Irish bishops meet to discuss child abuse report

Irish bishops are to consider the implications of a damning report into decades of child abuse by clergy within the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.

The Murphy report, which looked at abuse from 1975 to 2004, criticised the Archdiocese for putting its own reputation before the welfare of children by moving suspect priests to a different parish where they were free to abuse more children, instead of reporting them to the authorities.

The talks today come before the bishops are due to meet Pope Benedict at the Vatican next month over the report. The Pope is also preparing a pastoral letter outlining the Vatican’s response and what measures the Irish Church should take in responding to the findings of the Murphy Commission.

It follows on from a meeting between Irish Church leaders and the Pope in December, following which the Pope was said to be “disturbed and distressed”.

Several bishops implicated in the report have since resigned, including the Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray, whose failure to report one case of abuse while serving as an auxiliary bishop in Dublin in the 1980s was branded “inexcusable”.

The Murphy report followed on from the Ryan report published earlier last year, which condemned more than 50 years of child abuse in industrial schools and orphanages run by Catholic orders in Ireland.