DUBLIN – Ireland's Catholic leaders said Monday that Pope Benedict XVI was deeply upset when they met with him in the Vatican last week to discuss a recently published report about extensive child abuse by religious authorities in Ireland.
Catholic Primate Sean Brady said the pope encouraged Irish Catholic leaders to establish the truth about the abuse which affected generations of children from the 1930s through the 1990s and to seek justice for the victims.
The Ryan Report, published in May, was a 2,600-page document identifying 18 religious orders involved in serial child abuse in Ireland.
Brady and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin briefed Irish bishops Monday about their meeting with Benedict.
"He was very visibly upset, I would say, to hear of some of the things that are told in the Ryan report, how the children had suffered from the very opposite of an expression of the love of God," Martin said. "The message again that we bring back with us is that we have to listen to the victims, we have to listen to the survivors, they're the ones who have gone through this."
Martin, a veteran Vatican diplomat, last month slammed some Irish Catholic orders for concealing their culpability in decades of child abuse and said they needed to come up with much more money to compensate victims.
Irish victim groups welcomed the meeting between church leaders and the pope.
A parliamentary debate about the findings was scheduled for Tuesday but could be delayed by a no-confidence motion in the government put forward by an opposition party after two parliamentary by-elections on Friday routed the long-dominant party of Prime Minister Brian Cowen.