The apostolic nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, met Pope Francis at the Vatican yesterday.
The New York-born papal diplomat is expected to have updated the Pope on the Church in Ireland, briefing him on the ongoing process of renewal following the clerical sex abuse crisis.
Benedict XVI instigated an apostolic visitation to the country which concluded in 2012. It followed arguably the worst single crisis ever suffered by the Church in Ireland.
Since being appointed to Dublin two years ago, the Irish Independent reports that the American archbishop has overseen eight new appointments to the Irish hierarchy, the most recent being the new bishop of Elphin, Dr Kevin Doran, who was ordained earlier this month.
As well as discussing steps taken on preventing and handling clerical sex abuse cases, Archbishop Brown also may have raised with the Pope the issue of dissident priests in Ireland, five of whom have been disciplined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.
Last weekend, the nuncio publicly criticised those who “are constantly predicting the demise of the Catholic Church in Ireland”. In an interview in June, he praised the enthusiasm of Ireland’s young faithful and said they are helping lead a rebirth of the Church in the country.