DUBLIN - Pope Benedict XVI was visibly upset when briefed by top Irish churchmen on a report into endemic child abuse in Catholic-run homes, the Archbishop of Dublin said on Monday.
Speaking after the recent 45-minute papal meeting in Rome, Diarmuid Martin said the message they brought back was that "we have to listen to victims, we have to listen to the survivors".
"The Pope was very visibly upset to hear of some the things that are told in the Ryan report," Martin said, adding that the abuse was the "very opposite of an expression of the love of God."
The report released last month followed a nine-year investigation of sexual, physical and emotional abuse in Catholic-run industrial and reformatory schools dating back to the 1930s.
The findings of the report by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse headed by Judge Sean Ryan have caused widespread shock in mainly Catholic Ireland.
Archbishop of Armagh, Cardinal Sean Brady said the Pope had told them that it was a time for "deep examination of life here in Ireland in the church".
"He listened very attentively to everything we had to say and no doubt he will be listening to the seven Cardinals to whom we spoke over the course of the week and he will be reflecting on that," Brady said.
A judicial commission is also probing abuse allegations involving priests working in parishes in the archdiocese of Dublin -- the country's biggest -- and the diocese of Cloyne in the south.
Martin has warned that its report, due out later this year, would "shock us all."
Prime Minister Brian Cowen has said the 18 orders at the centre of the scandal have a "moral responsibility" to provide additional compensation for victims.