The Bishop of Raphoe has said the catholic church is under pressure from the outside and the inside, but it will survive.
Dr Philip Boyce made his comments druing a novena at the basillica in Knock.
His comments come as the Abused Catholic Children Association of Ireland confirm it's weekly protest in Dublin this week will be directed on Raphoe ahead of the expected publication of a key audit of how abuse complaints were handled.
In a sermon at the Basillica in Knock on Saturday last, Bishop Boyce said the church is being attacked from the outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture, and rocked from the inside by the sins and crimes of priests and consecrated people.
He said the church in Ireland is engulfed in a spiritual dark night, because some of those anointed to preach the word of God and to sanctify, were found to have betrayed the trust placed in them by innocent souls.
Bishop Boyce's comments come ahead of the expected publication of the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children's audit into how abuse complaints were handled in the Diocese of Raphoe.
Meanwhile, the weekly protest by abuse victims outside the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin his weekend will focus on Raphoe, to reflect the fact that many Donegal people will be in the capital for Sunday's All-Ireland Semi Final.