Pope's visit will shine a light on 'failings of the Church here' - Martin
The failings of the Catholic Church in Ireland have been put under the spotlight by the upcoming visit of Pope Francis, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said in his Palm Sunday homily.
The Archbishop did not specifically refer to the child abuse and cover-up scandals that rocked the Dublin archdiocese for decades.
However, he alluded to failures by "members and leadership" in the Church.
"When the Church becomes caught up in its own structures or in the ways of the world, it fails Jesus," Dr Martin told the congregation at Dublin's Pro Cathedral yesterday.
"The Church regains its soul not then by repeated words of regret and apology.
"These are just human words and sentiments. The Church truly apologises when it returns to the truth and love of Jesus.
"Renewal and reform in the Church are not just about structural changes.
"Structural changes will remain fruitless if they remain simply human words.
"Reform of the Church requires something more radical. It requires moving beyond human categories.
"It requires that we too seek to understand how the challenge of Jesus will always be one that rejects human power."
He said the pontiff's attendance at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in August "inevitably has brought with it an examination of the failings of the Irish Church".
However, he said the purpose of the Pope's visit is to "strengthen and comfort families".
"He comes to challenge us all to be with those families that struggle and fail," he said.
"He comes to challenge those families that believe that success in an empty bourgeois lifestyle or a narrow piety of certainty, makes them somehow the better class of family.
"Families are places where people struggle as they search to make the love and fidelity of spouses endure, despite their own human weakness.
"Families are places where children are loved, day and night, in good times and bad.
"Homelessness or domestic violence, infidelity, unemployment and lack of social support, or forced migration all degrade families.
"Families are places where in the face of such struggle they still bring light and warmth, even when all the odds are against them. Families are places where love is learned and where faith takes root.
"Wounded and struggling families are places where God's love still prevails.
"The ideal family is not the one of the fashion magazines, but the great families are the families to which each of us is deeply indebted."
His sermon at the start of Holy Week comes after Pope Francis last week confirmed he will make his first papal trip to Ireland in close to 40 years.
The 81-year-old Argentinian will preside at the closing ceremonies of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, running from August 21 to 26.
He will take part in the Festival of Families at Croke Park on August 25, followed by an open-air Mass in the Phoenix Park the next day.
The Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference said it is "deeply honoured" that the pontiff has chosen to come to Dublin for the event.