The Latest: Plane carrying pope touches down in Ireland

Published 08-25-2018

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DUBLIN (AP) - The Latest on Pope Francis' trip to Ireland (all times local):

10:35 a.m.

Pope Francis has arrived in Ireland for the first papal visit to the country in almost four decades.

A plane carrying Francis and his entourage landed at Dublin International Airport on Saturday after a two-hour flight from Rome.

Hundreds of thousands are expected to welcome the pope, but there will also be demonstrations and vigils by survivors of clergy sex abuse in a country where attitudes on the Catholic Church are shifting. 

Irish Health Minister Simon Harris, who recently played a prominent role in the successful campaign to liberalize the country's strict abortion laws, said it would be a weekend of "mixed emotions."

Harris tweeted: "For many; excitement, for others; feelings of hurt....Whatever your perspective, let's hope for a weekend where reconciliation & healing can commence."

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7:45 a.m.

Pope Francis has departed for Ireland, the first papal visit to that traditionally Roman Catholic country since 1979.

As usual, Fran

Harris tweeted: "For many; excitement, for others; feelings of hurt....Whatever your perspective, let's hope for a weekend where reconciliation & healing can commence."

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7:45 a.m.

Pope Francis has departed for Ireland, the first papal visit to that traditionally Roman Catholic country since 1979.

As usual, Francis carried his black leather satchel himself as he climbed the stairs to board an Alitalia A320 on Saturday and greeted the flight crew.

The plane, which also carried his entourage, took off from Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport at 8:30 a.m. local time (0630 GMT.)

The pope's visit to Ireland risks being dominated by criticism over the Catholic Church hierarchy's handling of predator priests who sexually abused children.

The pope is scheduled to return to Rome late Sunday night.

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6:00 a.m.

Pope Francis is heading to Ireland as the Catholic Church faces a glo

7:45 a.m.

Pope Francis has departed for Ireland, the first papal visit to that traditionally Roman Catholic country since 1979.

As usual, Francis carried his black leather satchel himself as he climbed the stairs to board an Alitalia A320 on Saturday and greeted the flight crew.

The plane, which also carried his entourage, took off from Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport at 8:30 a.m. local time (0630 GMT.)

The pope's visit to Ireland risks being dominated by criticism over the Catholic Church hierarchy's handling of predator priests who sexually abused children.

The pope is scheduled to return to Rome late Sunday night.

___

6:00 a.m.

Pope Francis is heading to Ireland as the Catholic Church faces a global crisis for its systemic failures to protect children from clergy sex abuse or to punish bishops who hid the crimes.

Francis was expected to meet with abuse victims on Saturday as part of his 36-hour visit to Dublin, where the Vatican says he will have "many opportunities" to speak out about abuse.

His visit is the first by a pope to Ireland in 40 years and is aimed at showing the church understands the problems of ordinary Catholic families.

A Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families that opened on Tuesday ends Sunday in Dublin. More than 37,000 people - most of them young Catholics - signed up to attend the event, more than twice the number who did when the family rally was held in Philadelphia three years ago.

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Pope Francis boards an airplane at Rome's Fiumicino international airport, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) - The Associated Press


A gust of wind blows Pope Francis' cape as he boards an airplane at Rome's Fiumicino international airport, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) - The Associated Press


A gust of wind blows Pope Francis' cape as he boards an airplane at Rome's Fiumicino international airport, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) - The Associated Press


Pope Francis waves as he boards an airplane at Rome's Fiumicino international airport, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) - The Associated Press


Preparations in readiness for the closing mass for the World Meeting of Families event at Phoenix Park in Dublin Friday Aug. 24, 2018, which will be attended by Pope Francis as part of his two-day visit to Ireland. (Joe Giddens/PA via AP) - The Associated Press


A gust of wind blows Pope Francis' clock as he boards an airplane at Rome's Fiumicino international airport, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) - The Associated Press


Pope Francis boards an airplane at Rome's Fiumicino international airport, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) - The Associated Press


Rainbow flags and blue ribbons are tied to Ha'Penny Bridge, Dublin to remember the victims of Catholic Church clerical sex abuse, ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (Niall Carson/PA via AP) - The Associated Press


Blue ribbons are tied to Ha'Penny Bridge, Dublin to remember the victims of Catholic Church clerical sex abuse, ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (Aaron Chown//PA via AP) - The Associated Press


Blue ribbons are tied to Ha'Penny Bridge, Dublin to remember the victims of Catholic Church clerical sex abuse, ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. The pontiff is traveling to Ireland for a two-day visit on the occasion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families. (Aaron Chown//PA via AP) - The Associated Press


An image of Pope Francis is displayed in the window of the Veritas religious bookshop in Dublin, Ireland, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. Pope Francis arrives on Saturday for a two-day visit to Ireland. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) - The Associated Press


People walk across the main corridor of the viewing area for the closing mass for the World Meeting of Families event at Phoenix Park in Dublin Friday Aug. 24, 2018, which will be attended by Pope Francis as part of his two-day visit to Ireland. (Joe Giddens/PA via AP) - The Associated Press


A passerby looks at an art installation by Mannix Flynn protesting the Pope's visit in Dublin, Ireland, Thursday, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. When St. John Paul II visited Ireland in 1979, the Catholic Church wielded such power that homosexuality, divorce, abortion and contraception were barely spoken of, much less condoned. Catholic bishops had advised the authors of Ireland's constitution, and still held sway. Today, as Pope Francis prepares to visit, the Catholic Church enjoys no such influence. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) - The Associated Press