Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi

The Vatican has tried to calm a massive diplomatic row with the Irish government after stinging criticism from Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

The Irish leader slammed the Vatican in the wake of the controversial report into clerical sex abuse in the Cork diocese of Cloyne.

Kenny was critical of the Church’s failure to report child abuse claims to the State authorities and also rebuked unofficial comments made by Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi after the report was published.

Fr Lombardi has now issued a formal statement outlining the Vatican’s intentions to answer all allegations in the report.

“I can confirm, as I have already said, that the Holy See will respond at the opportune moment to the questions raised by the Irish Government with regard to the Cloyne report,” said Fr Lombardi.

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“In any event, it is to be hoped that the ongoing debate on such dramatic issues can be carried out with the necessary objectivity so as to contribute to the matter which should most concern us all, namely the safety of children and of young people and the renewal of a climate of trust and collaboration to this end, in both the church and society, as wished for by the Pope in his letter to the Catholics of Ireland.”

Just last week, Fr Lombardi had indicated an extended, detailed and reasoned response from the Holy See might take some time. “No date can yet be fixed for that response,” he said.

The Irish Times reports that comments also made by Fr Lombardi to Vatican Radio earlier this week were described as ‘unfortunate and disingenuous’ by Ireland’s Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.

Fr Lombardi had claimed there was ‘nothing’ in the infamous 1997 letter from papal nuncio Luciano Storero to the Irish bishops to encourage a policy of cover-up or to not respect the laws of the land.