July 27, 2011

Anti-Vatican feeling sweeps Irish media

by Jan Harris

A wave of anti-Vatican feeling is sweeping Ireland following Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s attack on the Catholic Church’s handling of the child abuse scandal described in the Cloyne report.

The report describes how the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests in the Irish diocese of Cloyne was covered up.

Complaints were made against 19 priests over the period from 1996 to 2009.

Kenny’s remarks, which included the accusation that the church’s concern about its own reputation had led it to downplay the suffering of the victims of the abuse, have been widely applauded by the media across Ireland.

Following his remarks, the prime minster said he has had thousands of messages of support, with many of them coming from clergy.

Earlier this week the Vatican recalled the Irish papal envoy, Giuseppe Leanza, back to Rome to discuss the Cloyne Report.

Vice-director of the Vatican press office Father Ciro Benedettini said the nuncio’s recall “should be interpreted as an expression of the desire of the Holy See for serious and effective collaboration with the (Irish) government”.

Mr Kenny has promised to introduce new laws making it a crime to withhold evidence of child abuse.

The law would mean that even if this information was given as part of a confession, it would have to be report to legal authorities, contrary to the rules of the Catholic Church.

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