A Vatican meeting between Irish bishops and Pope Benedict XVI will enter its second day today with the past handling of child abuse scandals top of the agenda.
The 24 senior clergymen are taking part in the unprecedented two-day talks after being hauled before the pontiff in the wake of the sexual abuse revelations that rocked the Irish Catholic church.
The diocesan bishops were invited to meet Benedict and his most senior aides in the wake of the sickening abuse revelations contained in the Ryan and Murphy reports.
The Holy See and All-Ireland Primate Cardinal Sean Brady are expected to release a statement on the talks later.
In a letter to be hand-delivered to the Pope, abuse survivors claimed Irish authorities were “paralysed” to bring paedophile priests and the senior clerics who covered-up decades of horrific abuse to justice.
John Kelly said it was entirely inappropriate for the Vatican to stand idly by.
“The secular powers in Ireland appear paralysed to bring to civil justice some of those who carried out acts of horrific abuse as well as those who assisted by acts of omission or even outright collusion after the fact,” Mr Kelly wrote.
“In addition the religious orders to whom those persons belong remain intact and continue to operate within and outside the state. This has led to popular feelings of resentment in a country that was once a bastion of Catholic faith and hope.”
Four bishops have already resigned over the damning Murphy report, which unveiled a catalogue of child abuse and subsequent cover-ups over three decades by the Catholic hierarchy in Dublin.
Auxiliary bishops of Dublin Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field bowed to weeks of intense pressure and announced at Christmas Eve services that they were quitting their posts.
They were the latest senior clerics to stand down after Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin James Moriarty and Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray also resigned.
Current Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan, also named in the Murphy report, repeatedly faced down calls for his resignation.
Survivors have called for the Pope to remove Bishop Drennan from office immediately.
But Bishop Joseph Duffy, spokesman for the Irish Bishops Conference, said on the eve of the summit it was not for individual bishops to talk about resignations.