Irish victims of abuse by the Catholic Church say the Pope should apologise to them directly when he visits the country this weekend.
A man whose mother was locked up just because she had become pregnant says he has waited a lifetime for someone to admit it was wrong.
Delia Mulryan, one of 30,000 Irish women detained by the Catholic Church, spent 30 years of her life in a Magdalene Laundry.
Her son Peter, who grew up without getting to know his mother, said: “She had a baby out of wedlock. It’s as simple as that.
“And when you think about what the Church did itself to those little children when they got a chance, the way they treated them was horrible and they got away with it,” he added.
Delia Mulryan spent 30 years of her life locked up in a Magdalene Laundry
The Church has fallen from grace in Ireland, its once-powerful influence decimated by clerical abuse scandals – with nearly 9,000 reported cases.
“There’s generational trauma in this country that is the result of the collusion between the Catholic Church and the State,” explained Una Mullally, a journalist and broadcaster.
“The Catholic Church owe €1.3bn to the Irish State for redress with regards to abuse and for one of the richest organisations on earth to be dawdling over that is reprehensible,” she added.
When Pope John Paul II knelt to kiss the Irish soil in 1979, contraception, divorce, same-sex marriage and abortion were all still illegal.
But Nicola Mitchell, a Catholic youth minister based near the national shrine at Knock in County Mayo, says many people have misconceptions about the Church.
She explained: “The one we get most is, ‘Why does the Church hate gay people?’ The Church doesn’t hate gay people and I think that’s really important for the Church to put that message out there.
“We have to be all-inclusive. We have to welcome every single person.”
The number of Catholics has dropped from 95% in 1961 to 78% in the 2016 census but few attend mass regularly and the Church has decades of damage to repair.
Peter Mulryan was married with his own child before he found his mother. He’s still searching for his baby sister and suspects the Church sold her to a family in America.
“I want an apology from the Pope. I want to hear him loud and clear and to recognise that he understands what the Church has done to the citizens of this country, to the vulnerable people,” he said.
Pope Francis has begged forgiveness after admitting the Catholic Church let down children and “showed no care” to victims of sexual abuse by priests.