Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny today slammed the Vatican in an extraordinary attack over their reaction to the Cloyne diocese report on child sex abuse.
He told the Dail (Irish Parliament) the reaction by the Vatican to the Cloyne Report into clerical sex abuse was unacceptable.
He said the 400-page report "excavates the dysfunction, the disconnection, the elitism that dominates the Vatican today."
The report found that a cover-up of abuses up to 19 priests by Bishop John Magee was continued despite guidelines put in place. Several Irish experts have claimed that Magee was following Vatican orders
The Irish leader said "The rape and torture of children were downplayed ... managed to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and reputation.”
He called their reaction to the sexual abuse of children "calculated withering position" and added that it was "the polar opposite of the radicalism, the humility and the compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded." When the Vatican received the evidence they sent it to be analyzed by a canon lawyer.
Kenny said the power of the Church in Ireland has left many of Ireland's brightest leaders unable or unwilling to address the horrendous Ryan and Murphy reports.
He also said that the clericalism must be devastating to "good priests".
The Taoiseach said "Thankfully for them, and for us, this is not Rome. Nor is it industrial school or Magdalene Ireland, where the swish of a soutane-smothered conscience and humanity and the swing of a thurible ruled the Irish Catholic world.
“This is the Republic of Ireland 2011.
“A republic of laws, of rights and responsibilities, of proper civic order, where the delinquency and arrogance of a particular version of a particular kind of morality will no longer be tolerated or ignored.”
Kenny voice his agreement with the Dublin Archbishops, Diarmuid Martin, saying that all similar reports on the Church should be published as soon as possible.
He reiterated the measures which will be instated in the wake of the publication of the Cloyne Report, including that it will now be an offence to withhold information about crimes against children.
“As the Holy See prepares its considered response to the Cloyne Report, as Taoiseach I am making it absolutely clear that when it comes to the protection of the children of this State, the standards of conduct which the church deems appropriate to itself cannot and will not be applied to the workings of democracy and civil society in this republic,” Kenny said.
The Irish Parliament's motion today stated that they deplore "the Vatican’s intervention, which contributed to the undermining of the child protection frameworks and guidelines of the Irish State and the Irish bishops”.
Earlier on Wednesday, a Vatican spokesman stated that Irish bishops had never been encouraged to cover up clerical abuse or evade child protection laws. These are the first comments to come from Rome in the wake of the Cloyne Report publication, which focused heavily on the actions of Bishop John Magee.
The spokesperson for the Vatican, Father Federico Lombardi dismissed criticism of the Holy See. Lombardi went on to call the severity of the criticism against the Holy See curious, according to the Irish Examiner.
In 1997 a letter from the Papal Nuncio, Rome's ambassador to Ireland, wrote a letter reacting to the Irish bishops' plans to improve child protection. The Cloyne Report called the Vatican's response "entirely unhelpful".
Lombardi continued "There is no reason to interpret that letter as being intended to cover up cases of abuse. Moreover, there is absolutely nothing in the letter that is an invitation to disregard the laws of the country.”
He said that in the Vatican's view they had done nothing worse that the Irish State as rigorous child protection rules were not in place at the time.
"The severity of certain criticisms of the Vatican are curious, as if the Holy See was guilty of not having given merit under canon law to norms which a State did not consider necessary to give value under civil law.”
He continued “In attributing grave responsibility to the Holy See for what happened in Ireland, such accusations seem to go far beyond what is suggested in the report itself (which uses a more balanced tone in the attribution of responsibility) and demonstrate little awareness of what the Holy See has actually done over the years to help effectively address the problem.”
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