Pope sad at Cork suicides

Pope sad at Cork suicides

Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley, with Pope Francis in Rome.

POPE Francis was told of the homelessness and suicide crisis in Cork at a recent meeting with Bishop John Buckley.

Bishop Buckley spent twelve days in Rome recently, including a two-hour meeting with Pope Francis, at which he said matters such as the refugee crisis and the drop in vocations were also discussed.

The Bishop of Cork and Ross was one of 30 Irish bishops and diocesan administrators to meet with the Pope.

He used the opportunity to ask about the issue of deaths by suicide in Cork.

"I told Pope Francis of the terrible sadness of suicide in our community and that it is a common cause of death in young people," he said.

"He told us that there are a number of causes, like unemployment and other factors, but that it shows the importance of the home, love and care, and family."

Bishop Buckley said he hopes that people in schools can offer support to young people in need and be aware of distress.

He commended the work of Pieta House in Cork. The mental health support service has dealt with 2500 people since it opened in Cork three years ago.

"They are a very important and caring service," he added.

The issue of homelessness in Cork and abroad was also discussed, according to Bishop Buckley.

"There is no moral justification for homelessness," he said.

Bishop Buckley added: "The increased threat of the loss of life highlights our own failures in this regard. Pope Francis is aware of the issues we are facing."

In terms of solutions, Bishop Buckley said it is a matter of investing in social housing.

"Long-term investment in social housing is the answer.

"The church in Cork wouldn't have the property to house people in need."

Overall, the Bishop of Cork and Ross said the visit to Rome was 'very productive.'

The Irish bishops met representatives from other congregations and got an appreciation of 'the worldwide view and personal insight' or Pope Francis, he said.

"The issue of the refugee crisis and our response was also discussed.

In Ireland, we are characteristically welcoming and this will be important in taking a positive stance," Bishop Buckley said.

He continued, "The shortages of vocations in our communities was also discussed. Worldwide, there are more semanarians in the world than ever before - 417,000."

"But Pope Francis asked us to pray for more encouragement and engagement in the communities because the priest will be missed when he is gone."

Bishop Buckley said he will pray for the Pope to come to Cork on his visit to Ireland next year.

The Pope is expected to attend the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in 2018.

Bishop Buckley said, "The Pope would be very welcome in Cork. I don't know if a visit would possible. He is over 80 years of age and it is a short visit.

"If he comes - and he hasn't said it himself yet - he would be welcome in Cork. We would be delighted."

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