New York Times criticizes Vatican over pedophiles
Say Irish letter reveals clear evidence of foot dragging
A New York Times lead editorial on Thursday has stated that a 1997 letter from the Vatican to Irish bishops (see below) makes clear that cover ups of pedophile priests was tolerated by the Vatican despite their denials to the contrary.
The Times wrote: “Throughout the mushrooming scandal, Rome officials have denied trying to foil secular law by allowing child-abuse allegations to be shrouded in halfhearted diocesan inquiries and cover-ups.
“But the newly discovered letter undermines those claims and reinforces evidence of foot dragging that still has not been adequately addressed by the Vatican.”
The letter, written by the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland took issue with an Irish bishop’s advisory group recommendation to report pedophile priests to police.
It was signed by the late Archbishop Luciano Storero, Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland.
The letter instructs Irish bishops that their new policy of reporting of suspected crimes "gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and canonical nature." and said such decisions to go to civil authorities could be overturned.
The Times wrote that “The letter from the papal representative rejected a 1996 decision by Dublin church leaders to respond more candidly to the suppressed scandal in Ireland by ordering that child-abuse allegations be referred for criminal investigation.
The “strictly confidential” letter from Rome — leaked this week amid continuing inquiries into the Irish scandal — emphasized the priority of in-house handling of pedophilia cases under church, not civil, law.
This was hardly the needed prescription for what an Irish government investigation eventually described as “endemic” abuse of thousands of children over decades by rogue priests who were routinely shielded from criminal penalties.”
The Times notes the case of one of the worst abusers “It was disclosed recently, for example, that Tony Walsh, a notorious abuser of children who was convicted and defrocked in a secret church court in Dublin in 1993, got his collar back a year later when a Vatican court believed his appeal and reinstated him as a priest. He was eventually imprisoned after raping and molesting scores of youngsters.”
The Times points out that “Rome officials insist that the letter from Rome is outdated, misinterpreted and superseded by tougher church rules.
However, they say present day rules do not go far enough. “Unfortunately, the latest policies of the Vatican do not mandate the zero-tolerance reforms that ranking officials in the United States and elsewhere were forced to proclaim as the scandal demoralized church faithful worldwide.”
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