By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
tA highly anticipated summit with Pope Benedict XVI next week could help the Irish bishops “recapture the ground we’ve lost” in public confidence due to that country's sexual abuse crisis, according to one prelate who will take part, but it will likely not produce a sweeping reconfiguration of the Irish church or additional resignations of bishops.
At the same time, this prelate said, all bets may be off, since the Irish bishops have been instructed to be "frank and honest" and to "speak their minds."
tBishop Joseph Duffy of Clogher in Ireland, chair of the Irish bishops’ Communications Commission, spoke to NCR Friday afternoon by phone.
tThe bishops of Ireland will be in Rome on Monday and Tuesday for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and senior Vatican officials to discuss the crisis which has gripped Ireland since publication of the government-sponsored “Murphy Report” in late November. That report documented hundreds of cases of sexual abuse in the Dublin archdiocese since 1975, and suggested that a string of Dublin archbishops and auxiliary bishops had handled those cases poorly.