As many continue to criticize Pope Francis for his general silence regarding the explosive sexual abuse scandal and apparent cover-up within the Catholic Church, the pontiff seemed eager to chat with rockstar Bono earlier this week, despite the fact that the U2 frontman recently spent weeks campaigning for abortion in Ireland.
The two met for a half hour on Wednesday to make plans for Bono’s organization, “ONE,” an advocacy group attempting to end extreme poverty, to partner with “Scholas Occurrentes” a papal group that connects schools on a worldwide scale.
It was an atypical Wednesday for #PopeFrancis. The pope met with @U2 frontman #Bono. This was Bono's second papal meeting. He met with St. John Paul II in 1999. https://t.co/Ad57alxRDX #Catholic pic.twitter.com/hanZq0yeeg
— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) September 19, 2018
The two did not talk about Bono’s recent efforts to repeal Ireland’s since-overturned Eighth Amendment, which protected the unborn from abortion. Instead, he told reporters they “let the conversation go where it wanted to go” and that the pope was “incredibly gracious with his time, his concentration.”
“Having just come from Ireland, inevitably, we talked about his [being] aghast about what has happened in the Church,” Bono said, referring not to the landmark abortion vote, but to the explosion of exposed abuse within the Catholic Church.
“I explained to him how it looks to some people that the abusers are being more protected than the victims and you could see the pain in his face,” Bono said, according to the Catholic News Agency. “I felt he was sincere and I think he is an extraordinary man for extraordinary times.”
For centuries, the Catholic Church has enjoyed a celebrated and respected status in Ireland, and most within the country align with the faith. But the mounting cases of sexual abuse scandals in recent years have negatively affected the way the Church is perceived. In the last three years, the people of Ireland have voted to approve abortion and gay marriage, in direct contradiction of Catholic teaching.
Bono told reporters following his meeting with Pope Francis that the two discussed developmental issues like global warming and capitalism.
“We have to re-think the wild beast that is capitalism. Although it is not immoral, it is amoral and it requires our instruction and he [the pope] is very keen on that,” he said.
This was not Bono’s first papal meeting, as he previously met with St. John Paul II in 1999, according to CNA.
Back in May, Bono and his U2 bandmates joined other Irish celebrities in urging their fans to “Repeal the 8th” and vote to legalize abortion during the May 25 referendum.
Their campaigning paid off. The eighth amendment was repealed, and the ban was officially lifted this week.