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02nd Aug 2018

Stand4Truth solidarity demonstration organised to boycott planned Papal visit

Kate Demolder

Pope Francis

‘We cannot and will not allow this visit to simply disappear those who have suffered.’

Following weeks of divisive opinion with regards to the upcoming Papal visit at the end of the month, a rally has been organised for those who have ‘been abused or hurt by the Catholic Church’ or those who ‘wish to stand in solidarity with those who have been abused’ to boycott the event in question.

Colm O’Gorman – the Executive Director of Amnesty International who rose to prominence some 20 years ago when he sued the Pope for allegedly covering up instances of clerical abuse – took to Twitter to share details of the rally, which is set to take place on the day of Pope Francis’ mass in Phoenix Park.

‘If you, or someone you love has been abused or hurt by the Catholic Church, or if you wish to stand in solidarity with those who have been abused, please join me at the Garden of Remembrance Dublin at 3pm on Sunday August 26th,’ the tweet read.

In a second post, the 52-year-old wrote that: ‘This event will be a moment to assert and respect the dignity of those who have been abused, and to stand in solidarity with them.’

O’Gorman, who is himself a survivor of clerical abuse, also highlighted attempts by the Vatican to block him when he sued over the abuse he suffered.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on Thursday, O’Gorman claimed that Pope Francis should “tell the damn truth” about abuse cover-up when he’s here.

He also criticised the Pontiff’s “little regard” for victims of clerical abuse, referencing a news story during the week which claimed that abuse survivors may not even get to meet the Pope during his visit.

“How are they going to address, for the tens of thousands of people and families in this country who’ve been so traumatised and harmed by the rape and abuse of children and vulnerable adults, that was facilitated by and then covered-up by the church, including the Vatican?

“They haven’t given a jot to how they’re properly going to address that. I think that’s disgraceful.”

O’Gorman said whether it is in a statement or a public address during his visit, Pope Francis should prioritise talking to survivors and apologising for the Chuch’s role in facilitating and covering up abuse by members of the clergy.

“If he doesn’t acknowledge the Church’s responsibility for those crimes, I think it will be frankly disgraceful.”

Several weeks ago, a controversial Facebook event entitled Say Nope To The Pope was created in an attempt to protest the Pontiff’s planned visit and encourage people who object to the Catholic Church to book tickets in their dozens and not turn up to the events in both Phoenix Park and Knock.

Those who joined the group – and they did so in their thousands – referred to themselves as “peaceful protesters”, attempting to acquire a huge amount of free tickets for the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland, and not use them, to ensure a low turnout at events.

“It’s the most peaceful way it could be done,” one member said.

The Pope will visit Ireland on 25 and 26 August. The full itinerary for his visit can be seen here.

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