Cardinal Seán Brady has indicated that he intends staying on for a considerable time as Archbishop of Armagh.

He made a veiled reference to his intentions when he pledged to implement the recommendations of the Visitation of parts of the Irish Church which Pope Benedict intends holding into various parts of the Church here.

A church spokesman said the inspection process has not yet been established and is not expected to be completed quickly.

Preaching at Easter Sunday mass in St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh, Cardinal Brady also said he would be proposing to the Holy See that the Diocese of Armagh would be among those which will be visited.

On St Patrick's Day, Dr Brady said he would be reflecting on his position until the third week of next month after it was revealed that he had sworn two teenage victims of Fr Brendan Smyth to secrecy and failed to report the paedophile to the civil authorities.

Cardinal Brady issued another apology to the victims of child sexual abuse by clerics.

The Cardinal promised that proper reparation would be made for the harm that had been caused.

The Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr Noel Treanor, has urged people to keep their faith and remain with the Catholic Church.

Dr Treanor appealed to Mass goers not to turn their backs on the Church.

The Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Neill, has said Ireland has seen staggering levels of not only greed but also of corruption.

Preaching in Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin, Dr Neill referred to social conditions that had destroyed hope for many, leading too often to the total alienation of large numbers of women, men and especially of young people.

He said we had witnessed the growth of fatal addictions, and the cheapening of life.

The Archbishop said Easter was about hope and about having the courage to hope.

A small group of protestors gathered outside the Pro Cathedral in Dublin and hung pairs of children's shoes on the railings to represent victims of abuse.

As he went in for mass this morning, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was heckled by some of the survivors of institutional abuse who had gathered to protest.

Some of the protestors attempted to place some of the shoes on the church altar but most were refused entry.

'Petty gossip' will not intimidate Church

A leading cardinal, making an unusual address in defence of Pope Benedict at the start of Easter Sunday mass in the Vatican, said the Church would not be intimidated by ‘petty gossip’ about sexual abuse of children by priests.

The surprise speech by Cardinal Angelo Sodano was believed to be the first time in recent memory that the Easter Sunday Mass was changed to allow someone to address the Pope at the start.

The change of protocol indicated just how much the Vatican is feeling the pressure from a growing scandal concerning sexual abuse of children by priests and reports of a possible cover-up that have inched ever closer to the pope himself.

‘Holy Father, the people of God are with you and will not let themselves be influenced by the petty gossip of the moment, by the trials that sometimes assail the community of believers,’ Cardinal Sodano said.

Cardinal Sodano praised Benedict as the 'solid rock' that holds up the Church.

Pope Benedict delivered the traditional Urbi et Orbi message ‘to the city and the world’.

The Pope did not refer directly to the child sex abuse scandals in the church.

He said Easter does not work magic and that after the resurrection the church always finds history filled not only with joy and hope but also with pain and anguish.

The Pontiff also prayed for peace in the Middle East.

The Easter ceremonies have been taking place as controversy rages over clerical child sex abuse scandals.

Bishops in both Belgium and Germany have issued condemnations of the church's role in covering up child abuse within its ranks.

In the US, fresh allegations emerged in court documents released last night that a cardinal there had re-assigned a US priest and alleged child molester in the 1990s without warning his parishioners.

Cardinal William Levada, a staunch defender of Pope Benedict in the abuse scandals, was cited in court documents from an action brought by victims of paedophile priests.

Church acknowledging guilt over abuse

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Westminster used his Easter sermon today to say the Catholic Church was acknowledging its guilt over the child abuse scandal.

Dr Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said ‘serious sins’ had been committed within the Catholic community.

During his homily at Westminster Cathedral, Archbishop Nichols said: ‘Talk of sin is not always popular - unless we are talking about other people's sins.

‘In recent weeks the serious sins committed within the Catholic community have been much talked about.

‘For our part, we have been reflecting on them deeply, acknowledging our guilt and our need for forgiveness.

‘This is the journey of Holy Week.

‘Indeed, to appreciate the message of this great Christian feast we have to begin with our own sin and shame.’