The Vatican has recalled its special envoy in Ireland after a damning report on the Catholic Church's handling of child abuse by priests.
Papal Nuncio Giuseppe Leanza has been called back to Rome to discuss the impact of the recent Cloyne Report.
It showed how allegations of sex abuse by priests in Cork had been covered up.
The report led to angry condemnation of the Vatican by Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Irish Parliament.
In a blistering attack, Mr Kenny accused the church of putting its reputation ahead of child rape victims.
Vice-director of the Vatican press office Father Ciro Benedettini said the nuncio's recall "should be interpreted as an expression of the desire of the Holy See for serious and effective collaboration with the (Irish) government".
He added that it "denotes the seriousness of the situation and the Holy See's desire to face it objectively and determinately.
"Nor does it exclude some degree of surprise and disappointment at certain excessive reactions."
Irish Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore said the decision to recall the nuncio was a matter for the Holy See.
"The government is awaiting the response of the Holy See to the recent report into the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne and it is to be expected that the Vatican would wish to consult in depth with the Nuncio on its response."
Messages of support
Last week, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Irish parliament that the report into how allegations of sex abuse by priests in Cork had been covered up showed change was urgently needed.
"The rape and torture of children were downplayed or 'managed' to uphold instead the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and 'reputation'," the taoiseach said last Wednesday.
At the weekend, the prime minster said he had received thousands of messages of support from around the world - many were from the clergy, he said.
He said this reflected the way people felt about the Catholic Church's role on clerical child abuse.
He told an audience at an annual cultural event in County Donegal at the weekend that the messages showed how people felt.
Mr Kenny said he was "astounded" at the number of clergy who contacted him after his speech on the Cloyne Report.
Mr Kenny received a standing ovation after he finished delivering the annual lecture at the opening session of the summer school.