Page last updated at 03:49 GMT, Friday, 22 January 2010

Irish bishops meeting over sex abuse report

A stone cross
The report led to the resignation of four Irish bishops

Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland are to meet to discuss the fallout of a report over the Church's failure to address sex abuse allegations.

The report was published in November and led to the resignation of four bishops in six weeks.

The Murphy report into abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese from 1975 to 2004 was highly critical of the handling of priests who were suspected abusers.

The Pope is preparing a special letter to Irish Catholics.

This meeting of those bishops who do remain in office will focus on how the Church rebuilds public trust.

The Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, known as the Murphy report, laid bare a culture of concealment where Church leaders prioritised the protection of their own institution above that of vulnerable children in their care.

Pope's 'outrage'

Instead, paedophile priests were moved from parish to parish, free to repeat their actions on new victims.

Of five bishops named in that report, only the Bishop of Galway, Martin Drennan is still in office, despite calls for his resignation from victims of abuse.

Immediately after the report's publication, the Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, said he was "deeply sorry and ashamed" at the abuse of children described in the report.

Pope Benedict has also summoned Irish bishops to Rome next month for a series of meetings on the issue.

He previously said he shared the "outrage, betrayal and shame" felt by Irish people.

In a statement, issued after he met Irish church leaders in December, the Pope was said to be "disturbed and distressed".

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