Scroll To Top

Ireland's Gay Leader Blasts Catholic Church—in Front of Pope


While the pontiff looked on, Leo Varadkar highlighted the Church's abuses and highlighted how Ireland has embraced modernity.

In a Saturday speech referred to as "blistering" by The Guardian, Ireland's out prime minister, Leo Varadkar, highlighted the numerous scandals and abuses of the Catholic Church, as Pope Francis stood to his side.

The Dublin speech took place during the pontiff's first visit to Ireland in almost 40 years; he was there for the Church's World Meeting of Families. During Varadkar's speech, the prime minister repeatedly brought up the sexual abuse of children perpetuated by Catholic priests and made mention of a recent Pennsylvania grand jury report that detailed systemic clerical abuse.

Varadkar also spoke of the Church's forced adoptions of children from unwed mothers, a mass grave of infants recently found near a Catholic mother-and-baby home, and Ireland's Magdalene Laundries, where "fallen women" were housed and often subjected to horrors.

"I cannot fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the church charged with responsibility for their protection and education," Varadkar said.

The failure of ecclesiastical authorities -- bishops, religious superiors, priests and others -- adequately to address these repellent crimes has rightly given rise to outrage and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community. I myself share those sentiments."

Varadkar described "brutal crimes perpetrated by people within the Catholic church, and then obscured to protect the institution at the expense of innocent victims... stains on our state, our society and also the Catholic church. People kept in dark corners behind closed doors, cries for help that went unheard."

Varadkar also spoke of a changed Ireland; one where homosexuality and abortion were illegal during the last papal visit. Now, Ireland is led by a gay man and grants women the right to make their own reproductive decisions.

The Irish people understand "that marriages do not always work, that women should make their own decisions, and that families come in many different, wonderful forms, including those headed by a grandparent, lone parent or same-sex parents, or parents who are divorced."

As Ireland moves forward, "religion is no longer at the center of our society, but... it still has an important place," Varadkar said.

In attendance for the prime minister's speech were survivors of clerical abuse and Irish senator David Norris, a staunch LGBTQ advocate.

Pope Francis -- who has made several conflicting statements on LGBTQ rights, most recently saying same-sex couples are not families -- will meet with sexual abuse survivors during his brief Irish visit.

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Channel Promotion

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories