Ireland withdraws welcome mat?

Ireland's foreign minister scolded the the country's papal nuncio over Vatican complicity in the cover up and mishandling of clerical abuse in Ireland, as revealed in the Cloyne Report.

Now Irish media are reporting that the leader of Fine Gael, the largest political party in Ireland, is calling for the nuncio to be expelled and that Pope Benedict XVI's expected visit next summer was "likely to be shelved."

Read the full report here: Papal visit now looks doomed after Cloyne backlash hits Church.

The Vatican has never confirmed that Pope Benedict would be visitng Ireland next year -- it wouldn't until much closer to the trip -- but there has been much speculation that a papal visit was being planned. Sicne this spring, Irish media have been reporting that the pope would be the chief celebrant at an open air Mass to end the week-long International Eucharistic Congress next June.

The Irish church had hoped to use the 2012 Eucharistic Congress as a balm for hurting Irish Catholics. The following Catholic News story explains the church leaders hopes:

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Registration opens for 2012 International Eucharistic Congress

By Michael Kelly Catholic News Service

DUBLIN (CNS) -- Registration has officially opened for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in 2012, and organizers hope the event will help reinvigorate the Irish church.

Delegates from some 70 countries met June 1-3 to hear plans for the events that Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin described as a "vital element in the reform agenda of the Irish church."

Participants at the June 10-17, 2012, congress will hear reflections, catechesis and workshops from leading prelates and theologians. A day devoted to ecumenical communion through baptism will be led by Anglican Archbishop Michael Jackson of Dublin.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, will preside at a day dedicated to reconciliation. That session will also be addressed by Richard Moore, who was blinded by a British army rubber bullet in Northern Ireland in 1972. Moore subsequently tracked down the soldier who fired the round and established a friendship with him.

Other senior prelates who have so far been confirmed to lead events are Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga and the Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris.

Father Kevin Doran, secretary-general of the 2012 congress, said he expects around 25,000 people to participate in the catechesis and workshops and 80,000 to participate in the concluding Mass.

The theme for the congress is: "The Eucharist: Communion With Christ and With One Another."

To raise awareness about the event a congress bell has been taken to parishes and Catholic schools around Ireland. In each community the bell is rung as a sign of invitation to the Dublin event.

More information is available on the congress website, www.iec2012.ie.

The Irish church will host a national eucharistic congress at Knock shrine, in County Mayo, June 25-26.


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