VATICAN CITY, DEC. 7, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The director of the Vatican press office confirmed today that Benedict XVI will meet Friday with Irish prelates to discuss the abuse of children by clergy in the nation.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi confirmed that the Pope will meet with Cardinal Sean Brady, president of the Irish episcopal conference, and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin.
The spokesman said the Holy Father called the meeting “to be briefed and to evaluate the painful situation of the Church in Ireland following the recent publication of the Murphy Commission Report.”
Father Lombardi said directors of dicasteries that deal with these issues will also attend, as will Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, the apostolic nuncio to Ireland.
The report, which details abuse cases in the Dublin Archdiocese from 1975 to 2004 and the response of Church and state authorities to these accusations, was published Nov. 26 by an independent investigative commission.
Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick was the only active bishop named in the report for failing to deal properly with sexual abuse cases, and it called his handling of the investigations “inexcusable.”
In a statement read during Sunday Masses throughout the diocese, Bishop Murray affirmed that he is “is acutely aware of the pain and anguish that has been experienced and expressed in the last week.”
Amid speculation that the bishop would resign, the statement added that he is “reflecting on the decision that he now has to make and asks for your continued prayers especially over the coming week.”
“I know very many people are very angry with their church and their bishops at this time in Ireland, and rightly so,” Cardinal Brady told RTE over the weekend. “I know we have failed people and especially survivors of abuse, and that now is the time for action and accountability, and taking of responsibility for what has taken place.”
The investigation began three years ago, under the leadership of Justice Yvonne Murphy, a High Court judge from Dublin.
After its publication, Northern Ireland assembly members called for a similar inquiry.
The publication of this Dublin report comes several months after the May 20 release of the Ryan report, which detailed widespread child abuse in Catholic schools throughout the country.
The cardinal and archbishop also met with Benedict XVI regarding that report, in early June.
The Holy Father then called for a “deep examination” of the life of the Church in Ireland. Archbishop Martin affirmed that the Pontiff was “visibly upset” when he was presented by the prelates with the details contained in the Ryan report.