Catholic Church leaders slam decision to close Ireland’s Vatican Embassy
Irish relations with Holy See hit new low after government closure
Relations between the Catholic Church and the Irish State have hit an all-time low after the Dublin government announced that it is to close its embassy at the Vatican.
A Reuters report stated that Vatican officials were "stunned" by the decision.
"This is really bad for the Vatican because Ireland is the first big Catholic country to do this and because of what Catholicism means in Irish history," said a Vatican diplomatic source.
Irish Churchbosses have reacted with dismay to the news, confirmed by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore.
The Labor Party leader has repeatedly claimed in media interviews that the move is a cost cutting exercise with the Irish embassy in Iran and a consulate office in East Timor also to close.
But Catholic Church leaders are convinced the closure is the latest response by the Government to the row between Prime Minister Enda Kenny and the Holy See over the Church’s attitude to the report on clerical sex abuse in the Cork diocese of Cloyne.
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Kenny gained headlines across the world when he attacked the Church’s failure to co-operate with government agencies investigating widespread claims of clerical abuse in the Cloyne diocese.
The decision to close the Irish Embassy to the Holy See in Rome, at a potential saving of one million dollars a year, is seen as another affront to the Catholic Church.
The decision is just the latest blow to a deteriorating relationship between Church and State. Just weeks after Kenny’s attack, the Vatican recalled Papal Nuncio, Dr Giuseppe Leanza, from Dublin. He has yet to be replaced.
Catholic Primate of Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, and Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, have both condemned the decision to close the Vatican embassy.
“My reaction is one of profound disappointment at the closure of the Irish Embassy in the Vatican,” said Cardinal Brady.
“The decision means that Ireland will be without a resident Ambassador to the Holy See for the first time since diplomatic relations were established and envoys were exchanged between the two states in 1929.
“I know that many others will share this disappointment. This decision seems to show little regard for the important role played by the Holy See in international relations and of the historic ties between the Irish people and the Holy See over many centuries.
“It is worth recalling that for the new Irish State, the opening of diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 1929 was a very significant moment.
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