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Pope Benedict Criticizes Irish Bishops

At a meeting today, Pope Benedict XVI scolded 24 Irish bishops for how they handled decades of child abuse by priests in Ireland.

A report, prepared by Judge Yvonne Murphy, which was release two months ago, said that the Catholic church in Ireland "obsessively concealed child abuse in the Dublin archdiocese from 1975 to 2004." Another investigation revealed chronic beatings, rapes, near-starvation and humiliation of 30,000 children in schools and orphanages.

According to NPR's Sylvia Poggioli, who reports on the meeting for NPR's All Things Considered tonight, "Pope Benedict condemned the abuse of children as a heinous crime and challenged the bishops to address problems of the past with determination and resolve."

Irish clergy have admitted that they mismanaged the crisis, citing a lack of communication among bishops. Abuse victims have asked to have an audience with the Pope at the Vatican. So far, that request has gone unanswered.