The Pope has made an unprecedented public statement addressing the abuse of children by Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland.
Pope Benedict apologised to the victims, adding that he feels “shame and remorse.”
The Vatican’s pastoral letter also announces a formal investigation of all dioceses, seminaries and religious orders affected by the Irish scandal.
In recent weeks, the Vatican has been trying to contain the damage as a string of scandals over the sexual abuse of children by priests has hit Ireland, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.
Whether the victims see this as an adequate response to their suffering remains to be seen.