Papal visit: Major security operation in progress

A major security operation comes into play today when Pope Francis arrives in Ireland for what will be the most heavily controlled journey of his papacy.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims make their way to the events in Knock and Dublin in a massive logistic exercise involving thousands of volunteers and the deployment of thousands of gardaí, army members, stewards and aid workers.

Many members of the public who do not participate in the events are confronted with considerable traffic and access restrictions, in some cases until Tuesday morning.

Transport and public safety are not the only challenges for the organizers, however, because the pope comes to Ireland at a time when the authority of the church is severely damaged by unabated violations of child abuse.

His own executive in the field of child protection, Boston Cardinal Sean O & # 39; Malley, who chairs the papal committee for the protection of minors, had to speak in Ireland yesterday, but had to retire to criticize the failures of his office to respond to warnings about the now sexually offended cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Cardinal O & # 39; Malley sent a message to be read during the event at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in his absence, in which he describes shameful child sex abuse as "the most crucial issue for our church." and suggests that precisely the

the continuity of the church is around it.

All attempts at evangelism and other great works will depend on our ability to own our crimes and failures and make the protection of children and vulnerable adults our top priority, "he said.

Pope Francis, who will meet some of the survivors of the church abuse during his visit, is under pressure to make an important statement to try to restore confidence in his papacy, as a huge international media presence awaits his words .

There is also a lot of anticipation about how he will tackle the social changes that have occurred

Ireland in recent times, with the referendums on marriage equality and abortion

demonstrate the ebbing influence of Catholic thought in a country that knelt almost unanimously before the last pope to come here, John Paul II in 1979.

Victim and survival groups from Ireland and abroad, who have gathered to protest against the Pope's visit and his inability to bring about substantial changes in the Vatican's thinking on this subject, were not impressed.

The survivor of the abuse and campaigner Marie Collins, who last year left her seat in the papal committee after her recommendations were repeatedly ignored, said that there were powerful people in the Vatican who not only resisted changes, but denied their necessity. She urged Pope Francis to address them directly.

The pope must know who they are. It is these people who must be immediately fired and fired, "she said.

"The Pope has powers above and above everyone and he really has to face this resistance."

Thousands of people have indicated that they will attend an alternate event to support victims who are timed to coincide with the beginning of the Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park tomorrow.

The Stand4Truth event was organized by colonel survivor survivor Colm O & # 39; Gorman, founder of One

In Four and a director of Amnesty Ireland.

After performances and speeches in the Garden of Remembrance, the attendance to the former laundry Magdalene in Sean McDermott St walks to leave messages behind the sculpture that commemorates the former residents.

Other public figures, including Orla O & # 39; Connor, director of the National Women's Council, and politicians, including officials of People Before Profit, are boycotting now meetings with the Pope in opposition to the policies of the Church.

People Before Profit organizes a meeting to call for the complete separation of church and state tonight, at a time when the pope is preparing for a major concert in Croke Park.

Despite the controversies, more than 1 million people who are not physically participating in the pope's visit will be expected to follow RTÉ radio and television, which will include all the events that begin with his arrival at Dublin Airport this morning.

Pope Francis travels directly to Áras an Uachtaráin to visit the president and then go to Dublin Castle, where he holds a short private conversation with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and meets politicians, diplomats and representatives of charities and civil society.

Then he goes to St. Mary's Pro Cathedral before he is taken through the city center to greet the audience. Then he visits the Capuchin Day Center, where he will meet homeless people. His next appearance is in Croke Park, but it is expected that he will use the time to meet victims of abuse.

Tomorrow he will fly to Knock Airport and from about 10 am will preside over the services at Knock Shrine before flying back to Dublin for the Mass in the Phoenix Park at 2.30 pm and later return to Rome.

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