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Irish bishops reflect on meetings in Rome

Catholic World News - February 22, 2010

On the first Sunday of Lent, several Irish bishops delivered homilies and/or public statements concerning the sex-abuse scandal in their country, which had been the topic of a special meeting last week with Pope Benedict XVI and the leaders of the Roman Curia.

Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns acknowledged that Irish victims of sexual abuse "feel great disappointment because the outcome of our meeting fell far short of their expectations." But none of the bishops joined in the public criticism of the Holy See that has been ubiquitous in the Irish media. Instead the prelates called for a renewed commitment to reform within the Irish Church.

Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway-- who has been a focus of controversy, with victims' groups demanding his resignation because of his involvement in the administration of the Dublin archdiocese during the period covered by the Murphy Commission report-- said that the challenge for the Irish Church could be summed up in three imperatives: "face the past with honesty, the present with courage, the future with hope." The reverberations from the meeting in Rome produced a few reports about proposals that had been discussed with the Vatican officials. Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor told a BBC Radio audience that there had been a suggestion that the number of dioceses in Ireland could be cut back. He added, however, that the proposal was not discussed at length. The Irish Times, citing only anonymous sources, said that there had also been a suggestion that all the Irish bishops might consider offering their resignations. In fact, the public statement issued at the conclusion of the Vatican sessions did not mention resignations.

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