Bishops meet to prepare for showdown with Pope

The country's Catholic bishops are to hold an extraordinary meeting this morning to prepare for Pope Benedict's pastoral letter on the fallout from the Murphy Report.

They will also have to speak directly to the Pontiff about the clerical child abuse scandals next month when they meet with him at a specially convened meeting in February.

Following a meeting with Cardinal Seán Beady and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the Pope vowed to write a letter clearly indicating the initiatives that were to be taken in response to the Murphy Commission's revelations.

The nine-year inquiry investigated a 60-year period and found physical, emotional and sexual abuse were features of institutions run by the church.

Several bishops criticised in the report have since resigned.

It is understood the key meetings will take place on Monday February 15 and Tuesday February 16.

The Vatican says that is keen to address the anger and shock felt since the publication of the Ryan and Murphy reports.

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