Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vatican rejects Irish Govt criticism after Cloyne


The Vatican has issued its response to criticism levelled against it by the Government following publication of the Cloyne report.
In a 25-page statement, the Vatican rebuts remarks made by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil in July.
The report on the Cloyne Diocese found that Bishop John Magee falsely told the Government and the Health Service Executive that the Catholic Diocese was reporting all allegations of clerical child sexual abuse to the civil authorities.
The statement from the Vatican says "it has significant reservations that the speech made by Enda Kenny TD in the Dáil on the 20th of July, in particular, the accusation that the Holy See attempted to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign democratic republic, is unfounded."
The statement added that the Holy See wishes to make it quite clear that it in no way hampered or sought to interfere in any inquiry into cases of child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne.
Furthermore, the Vatican says that at no stage did the Holy See seek to interfere with Irish Civil law or impeded the civil authority in the exercise of its duties.
The Holy See observes that there is no evidence cited anywhere in the Cloyne Report, to support the claim that its (i.e. the Vatican's) supposed intervention contributed to the undermining of the child protection framework and guidelines of the Irish State.
The Cloyne Report scrutinized how both Church and State authorities handled complaints and allegations of child sexual abuse made against 19 priests working under Bishop John Magee in the Co Cork diocese between 1996 and 2009.
The response from the Vatican was prompted by scathing criticism levelled against it by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil in July in which he castigated what he termed "the dysfunction, disconnection and elitism" in the Vatican.
The Vatican also responded to claims in the Cloyne Report that it referred to a Framework Document, drawn up by Irish Bishops, on how to deal with allegations of child sexual abuse as "not an official document..but merely a study document."
It says that taken out of context the comments in the letter from Archbishop Storero to Irish Bishops "could be open to misinterpretation, giving rise to understandable criticism."
It says this description was "not a dismissal of the serious efforts undertaken by Irish Bishops to address the grave problem of child sexual abuse."
Rather the congregation "wished to ensure that nothing contained in the Framework Document would give rise to difficulties should appeals be lodged to the Holy See."
The Vatican also refutes the claim that Irish Bishops sought recognition from Rome for the Framework Document but it was not forthcoming.
It says Irish Bishops did not, under Canon Law, seek 'recongnito' for the Framework Document, therefore the Holy See cannot be criticised for failing to grant what was never requested in the first place.
However, according to the Vatican, this would not have prevented applying the Framework Document in individual Dioceses.
Cardinal Sean Brady welcomed the publication of what he called the comprehensive reply of the Holy See to the Irish government.
He said it conveyed the profound abhorrence of the Holy See for the crime of sexual abuse and its sorrow and shame for the terrible suffering which the victims and their families had endured within the Church.
He said he believed it would contribute to the healing of survivors of sexual abuse by priests.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the response was detailed and comprehensive and he hoped it would be understood and not be an "occasion just for added polemics."
He said while some had argued that the intervention of the then Papal Nuncio had created the opportunity to ignore guidelines he thought the intervention did "not in fact impede the Irish Bishops."
He said there were some people who regarded only their own views and would take no note of any documents or even approved papal norms.
"These people may be few but the damage they caused was huge."

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