Changes should be made to seminaries and admission criteria for would-be priests, a Vatican report on the child abuse crisis in the Catholic Church in Ireland has warned.

A probe into the handling of clerical sex abuse cases found while guidelines to protect children against paedophile priests are being followed, academic programmes in seminaries should put more focus on the issue.

Senior churchmen were sent by Rome to investigate safeguarding procedures and protocols in the Catholic Church in Ireland after it was rocked by several reports which unveiled decades of abuse and cover-ups by church and state authorities.

The visiting clergy said they saw how much the shortcomings of the past gave rise to an inadequate understanding of, and reaction to, the abuse of minors.

“With a great sense of pain and shame, it must be acknowledged that within the Christian community innocent young people were abused by clerics and Religious to whose care they had been entrusted, while those who should have exercised vigilance often failed to do so effectively,” they found.

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