German Cardinal Reinhard Marx also told NCR that Pope Francis' Vatican reforms depend on "a new relationship between lay people and clerics, that is clear."
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin confirmed that Pope Francis, or his successor, will visit Ireland in 2018 for the World Meeting of Families.
Irish clerical abuse survivor Marie Collins, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, spoke to NCR and called Vatican bureaucracy "very difficult."
The Catholic bishops of Northern Ireland have described as "profoundly disquieting" a High Court ruling that the region's ban on abortion in all, very limited circumstances breaches human rights legislation.
"I am ashamed, frankly, of my church's failure to be a champion of gay rights and women's rights," former Irish President Mary McAleese has said.
An Irish bishop urged his colleagues to establish a commission to discuss the possibility of ordaining married men.
Bishop Leo O'Reilly of Kilmore also wants the Irish bishops' conference to empower the commission to further study female deacons.
The proposal stemmed from a 10-month listening process that O'Reilly led in the Kilmore diocese, which led to a diocesan assembly and a new diocesan pastoral plan to tackle challenges facing the Catholic church, including the declining number of priests.
"Throughout the debate and the discussion, we did ask people to try to be respectful and inoffensive in language," Archbishop Eamon Martin said.
Catholic Ireland has become the first country to introduce gay marriage by popular vote, with 62 percent voting "Yes" in a referendum on Friday.
In an open letter, 32 signatories tell Pope Francis that the future of parish life is "massively threatened."
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said he would seek assurances from religious congregations operating in his diocese that they are rigidly following child protection guidelines after a fresh round of audits raised serious concerns.
In a statement Tuesday, Martin said it was "appalling" that some major religious congregations had delayed fully implementing the church's child protection guidelines and that, in some cases, this process only really got underway in 2013.
Martin said the delays left him "seriously concerned."