Several Irish bishops may be forced to retire by the Vatican following the church pedophile scandal, according to reports.
Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin have been asked to meet the Pope on Friday “to exchange information and evaluate the painful situation of the church in Ireland following the recent publication of the Murphy commission report."
Senior Vatican figures and the Papal Nuncio to Ireland will also attend amid growing sings that the Vatican has lost patience with the continuing series of priest pedophile stories emanating from Ireland.
It is thought that the Vatican will adopt a hard stance against those involved, and sources describe Pope Benedict XVI as "increasingly frustrated" by the crisis in the Irish church.
It is already believed that Limerick Bishop Donal Murray will be forced out, but four other bishops named in the Murphy report may also be on the chopping block.
The status of Cardinal Desmond O'Connell, who was in charge in Dublin when many of the abuses occurred but has since retired, is also in question.
Bishop Murray is already in Rome and will attend a meeting with the Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops, which oversees the replacement of bishops and their reassignment.
Bishop Eamon Walsh, who was in key positions in the Dublin archdiocese during the worst of the pedophile allegations, is considered the most likely bishop to follow Murray into forced resignation