Pope Benedict XVI will oversee the second day of an “extraordinary meeting” with 24 Irish bishops in the Vatican to discuss a child sex abuse scandal in Ireland. “The bishops will assemble for Mass at the Vatican before resuming their meetings with Pope Benedict.
The session will end at lunchtime to allow the bishops to return to Ireland in time for Ash Wednesday services. During the two-day summit all the Irish bishops will have been given an opportunity to speak directly to Pope Benedict for seven minutes. Once the Pontiff has listened to what they have to say, he will write a pastoral letter to Irish Catholics addressing the future of the church in the wake of the abuse scandals, but it is not yet known when this will be published. Further details are expected when the Primate of All-reland Cardinal Sean Brady makes a public statement on Tuesday afternoon. In a report issued last year the Church admitted covering up abuse for decades. Four bishops criticised for failing to address concerns about abuse have already resigned. But victims say more must be done to restore public trust. Last year, a report was highly critical of the Dublin Archdiocese's handling of priests who were suspected sex abusers.”