Preparing for renewal in the Irish Catholic Church, the island's four archbishops have been invited to meet with the apostolic visitors appointed to their archdioceses. The visitation is meant to aid the local Church as it works to better respond to cases of sexual abuse.
According to a press release from the Irish bishops' media office, Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh Seán Brady, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly Dermot Clifford, and Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary will make the trip over to Rome next week for discussions led by the Congregation for Bishops.
They will be meeting with the four apostolic visitors designated by the Pope to carry out the visitation he promised in the pastoral Letter to Irish Catholic released last March. A statement dated May 31 later outlined the scope of the visitation and provided the names of the visitors.
The visitors and the respective archdioceses subject to their examination are Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor to Armagh, Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley to Dublin; Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins to Cashel and Emly and Archbishop Terrence Thomas Prendergast to Tuam.
No mention was made in the statement of the apostolic visitations planned for Irish seminaries and religious houses.
According to the Irish bishops' spokesmen, the purpose of visitors' efforts is "to offer assistance and to contribute to the spiritual and moral renewal of the Church in Ireland. They explained that the visitation "will facilitate reflection, evaluation and review of Church life."
In the May 31 statement announcing the names of the visitors, the Holy See said it intended to offer assistance to Church officials and lay faithful "as they seek to respond adequately to the situation caused by the tragic cases of abuse perpetrated by priests and religious upon minors.
"The Apostolic Visitors," it continued, "will set out to explore more deeply questions concerning the handling of cases of abuse and the assistance owed to the victims; they will monitor the effectiveness of and seek possible improvements to the current procedures for preventing abuse, taking as their points of reference the Pontifical Motu Proprio 'Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela' and the norms contained in Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland ..."