Cardinal Sean Brady, who has received criticism for hosting the International Eucharistic Congress because of the issues around clerical child abuse, claims the Catholic Church in Ireland was addressing those issues in a meaningful way by hosting the congress.

“I always felt if we got the opportunity to host the Congress we should take it because there is a grace and respect in itself for all of it,” said Cardinal Brady, according to the Irish Times.

“It has pressed us to address them in a meaningful way,” he said.

Thursday was the day of reconciliation for the Congress. Abuse survivors met with the papal legate in Lough Derg. Speaking on RTE radio's This Week program, Cardinal Brady said they had a liturgy of lament, a healing stone that will now go to Lough Derg.

He said that, "in the mass of reconciliation I referred to it and apologized once more."

Asked why he had taken so long to make a public personal apology to the two men who as boys were sworn to secrecy about being abused, he said, “I’ve many, many times apologised and I was specifically addressing various people …. and when people ask I’m certainly prepared to apologise and say I’m sorry."

Cardinal Brady added that he was “sorry for all my failings and faults of the past” and that the Church was trying “to see how we can best address the situation and be set free from it."

He described the International Eucharistic Congress as an occasion of "great joy" and said "people are here because they want to be here."

Primate of All Ireland Cardinal Sean BradyAP