THE Irish government has indicated that it expects a prompt response from the Vatican to the Cloyne report, in the wake of criticisms of the Holy See by the Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, in the Irish parliament last week (News, 22 July).
After the recall to Rome of the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, on Sunday, observers in Ireland and Rome have said that relations between the two states have never been so low.
Last week, Mr Kenny delivered an unusually strong rebuke to the Holy See. He told the Dáil: “For the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic — as little as three years ago, not three decades ago.
“And, in doing so, the Cloyne report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, élitism — the narcissism — that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day. The rape and torture of children were downplayed or ‘managed’ to uphold instead the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and ‘reputation’.
“Far from listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal with St Benedict’s ‘ear of the heart’, the Vatican’s reaction was to parse and analyse it with the gimlet eye of the canon lawyer. This is not Rome. . . 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.”
It was these words, and a national outcry at the findings of the Cloyne report, that led to the recall of the Nuncio.
While the official line from the Vatican on the recall is that the Nuncio is to help the Holy See formulate a considered response to Cloyne, there are some who believe that the truth lies deeper. On the same day as the report was being considered in Dublin, the city’s RC Archbishop, Dr Diarmuid Martin, appeared on Irish state television, saying that there were still people in powerful positions in both Rome and Ireland who were prepared to disregard the new child-protection regulations, and would rate canon law as a higher power. He has consistently condemned the abusers, as well as those who helped to conceal the crimes.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore, who played down speculation that the Nuncio’s recall was a move to pre-empt any breaking of diplomatic ties between the two states, reminded the Vatican that the Irish government expected a prompt reply: “The Government is awaiting the response of the Holy See to the recent report on the Catholic diocese of Cloyne, and it is to be expected that the Vatican would wish to consult in depth with the Nuncio on its response.”
The former Bishop of Cloyne, Dr John Magee, who admitted presiding over failures to deal with reports of child abuse, has not been seen recently.