|Archbishop Diarmuid Martin attended talks at the Vatican.|
VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI is deeply disturbed by a child sex-abuse scandal in Ireland and will write a letter to Catholics there on the church’s response to a report that found the church shielded more than 100 child-abusing priests from the law, the Vatican said yesterday.
Benedict met at the Vatican with senior Irish clergy to discuss a possible response to the devastating report issued last month.
A Vatican statement released after the 90-minute talks said the pope studied the report carefully and expressed his “profound regret,’’ the Vatican said in a statement released after the 90-minute talks.
“He was deeply disturbed and distressed by its contents,’’ the statement said. “The Holy Father shares the outrage, betrayal, and shame felt by so many of the faithful in Ireland.’’
Attending the talks at the Vatican were Cardinal Sean Brady of Ireland, Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, and the Vatican’s representative to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza.
“The Holy Father invited the Catholic world to pray for the victims, the survivors of child sexual abuse, and he said that the Holy See will be following very closely to discover how this tragedy took place,’’ Brady told reporters after the meeting.
The report found that church leaders in the Dublin Archdiocese failed to inform authorities about sexual abuse by priests, while police failed to pursue allegations under the belief that church figures were above the law.
The damning revelations led to private debates among Catholic bishops over whether any of their number should resign.