Pope Francis has arrived in Ireland on a historic visit thus marking the first papal visit in last four decades. Pope arrived in the Catholic country at a time when the religious observance is on a sharp decline and there is widespread anger over the Church record of handling sexual abuse by the priests.
The last visit by Pope John Paul was at a time when divorce and contraception was illegal in 1979. The current papal visit has come at a time when the people of Ireland have voted for legalising abortion and gay marriage- positions which have always been opposed by the Vatican.
Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, the first gay leader of the country told the media that although Catholic Church is still an integral part of the society but not exactly placed centrally as it was 40 years ago. He said, “Ireland has become a very different place in the last 40 years and our relationship with the Church has changed principally because of so many revelations that have occurred around child sex abuse. Pope will stay in Ireland for two days. He has stated that he shares the pain and outrage caused by the abhorrent crimes committed by members of the Church against young people who were responsible for their protection and education. Ireland has the worst history of clerical sex abuse as more than 1300 priests were allegedly involved in sexual violence since 1975.
The revelations have had a great bearing on the appeal and power of the Catholic Church in the country. Many have given up the faith while there are others who still consider it as woven in the culture.