Pope Begins Meeting With Irish Clergy Over Abuse Scandal

A historic two day meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and members of the Irish Catholic clergy began on Monday to address issues surrounding the Irish Church's highly publicized child-abuse scandal.

Twenty four Irish bishops will meet with Benedict today and tomorrow in a gathering that Cardinal Sean Brady, the Primate of All Ireland, called part of a "journey of repentance, reconciliation and renewal" for the Irish Church.

Discussion at the meeting will focus on details of last year's Murphy report, which chronicled decades of child abuse and cover-up by the Dublin Archdiocese and brought on the resignation of several of the church's bishops.

One bishop cited in the report, Martin Drennan, has been criticized for not submitting his resignation, although the bishop maintains that he did nothing wrong.

In an address given last week, Benedict reiterated the Catholic Church's commitment to protecting the well-being of children, saying that the violation of children's rights is a "behavior that the Church doesn't and will never stop deploring and condemning."

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin told Reuters that he expects this week's meeting, which will happen behind closed doors, to result in "a very significant reorganization" of the Irish church.

Following the meeting, Benedict is expected to release a letter of explanation and apology to the Irish Catholic population.

Copyright © 2013 Ecumenical News