The Bishop of Ferns has urged all Catholics in the diocese to continue to increase their understanding of the sexual abuse of children by some local priests, and not to turn their backs on the horror.

Dr Denis Brennan told a congregation at Easter Vigil Mass that the scandals amounted to a crucifixion of the diocese, most especially for those who had suffered the abuse. And he reiterated the Church's apology to them.

Bishop Brennan was the main celebrant at the 11pm Mass, which was broadcast by RTÉ Television from St Aidan's Cathedral in Enniscorthy last night.

His homily focused on the rash of child abuse scandals involving some local priests, describing them as the diocese's Calvary.

It has been almost 30 months since the Government-established Ferns Inquiry identified more than 100 allegations made between 1962 and 2002, against 27 priests.

It concluded that two of Fern's previous Bishops, Donal Herlihy and Brendan Comiskey, placed the interests of individual priests ahead of those of the community by leaving them in posts where they continued to abuse children.

Bishop Brennan urged his diocese to face up to that horror in the same way that the disciples were emboldened by Christ's resurrection to return to Jerusalem - where their hopes had died on Good Friday - to preach.

The survivors' advocacy group, One in Four, welcomed the Bishop's acknowledgement of those who had experienced abuse, and his commitment to move forward.

However, spokeswoman Deirdre Fitzpatrick complained that the country's bishops had failed to publish an audit of how each diocese was handling child abuse, despite promising to undertake it over two years ago.