Pope Benedict XVI has rebuked Irish bishops over the sexual abuse of children by members of the country´s clergy, urging them to restore the church´s "spiritual and moral credibility". The pope called the abuse a "heinous crime" and a "grave sin".
"All those present recognised that this grave crisis has led to a breakdown in trust in the church´s leadership," a Vatican statement released after the meetings said. The report has shocked the nation over documented abuse in Catholic-run schools.
The pope criticised the failure of the Irish church authorities for years to act effectively over cases of sexual abuse against young people. Two reports published in Ireland last year revealed that church leaders had protected child-abusing priests.