Return of the Irish... Again
The Irish Catholic has learned that the key meetings will take place on Monday and Tuesday, February 15 and 16, and it is believed, similar to the Pope's meeting with Cardinal Seán Brady and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on December 11, that several senior Vatican officials will also be in attendance, according to Vatican sources.While four current or former Dublin auxiliaries have offered their resignations under massive public pressure since the report's late November release, only one prelate's walking papers have been accepted by Rome.
The Pope's initiative will allow bishops who have concerns to voice their opinion directly to him.
After the Pope has listened to the bishops, he will then respond.
The initiative the confusion and uproar that has ensued from the publication of the Murphy Report and the divisions which have arisen among some clergy and laity over the resignations of auxiliary bishops, and a sense among others that there was a cover-up and the resignations were necessary.
It is believed that the Vatican is keen to address the public disunity that has emerged among members of the hierarchy, with a number of bishops disagreeing with each other over the fallout from the scandals.
By the end of the meetings, it is expected that concrete proposals will have emerged and the Pope will offer his conclusions.
Each bishop will then return to his diocese for the Ash Wednesday liturgies on February 17 where he will address the faithful on the way forward.
As word emerged of the unprecedented February session, one of the Isle's most prominent survivors announced that he had formally left the church.
The first victim of clergy sex-abuse to go public with a legal settlement from an Irish diocese, in an emotional letter announcing his decision, Andrew Madden said he had come to the conclusion that the church "will [n]ever change its ways or learn from what it has done."
By the time of next month's meeting, the Pope's promised pastoral letter to Ireland is understood to be released.
According to leaks floated in the Irish press, the text's recent drafts appear to "not be overly concerned with the current administrative, bureaucratic and organisational problems of the Irish church," but instead seem poised "to offer encouragement to the faithful, reminding them of the crucial role of the early Irish church in the spread of Christianity."