The Pope met with Irish bishops in the Vatican Monday morning to discuss clerical sex abuse in Ireland.

Primate of All-Ireland Sean Brady said it was “one step in a process . . . which will lead to a journey of repentance, renewal and reconciliation”.

Brady hopes that the process, "will gain momentum when we get back to Ireland”.

24 Irish bishops will meet Pope Benedict and seven leading members of the Curia today.

On Sunday,  Bishop Joseph Duffy said his colleagues "have a responsibility to be as frank and as open and as candid as is possible for them” about clerical sex abuse.

Duffy also said that the meetings were not just "a cosmetic exercise. They are serious." He said that they would be a "complete flop" if they were seen as a formality.

Duffy said that all the bishops were united when it came to child safety, “we certainly are singing off the same hymn sheet as regards child safeguarding. There is absolutely no disunity about that and anybody who says otherwise is doing a great disservice to the cause of safeguarding of children in Ireland today".

Duffy said that the meeting with the pope gave the bishops an opportunity "to account directly to the Holy Father."

Duffy said there were "tensions" amongst the Bishops over the fallout of the Murphy report and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s comments.

"We’re dealing here with a very emotive issue where people’s personal integrity is in question and I think any of us, if we were to be totally honest about ourselves, we would be indignant initially certainly if anyone questioned our integrity”.

“For that reason we would be entitled to the fullest possible explanation behind any kind of allegation of that kind,” said Duffy.

“I think Archbishop Martin is on record that he expects and expected bishops named in the Murphy report to give an account of themselves, to be publicly accountable. That’s not the same as saying he believes they should resign, which unfortunately is the meaning people have taken out of it.”

"It is not our business as individuals to discuss resignations publicly, except possibly one’s own resignation." he said.