Pope Francis met by pro-LGBT demonstrators and rainbow flags in Dublin

Disappointment Fr Brian D’Arcy

Disappointment Fr Brian D’Arcy

"I like to be with families, so I am happy about this visit", he told the 70 journalists travelling with him on the Alitalia plane, nicknamed Shepherd One.

"The failure of ecclesiastical authorities - bishops, religious superiors, priests and others - adequately to address these appalling crimes has rightly given rise to outrage, and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community. There are one or two objectors, but I think they should keep their objections to themselves and get into the spirit of the thing", said Christina O'Riordan, a 76-year-old retired teacher.

The gardaí have also issued instructions for all those attending the Papal Mass on Sunday, in the Pheonix Park and they are advising people to follow the colour coded route as outlined on their tickets. But while Benedict is credited with cracking down on abusers, he never acknowledged the Vatican's role in fueling a culture of coverup or sanctioned bishops for failing to protect their flocks from predator priests.

"We must now ensure that from words flow actions".

In a statement issued after their meeting, Higgins said he "raised with His Holiness the enormous suffering and hurt caused by child sex abuse perpetrated by some within the Catholic Church", as well as the "anger which had been conveyed to him at what was perceived to be the impunity enjoyed by those who had the responsibility of bringing such abuses for action by the appropriate authorities and have not done so".

Francis said his recent letter to the Church affirmed a greater commitment "to eliminate this scourge in the Church; at any cost - moral and suffering".

It's a very different reception - and a very different Ireland - to the last papal visit in 1979, when Pope John Paul II was greeted like a rock star in Phoenix Park by almost one-third of the country's population. No one from the public was at the airport or the roads nearby, though by late afternoon crowds had started to grow outside Dublin's cathedral, basking in gloriously sunny weekend weather.

They set children's shoes on the pavement, each representing a child who had been abused by priests. Organizers of the "Say Nope to the Pope" protest said on Facebook they hoped to show solidarity to abuse victims and "show the Church they don't have the control they used to".

Meanwhile, memories of Ireland's own abuse scandal are still vivid.

"We've brought in mandatory reporting over the past year and that's not the case in other countries", he told Sky News on Friday.

His visit, the first by a Pope since John Paul II's in 1979, is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of Catholics to a series of events in Dublin and Knock.

The Argentine pontiff will be in Ireland to close the 2018 World Meeting of Families (WMOF) - a global Catholic gathering that takes place every three years.

Francis is visiting Ireland for the first time since 1980, when he was known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio and stayed for a time in a Dublin suburb to learn English.

Clerical sex abuse victims call for a redress scheme from the Catholic Church.

He was accompanied by the prime minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, with whom he met in private for a few minutes. "It's a story all too tragically familiar here in Ireland".

"We have such a history of abuse and so many have had their lives destroyed", Marie Collins, a survivor of clerical abuse, told AFP.

A new generation has shed Ireland's traditional mores, electing Ireland's first gay prime minister and voting to legalise same-sex marriage and abortion - both once unthinkable.

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