With the Papal visit this weekend, it is evident that this event has garnered much attention throughout the country. Ultimately, this visit means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For many people of faith, it is a positive event that the Head of the Catholic Church will be visiting our fair Ireland for the first time since the last Papal visit almost 40 years ago. Both Dublin and Knock are very much prepared for the vast number of devout followers that intend to share an audience with Pope Francis.
However, equal numbers have been asking for acknowledgement and respect to the many victims of some of the atrocities carried out under the name of the Catholic Church, from the Magdalene Laundries to forced adoptions, from Tuam to cases of the covering up and denial of clerical sex abuse. This dichotomy has the country once again split and as a result a number of alternative events have sprung up across the country. Some may appear to be militant while others wish to pay the respect to the victims of the abuse.
Athlone is set to hold a deeply respective event, not so much in opposition to the Papal visit but one that will pay tribute to those who have all too often been forgotten, neglected and in some cases denigrated because of their crusade for truth. This event will be run in tandem with the ‘Standing for Truth’ event that is being held at 3pm in the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin. Details will be confirmed closer to the event.
The event is promised to be a solemn one. With that in mind, Athlone organiser, John Madden said, “this is not a protest, it is a respectful gathering, akin to a vigil. At the end of the day, the Papal visit will largely ignore the need to honestly acknowledge and respond to the very grave harm caused to many people by the actions and feelings of the institutes of the Roman Catholic Church. Grave harm has reverberated across generations and that touches everybody in Ireland in some way. We cannot stand by as those who suffered abuse and violation are brushed to the side and denied. We are better than that”.
“Everybody is welcome to join us on Sunday, it is our intention to stand in solidarity, for truth, for justice and for love. Expressions of ‘sorrow and shame’ are simply not good enough anymore, it is 2018. We are a different Ireland than 1979”.
The event has been circulating on Social Media, and if you’d like to find it online for more up to date details, check out ‘Stand for Truth, Athlone’.