Irish Bishops Pledge to Work With Authorities to Secure Child Safety

In conclusion of their historic two-day meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, clergy of the Irish Catholic Church expressed their commitment to working with local authorities to secure the safety of children under their care.

A statement released by the Vatican on Tuesday read that the Irish Church, "emphasized their commitment to cooperation with the statutory authorities in Ireland – North and South – and with the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland to guarantee that the Church's standards, policies and procedures represent best practice in this area."

The statement also noted that "the current painful situation will not be resolved quickly" and included a charge from the Pope to the bishops to "address the problems of the past with determination and resolve, and to face the present crisis with honesty and courage."

The statement comes at the close of an unprecedented Feb. 15-16 meeting between Benedict and twenty four Irish clergy members, who met behind closed doors in the Vatican to discuss last year's Murphy report, which disclosed decades of child-abuse and cover up within the Dublin Archdiocese.

During the meeting, Benedict told the Irish clergy that he was "disturbed and distressed" by the Murphy report and said that he shared the "outrage, betrayal and shame" felt by Irish people.

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."

Survivors of the abuse scandal, however, have said that Benedict has not done enough to address the situation, and has been slow in his responsiveness.

Victims have been especially vocal about finalizing the resignations of four of the bishops mentioned in the Murphy report – an issue that was reportedly not addressed at the recent meeting.

Four out of five bishops connected to the scandal submitted their resignations late last year, two of them on Christmas day.

One bishop, Martin Drennan, has refused resignation, maintaining that he did nothing wrong

Resignations from bishops in the Catholic Church must be approved by the Pope to be finalized.

Benedict is reportedly drafting a letter to the Irish Catholic population, which he says will be released some time during Lent.

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