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Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis “begged for God’s forgiveness” on Sunday for multiple abuse scandals within the Irish church but faced accusations by a former Vatican official that he had personally ignored allegations against senior clergy.

In front of 45,000 supporters at the rain-soaked Knock shrine in the west of Ireland, the pope sought forgiveness over the “open wound” of the church’s sexual abuse scandal and demanded “firm and decisive” measures to find “truth and justice”.

At a later Mass to tens of thousands of flag-waving worshippers at Dublin’s Phoenix Park, the showpiece event of the two-day visit to the former Catholic stronghold, he also confessed to other abuses by the Irish church, including at its so-called “mother and baby” homes.

But in the city center around 5,000 abuse victims and their supporters braved the weather to attend the “Stand for Truth” rally. (AFP)

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Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis leads the Holy Mass at Phoenix Park in Dublin on Aug. 26, 2018, during his visit to Ireland to attend the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

An aerial view of the crowd at Phoenix Park in Dublin before Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass at the World Meeting of Families, as part of his visit to Ireland, Sunday Aug. 26, 2018. (Photo: Liam McBurney/PA via AP)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Phoenix Park in Dublin, Ireland, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (Photo: Gregorio Borgia/AP)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis arrives to lead the World Meeting of Families closing mass in Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 26, 2018. (Photo: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Members of the public attend the closing mass at the World Meeting of Families with Pope Francis on Aug. 28, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis waves to the faithfull as he arrives to lead the Holy Mass at Phoenix Park in Dublin on Aug. 26, 2018, during his visit to Ireland to attend the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis arrives to lead the World Meeting of Families closing mass in Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 26, 2018. (Photo: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

People hold placards as they take part in a protest during the visit of Pope Francis to Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 26, 2018. (Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis leads the Angelus at the Knock Shrine in Knock, Ireland, Aug. 26, 2018. (Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

A vigil takes place at the site of the mass grave which contained the remains of 796 named babies from the Bon Secours Mother and Baby home on August 26, 2018 in Tuam, Ireland. The vigil coincides with the Phoenix park mass which is taking place in Dublin held by Pope Francis. Excavations at the site in 2017 revealed underground structures which held babies bodies with ages ranging from 35 weeks to three years old with most of the dead buried in the 1950s when the facility was run by the Bon Secours Sisters, a Catholic religious order of nuns who received unmarried pregnant women to give birth. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

A vigil takes place at the site of the mass grave which contained the remains of 796 named babies from the Bon Secours Mother and Baby home on August 26, 2018 in Tuam, Ireland. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis speaks during the Festival of Families at Croke Park during his visit to Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis waves as he attends the Festival of Families at Croke Park during his visit to Dublin, Ireland, Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis attends the Festival of Families at Croke Park during his visit to Dublin, Ireland, Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis visits the Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless People in Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Vatican Media/Handout via Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

People wave flags as Pope Francis’ airplane lands at Knock’s airport, Ireland, where he will visit the Knock Shrine and recite an angelus prayer, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (Photo: Yui Mok/PA via AP)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis greets the public as he travels through the city in the popemobile on Aug. 25, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis passes by a banner of a protester as he leaves after visiting St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (Photo: Matt Dunham/AP)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

George Olsag, age 11, from the Czech Republic, holds a sign before Pope Francis addresses the Festival of Families at Croke Park in Dublin, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis waves as he is driven through the streets of Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Crowds wait on College Green, Dublin, for Pope Francis to arrive in the popemobile during his visit to Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Joe Giddens/PA via AP)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis waves to the waiting crowds on Christchurch, Dublin, as he travels in the popemobile during his visit to Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Brian Lawless/PA via AP)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis laughs as he leaves St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral during his visit to Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Hannah McKay/Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis prays in front of a candle lit to remember victims of abuse by the church, inside St Mary’s Pro Cathedral during his visit to Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis, center, is accompanied by Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, right, as they arrive to meet authorities in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Gregorio Borgia/AP)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis speaks with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin Castle on Aug. 25, 2018, during his visit to Ireland to attend the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis walks along with Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his wife, Sabina, during a visit to Aras an Uachtarain in Phoenix Park, Dublin, as part of his visit to Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: WMOF18/Maxwell Photography/PA Wire via AP)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Protesters call for redress for victims of Catholic Church clerical sex abuses during a protest they held during Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland, in Dublin, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Aaron Chown//PA via AP)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis poses next to Ireland’s president, Michael Higgins, and his wife, Sabina Coyne, during his visit to Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis is welcomed by Ireland’s president, Michael Higgins, and his wife, Sabina Coyne, during his visit in Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis arrives at the presidential residence during his visit in Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Baby shoes hang from the railings on Sean McDermott Street in Dublin in memory of the children who died at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, County Galway, during the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Brian Lawless/PA via AP)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis, framed by the window of a car, arrives at Dublin International Airport, Ireland,, Aug. 25, 2018. Pope Francis is on a two-day visit to Ireland. (Photo: Gregorio Borgia/AP)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis arrives at Dublin International Airport at the start of his two-day visit to Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

LGBT protestors from Dublin Pride and We Are Church with flags and umbrellas stand on Ha’Penny Bridge, Dublin, to remember the victims of clerical sex abuse ahead of the start of the visit to Ireland by Pope Francis, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Niall Carson/PA via AP)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Members of the clergy wait to greet Pope Francis at Dublin International Airport at the start of his two-day visit to Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Pope Francis arrives in Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo: Vatican Media/Handout via Reuters)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Protestors wearing baby shoes, to signify the children who died in mother-and-baby homes in Ireland, protest in Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018, ahead of the start of the visit to Ireland by Pope Francis. (Photo: Aaron Chown/PA via AP)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

A recently unveiled waxwork of Pope Francis is carried from the National Wax Museum to be put on a refurbished 1979 popemobile in Dublin, Ireland, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. (Photo: Matt Dunham/AP)

Pope Francis makes historic visit to Ireland

Projections in support of victims of clerical abuse are seen on the facade of the General Post Office as part of a protest ahead of a visit by Pope Francis, in Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 24, 2018. (Photo: Hannah McKay/Reuters)

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