Next steps after the papal visit

Next steps after the papal visit

Now that the dust is starting to settle after the World Meeting of Families and the papal visit, readers of The Irish Catholic may be wondering – especially readers who missed the WMOF pastoral congress or various papal events – how they can build on 2018’s unique highlights for the Irish Church.

A useful starting point, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the Vatican’s own website. Readers who visit can choose an English option – the choices are at the top right hand corner of the page – and then either scroll through the ‘News’ section to the various Irish events, or perhaps more usefully, go to the ‘Travels’ tag.

The ‘2018’ section of the tag includes a section headed ‘Apostolic voyages outside Italy’, wherein readers can carry through to a page devoted to the Pope’s visit for WMOF2018,  featuring videos and transcripts of Pope Francis’ Dublin Castle address, his meeting with married and engaged couples in the pro cathedral, his visit to the Capuchin Day Centre, the Festival of Families, his brief pilgrimage to Knock, Mass in the Phoenix Park, the meeting with the bishops, and the in-flight press conference on the way back to Rome.

The speeches, already reported on by The Irish Catholic, are well worth poring over and reflecting on at leisure.

As for WMOF2018 itself, a fascinating record of the meeting has been appearing piecemeal online.

Panels and speeches can be viewed at, as one might expect, and Irish readers especially might like to look at to read the text of Mrs Collins’ presentation on safeguarding and what she believes the Church ought to do to keep children and vulnerable adults safe and to bring justice to survivors.


Further afield, Shalom World TV has been posting a series of WMOF2018 videos on, with presentations by Los Angeles’s Bishop Robert Barron’s address and Manila’s Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle being just two of the treats there that are well worth an hour of anyone’s time.

Other sites have posted texts of addresses, including surely the most controversial part of WMOF2018: the address Fr James Martin SJ gave to a packed and mostly appreciative hall on ‘How parishes can welcome LGBT Catholics’. Those who wonder what exactly Fr Martin said need look no further than where the entirety of Fr Martin’s speech can be read.


The Catholic internet is currently awash with commentary about the allegations of the former US papal nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who has accused the Pope of lifting sanctions Pope Benedict had imposed on the disgraced abusive former cardinal Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, and of making him a trusted adviser and confidante.

Analysis of Archbishop Viganò’s claims can be found elsewhere in this  week’s paper, but those who are finding it hard to hold on to their Faith in the face of the McCarrick and Pennsylvania revelations, along with the archbishop’s claims, might do well to turn to the aforementioned Bishop Barron, whose video ‘Why remain Catholic (with so much scandal)?’ can be viewed on Facebook or through the bishop’s website.

The latter site also hosts an interesting and helpful Q-and-A with the bishop about the three aspects of the abuse crisis that have filled headlines of late, and struggling readers might gain from turning there.

The American blogger Meg Hunter-Kilmer, who blogs at has also developed a Novena for Catholics grappling with the horror and enormity of the abuse crisis, which it seems many in North America  had believed almost a thing of the past. The ‘Novena of saints for a Church in crisis’ features prayers to saints as varied as Our Lady, Blessed Laura Vicuña, and Blessed Thaddeus McCarthy. If some of the saints on the Novena are unfamiliar to us, that just shows how unaware we are of the depth and diversity of strength there for us in the Church’s great cloud of witnesses.

There are ways through the darkness, after all, and Ms Hunter-Kilmer has done us a service in reminding us of some very strange paths to the light.