The country's Catholic Bishops have said that they will be consulting the laity, clergy and religious following the publication of Pope Benedict's letter to all Irish Catholics on the clerical child abuse scandals.

In a statement issued after an extraordinary meeting in Maynooth, focusing on the Pope's surprise summoning of the bishops to Rome next month, the Bishops said they had been listening to the widespread anger and frustration of survivors, priests and laity throughout their dioceses'.

The Bishops said they had asked the Catholic National Board for Safeguarding Children to explore ways of insuring that the church’s policies and practices for the safe guarding of children represented best practice and that all allegations of abuse were being handled properly.

They said that those discussions were continuing.

Lay organization Voice of the Faithful Ireland earlier today said that all bishops who enabled cover-ups of clerical child sexual abuse in Ireland should have resigned last month.

In a statement, Voice of the Faithful Ireland said it deplores reluctance of bishops to resign on account of being implicated in what the hierarchy admitted last month was a widespread culture of covering up.