If Archbishop Diarmuid Martin had said in Rome on Tuesday what he finally said in Dublin yesterday the summit talks between Pope Benedict XVI and the Irish bishops would not have been dismissed so forthrightly as a charade and an insult to clerical abuse victims and industrial school survivors.
Speaking after an Ash Wednesday service for students at University College Dublin, Archbishop Martin confirmed, as he had promised last week, that he had conveyed messages from them to the pontiff.
Significantly, Dr Martin said the possibility of a meeting between Pope Benedict and survivors such as Michael O'Brien had not been excluded as part of the process of reconciliation -- the first phase of which was the two-day meeting in Rome, to be followed by the publication of the Pope's Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland before the end of Lent.
In-between these two stages the archbishop has moved to calm the atmosphere and he continues his private consultations with the representatives of both victims abused by Dublin priests and of survivors of institutions run by religious orders.
On Friday Archbishop Martin will meet Marie Collins, Andrew Madden and Maeve Lewis of the One in Four victims' support group to discuss the outcome of the meeting last Monday and Tuesday.
The demands of this group included the resignation of Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan who was named in the Murphy report in relation to his period as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Dublin, from 1997 to 2004.
No doubt, Dr Martin's diplomacy will also include private meetings with survivors of institutions run by the religious orders whose systematic abuse was documented in last May's Ryan report.
Their basic request was for a meeting with Pope Benedict in Rome.
There was no reference to Bishop Drennan's voluntary resignation or removal by Pope Benedict in the two-page communique circulated at a news conference in the Vatican shortly after one o'clock on Tuesday afternoon.
As Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi SJ had not been present at the summit when each of the 24 Irish bishops made a personal five-minute presentation, he was not in a position to say whether or not Archbishop Martin had included the messages from the victims and the survivors in his contribution.
None of the Curial Cardinals who had been at the summit came to that press conference, a news management deficiency by the Vatican.
Inevitably, the news that neither the resignation or removal of Bishop Drennan, nor the possibility of the Pope inviting survivors to meet him, had been definitively confirmed was instantly communicated to Irish radio and television stations.
The speed of the communications industry meant a furious reaction in Ireland was already under way by the time Cardinal Sean Brady, accompanied by four bishops, Michael Smith of Meath, Joe Duffy of Clogher, Denis Brennan of Ferns and Brendan Kelly of Achonry, held their press conference three hours later at the Vatican Radio headquarters.
This public relations disaster for both the Vatican and the Irish bishops was compounded by the absence of Archbishop Martin, who was already on his way back to Ireland to fulfil yesterday's Ash Wednesday engagement at UCD.
Archbishop Martin's decision to return to Dublin and not attend the press conference of the Irish bishops seemed inexplicable to both the visiting press group from Ireland and the large resident international press corps which included major players such as the BBC and CNN.
Thus, the absence of Archbishop Martin was like 'Hamlet' without the prince.