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Vatican visitors to publish report on Church child abuse

Pope Benedict’s hand-picked ‘Apostolic Visitation’ will publish a summary of their findings later this morning.

Updated, 10:37 - Vatican visitors propose Church reforms to deal with abuse fallout >

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POPE BENEDICT XVI’S hand-picked team of high-ranking clerics will today publish their findings of a visit to Ireland following the fallout from the various clerical abuse scandals.

The Apostolic Visitation, led by the Archbishop of New York now-Cardinal Timothy Dolan, visited in 2010 after the Pope issued a letter to the people of Ireland expressing his dismay at the Murphy and Ryan reports into abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin and in residential institutions.

The pontiff had assigned six teams to visit all four of Ireland’s archdioceses, seminaries and other religious orders.

The report is expected to make the case for a rationalisation in the number of dioceses in Ireland (of which there are 26 at present), as well as imposing greater oversight on training seminaries.

The report comes two years and one day after the Pope’s pastoral letter, written “to express my closeness to you and to propose a path of healing, renewal and reparation”.

“In order to recover from this grievous wound, the Church in Ireland must first acknowledge before the Lord and before others the serious sins committed against defenceless children,” the pontiff wrote at the time.

“Such an acknowledgement, accompanied by sincere sorrow for the damage caused to these victims and their families, must lead to a concerted effort to ensure the protection of children from similar crimes in the future.”

Relationships between Ireland and the Church have become even more strained since the writing of the letter, with the publication of further reports detailing abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne in Co Cork, and the closure of Ireland’s embassy to the Holy See.

Read: Catholic Church rejects claims ‘very few’ abuse victims received support >

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Gavan Reilly

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