Pope lashes out at Irish Catholic Church child abusers

Pope Benedict XVI has warned that the dangers of pedophilia still exist in the Church.

He made the comments before he meets Irish bishops next week to discuss the scandals in Ireland that have resulted in four archbishops stepping down.

In a clear reference to the Irish situation, Benedict, speaking of the imperative to protect children at all costs, stated that "Jesus' harsh words in the Bible about those who harm children should commit everyone to never lowering the level of respect and love."

He acknowledged that "unfortunately, in a number of cases, some of its (the Church) members acted in contrast to this commitment."

Benedict is meeting bishops from Irish dioceses to discuss the Murphy Commission Report into abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese, which led to the resignations.

The Murphy Report found that bishops had "obsessively" covered up child abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese from 1975 to 2004, and operated a policy of "don't ask, don't tell."

The report unleashed a torrent of criticism of the cover-up. Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who had been appointed by the Pope in part to clean up the mess, moved swiftly and decisively to fire those bishops named in the cover-up. However, victims groups say many unexamined cases still remain in other dioceses.

The Vatican later ordered several leaders of the Irish Catholic Church to come to Rome, where Benedict expressed "outrage, betrayal and shame" over the abuse.

The Pope will write a pastoral letter to the people of Ireland over Easter outlining steps that will be taken in future to protect children from abusers.

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