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The head of the Irish Catholic Church, Cardinal Sean Brady, admitted Wednesday that the church's response to abuse had been "hopelessly inadequate."
"The church must continue to deal with the enormity of the hurt caused by abuse of children by some clergy ... and the hopelessly inadequate response to that abuse in the past," Brady said Wednesday.
Church leaders must "own up to and take responsibility for any mismanagement or cover-up of child abuse," he said.
Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday he has finished writing his official statement, or pastoral letter, on the child abuse scandal facing the Catholic Church in Ireland.
He will sign the letter Friday and send it "soon after," Benedict told the faithful in an address on St. Patrick's Day.
"My hope is that it will help in the process of repentance, healing and renewal," he said.
Hundreds of allegations of sexual or physical abuse of children by Catholic clergy have come to light in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands this year.
As the Vatican deals with the crisis facing the Catholic Church, an increasing number of critics are wondering if it has already reached a tipping point.
We want to know what you think.
Are the latest allegations of child abuse going to be too much for the Vatican to handle? How will the church recover?