ROME, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- An Irish Bishops Conference official said 30 Irish bishops are in Rome holding discussions with Pope Benedict XVI on two child sex reports.
Monsignor Joseph Duffy, the conference's head of communications, said the Ryan and Murphy reports and their allegations of sexual abuse by priests have deeply hurt the Irish Catholic Church.
Ahead of the start of the Irish bishops' two-days of talks with the pope, Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone referred to the abuse scandal during a mass Monday morning, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Monday.
''Your communities are going through a great trial which has seen certain churchmen involved in particularly execrable acts,'' Bertone said.
Bertone also told the Irish bishops the scandal could result in additional followers parting ways with the Irish Catholic Church, ANSA reported.
''That is the more dangerous storm: the one that touches the heart of the faithful, shaking their belief," he said.