Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, met Pope Benedict XVI on Friday for three quarters of an hour to discuss the Ryan Report on Church Child abuse.
Rev. Frederico Lombardi, a spokesman for the Vatican, told AP that his Holiness expressed his solidarity with the victims of abuse to the visiting Irish bishops during their meeting.
The report, which was led by Justice Sean Ryan and whose findings were released on May 20, outlined systematic abuse by Church-run institutions over decades.
The Pontiff has asked for forgiveness in the past for abuses carried out by the Catholic Church.
"I would like to pause to acknowledge the shame which we have all felt as a result of the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy and religious in this country," Benedict said at the July Mass in the Australian capital.
"I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured. I assure them as their pastor that I too share in their suffering," he added. "Those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice."
"No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse," said the Pontiff during that U.S. visit.
The Pope’s reaction and public comments on the Ryan report will be of huge significance to Catholics in Ireland, who are reeling from the findings of the report and disillusioned by decades of denial and protection by some of the Catholic hierarchy in the country.