(DUBLIN) — Pope Francis faced a lukewarm reception and scattered protests Saturday on his trip to Ireland, with even his vow to rid the church of the “scourge” of sexual abuse and his outrage at those “repugnant crimes” dismissed as a disappointment by some of Ireland’s wounded victims.
But others who met with him in private left heartened that he would respond to their plight, including two of the thousands of children who were forcibly put up for adoption for the shame of having been born to unwed mothers. They said Francis described the corruption and cover-up in the church as “caca” — translated by the Vatican translator for the English speakers as “filth as one sees in the toilet.”
The abuse scandal — which has exploded anew in the U.S. but has convulsed Ireland since the 1990s with revelations of unfathomable violence and humiliation against women and children — took center stage on the first day of Francis’ two-day trip. The visit was originally intended to celebrate Catholic families.