Ireland’s leading religious commentator, Patsy McGarry of the Irish Times, who broke many stories about the child sex abuse scandals, has weighed in on who is to blame for the breakdown between church and state.

In an opinion article written for The Irish Times, McGarry sheds light on the blatant lack of cooperation from the Vatican in relation to matters of the Irish Catholic Church.

McGarry bluntly writes, “The central issue over Ireland and the Vatican has been Rome’s lack of co-operation with two inquiries set up by this State to investigate criminality – the systematic enabling and cover-up by Catholic Church authorities of the rape of Irish children over decades.”

McGarry recounts how prior to becoming pope,  Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger contacted every Catholic bishop in the world in 2001 urging them to send forward any documentation  “with a semblance of truth” of alleged abuse within the Church.

In response, the Murphy commission, which investigated abuse in Dublin, wrote to the congregation in September 2006 seeking co-operation. It got none. This was only the first failed attempt at cooperation; more were to follow.

McGarry writes how rather than cooperate, the Vatican “complained to Dublin that the commission had not used proper channels, ie it had not gone through the Department of Foreign Affairs. As should have been known in Rome the Murphy commission could not use the Irish State’s “proper channels” as it was also investigating this State’s handling of allegations.”

“So, in February 2007 the commission wrote to the papal nuncio in Dublin asking for relevant documents. There was no reply. In early 2009 it again wrote to the nuncio, enclosing a draft of its report for comment. There was no reply.”

In summation, McGarry concludes “That was how the Holy See treated two inquiries set up by our government to investigate the gravest of abuses of thousands of Irish children by priests. It ignored them. This had nothing to do with Catholicism but centrally involved inter-state relations. Because of it, and whatever may happen in the future, the decision to close the Irish embassy to the Holy See was appropriate and proportionate, regardless of the costs argument.”

“It is time common sense entered this row.”