Mitchelstown Parish Church. (Picture: Declan Howard Photography)

An article on this week’s Mitchelstown Parish and Community Newsletter raised the hackles of some locals after its message appeared to contradict that of Pope Francis who acknowledged during his visit to Ireland, the grave scandal’ caused by the abuse of young people by members of the church charged with responsibility for their protection.

The newsletter included an article from Bill Donoghue titled, ‘Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on Clergy sex abuse debunked’ and was aimed at differentiating between myth and fact, the recent American media coverage on the report.

According to one local man who was in Dublin to see the Pope in Croke Park, he and his family had a great night and were ‘delighted’ to see the Pope up close.

He told The Avondhu that he and the kids even commented that they were looking forward to going to Mass on Sunday because they were so happy with what the Pope had to say in his message.

“So, we then arrived to Mass in Mitchelstown on Sunday morning, only to find this message on the weekly newsletter, we were shocked at what it said and cannot believe our priests in the parish think this. It completely goes against what Pope Francis has spoken about this weekend. Our feeling is of complete disbelief. We feel so let down.”

Canon Michael Fitzgerald said that while he accepts the timing of the newsletter was wrong, ‘people need to see the full picture’.

“The last thing in the world I want to do is to offend anybody but it’s important to bring balance to recent articles. I would expect a mature readership to understand the message.”

Canon Fitzgerald added that in Mitchelstown, they have a very active child protection policy with a full-time protection officer, ‘but none of the good work ever seems to get a mention’.