Belfast Telegraph

Pope Francis 'apologised for what happened in Mother and Baby Homes' during 'cordial' meeting with eight Irish abuse victims

By Ralph Reigel

Pope Francis has held a one hour meeting with survivors of clerical abuse in Ireland.

One survivor after the meeting said Pope Francis described those who abused children as "caca" or "filth."

The meeting was held at the Papal Nunciature and followed the Pope's visit to the Capuchin Day Centre.

A Vatican spokesperson confirmed the meeting shortly before Pope Francis attended the Croke Park festival event to mark the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) in Dublin.

"He met Irish survivors of clerical, religious and institutional abuse for ninety minutes," the spokesperson said.

"Those present included Marie Collins, Rev Patrick McCafferty, Rev Joe McDonald, Adm Councillor Damien O'Farrell, Paul Jude Redmond, Clodagh Malone, and Bernadette Fahy."

"One survivor, a victim of Fr Tony Walsh, asked to remain anonymous."

The Vatican stressed that it will not comment on the meeting or its contents.

However, abuse victims have been told they are free to comment on what was discussed.

Pope Francis met with survivors at the Papal Nuncio's office just off the Naval Road.

The meeting followed hard-hitting remarks from Pope Francis and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Dublin Castle over the clerical abuse legacy issue.

Pope Francis described what happened in Ireland as "repugnant".

Last night, the Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors (CMABS), an umbrella body representing various survivor groups, outlined some of what was said.

"(They) asked the Pope to clearly and publicly state that the natural mothers who lost their babies to adoption had done nothing wrong and call for reconciliation and reunion for these families broken by the Catholic Church both in Ireland and around the world in countries such as Spain where approximately 300,000 single mothers lost children to adoption," a statement said.

"The Pope agreed to include the message in his mass tomorrow."

CMABS also said that Pope Francis apologised for what had happened in Mother and Baby Homes.

Pope Francis was presented with a copy of Mr Redmond's book, 'The Adoption Machine', which contains details of the horrors of the homes.

Mr Redmond said he was hopeful following the meeting, which he described as cordial and polite.

"We feel hopeful there will be more movement from the church on the issue of mother and baby homes," he said.

"The Pope was genuinely shocked to hear about the 6,000 babies who died and the 3,000 babies who were banished and the vaccine trials."

A letter outlining they revelations about what happened in the homes was handed to Pope Francis in both English and Spanish.

Irish Independent

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