The Pope's letter is "a study in the art of lying" said singer Sinead O'Connor last night, in response to the Pope's letter.
"Its even worse than that -- it starts lying from the very first sentence when it says that what happened in the Irish church is 'a matter of great concern for us'.
"If it was a matter of such concern, why has it taken 23 years for this to happen?
"The Pope is selling the Irish bishops down the tubes -- it is claiming that what happened in Ireland was the fault of the Irish bishops, not the Vatican. But they were acting on the explicit orders of the Vatican.
"It doesn't excuse what they did, but they were following orders. The bishops took the very same oath as the victims, swearing themselves to secrecy.
"A few things really offend me. The Pope's letter claims that the crime of cover-up was enacted purely by the Irish hierarchy without instructions from the Vatican. I don't accept that -- but it seems the Irish bishops are happy to be sold down the river.
"The Irish bishops have more reverence . . . for the Vatican than they had for the God they believe in.
"In my opinion the Vatican should be brought to its knees and forced to confess the cover-up. And to confess its present attempts at covering up the cover-up.
"We don't need the church at all. In fact they need us. If they don't confess they're signing their own death warrant. Because we are far more intelligent than they are giving us credit for. And we know when we are being lied to."
O'Connor, who has passionately championed the cause of the abused, said that Irish Catholics were being further insulted by the Pope's call for them to go back to the Catholic Church, which had failed them so abysmally over the past three decades.