The Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, has said the findings of the Murphy Commission have shocked and dismayed the Vatican.
The Nuncio made his comments following a 45-minute meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Dublin this morning.
Micheál Martin requested the meeting with Archbishop Leanza in the wake of the latest report into the Catholic Church's handling of clerical child abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese.
The Papal Nuncio admitted during the meeting that he should have responded to a letter from the commission formally.
Mr Martin said he informed the Papal Nuncio that the Government expected the church to respond fully to the questions asked by the Murphy Commission.
He said the Vatican needs to respond substantially and comprehensively to the questions posed by the commission and he said it should do so as soon as possible.
The Minister also said that the Vatican should prepare whatever documents are necessary to forward them to the commission in order to address the questions posed.
The Papal Nuncio described the meeting as 'serious' and 'meaningful'.
Afterwards he told the media he felt at the time that he did not need to respond to the commission’s letter, which he felt was forwarded to him for information purposes.
When asked about the silence of the Vatican following the publication of the Murphy and Ryan reports, he said time is needed to study their contents.
He said the Murphy Report is now under study at the Vatican and he said he hoped there would be a response to its contents following a meeting on Friday.
The Papal Nuncio said he expected a response from the Vatican following the meeting between Cardinal Seán Brady and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin with the Pope in the Vatican this week.
He said clear mistakes had been made but the church had condemned clerical child abuse and the Vatican had already apologised for hurt caused.
Minister Martin said he had sought a commitment from the Archbishop that the church would co-operate fully with upcoming the Cloyne inquiry.
Murray resignation expected
Meanwhile, Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray, who was criticised in the Murphy Report because of his handling of abuse complaints, is expected to tender his resignation in Rome this week.
Another of Dublin's auxiliary bishops, Dr Eamonn Walsh, has said that the report speaks for itself concerning his responses to allegations of clerical child sexual abuse.
Bishop Walsh was responding to a newspaper report quoting Vatican sources as saying he will have to resign.
He also said that he would be responding to last week's letter from Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin requesting bishops mentioned in the report to account for their child protection record in the Archdiocese.
Bishops to meet in 'humble and repentent spirit'
Meanwhile, Bishop Willie Walsh of Killaloe has acknowledged that tomorrow's planned meeting of the country's bishops will be a very difficult one.
Speaking after a dedication ceremony at a new chapel at Skycourt Shopping Centre in Shannon this afternoon, Bishop Walsh said he and his fellow bishops were going to that meeting in a' very humble and repentant spirit'.
He said he hopes and prays that they can in some way touch the hearts of those who have been hurt and in some way begin the journey of healing.
‘That really is ultimately our only hope for the future’ he said.
He said they had to be brave enough to bring the real spirit of Christ back- the virtues of truth, justice compassion and love--if our Church is not about those things, it is not worth anything, he added.
‘Certainly all of us going into that meeting, whatever our failings in the past, all of use are going into that meeting in that spirit where we must get back to the values and teachings and example of Jesus Christ, and whatever we have to lose or shed or change in our church, then thats our only possible answer at this time of crisis.
In making the comments Bishop Walsh specifically said he would not comment on any of his colleagues because he did not want to hurt anyone or cause any more pain.
He again made a sincere apology to victims of clerical sexual abuse who may have been hurt by a media interview he did last week.
He said he was very conscious at this time of deep crisis in the Church, that ill-chosen words he made during a radio interview last week caused deep hurt and he had no hesitation in apologising.
He said the last thing he wanted to do was to add to the deep hurt that has been caused to survivors of abuse over the years.