Bishops prepare for Vatican summit

Monday 15 February 2010 12.24
Vatican - Two-day summit gets under way tomorrow
Vatican - Two-day summit gets under way tomorrow

Members of the Irish Catholic hierarchy, led by Cardinal Sean Brady, are in Rome in advance of their two-day meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and his most senior officials.

The Pope summoned all 24 serving diocesan bishops to the Vatican to discuss the fallout from December's Murphy Report and May's Ryan Report.

Nine of the two-dozen bishops, who are due to meet Pope Benedict, arrived in Rome this morning. Many others arrived in recent days.

Cardinal Brady told RTÉ News that all the Irish prelates had prepared intensively for the Papal summons to the Vatican by meeting many of their priests and lay people.

Some survivors' groups have criticised the inclusion of Galway's Bishop Martin Drennan in the visiting party.

He is the only one of the five serving bishops mentioned in the damning Murphy Report who has not tendered his resignation.

Kildare and Leighlin Bishop Jim Moriarty is also expected to be in Rome, despite having offered to resign in December for failing to stand-up to the prevailing culture surrounding clerical child sexual abuse in the church.

The Pope has indicated he will take the unprecedented step of writing a pastoral letter to all Irish Catholics on the controversies.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people have taken part in a walk of atonement in Co Tipperary in support of victims of clerical sex abuse.

The walk finished at Cloughjordan Church where a special service was held.

Bishop Willie Walsh of Killaloe took part in the walk before he departed for Rome.