Pope Francis concludes United States visit and appeals for unity

Pope Francis on Sunday spoke strongly against sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic Church officials, stating that “all responsible will pay”.


In one of his strongest comments to date on a scandal that has dogged the Church for decades, Francis said abuse by priests was “nearly a sacrilege” and ‘those who have hidden (such acts) are guilty – including a few bishops‘.

The victims of the abuse, all now adults, had suffered sexual abuse as children during a seminary in Pennsylvania.

And believing is one thing those who embraced Pope Francis here certainly do not fall short of.

“I also learned from Pope Francis that people should be happy”, he said.

“I don’t judge someone who can’t forgive”, he said, but instead prays for them.

Pope Francis’ attention to the humanity of every person makes him a role model for all of us, regardless of religious affiliation – or lack thereof.

“With the reform of the process of annulment I have closed the door on the administrative path through which divorce could enter”, the pontiff told reporters as he flew home from his tour of Cuba and the United States.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland the Archbishop said Ireland was chosen to hold the World Meeting of Families because the Pope has a personal interest in Ireland.

In June the Pope approved the creation of a tribunal to hear cases of bishops accused of covering up child abuse by pedophile priests.

“Clergy and bishops will be held accountable when they abuse or fail to protect children”, the pontiff told the abuse survivors, ahead of a meeting with bishops in which he said “God weeps” over clerical abuse.

“May children find in us models of communion, not of division”, he said. “God is real. Prayer works and love heals”, said Rich.

In his homily at the September 24 vespers in St. Patrick’s Cathedral the Pope acknowledged they had come out of the period of “great tribulation”, and reminded them that their vocation is to be lived out with joy.

U.S. dioceses have made huge compensation payouts to victims.

Francis concluded his six-day visit to America in Philadelphia, where thousands gathered to greet him as he traveled in his “Popemobile” through the city.


Universal: That opportunities for education and employment may increase for all young people.

Children bring a mural for Pope Francis to sign as he attends the Festival of Families in Philadelphia Pennsylvania during his visit to the US