Page last updated at 06:56 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Pope and Irish bishops abuse summit continues

Pope Benedict XVI
The Pope said he was "disturbed and distressed" by the Murphy report

Pope Benedict XVI and his senior officials are due to begin the second day of an extraordinary meeting with the 24 Irish bishops in the Vatican.

The Pope called the two-day meeting to discuss the bishops' response to 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.

The Murphy Commission laid bare a culture of concealment where Church leaders prioritised the protection of their own institution above that of vulnerable children in their care, and often failed to pass on details to the police.

The Pope has said he was "disturbed and distressed" by the report and shared the "outrage, betrayal and shame" felt by Irish people.

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