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

NPR3 min read
MoviePass Has Officially Shut Down, And We Don't Know If There Will Be A Sequel
The service announced Friday that it would be suspending service for an undefined amount of time.
NPR3 min readPolitics
Mugabe's State Funeral Proceeds, But His Burial Plan Has Been Mired In Controversy
Zimbabwe's longtime president Robert Mugabe was honored with a state funeral on Saturday — put on by the president and military leaders who had forced him out of office just two years ago.
NPR3 min read
'Don't You Forget About' This Charming, Deliciously Dramatic Romance
Mhairi McFarlane's latest follows the unfortunate, aimless Georgina as she deals with her father's death, a bad boyfriend and a worse job — until her first love unexpectedly walks back into her life.