herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Honesty of Pope Francis must be admired by all

FROM day one of his papacy, I think we all realised that Pope Francis was someone special.

Shortly after being elected, he left the Vatican alone and drove in a battered old car to his lodgings to pay for his food and rent.

The story goes that when he was being decked out in his finery for his first public appearance, he refused to wear the jewel-encrusted robe. He told his dresser to "wear it himself". He is even alleged to have said to the crestfallen and indignant monsignor, "the carnival is over".

CONVINCED

Since following in the shoes of the fisherman, he has convinced even hardened, sceptical old salts like myself that he is a deeply humble, kind and compassionate human being. Francis promised openness and transparency during his papacy. However, I think we have all been taken aback at his latest extraordinary admissions.

In a recent interview with an Italian newspaper, he disclosed the shocking statistic that out of 8,000 catholic priests, bishops and cardinals, around 2pc were carrying out child abuse.

He also accused many more clerics of covering it up, calling it "intolerable" and "a leprosy which infects the church".

Even though Ireland has been hit with a tsunami of clerical child abuse cases, hearing this from the mouth of the pope himself is shocking.

Pope Francis and his breathtaking honesty will go a long way in restoring our faith and trust in the tarnished and discredited institutions of the Catholic Church.

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