Pope Benedict XVI will write a letter to Catholics in Ireland following revelations that priests were involved in silencing abused children.
Pressure had been mounting on the Pope to act after a public inquiry in Ireland found Church officials, including its current head, urged victims not to report sex abuse.
In his weekly address to pilgrims, the 82-year-old pontiff said “the Church in Ireland has been severely shaken as a result of the child abuse crisis.”
“I ask all of you to read it [the letter] for yourselves, with an open heart and in a spirit of faith,” he said, adding that he hoped it would help with “repentance, healing and renewal”.
The head of the Irish Catholic Church, Cardinal Sean Brady, has been under pressure to quit.
Brady attended meetings where teenagers took vows of silence over abuse at the hands of a notorious paedophile priest, Father Brendan Smyth.
While Brady has not tendered his resignation, he apologised in his St Patrick’s Day mass on Wednesday.
The 70-year-old cardinal told worshippers in Northern Ireland: “I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part that I apologise to you with all my heart.”