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    Pope Francis waves to faithful as he leaves at the end of his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

    Nope, Pope: Irish Group Calls for Pontiff to Face Empty Seats at Public Mass

    © AP Photo / Riccardo De Luca
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    The Catholic Church has seen severe public backlash after hundreds of cases of rape and molestation of minors by priests in the US recently surfaced. Though the pontiff has called for the church to "acknowledge and condemn" its history of sexual misconduct, many Irish citizens are saying the country should snub the pope on his coming visit.

    Several Irish citizens have organized a protest campaign, "Say Nope to the Pope," against Pope Francis's visit to Ireland. The campaign suggests participants claim as many of the the free, government-sponsored tickets for Francis' public mass in the country and then not show up, letting the empty seats serve as a peaceful protest.

    The organizers explain that although not all Irish taxpayers are Catholic, the state still uses taxpayers' money to give all citizens free tickets. Since they're paying for the tickets, organizers say, taxpayers ought to claim them. "The taxpayer was funding this visit regardless of their faith, and that was the icing on the cake for many," Michael Stewart, one of the organizers, said.

    READ MORE: Pope Condemns Clergy of Child Sex Abuse Amid US Reports of Decades-Long Felonies

    The latest revelations about misconduct by priests and large-scale coverups by the church are also good reason to boycott the event, Say Nope to the Pope organizers say.

    Pope Francis has condemned the misconduct by US priests and urged parishes to acknowledge the crimes instead of covering them up.


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