NPR

Pope Ends Visit To A Disillusioned Ireland, Where Church Authority Has Declined

As the pope departed for Rome Sunday night, his visit to Ireland only seemed to reinforce the decline of Roman Catholic authority in a country that was once synonymous with the faith.
Pope Francis arrives as people gather for the Mass in Phoenix Park on Sunday in Dublin. Source: Matt Cardy

Back in 1979, Pope John Paul II arrived in Ireland to an outpouring of love, affection and enormous crowds, including an estimated 1.2 million people for a Mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park. Among the faithful that day was Carmel Malone.

Nearly four decades later, Malone's daughters brought her in a wheelchair to watch Pope Francis pass through downtown Dublin on Saturday. This time, the crowds were far sparser — only one deep in some places — and there were even some boos from victims of clerical sexual abuse who protested along the road.

"I believe," said

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR9 min readScience
Gene-Edited 'Supercells' Make Progress In Fight Against Sickle Cell Disease
Researchers edited the DNA in bone marrow cells taken from a Mississippi woman with sickle cell disease to produce a treatment that could alleviate the excruciating effects of her inherited illness.
NPR2 min readSociety
Toilet Signs Give The Scoop On Pee And Poop
In honor of World Toilet Day, here is a sampling of toilet etiquette signage. It's hard to argue with advice like: "Please use a toilet finely."
NPR2 min read
Baltimore Museum Of Art Will Only Buy Works By Women Next Year
A 2019 study of major U.S. art museums found that 87% of artists in their collections are men. The Baltimore museum's chief curator calls the initiative "re-correcting the canon."