It will be fascinating to see what the Holy Father says in his upcoming pastoral letter to Ireland about this abuse case.
We can only note that given the last years of the apotheosis of corporate guilt and abeyance of personal sanctity and devotion that it should be hardly surprising that the Bishops look at their "vocations" in a more or less worldly sense.
When St. Thomas Becket came to Canterbury from France after his exile, he walked the 20 Miles to his Episcopal throne on the bare souls of his feet, and after he'd been dispatched by Henry's assassins and his retainers were preparing him for burial, they discovered his hair shirt and the marks on his body from the "discipline".
Given the Holy Father's emphasis on personal sanctity and Benedictine reform, it wouldn't surprise us indeed if he didn't expect his Bishops to make more clear, personally costly, and public, displays of personal penance on the part of Bishops. Many Catholics do not believe in the sanctity of their Bishops, but they're more than willing to expect the worst; what would be even more surprising indeed would be evidence of deep, personal holiness on the part of Ireland's Bishops, Priests and Religious, and a return to a severe but deeply human asceticism. People are moved by sincerity and if you put your heart on your sleeve, people will follow you anywhere. Indeed, they followed Robert the Bruce's heart all the way to Jerusalem.
Pope Benedict shares Irish "child abuse outrage"
Pope Benedict said he shared Irish outrage over a damning abuse report
The Pope shares the "outrage, betrayal and shame" felt by Irish people over a report that said clerical child abuse was covered-up, the Vatican has said.
In a statement, issued after Pope Benedict XVI met Irish Church leaders on Friday, the pope was said to be "disturbed and distressed".
A report found church leaders covered up child abuse in Dublin for decades.
He will write a pastoral letter to the Irish people about sexual abuse and the Vatican's response to the crisis.
"The Holy Father was deeply disturbed and distressed by its contents," the Vatican statement said.
"He wishes once more to express his profound regret at the actions of some members of the clergy who have betrayed their solemn promises to God, as well as the trust placed in them by the victims and their families, and by society at large."
The Pope summoned the Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, to Rome after the Vatican was criticised for failing to respond to the Murphy inquiry.