“Say Nope to the Pope” - silent protest in Ireland

 
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24 August 2018 11:52
 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/23/ireland-catholic-church-protesters-pope-mass-tickets-protest

When free tickets for the mass to be celebrated by Pope Francis in Phoenix Park in Dublin were advertised, Mary Coll applied for two – one in her name and the other in the name of her birth mother, who gave her up for adoption in 1962.

But Coll will not be using the tickets. “This is my protest, not to go,” she said. Instead, she will drive from her home in Limerick to Tuam, where a vigil will be held at the site of a mass grave discovered last year at a former Catholic church mother-and-baby home. It contained the remains of up to 800 infants.

Coll got the idea of applying but not using tickets for the mass on Sunday from Say Nope to the Pope, a campaign of “silent and peaceful protest” against his visit. The group’s Facebook page has about 9,000 supporters.

It is a bad sign for the Catholic church when the Irish turn their backs to the pope.

 
Ola
 
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Ola
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29 August 2018 08:09
 

Phoenix Park had catered for half a million+ people to turn up to hear the pope say mass. There was a mortuary there to receive the expected handful that would pop their clogs during it. There was merchandise aplenty all around town which vendors couldn’t give away. In the final reckoning, estimates of between 130000 to 200000 attendance were bandied about. Caterers said they’d had enough sandwiches for a full event which means a couple of hundred thousand were put in the skips at 7pm - small scandal of its own.

Of course it rained until lunchtime, the continuous downpour type, and many were quick to point that out as a possible factor, and I’m sure it was, but surely not for 200000 people. The rain was a deciding factor for me. I hadn’t booked to see the pope, I’d already decided to stand in solidarity in Dublin with the victims of clerical abuse. The night before I’d seen on social media the impactful scene of major landmarks in Dublin lit up by the slogan #Stand4Truth & by the faces of some of our most courageous whistleblower victims of abuse. The stand for truth event had been arranged by Colm O’Gormon “on impulse” just a fortnight before, I expected it to be small but meaningful. As the word spread and singers, writers, performers all offered their services, I realised it wouldn’t be a hundred or 200 people, it would be a thousand. Maybe I won’t go, I thought, it seems plenty will. But the rain made up my mind it would be poorly attended after all. I’d go.

There were a number of other protests I passed on the way to Parnell Sq. At the GPO, a hundred or more people stood with banners, speaking about separation of state and church, nope to the pope, atheists are us. Women at the Magdalene Laundry were marking the workhouse where pregnant girls, their relatives, were sent to be cared for but now we know they received only cruelty, it was a secret prison for them and their babies. Little baby shoes were tied to the railings.

At Parnell Sq a few hundred were gathered around the stage, a lot of press taking photos and interviews before the event started. Ten minutes until it began, I’d only just got there in time, I thought, late because I’d sheltered from the rain when I got off the train, but the rain had stopped now, and then suddenly the people came, streamed, maybe from other protests, maybe they’d also been sheltering, but they streamed, it wasn’t hundreds, it was a 1000 or 2000, in raincoats, with umbrellas, because pfft! rain doesn’t scare the Irish.

The speeches and music went on for an unexpected hour and a half. Some uplifting, some emotionally draining, some angry, but all positive. Ireland has changed, we said. Love! Truth! Justice! - our demands. We sang Imagine together, and We Shall Overcome, that was a bit cheesy I guess, but we were all right in the mood by then. Everyone was kind to each other, the crowd smiled at each other, made way for each other, supported each other. We’d gone full on christian-love-hippy. The irony.

Then we were asked to be silent, and to walk silently the 15 minutes to the last ever Magdalene Laundry in Ireland, it only closed in ’96. A silent march - along the same roads the Pope had driven the day before in his popemobile, but he hadn’t visited the laundry - we walked to honour the women and babies the church had condemned, tortured, and now still ignored.

You could hear a pin drop. It took us three quarters of an hour to get there in our full numbers, the bystanders even stood in silence, the buses waiting to get by waited patiently, the city paid its respects in a way the church never has.

 
EN
 
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EN
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29 August 2018 08:29
 

Very disappointing that Francis apparently fostered the cover-up of sexual abuses.  I had hoped that he would bring needed change, but this is going in the opposite direction.

[ Edited: 29 August 2018 11:58 by EN]
 
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29 August 2018 09:25
 
EN - 29 August 2018 08:29 AM

Very disappointing that Francis apparently fostered the cover-up of sexual abuses.  I had hope that he would bring needed change, but this is going in the opposite direction.

The pope is an example of what I was trying to get at in the “cork” thread. Francis has lots of positive qualities, and I’m guessing that he’ll end up significantly reforming his morally worn-out organization. But his religious understanding, dedication, passion, or obsession—however it’s labelled—warps some of his judgement on important matters. It blinds him in significant ways.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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29 August 2018 10:01
 
Ola - 29 August 2018 08:09 AM

Phoenix Park had catered for half a million+ people to turn up to hear the pope say mass. There was a mortuary there to receive the expected handful that would pop their clogs during it. There was merchandise aplenty all around town which vendors couldn’t give away. In the final reckoning, estimates of between 130000 to 200000 attendance were bandied about. Caterers said they’d had enough sandwiches for a full event which means a couple of hundred thousand were put in the skips at 7pm - small scandal of its own.

Of course it rained until lunchtime, the continuous downpour type, and many were quick to point that out as a possible factor, and I’m sure it was, but surely not for 200000 people. The rain was a deciding factor for me. I hadn’t booked to see the pope, I’d already decided to stand in solidarity in Dublin with the victims of clerical abuse. The night before I’d seen on social media the impactful scene of major landmarks in Dublin lit up by the slogan #Stand4Truth & by the faces of some of our most courageous whistleblower victims of abuse. The stand for truth event had been arranged by Colm O’Gormon “on impulse” just a fortnight before, I expected it to be small but meaningful. As the word spread and singers, writers, performers all offered their services, I realised it wouldn’t be a hundred or 200 people, it would be a thousand. Maybe I won’t go, I thought, it seems plenty will. But the rain made up my mind it would be poorly attended after all. I’d go.

There were a number of other protests I passed on the way to Parnell Sq. At the GPO, a hundred or more people stood with banners, speaking about separation of state and church, nope to the pope, atheists are us. Women at the Magdalene Laundry were marking the workhouse where pregnant girls, their relatives, were sent to be cared for but now we know they received only cruelty, it was a secret prison for them and their babies. Little baby shoes were tied to the railings.

At Parnell Sq a few hundred were gathered around the stage, a lot of press taking photos and interviews before the event started. Ten minutes until it began, I’d only just got there in time, I thought, late because I’d sheltered from the rain when I got off the train, but the rain had stopped now, and then suddenly the people came, streamed, maybe from other protests, maybe they’d also been sheltering, but they streamed, it wasn’t hundreds, it was a 1000 or 2000, in raincoats, with umbrellas, because pfft! rain doesn’t scare the Irish.

The speeches and music went on for an unexpected hour and a half. Some uplifting, some emotionally draining, some angry, but all positive. Ireland has changed, we said. Love! Truth! Justice! - our demands. We sang Imagine together, and We Shall Overcome, that was a bit cheesy I guess, but we were all right in the mood by then. Everyone was kind to each other, the crowd smiled at each other, made way for each other, supported each other. We’d gone full on christian-love-hippy. The irony.

Then we were asked to be silent, and to walk silently the 15 minutes to the last ever Magdalene Laundry in Ireland, it only closed in ’96. A silent march - along the same roads the Pope had driven the day before in his popemobile, but he hadn’t visited the laundry - we walked to honour the women and babies the church had condemned, tortured, and now still ignored.

You could hear a pin drop. It took us three quarters of an hour to get there in our full numbers, the bystanders even stood in silence, the buses waiting to get by waited patiently, the city paid its respects in a way the church never has.

Thank you for sharing this experience, Ola.

Regardless of the actions or qualities of this particular pope, the Irish people (and others) are saying ‘NO’ to church abuses and hypocrisy, and taking from them their power to cause future harm.  I feel that the compassion and love of sympathetic people will bring about more healing to those still suffering than anything the pope could ever say or do, which could only ever be ‘too little, too late’.

 

 
 
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29 August 2018 10:16
 

Thanks for the report, Ola.  It is good to hear the Irish are taking control of their fate from an opaque and secretive institution which has held too much sway for too long.  It is time to open up to new voices.