The subliminal message from Rome is the cameo of Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin being kept waiting like school boys in the yard while Pope Benedict's top-brass officials consorted with communist Vietnam.
The delayed arrival yesterday of Pope Benedict's cabinet heavyweights for what was billed as a crucial summit to restore the moral authority of the Irish bishops -- and even the Vatican's own credibility -- on the issue of paedophile priests spoke all too thunderously about Rome's realpolitik.
"The Paddies" were fitted into Rome's South East Asian agenda and timetable, like irritant flies from a blustery offshore island on Europe's periphery, that for centuries self-deludingly boasted that its fidelity to Catholicism made it the jewel in the papal tiara.
Cardinal 'Sean North' and Archbishop 'Diarmuid South' did their best with reporters to transcend the verbal spiritual chloroform contained in the Pontiff's communique. This was royally worded to his Celtic subjects in the formal third person language of monarchy.
The devout remnant of the serially betrayed Irish faithful, and the increasing exodus of lapsed Catholics, were subjected to customary apologies of shame, distress and outrage for the successive cover-ups of generations of paedophile clerics by Rome-appointed archbishops of Dublin.
Extolling the faithful to remain patiently in their time-honoured role of "praying, paying and obeying", Pope Benedict promised a pastoral letter at an unspecified date addressing the issues discussed behind the closed doors of the Apostolic Palace, not least the management misgovernance of a flawed Irish Hierarchy.
Little wonder that a victim such as the courageously eloquent Andrew Madden, the altar boy abused by the rapacious Fr Ivan Payne and now no longer a Catholic, expressed little interest in a papal letter addressed to the Catholic flock.
As far as Madden is concerned, such a letter will not meet the basic requirements of victims for the five bishops implicated in the Murphy report into the Archdiocese of Dublin to either resign or be fired.
In the past week of episcopal shadow boxing at Maynooth, once memorably described by writer Sean O'Faolain as the administrative headquarters of Ireland's real government, we witnessed a procession of bishops -- Eamonn Walsh, Martin Drennan, Jim Moriarty and Ray Field -- saying they did no wrong, as they stoutly refused to resign for their roles in an ecclesiastical culture that did not comply with civic law.
The fifth named bishop in the Murphy list was Donal Murray, who went to Rome last Sunday supposedly to submit his resignation to the Pope via the Congregation of Bishops.
His future was not directly addressed at the Rome summit.
He has been cast as the Scarlet Pimpernel ever since his flight to Rome. He remains in title and deed Bishop of Limerick.
If, as expected, the resignation of Donal Murray, whose investigation into complaints against paedophile cleric Fr Thomas Naughton when he was a Dublin auxiliary bishop was censured as "inexcusable" by Judge Murphy had been accepted by Pope Benedict, this precedent would have meant that "the gang of four" would have been shamed into resignation.
Instead, we have witnessed the lamentable spectacle in Maynooth of Irish episcopal abdication of moral responsibility.
This Maynooth masquerade is matched by Pope Benedict's Pontius Pilate promise of sending by post a letter from Rome to believers in the Catholic faith.
Religion commentators yesterday said that such a letter from the universal pastor to post-Catholic Ireland was historically on the scale of Pius XI's letter to the German people condemning Nazism or a more recent one to China.
The historical parallel for Ireland is the misguided 19th century condemnation of the Land League by Pope Leo XIII which left the Protestant Charles Stewart Parnell unruffled.
But this papal missile almost destroyed the faith of Michael Davitt and was, thankfully, explained away in "mental reservations" by nationalist archbishops William Walsh of Dublin and Thomas William Croke of Cashel.
Perhaps Pope Benedict will succeed in alienating Irish Catholics more resoundingly than did Leo XIII. Leo, after all, was dealing with a Catholic Ireland that was an unwilling part of the Protestant British Empire of Queen Victoria.
Benedict is relating to a self-proclaimed independent Republic whose state investigation into the Archdiocese of Dublin was thwarted by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and the Papal Nuncio in Dublin.
Yesterday, was a classic instance of a Pope mixing his roles of pastor of the universal church with that of the sovereign head of the Holy See. The former is to be embodied in the forthcoming pastoral letter. The latter was personified by the presence alongside the two leaders of the Irish Church of the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Guiseppe Leanza.
The Roman summit surely touched upon the ultimatum from the Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin for an assurance by the Vatican that it will respond to the Murphy commission's information requests relating to the ongoing Dublin and forthcoming Cloyne investigation.
So a fundamental question is why did the Government not instruct Ireland's Ambassador to the Holy See to be at the Rome summit. This was a grave dereliction of duty by the Government and a betrayal of victims.