Pope Benedict is making a fresh attempt to deal with a spreading scandal over child sex abuse by priests.
He is distributing what is called a pastoral letter on the subject today, described as the first ever papal document devoted exclusively to paedophilia.
The Catholic church has been facing growing criticism over the way it has handled complaints of abuse over many decades.
The head of the church in Ireland has faced repeated calls to step down over allegations of a cover-up.
Today’s pastoral letter is addressed mainly to bishops in Ireland, to be read out at Sunday mass. Abuse in the Dublin archdiocese has been the subject of a damning government report.
But church leaders in other European countries, including the Pope’s native Germany, are also being hit with fresh complaints of paedophilia.