"There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of Pope Benedict's feelings. His letter was powerful, reading as if it had been written from the heart. So it should have been. Nothing less would suffice. The word "abuse" does not begin to describe the miseries which some of those Irish children endured.
"Go back 50 years to rural Ireland. The past is another country? More like another world. The pace of life is as gentle as the regular showers of light rain, as unhurried as the immaculate pouring of a glass of Guinness - and everything seems as harmonious as that pint when it finally arrives. True, there is not much sign of energy. It is some years since the last person with any get-up-and-go got up and went. But there is always good craic to be had, sometimes on serious subjects. The tourist would be reminded that twelve hundred years ago, when Western Christianity was struggling to survive, some of the most successful struggles took place in the West of Ireland, where the monasteries were among the few points of light in the Dark Ages."