Irish church hopes 2018 family meeting helps restore trust

Cardinal Raymond Burke once again has promised to "correct the situation" over what he believes to be confusion surrounding Pope Francis' controversial 2016 document on marriage and the family, Amoris Laetitia. And also: does the family continue to be good news for today's world?

You, dear Brother, along with your collaborators, have the task of translating in a special way the teaching of Amoris Laetitia, with which the Church wishes families always to be in step, in that inner pilgrimage that is the manifestation of authentic life.

"This is one of the poorest expressions of what the family is about", he explained adding that it was a "closed understanding" of family and forgets the "inter-generational dimensions".

Cardinal Farrell told reporters the theme of the 2018 World Families Meetings would be the Church's conception of married life between a man and a woman.

"We will speak to the issue of marriage as we understand marriage", he said "but that does not mean we don't take into consideration numerous other influences that exist in the world".

A year ago the archbishop said that Francis had told him "I will come" and "if I don't come, my successor will come".

Several months after Taoiseach Enda Kenny broke news of the intended visit, the Holy See confirmed plans are being made for the pontiff to travel.

A visit by the Pope Francis would be the first by the head of the Catholic Church since Pope John Paul II visited in 1979, a visit in which he visited the monastic site at Clonmacnoise, Co.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said: "It will be very different from an earlier visit, the only time a pope came to Ireland".

"Truly we are experiencing the results of the working of the Holy Spirit", the Pope said, "who overcomes every obstacle and turns conflicts into occasions for growth in communion".

In the years since John Paul II's trip, the Irish church has been humbled by the clerical sexual abuse crisis, and a country that is no longer dominated by a uniform Catholic culture.

Pope Francis also indicated that he would take into consideration a possible extension of the visit, perhaps to Northern Ireland.

He was unable to visit Northern Ireland and instead, amid widespread security fears and cross-community tensions, he travelled as far as Drogheda, just south of the border, and addressed hundreds of thousands, including many from north of the Irish border.

  • Joanne Flowers