Pope brands child sex abuse 'a heinous crime'
Pope Benedict XVI today branded the sexual abuse of children and young people a heinous crime and a grave sin.
At the end of an unprecedented two-day Vatican summit with Irish Bishops, the Pontiff said the the clergy should face the present crisis with honesty and courage.
The 24 senior clergy were summonsed over the past mishandling of child abuse scandals that rocked the Catholic church in Ireland.
In a statement, the Vatican said: "For his part, the Holy Father observed that the sexual abuse of children and young people is not only a heinous crime, but also a grave sin which offends God and wounds the dignity of the human person created in his image.
"While realising that the current painful situation will not be resolved quickly, he challenged the Bishops to address the problems of the past with determination and resolve, and to face the present crisis with honesty and courage.
"He also expressed the hope that the present meeting would help to unify the Bishops and enable them to speak with one voice in identifying concrete steps aimed at bringing healing to those who had been abused, encouraging a renewal of faith in Christ and restoring the Church's spiritual and moral credibility."
The diocesan bishops were hauled before Pope Benedict and his most senior aides in the wake of the sickening abuse revelations contained in the Ryan and Murphy reports.
The Vatican said the senior clergy spoke frankly of the sense of pain and anger, betrayal, scandal and shame expressed by those who had been abused and the feeling of outrage reflected by the religious.
Rome also revealed the Bishops had an opportunity to examine and discuss a draft of the Pastoral Letter which the Pope has penned to the Catholics of Ireland.
"His Holiness will now complete his Letter, which will be issued during the coming season of Lent," the statement said.
Rome said the Holy Father also pointed to the more general crisis of faith affecting the Church and he linked that to the lack of respect for the human person, and how the weakening of faith has been a significant contributing factor in the phenomenon of the sexual abuse of minors.
"He stressed the need for a deeper theological reflection on the whole issue, and called for an improved human, spiritual, academic and pastoral preparation both of candidates for the priesthood and religious life and of those already ordained and professed," the statement continued.
Pope Benedict also asked the clergy that this Lent be set aside as a time for imploring an outpouring of God's mercy and the Holy Spirit's gifts of holiness and strength upon the Church in Ireland.
The Bishops told Rome that while there is no doubt errors of judgment and omissions stood at the heart of the crisis in the Irish church, significant measures have been taken to ensure the safety of children and young people.
In May last year the sickening Ryan Report revealed the Catholic Church and Irish Government covered up almost four decades of sexual abuse and beatings by priests and nuns on thousands of children in state care.
The damning probe found a catalogue of disturbing and chronic sexual, physical and emotional torture inflicted on disadvantaged, neglected and abandoned youngsters by both religious and lay staff.
Six months later the shocking State-ordered Murphy Report unveiled a catalogue of child abuse and subsequent cover-ups over three decades by the Catholic hierarchy in Dublin.
It detailed allegations against a sample 46 priests who served in Dublin between 1975 to 2004 and found several bishops, some still serving, mishandled complaints against priests.
The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, and Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, have repeatedly apologised to survivors of abuse and the people of Ireland for the subsequent cover up.
Four bishops - James Moriarty, Donal Murray, Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field - later bowed to public pressure and resigned.
However, current Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan, also named in the Murphy report, has repeatedly faced down calls for his resignation.
Cardinal Brady and the Bishops will hold a press conference in Rome this afternoon.
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
First full-length look is finally here
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star
Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Sex abuse inquiry: 'Victims receive death threats' after MPs release names online
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Teenager brandishing fake gun taken down by police after demanding airtime on Netherlands' NOS TV station
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£26000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Content Manager is re...
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£14000 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will b...
£41500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...