Pope 'updated' on church in Ireland
The Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, has met Pope Francis in the Vatican to update him on the church in Ireland.
It is believed the pontiff was briefed on the ongoing process of renewal in the Irish church – which Pope Francis's predecessor, Benedict XVI, instigated with the apostolic visitation which concluded in 2012.
The American archbishop is now two years into his first diplomatic role. He has overseen eight new appointments to the Irish hierarchy in that time, the most recent being the new bishop of Elphin, Dr Kevin Doran, who was ordained earlier this month.
The Vatican briefing follows closely on the meeting between the Pope and two Irish survivors of clerical abuse, which was widely regarded as a success.
However, Dr Brown will also undoubtedly have raised the ongoing thorny issue of the Irish church's dissident priests, five of whom have been censured to varying degrees by the Vatican's doctrinal watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.
Some of the priests are members of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) and Dr Brown has yet to meet any representative of the group, despite the fact that it has over 1,000 Irish priest members.
Last weekend, Dr Brown publicly criticised those who "are constantly predicting the demise of the Catholic Church in Ireland".