The Bishop of Down and Connor has said the Irish bishops had articulated to the Pope the 'suffering, hurt and pain of victims' of clerical sexual abuse at their meeting in the Vatican last week.

Dr Noel Treanor made his comments in a letter distributed in parishes this weekend.

Dr Treanor said the meeting was a point in the long process of dealing with the tragic shame and wound of abuse in the lives of victims, in the life of the Catholic Church and in society.

He said the meeting cannot heal this 'horrific wound' and asked for prayers that such healing would occur in God's time.

During their discussions with Pope Benedict XVI, Dr Treanor said the bishops had returned time and time again in their contributions to the horrific and tragic fact that this had happened within the church.

They recognised that mismanagement had occurred and that there were cover-ups. They also spoke of the action the church was taking in Ireland to respond to child sexual abuse by clergy, religious and church workers.

Concerning his diocese, Dr Treanor said he had told the Pope there was a child protection office staffed by professionals.

He said there were 3,182 people including clergy, religious and lay people who worked voluntarily to promote the safeguarding of children in parishes and organisations.

The Bishop confirmed that the Pope would issue his pastoral letter to Ireland in the course of the next six weeks of Lent and that the Pope had wanted to do further work on it having listened to the bishops and his advisers.

Moriarty expects resignation by Easter

Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Jim Moriarty has said that his offer of resignation will be accepted by the Vatican sometime around Easter.

In a letter published on the diocesan website this morning, the Bishop said he discussed his resignation with the Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops Cardinal Re and said his resignation is not a question of if but when.

Bishop Moriarty offered his resignation in December.

Elsewhere, Nuala O'Loan, the former Police Ombudsman in Northern Ireland, said she believed people expected that there would be some kind of apology from Pope Benedict about clerical abuse in Ireland.

She felt people thought there would be an apology for cover-up, for failures, for acts and omissions.

It was regrettable that that was not there, and she did not understand why it was not in the statement.

She also felt the way the bishops' meeting in the Vatican was badly handled in its media presentation.