The Vatican has described abuse within the Irish Catholic church as "painful" and a 'betrayal", acknowledging it led to a "loss of trust" with priests.
In a report into child abuse within the country is said there had been a failure of many to exercise "vigilance" and "innocent" young people had been abused.
It recommended that priests should have knowledge of "matters of child protection" and be given education about how to protect children.
The vatican's report comes two years after Pope Benedict XVI said he would look into the scandal in a letter to irish Catholics.
Seven teams of church leaders visited Ireland over the last two years in order to compile the findings, which said priest who were not involved felt "tainted" by the scandal: "Many good priests and religious have felt unjustly tainted by association with the accused in the court of public opinion; some have not felt sufficiently defended by their bishops and superiors.
"Those same bishops and superiors have often felt isolated as they sought to confront the waves of indignation and at times they have found it difficult to agree on a common line of action."
The head of Catholics in Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady welcomed the report, saying: "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."