Pope star: Nuns perform Mexican wave as 82,000 watch Francis at packed Croke Park for music festival… and LOTS of Irish dancing
- Pope Francis acknowledged the ‘grave scandal’ of sex abuse while Ireland’s PM told him to ‘listen to victims’
- The 81-year-old touched down in Dublin and met the President this morning at the start of his two-day visit
- Pope John Paul II was the last pontiff to go to Ireland but since then the country has embraced LGBT right
Pope Francis has been greeted by enthusiastic nuns hoisting papal flags and performing Mexican waves among an 82,500-strong crowd at tonight’s Festival of Families celebration in Dublin.
After spending 90 minutes speaking with eight Irish survivors of clerical, religious and institutional abuse during the first papal visit to Ireland since 1979, the pope arrived at Croke Park Stadium, flanked by burly bodyguards.
The two-hour-long festival is choreographed as a celebration of family life, featuring music, song, dance, and spoken word.
The evening includes a performance of Riverdance by 500 children from dance schools around Ireland, and entertainment from local and international artists – joined by an orchestra of more than 50 musicians – including Andrea Bocelli.
It rounds off the pope’s first day in Ireland, which has seen him speak of his ‘pain and shame’ at the ‘grave scandal’ of clerical sex abuse amid protests over the Catholic Church scandal – as thousands of admirers crowded the streets of Dublin to wave and watch him go by in his custom-made Popemobile.