Thousands of people are set to gather in solidarity with victims of abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church at 2.30pm on Sunday, August 26 at the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square in Dublin.
Joining those standing for truth are artists including Hozier, Roisin O from Thanks Brother and Liam O’Maonlai who will perform on stage. The people gathered will then walk silently to Sean McDermott Street to the last remaining Magdalene Laundry in the possession of the people.
Stand4Truth is timed to coincide with Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland and is for everyone who has been harmed or abused by the institutional Roman Catholic Church, or who wishes to stand in solidarity with those harmed by its actions. There isn’t an Irish family on the island, or in the wider world, down through the generations that hasn’t been touched in some way by this harm.
The gathering will take place from 3pm - 4pm, with spoken word performances by theatre maker, Grace Dyas, poet Sarah Clancy and activist Colm O’Gorman. The crowd will then walk in silence from Parnell Square to the last Magdalene Laundry to close in Ireland, on Sean McDermott Street. They will be able to leave messages of support there, the focus of which will be a commissioned art piece by artist, Will St. Leger.
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This week, Pope Francis arrives in Ireland. His visit will be full of pageantry and symbolism. A visit that has deep meaning for many people of faith. But the Pope will arrive in a very different Ireland to the one Pope John Paul II visited in 1979. Decades of revelation and investigation, forced by the courageous action of those abused by the crimes and cover ups of the Roman Catholic Church, have transformed Ireland's relationship with the institutions of that church.
The Stand4Truth event presents an opportunity for people to come together and to stand in solidarity with those who have been abused, to acknowledge what their abuse has meant for us all, and in doing so to assert a powerful commitment to truth, justice and love.
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Speaking ahead of the event, organiser Colm O’Gorman said: “We cannot stand by as the scale of the harm caused to countless children, women and vulnerable adults is dismissed or diminished. We are better than that. We will not allow the victims of the church’s brutal history to be marginalised. We cannot stay silent as the Vatican uses its power and pomp to forcefully deny the reality of the harm it has done.”
“This week Pope Francis has begged for forgiveness, but it isn’t at all clear what he wants forgiveness for. At no point has Pope Francis or any of his predecessors admitted or taken any responsibility for the deliberate policy of cover-up by the Vatican across the global church. He seeks forgiveness for the pain of victims of abuse, for our pain, and names the need to root out abuse and cover-up, all of which is welcome. But once again, he has failed to name who is responsible for the cover-up. He needs to take responsibility for it as Pope, and as head of state of the Vatican City State.”
“The time when the Vatican could force the cover-up of its crimes is long past. The Vatican may continue to dodge the truth, to try to bury it in dense and meandering statements. But nevertheless, it is revealed. So we will stand for truth”.