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Guardian Opinion - 25 August 2018

It’s too late. Not even the pope can resurrect catholic ireland

Par Fintan O’Toole - is an author and columnist for the Irish Times - 5 mn


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When Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose the name Francis for his papacy, he was asking Catholics to make a connection to the medi eval religious revolutionary Francis of Assisi . Early in his spiritual pilgrimage, the original Francis heard the icon of the crucifi ed Christ in the Italian church of San Damiano speak to him. It said “Francis, Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins.”

When the pope arrives in Ireland this weekend, he will fi nd a Catholic church not just falling to ruin, but in some respects beyond repair. He will be greeted with joy by the faithful, but few, even among them, will expect him to be able to fi x an institution that has been shaken to its very foundations.

On the face of it, it is strange to think that, when Francis touches down on Irish soil, it will be only the second time a serving pope has visited the island . But popes didn’t visit Ireland because they didn’t have to. After the foundation of an independent Irish sta...

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