Irish Bishops Begin Vatican Meetings with Mass


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(15 Feb 10 - RV) Early Monday morning the twenty four serving bishops of the Church in Ireland gathered together in the Vatican crypts before the tomb of St Peter.

It was a moment of reflection and prayer ahead of their meetings with the Holy Father and members of the Vatican Curia to discuss the fallout from the recently published reports into child sex abuse by members of the clergy and religious in the last century in Ireland.

The revelations of the Ryan and Murphy reports have rocked the Catholic Church on the island nation to its very core. Particularly the Murphy report into abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese, which underscored the failure of bishops to properly address victims concerns.

In an unprecedented move Pope Benedict called all serving diocesan bishops to the Vatican for two days of discussion.

On Monday Mass was lead by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who reflecting on St James Chapter one, urged the bishops to consider their trials, with joy, because while on the one hand they humiliate, on the other they test the faith, producing patience and perseverance.

Cardinal Bertone added that for the Church, these tests "may come from outside or inside. Both are painful, but those that come from within are naturally hard and humiliating".

He described the trials facing the Catholic community in Ireland as "a serious test" which "sees some churchmen involved in particularly abhorrent acts".

Cardinal Bertone said "This kind of test strips us of any false security and pushes us to entrust ourselves to God alone". Because only if we are "true and sincerely humble", can "the grace of God act and we achieve a true rebirth".

The Secretary of State warned against the temptation to discouragement and despair touching the hearts of believers, shaking their faith and threatening their ability to trust God. For this reason he concluded the Bishops must accept Gods will with a "good and faithful heart in order to receive the full force of renewal".