The Vatican has accused Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny of making “unfounded” attacks against the Holy See and rejected claims that it tried to undermine Irish bishops who reported child sexual abuse by priests.
A detailed story by the Associated Press says that Kenny denounced the Vatican in July for its mishandling of the sex abuse scandal. The speech was prompted by a investigation into the diocese of Cloyne, which found that the Vatican had undermined attempts by bishops to protect children by saying that requiring the reporting of sexual abuse to the police “might violate church law.” The report on the investigation was the first to cite the Vatican as covering up abuse and keeping abusers in service.
The policy of reporting abuse was adopted by Irish bishops in 1996, a year after the first abuse victim, a former altar boy, went public.
The Cloyne report cited a 1997 letter from the Vatican expressing “serious reservations” about the policy and said the letter “effectively” gave bishops permission to ignore it.
The Vatican responded on Saturday by saying that the letter was misinterpreted and that since reporting abuse wasn’t Irish law—Irish laws or state attempts to deal with the problem could not be undermined.
From the AP article as published by SFGate:
“Kenny had also accused the Vatican of frustrating the inquiry into the Cloyne diocese, and that in doing so said the Cloyne report “excavates the dysfunction, the disconnection, the elitism that dominates the culture of the Vatican to this day.”