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Irish Bishops attend a mass celebrated by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, background center, prior to the start of their meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican, Monday, Feb. 15, 2010.

Ireland's Catholics see signs of hope in Irish Church crisis

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Irish Bishops attend a mass celebrated by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, background center, prior to the start of their meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican, Monday, Feb. 15, 2010.

There is the opportunity to be constructively critical in helping the bishops and the wider Church here in Ireland get it right, especially with progressive bishops like Martin at the helm. He called on victims not to “lose heart,” but assured them that the hierarchy has “begun something."

That "something" will involve a letter from the bishops read at all Masses on Sunday, a public act of penitence by the bishops during Lent, a listening process with ordinary Catholics in their dioceses, and a letter from the Pope before Easter.

It may not be enough, it isn’t enough, but it is a beginning — and that, despite the anger and betrayal felt by everyone, is a flicker of hope in what have been very dark days.

Garry O’Sullivan is Editor of The Irish Catholic

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