Pope Benedict XVI is to consider a crucial report on the future of the embattled Bishop of Limerick, as pressure continues to mount on five Irish bishops to resign.
Bishop Donal Murray, who has been in Rome for eight days, is waiting for a summons to a second meeting with the powerful Congregation of Bishops headed by Italian Cardinal, Giovanni Battista Re.
Last night sources in the Vatican suggested that at this crucial meeting Bishop Murray would be told that Pope Benedict XVI wants him to resign for the good of the Church.
But it has been learned that at his first meeting with Cardinal Re last Monday, Bishop Murray pleaded mitigation.
As required by canon law, Cardinal Re has been drawing up his interim report with his own judgment on Bishop Murray.
A spokesman for the Bishop of Limerick said there are a number of omissions in the Murphy Report which sparked the crisis — and said some of the details are “incorrect”.
Bishop Murray told Cardinal Re that he was mentioned nine times in the Murphy Report, six in which he was not criticised at all. He claimed that in none of these three critical mentions of his handling of abuse cases did he receive an allegation of a child being sexually abused.
Meanwhile, it has been learned that on the return of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin from his Rome meeting with Pope Benedict, he addressed a meeting of Dublin priests on Saturday at his residence in Drumcondra.
The meeting had been pre-arranged to discuss the Irish Church's year of vocations promotions to recruit new priests.
But according to clerical sources the mood of the Dublin priests was one of fury that Bishop Murray and four other bishops, Eamonn Walsh, Ray Field, Jim Moriarty and Martin Drennan had not yet resigned for the good of the Church.