Hardly any information

About the meeting of high-ranking Irish bishops with Pope Benedict XVI. Both sides are so far keeping quiet about the report on abuse cases in Catholic children's and youth facilities at the Vatican on Friday. Nevertheless, Irish media reported over the weekend, citing information from the episcopate, that the Pope had shown himself "deeply shocked" by the events in the conversation with Cardinal-Primate Sean Brady of Armagh, the chairman of the episcopate, and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin.

The Vatican has confirmed the crisis talks, but has not yet released a statement on the matter. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi was quoted by The Irish Times newspaper (Saturday) as saying the abuse report was "a matter for the church locally". The daily newspaper "The Irish Examiner" reported that the topic in Rome was also the compensation payments to the victims. Further, the paper said, the two archbishops had prepared the pope for an upcoming further report on abuse cases in the capital archdiocese of Dublin. Bishops' meeting on Monday Brady and Martin told The Irish Times they will brief their confreres on Monday about the Vatican talks at an extraordinary plenary session. Without giving any other details, according to the newspaper, they simply stated Benedict XVI's. had listened to them "very attentively" and was particularly concerned because it was the "institutionalization of a problem". Last Thursday, the 18 orders concerned had promised Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen they were ready for a higher share of the compensation. In 2002, the government of the time had set a maximum limit of 128 million euros for church recourse payments in an agreement. However, the actual claims of victims are currently estimated at more than one billion euros. The religious congregations also expressed their willingness to the prime minister to allow an evaluation of their assets by an independent body. According to the report presented in May by an independent commission of inquiry after around ten years of research, more than 2.000 children in Catholic schools, educational institutions and homes physically and mentally abused and in some cases also sexually abused.

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Christina Cherry
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