Pope to sign letter to beleaguered Irish Church on Friday


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Vatican City, Mar 17, 2010 / 11:59 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Using the platform of Wednesday's general audience, the Holy Father announced on that he will sign his Pastoral Letter to Irish Catholics on the feast day of St. Joseph. The content of the document is highly anticipated, and is meant to help guide the response to the sexual abuse cases that have "severely shaken" the Irish Church.

Greeting the Irish faithful and pilgrims present in St. Peter's Square on the feast of St. Patrick, Pope Benedict XVI shed light on the timetable for the release of the letter that will address this "painful situation."

"As you know, in recent months the Church in Ireland has been severely shaken as a result of the child abuse crisis," said the Pope. "As a sign of my deep concern I have written a Pastoral Letter dealing with this painful situation."

He continued to say that the letter will be signed on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, "the Guardian of the Holy Family and Patron of the Universal Church," and will be sent "soon after."

Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Press Office of the Holy See said that more information should be released on Thursday about the letter's publication.

At the audience, the Holy Father closed his greeting to Irish Catholics with asking all of them to "read it for yourselves, with an open heart and in a spirit of faith.

"My hope is that it will help in the process of repentance, healing and renewal."