An opportunity missed in Rome
If the outcome of the meeting between Pope Benedict and the Irish bishops is a golden opportunity missed, then the damage has been done and the Pope and his bishops will find it very difficult to undo. The subsequent statement, described by one disappointed Irish priest as a clerical club talking to itself, contains so many odd nuances and omissions that it must puzzle victims of clerical abuse almost as much as it infuriates them.
It had been hoped that the Irish bishops would remind the Holy Father and the Roman Curia that child sexual abuse by Catholic priests was not confined to Ireland and that its proliferation around the globe, notably in the Pope's homeland, cries out for radical change and fresh thinking.
It was left to Cardinal Sean Brady, at a press conference later, to point out the global scale of Catholic clerical child abuse.