Page last updated at 08:37 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Pope to meet Irish bishops over abuse reports

Pope Benedict
The Pope was said to be 'visibly upset'

Pope Benedict has summoned Ireland's Catholic bishops to discuss the consequences of the church's cover-ups of clerical sexual abuse.

It is planned to hold a day-and-a-half of meetings on the Ryan and Murphy reports.

On Tuesday night, senior church sources confirmed a story in the Irish Catholic newspaper of plans for the talks scheduled for 15 and 16 February.

It is understood the bishops received their invitations on Tuesday.

A prelate, who wished to remain anonymous, told RTE news Pope Benedict would speak to them on the opening day of their visit.

He said the bishops would be given an opportunity to tell the Pontiff what they thought.

The reminder of the trip would the be taken up by meetings with some of the Vatican's most senior officials responsible for areas such as doctrine and the faith.

In June, Pope Benedict was said to be "visibly upset" when he heard details of the Ryan report on abuse in institutions run by religious orders in Ireland.

That was according to Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, who met the Pope along with Catholic Primate Sean Brady at the Vatican.


The Ryan report found church leaders knew that sexual abuse was "endemic" in boys' institutions.

It also found physical and emotional abuse and neglect were features of institutions.

Schools were run "in a severe, regimented manner that imposed unreasonable and oppressive discipline on children and even on staff".

The nine-year inquiry investigated a 60-year period.

The Vatican also said it was ashamed by the findings of the Murphy report into clerical abuse in the Dublin diocese also published in 2009.

It looked at cases of abuse over a 30-year period and revealed that decades of abuse was concealed by the church in Dublin in an attempt to save its reputation.

It said some senior police officers colluded in the cover-up.

Several bishops criticised in the report have since resigned.

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