Mass appeal of a pope at its peak
When Pope John Paul II entered Dublin on September 29, 1979 to scenes full of ecstasy and joy, he landed in a country that looked radically different at first sight than the Ireland of 2018.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/pope-francis-in-ireland/mass-appeal-of-a-pope-at-peak-of-his-powers- 37224124.html  https://www.independent.ie/incoming/article37224270.ece/e6f2a/AUTOCROP/h342/pe%20John%20Paul%20II%202.jpg  e-mail  When Pope John Paul II flew to scenes full of ecstasy and joy in Dublin on September 29, 1979, he landed in a country that at first glance appeared to be radically different from the Ireland of 2 018.
On his hectic journey through the country, it is estimated that the Polish pope was seen by more than 2.5 million people – including 1.25 million in the Phoenix Park.
In contrast to Pope Francis, who arrives next Saturday, he landed in a country where almost 90% of the population still went to mass every week.
Divorce and homosexuality were still banned, mobile phones and internet were unheard of, and the currency was the Irish pound instead of the euro. Money was much scarcer, but a pint of Guinness costs only 48 pence (about € 2.60 in today's money).
You could still smoke almost everywhere – and when John Paul II boarded his Aer Lingus 747 jet to Dublin in Rome, and lay down on a breakfast of muesli and an Irish boy, the stewardess of the PA -system to hear: "Holy Father, prominent visitors, you may smoke now …"
39 years of retrospect, it is easy to conclude that Ireland in the late 1970s was much more sacred. That was true, but only to a certain extent. Under the surface it was a country undergoing a rapid transformation.
During the youth mass in Galway on the Sunday of John Paul's journey, a crowd of 300,000 young people called out: "We love the Pope!"
As the Irish Independent reported, at a given moment "broke the waving and ecstatic gathering in song with" He has the whole world in his hands ", symbolizing their feelings of love for Christ & Vicar on earth."
But there were already many holes in the world armor of a once supreme church, and his grip on the youth of the nation was rapidly declining.
The Pope may have seemed to have the whole world in his hands, but the teenagers of 1979 in Dublin and beyond were a world away from their faithful counterparts of the 1950s, and the country had changed to such an extent that their lifestyle was hardly different from those of their contemporaries in London and Manchester.
The closed world of the era The Valera had opened up new influences with arri television and Beatlemania in the previous decade, and our entry into the European Economic Community in 1973. For those who had cross-channel TV, it was the era of joking jokes at The Benny Hill Show and androgynous dance moves by David Bowie on Top of the Pops.
Contraceptive laws changed
Some will look back to an era of devotion with eyes as foggy as a rainy evening in Knock.
But many of the same teenagers who prayed with John Paul II were probably drooling in the local disco in the weeks that followed as Gimme! & # 39; From Abba! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) & # 39; was at the top of the Irish charts.
Humanae Vitae, the papal encyclical of 1968, had determined that artificial contraception was immoral in all forms, but for a growing part of the youth of the nation selective mental strictures were observed
In the same year as the visit of the Pope, the law of Charles Haughey allowed the sale of contraceptives on doctor's prescription for "bona fide" family planning purposes.
There were already signs of "à la carte" Catholicism "seeping into the Irish way of life, with women making their own decisions about the size of their family."
The historian James Donnelly said that it was openly acknowledged purpose of the Irish hierarchy to invite John Paul to stop Ireland, or at least slow, the damaging impairments of materialism and secularism on the attachment of Catholics to their old faith.
The Irish bishops could not have hoped on a better figure to stimulate the church again in his hour of distress than John Paul II, one of the most charismatic religious leaders of the 20th century.
From the moment he kisses the ground at Dublin airport, with his red cape wrapped around his head, it was clear that the 59-year-old pope was being made for the role, he had only taken over last year as pope after the short-lived papacy of John Paul I, and this was a fourth foreign tour after trips to Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Poland.
His pastoral skills were immediately apparent because he was cheering the children in the crowd-and joking with them about not having taken the day to school.
The papacy of John Paul II came in for justified criticism of his inadequate response to numerous child abuse scandals that emerged during his time as pope.
He has been a particular target of criticism with his Mexican friend, Father Marcial Maciel, the serial child abuser and founder of the Legion of Christ, despite numerous reports of his nefarious activities.  But when John Paul II landed in Dublin, the issue of pedophile priests had not emerged in public discourse, and the Pope seemed to have a moral authority that was virtually undisputed.
Here was a man who lived under the tyranny of Nazi occupation, and led his flock under the Polish Communist dictatorship. To become a Polish pope, he had broken a series of Italian popes that stretched for 455 years.
Moving more than a million people to the Phoenix Park for the Saturday Mass was something of a logistical triumph for the authorities during a time of industrial unrest, when Ireland was barely known as a place where systems ran like a clock.
To avoid a shattering of the rock concert on the altar, 15 hectares of the park was divided into corals of 5,000 people in a grid system, and everyone was assigned a pen where they had to collect.
Up to 700,000 people were executed from designated stops in the city before sunrise by public buses. At 1.25 million, the public was larger than the entire population of Dublin. The writer Declan Kiberd once remembered how he cycled through the city during the time of the papal mass in Dublin and met fewer than a dozen people – including two famous, agnostic poets.
While the pope's helicopter circled the crowd just after noon, the sloppy crowd seemed to swing in a state of euphoria, singing and undulating yellow and white flags. It was believed to be the largest gathering in Irish history – a mass conciliation by nine cardinals, 100 bishops and 100 priests, with 2,500 priests and deacons distributing holy communion.
On the day there were 20,000 stewards and 7,000 guards on duty, and 3,000 news reporters from all over the world.
When the pope finally appeared and his deep, resonant voice rolled on speakers over a crowd that stretched to the horizon, a tidal wave of emotions came back.
brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, "said the first pope who would ever arrive here." Like St Patrick, I also heard the voice of the Irish calling me … and that is why I came to you – all of you in Ireland. "
At the end of the Mass, when the pope vanished again into the air in his helicopter, at least one nun was seen racing at the red carpet with garden shears – to make sections of the carpet like memories of a glorious day to cut.
The Pope was decked out like a fatherly St Patrick on the following afternoon after his helicopter was pulled out of the air for the youth mass on the Ballybrit racetrack in Galway – seen by many as the culmination of the
Those present could only compare the ambience of the Galway Mass with that of a
Pope John Paul had what almost all Irish bishops and archbishops of the past half century had so missed – a presence of r ockstars.
As good as Bono, or Mick Jagger in his prime, he knew how to work a crowd, and that was most evident in Galway when he delivered his homily in his rich, accentuated, echoing baritone
"Young people from Ireland, I love you", he declared, and then stood under the applause for four minutes, raised his hands and waved in a circular motion.
Irish Independent picked up the atmosphere of the music festival in her report: "Woodstock, the Isle of Wight and all Ballisodares that could be imagined, could not give the right impression of volume and enthusiasm in Ballybrit yesterday."
Some 450,000 people turned out to be when he arrived in Knock. He called the Knock Shrine the goal & # 39; of his trip to Ireland – but large parts of the crowd were disappointed when his visit was interrupted and they did not even see a glimpse of him.
The visit took place against a background of violence in the north, and originally it was the intention of the Pope to cross the border. In fact, responding to the problems in the north was one of the goals of the Pope's visit.
By the end of the summer of 1979, a trip to the north was considered doubtful because of the safety risks. Negotiations were still ongoing on 27 August when Lord Mountbatten and 18 British soldiers were killed in attacks for which the provisional IRA claimed responsibility. After these murders, the Pope's program had to be radically revised and the north traversed the route.
plea for peace
Drogheda was instead chosen as a symbolic location within the diocese of Armagh. This was where the Pope would make his dramatic plea for peace.
Only a few weeks before the visit the dairy farm of Terry Grant was chosen as a location.
Tens of thousands of Catholics denied the chance of a papal visit in the Six Counties, streamed across the border to the Louth farm, and by the time the Pope arrived, there were 300,000.
It was here that the Pope delivered a line aimed at the terrorists who still resonate in recent decades: "On my knees I beg you to turn away from the paths of violence."
But all hope that the IRA or the loyalists would suddenly lay down their arms, were quickly overrun when the killing was continued. During the visit, IRA supporters kept a low profile, but a spokesman warned that the war would continue – and Ian Paisley labeled the Pope as "a liar, a deceiver and anti-christ."
In the years that followed During the visit we forgot the Pope's tendency to confirm the traditional teaching of the Church.
On the conflict between career and family commitments he said: "May Irish mothers, young women and girls not listen to those who tell them that working on a secular job, succeeding in a secular profession, is more important than the calling of the giving life, and taking care of that life as a mother. "
In Galway, the pope urged young people to keep their religious and moral status. principles. Warning for the future, he said: "The attraction of pleasure, wherever and whenever it is found, will be strong."
By the time the pope addressed the crowd in Maynooth and Limerick on his last day, he had won the land and really won the country. Irish Independence described him as "the man who smiled and even wept when he met the enormous wave of affection that flowed from the people to him".
The Pope, according to the editors of the newspaper, was "the man who aroused their emotions, who had delighted them by his presence and who addressed them in every sentence he used ".
Of all the events during the journey, the Mass in Galway was perhaps seen as the most promising by the ecclesiastical authorities. Here was a crowd of 300,000 young people, enchanted by the Catholic spiritual leader. Certainly, the future strength of the church was guaranteed.
It was somewhat ironic that the crowd was on a high note, warmed up by the bishop of Galway, Eamonn Casey and Fr Michael Cleary, who pulled them over and cheered them. 19659007] Casey and Cleary, with their populist touch and audience-friendly way, were probably seen as standard bearers for this more youthful church of the future. But this was to unravel in a spectacular way when much later news of their sons and loved ones appeared.
At the end of his visit, the Pope confidently expressed the Latin expression "Semper fidelis" – always faithful – to his devoted followers, and he might have hoped that his devotees would fulfill his wishes.
The papal visit had been a triumph for the Church when the spiritual leader was welcomed with open arms. Although there is still a loyal core, and they will turn out in large numbers next year, the visit was a false dawn for Holy Catholic Ireland.  Startled by scandal and slow adaptation, the hierarchy could not inspire young people in the decades that followed in the same way as Pope John Paul II during the uplifting autumn days of 1979.
Papal plane descends from heaven
One of the special moments of the visit came when the Aer Lingus jumbo jet St. Patrick with the pope and his entourage flew over the crowd in the Phoenix Park on Saturday morning.  It was as if the pope descended from heaven when an ecstatic crowd cheered.
The 747 was specially adapted and decorated with the papal insignia for the journeys from Rome to Dublin, and from Shannon to Boston, where the Pope was visiting after his Irish tour.
The top deck of the Aer Lingus plane was changed into a papal suite with a divan bed with yellow tweed blanket, a sofa, tables and chairs and a wooden crucifix with a traditional Tara design.  Captain Thomas McKeown welcomed the Pope on board through the speaker system when the plane left Fiumicino Airport in Rome.
The Holy Father enthusiastically stopped in the Aer Lingus breakfast, served on a table decorated with red roses and laid with white linen servery, bone china and Waterford crystal. Reportedly, he had special praise for the black pudding.
When the jet reached the Irish airspace, 30 miles east of Courtown, it was joined at 18,000 feet by an escort of Fouga hunters from the Irish Air Corps. The crew was ordered to shoot on an unauthorized aircraft.
The Pope prepared his homily at Phoenix Park when his private secretary, Irishman John Magee, pointed out the plane on either side of the jumbo. The Pope could see the pilots and blessed them, and they themselves responded by blessing themselves for the consternation of Magee, who said, "Holy Father, leave them alone! They travel with speed like that!" & # 39
Not long after, a flight attendant proudly announced: "Your Holiness, your power, members of the papal entourage, ladies and gentlemen, please return to your seats and fasten your seat belts. About to land at Dublin Airport. "