Rome's Irish Remedy: "The Full Force of Renewal"
From there, each of the country's 24 diocesan bishops in attendance were allotted seven minutes to speak, reportedly with the understanding that the pontiff and his seven top Curial lieutenants could interject with questions or comments for each as they saw fit.
Before being joined by Benedict, however, the day's lone public element -- at least, so far -- was an 8am Mass concelebrated by both sides, led by the Cardinal-Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone SDB (above, at B16's right).
Held at the Confessio altar before the tomb of St Peter under the main floor of the Vatican Basilica, the key elements of Bertone's homily -- a likely glean of the Holy See's thinking going into the sessions -- were reported by the Irish Times:
In his homily, Cardinal Bertone urged the Irish bishops to consider their trials with joy because, while on the one hand they humiliate, on the other hand they test faith, producing patience and perseverance.
He added that, for the Church, these tests “may come from outside or inside. Both are painful, but those that come from within are naturally hard and humiliating”.
He described the trials facing the Catholic community in Ireland as “a serious test” which “sees some churchmen involved in particularly abhorrent acts”.
He said “this kind of test strips us of any false security and pushes us to entrust ourselves to God alone”.Scheduled to close for today at 7pm CET (1pm Eastern) according to the Holy See, no media briefings are slated until after the encounter's close tomorrow afternoon.
Because only if we are “true and sincerely humble” can “the grace of God act and we achieve a true rebirth”.
The Cardinal warned against the temptation to discouragement and despair touching the hearts of believers, shaking their faith and threatening their ability to trust God.
For this reason, he concluded, the bishops must accept God's will with a “good and faithful heart in order to receive the full force of renewal”.
PHOTOS: L'Osservatore Romano