was in a bad way and reported as good news that two conservative bishops had been appointed in France. If Vigano and Lanheaume had had their way the excellent Cupich and Tobin would have been kept back and some Burke-type conservaitves advanced instead.

  17. Joe O'Leary says:

    Editorial, Japan Mission Journal, September 2018:

    Pope Francis has been fiercely resisted by a certain faction in the Church ever since his election to the papacy five years ago, much as President Obama was by Republicans in the USA. Their latest ‘attempted coup,’ as Massimo Faggioli calls it, centers on a letter from Msgr Viganò, former nuncio to the USA, timed to be published at the very moment when the Pope was bravely facing up to the abuse scandals in Ireland. His Irish visit was dominated by this issue, from his first penitential remarks in response to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, through his sermon at Knock and the penitential liturgy in the Phoenix Park, to the painful and frank encounter with actual victims, one of whom spoke of it as an experience that restored her faith and that she would never forget. The Irish media rightly put a one-day embargo on news about Msgr Viganò’s mischievous letter, out of courtesy to the papal guest.

    Francis said on the plane back to Rome that he would trust reporters with examining Viganò’s claims, and indeed they are wilting in the light of journalistic day. The central claim that Francis lifted sanctions imposed by Benedict XVI on now-disgraced Cardinal McCarrick is flimsy, since McCarrick remained publicly on good terms with Benedict XVI to the end of his pontificate, and Viganò himself gave a fawning address in McCarrick’s honor in May 2012. That in itself makes Francis’s alleged trust in McCarrick less blamable. Using the heated language of the right-wing Catholic media, Viganò subscribes to all their theories of gay-liberal conspiracies. Aware that most of his many targets were originally appointed by John Paul II and Benedict XVI, he is not averse to throwing mud in their direction as well.

    Meanwhile the anti-Francis base have launched slogans such as ‘Francis Must Resign’ or ‘Francis is a Heretic,’ which have the same impact as the Trump base slogans, ‘Obama is a Muslim’ or ‘Lock Her Up.’ The machine of vituperation thus put in motion is self-sustaining and may well undercut Pope Francis just as Obama and Hillary were successfully undercut. Worse, there is a threat of schism, which as the Huguenot theologian Jurieu warned long ago is ‘for a Christian the greatest of tragedies and the greatest of crimes.’

    Amid this turbulence, Pope Francis himself shows a deep serenity, rooted in his Jesuit formation. He fulfills as well as any previous pope the Petrine mission of being ‘father and teacher of all Christians’ (Vatican I, Pastor aeternus). His very mode of existence, a constant enactment of love of God and love of neighbor, makes him a walking gospel for many people, who are encouraged and edified by him. It would be a shame if the church and the world were prematurely robbed of such an inspiring leader because of the noisy attacks of a cabal.

  18. John Collins says:

    Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, you are a credit to the country you lead. Thank you for such a “just right” and balanced speech which struck the right cord in my view. You made me feel good as a catholic Irish man.

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