Irish leader hits back at Pope in wake of criticism from Rome
Government calls sex abuse response ‘very technical and legalistic’
The Irish government has reminded the pope and Vatican authorities Vatican that child abuse will not be tolerated and the perpetrators brought to justice.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and his deputy Eamon Gilmore have responded to Saturday’s statement from the Holy See in relation to the Cloyne Report.
The Vatican finally responded to the damning report on Saturday when it was critical of the Kenny’s attack on the Catholic Church hierarchy this summer.
Kenny, yet to formally reply to the statement, has said he stands by his attack on the Catholic Church leadership and its handling of the clerical sex abuse scandal in the Cloyne diocese.
“I do not regret my response to the report when I made that statement to the Dail (Irish parliament) in July, I will respond fully in due course,” said Kenny at a Cavalry Remembrance Day ceremony at the Curragh Army Camp.
Deputy Prime Minister Gilmore, leader of the Labor Party, has also responded to the Vatican statement and reminded the Church that the protection of children should be of the utmost importance for Church and State.
The Vatican has denied that it interfered in how clerical sex abuse allegations were handled in the Cork diocese of Cloyne.
Gilmore has studied the reply from the Holy See and has said that aspects of the response from Rome "should not be allowed to obscure the obligation for abuse to be detected and reported."
He added: “Some of the argumentation put forward by the Holy See was very technical and legalistic.
“The government’s concerns were never about the status of church documents but rather about the welfare of children.
“The sexual abuse of children is such a heinous and reprehensible crime that issues about the precise status of documents should not be allowed to obscure the obligation of people in positions of responsibility to deal promptly with such abuse and report it.”
According to reports on Sunday, Gilmore also rejected the Vatican’s claim that a 1997 letter from the then Papal Nuncio regarding the interpretation of a so-called Framework Document for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse in the church could be open to "misinterpretation, giving rise to understandable criticism."
“I remain of the view that the 1997 letter from the then Nuncio provided a pretext for some to avoid full cooperation with the Irish Civil authorities,” said Gilmore.
“The sense of betrayal which was felt by Irish people about this matter, and which was clearly expressed by the Taoiseach, came about not only because of the nature of child abuse itself but also because of the unique position which the Catholic Church enjoyed in this country, manifested in many ways, over many decades.”
The Vatican has stated that it wants to continue dialogue with the Irish government about the issues raised in the Cloyne Report. Gilmore welcomed this stance.
“We will work to progress the Holy See’s wish to continue dialogue and cooperation about the issues raised by the Cloyne report, above all with a view to promoting child welfare and ending the appalling scourge of clerical abuse,” said Gilmore.
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