Top Irish Bishops meet Pope about child abuse scandal

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Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said Pope Benedict XVI was "very distressed" after their briefing on the Ryan Report and the state of the Church in Ireland after its publication.

“He listened very carefully, he was obviously very distressed about what we had to tell him. In fact, he allowed us to do most of the talking and he listened very sympathetically and attentively to what we said,” said Cardinal Brady.

“We talked about the church in Ireland, where this came out of and what is the future. You could see that it was distressing for him, what we said and what he knew, there was no doubt about that,” Archbishop Martin told Paddy Agnew of the Irish Times.

The meeting of the Irish bishops and the Pope took place on Friday evening. No official statement from the Pope on the meeting or on the Ryan report has been issued.

“He obviously has been informed about it,” said Archbishop Martin. “He didn’t read the entire thing, but he was aware of it and very distressed by it.”

The findings in the report have shocked and disillusioned the Catholic community in Ireland, and the two Irish men did not shirk on telling his Holiness about the gravity of the situation.

“We told him what we feel and what we know and what we’re hearing as priests."

What upset Pope Benedict was the nature and environment in which the decades of abuse took place

 “This is a different case from many others because it is about the institutionalization of a problem,” said Archbishop Martin.