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A massive protest will be taking place on Sunday, during which several Irish singers, including Hozier, are planning to perform.

The event, called Stand for Truth, is in support of clerical abuse victims and will take place in the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin.

Performers at the rally will also include Irish musicians Mary Black, Roisin O, and Liam Ó Maonlaí.

All the singers wish to take a stand against the abuse that has gone on in the Catholic Church and express their support for affected victims.

Several speakers will also be addressing the crowd, sharing their own experiences with clerical abuse and its effects on a personal and societal level. Their goal is to raise awareness of how global the horrific issue has become.

Theatre maker Grace Dyas, poet Sarah Clancy, and executive director of Amnesty Colm O'Gorman are on the agenda to speak to those gathered at the rally.

Colm, also organiser of the event, recently explained that the rally is for “everyone who wishes to stand in solidarity with those harmed by the actions of the institutional Roman Catholic Church. Who wishes to stand for truth, for justice, for love. For the Ireland we must be.”

Stand for Truth is scheduled to start on Sunday, August 26th at 3:00pm – the same time that Pope Francis plans to lead mass in the Phoenix Park.

Following the event, protestors will participate in a silent procession to Sean McDermott Street, where the last remaining Magdalene Laundry is.

“We cannot stay silent as the Vatican uses its power and pomp to forcefully deny the reality of the harm it has done,” Colm explained.

“This week Pope Francis has begged for forgiveness, but it isn’t at all clear what he wants forgiveness for. At no point has Pope Francis or any of his predecessors admitted or taken any responsibility for the deliberate policy of cover-up by the Vatican across the global church. [..]

“He needs to take responsibility for it as Pope, and as head of state of the Vatican City State. The time when the Vatican could force the cover-up of its crimes is long past.

“The Vatican may continue to dodge the truth, to try to bury it in dense and meandering statements. But nevertheless, it is revealed. So we will stand for truth. ”

Almost 3,000 people plan to attend the Stand for Truth rally. If you would like to attend, check out their Facebook page for more information.


Our social media feeds have been flooded with talk of Pope Francis' arrival this weekend, and we can't cope with anymore news about it.

But whether we plan to attend The World Meeting of Families or not, the whole city will be affected by the masses drawn to the Catholic figurehead.

Due to the large crowds, the city will be enforcing road closures throughout city centre for security’s sake.

Pope Francis will arrive in Ireland tomorrow, August 25th, around 10:30am, and will be staying until Sunday evening. He plans to do some sight seeing and attend to papal duties before he leads mass and visits with the Irish public. Tickets have already sold out to attend the holy mass in Phoenix Park on Sunday.

If you are one of those lucky enough to have snagged tickets, then there will be free transport (with presentation of your ticket) in the greater Dublin area on August 25th. There will no carpark near the event, but you can get to Phoenix park by any of the following routes:

If you aren’t able to attend but still want to catch a glimpse of the pope, you can follow his route while he is in Dublin. His full day itinerary can be found here.

Because of his widespread travel around the city, Gardaí will be closing down specific roads and have warned the public to be aware of the altered public transport routes this weekend.

So what roads will be closed?

Most of the main roads in city centre will be closed on Saturday from 12pm-4:30pm, including O’Connell St, Westmoreland St, Abbey St, Henry St, Dame St, Nassau St, and areas of the quays.

Sunday will see even longer road closures during the entire day from 6am-11pm. These closed roads include those surrounding the park: Navan Rd, Chapelizod Hill Rd, JFK Dr, Kylemore Park, most of the quays, and many more.

For a full list of road closures, click here.

We recommend planning to walk everywhere if you leave the house on Sunday.

Sounds like the perfect hangover day to recover from the Saturday night sesh.


Ireland has been anxiously anticipating Pope Francis' upcoming visit, and this woman has something to say about it.

Helen McNamara recently shared a powerful testimony about her experience with the Catholic Church and titled it an “Open letter to Pope Francis”.

The aggrieved mother shared her journey from womb to womanhood, explaining that she had been born inside a religious institution in the village of Castlepollard in Co. Westmeath.

The woman was a 'nameless' baby when she was adopted by a loving family, who christened her 'Helen'.

Now a mum with a family of her own, she returned to her birthplace to seek answers about her biological mother. “Forty-seven years later, I went to the exact same address in Castlepollard,” Helen wrote.

Now owned by the state, she was led to the chapel nearby where an employee explained: “how things had worked in Castlepollard in the days of the nuns.”

Young women felt compelled to give up their babies to “wealthy Irish women and foreign people” or families simply wanting to provide a safe and loving home.

After hearing the hardship of women in this position, Helen completely understood when her own birth mother, Bridget, confessed that she never told a soul of her existence.

Bridget was too terrified to even consider meeting her grown daughter.

And Helen has some words to say about her mother's experience to not only Pope Francis but to those in attendance of his visit as well.

She dubbed the church’s acts “disgustingly shameful” and called for more than an apology: “I just wonder what good an apology from you is to the thousands of victims of the institution of the Catholic Church.”

Helen calls out Pope Francis for his €30 million, all-expenses-paid visit to Dublin and asks why the church, that she claims makes over €4 billion, cannot fund its own “publicity trip”.

The mum continues by shifting her focus to those who have obtained tickets to see the pope. She asks if the "half a million planning to attend" have forgotten about “the baby trafficking, the systemic demoralisation and shaming of women for doing something as natural as eating and breathing.

“Have they forgotten about the divide the behaviour and teachings of this church caused in our land, and most importantly, have the WOMEN attending this event, have they absolutely no soul at all.”

While Helen may be spot on naming the atrocious acts the Catholic Church has been accused of, not everyone agrees with her attack on the women planning to be present for his visit.

One commenter replied: “I do also believe Francis is a good man. Much has improved but more can be done including helping victims. The law must also step up to the mark in all of this.”

He argued that wanting to see the pope does not mean that people condone the church’s past actions.

Helen concluded her letter with a call to action, demanding that Pope Francis take action instead of merely apologising to the public.

“Why don’t you, Pope Francis, offer to fund counselling to the thousands and thousands of people who have been affected by the churches actions. We don’t need meaningless apologies [..]

“We need for you to help repair the damage done to the victims, and this is best done by counselling which can then hopefully help them to learn to forgive – both themselves and your church.”

Many have called Helen's bold letter a “nail on the absolute head” and “well said”.

Like Bridget, women and mums have been deeply affected by the horrific institutions and conditions for young girls during those times.

A few months ago in June, 230 Magdalene survivors travelled from all over the world for commemoration. The survivors were finally able to share their tragic experiences and start their process of healing as a community.

“We're being heard after all these years,” one woman said.

It is inspiring to see victims of clerical abuse, like those mentioned in Helen’s letter, band together, and start healing old wounds.

The pope’s visit has caused widespread controversy about the Catholic Church’s actions and its interwoven threads throughout the country’s past.

Helen’s words have moved many, contributing to heightened tension nationwide, especially as we wait to see how the public will react to Pope Francis’ arrival.



Pope Francis has issued an apology to victims of clerical sex abuse following remarks he made when questioned by a reporter in Chile last week.

When asked his opinion of Chilean bishop, Juan Barros, who is currently under suspicion of protecting a paedophile, Pope Francis refused to contribute to the discussion in any meaningful way.

“The day I see proof against Bishop Barros, then I will talk. There is not a single piece of evidence against him. It is all slander. Is that clear?" he asked the reporter.

The Pope's terse remarks were met with dismay and outrage from the public, who insisted his disregard showed contempt for those who have come forward with their own stories of clerical sex abuse.

Upon returning from his trip to Chile, Pope Francis told reporters in Rome on Sunday that he regretted the response he gave, and understood the pain it caused.

"I apologise to them if I hurt them without realising it, but it was a wound that I inflicted without meaning to," he tol the press.

“It pains me very much. I know how much abuse victims suffer in hearing the pope say to them ‘bring me a letter with the proof,’ I realise that it is a slap in their faces, and now I realise that my expression was an unfortunate one”.

Despite his apology, Pope Francis continues to defende Juan Barros.


Love was quite literally in the air this week when whe two air stewards had their marriage officiated by Pope Francis during a flight to Chile.

Paula Podest, 39, and Carlos Ciufardi, 41, who have been together for 10 years, were both working as flight attendants on the Catholic leader's plane when the idea struck.

The pair, who have two children together, have been civilly married since 2010 and had been planning to hold a religious ceremony.

However, their plans were halted after the church they had planned to marry in was damaged in a earthquake.

After explaining their circumstances, Pope Francis offered to officiate their marriage there and then – 36,000 feet above sea level.

“What he said to us is very important: ‘This is the sacrament the world needs, the sacrament of marriage’,” Ciufardi told reporters.

“Hopefully this will motivate couples around the world to get married.”

A photo released by The Vatican shows a handwritten document, signed by the Pope, validating the couple's marriage.

Twitter users were quick to congratulate the happy couple and commend Pope Francis for his kind act. 

Talk about taking love to new heights…



So Pope Francis has just made history yet again by being the first church leader to get an Instagram account. 

Welcome to the 21st Century, Francis!

The Pope officially joined Instagram today under the name Franciscus after meeting with the head of the social media app last year and announcing the move earlier this week. 

The popular Pope has already mastered the art of selfie-taking, so it's only natural that he make the mighty leap into photo-sharing himself. 

Francis is no stranger to social media however as he already has a Twitter account on which he announced his Instagram news. 

"I am beginning a new journey, on Instagram, to walk with you along the path of mercy and the tenderness of God," read the tweet. 

His first post is a snap of himself praying with the caption: "Pray for me."

Having only been set up today, the account has already amassed over 298 thousand followers at the time of writing. 

We really hope he gets into emojis at some point soon. 



We reckon 2016 could be Leonardo DiCaprio's year for the long-awaited Oscar win, now that he has the Pope putting in a good word for him with the man upstairs.

Okay, it's highly unlikely that the actor discussed his chances at the Academy Awards with Pope Francis when the pair met this week, but still, we can dream.

Leonardo had a 15-minute private audience with His Holiness at The Vatican yesterday, during which the pair reportedly chatted about environmental issues – and 15th century painters.

Turns out little Leo was a cultural know-it-all from an early age, as he revealed when giving the Pope a book of paintings by renowned Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch.

Pointing to Bosch's famous Garden Of Earthly Delights, Leo explained that it was "hanging over my crib as a young boy," and that nowadays it still inspires him.

Leo even brushed up on his Italian for the big meeting, thanking the Pope in Italy's native tongue. Of course, he may well already have had a few words in italiano, as the actor's father hails from Naples.

Meanwhile, Leo's latest film The Revenant has been doing a killing at the box office, taking in a whopping €200m in its first week.

And with a blessing from the Pope, we're sure there's more good luck to come.

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