While the faith of Catholics in Ireland is strong, the scandal of abuse and cover-up by Church leaders has caused a decline in vocations to the priesthood and religious life, Pope Francis said.
During his weekly general audience on 29th August, the pope led pilgrims in praying a “Hail Mary” to Our Lady of Knock so “the Lord may send holy priests to Ireland, that he sends new vocations.”
“In Ireland there is faith; there are people of faith, a faith with great roots. But you know something? There are few vocations to the priesthood. Why? This faith doesn’t flourish because of these problems, the scandals, many things,” he said.
In his audience talk, the pope reflected on his visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families from 25th to 26th August.
The thousands of families participating from around the world, he said, were “an eloquent sign of the beauty of God’s dream for the entire human family.”
Picture: Pope Francis prepares to speak during a meeting with authorities, civil society leaders and members of the diplomatic corps in Dublin Castle in Dublin on 25th August. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).