RTTNews – July 17, 2011 – by RTT Staff Writer –
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny on Wednesday took the Catholic Church to task for trying to cover up cases of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy, and warned that relations between the Church and the Irish State would not be the same after the recent revelations.
Kenny made the remarks during a parliamentary debate on a recent report which highlighted the inappropriate response of the Church to complaints of sexual abuse against clerics in the diocese of Cloyne, southern Ireland. The report, which focused on the area around the southern city of Cork, was released last week.
Kenny told the Lower House of the Irish Parliament, or the Dail, that it was for the first time in the history of Ireland that 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.”
Kenny said the Cloyne report highlighted the “dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.” He also noted that the Church’s failure to take appropriate action on the complaints contradicted the principles of “radicalism, the humility and the compassion that the Church had been founded on.”
The report had concluded that response of the Church authorities to abuse complaints made in the diocese of Cloyne between 1996 and 2009 was “inadequate and inappropriate.”
The report singled out former Cloyne bishop John Magee for the Church’s inadequate response to the abuse complaints, saying Magee had “to a certain extent detached himself from the day to day management of child abuse cases.”
Magee had resigned in March 2010 after an independent inquiry commissioned by the Church into allegations of child abuse in the diocese found him and his senior diocesan aides guilty of failing to report the abuse allegations to the police.
His resignation came two years ahead of the normal retirement age for a bishop. He had previously served as personal secretary to three Popes — Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II.
Prior to his quitting, an Irish government-ordered investigation into the alleged cover-up of child-abuse cases in the Dublin archdiocese had alleged that the Catholic Church in Ireland had “obsessively” hidden “widespread” child abuse by several priests from 1975 to 2004.
The damning report submitted in November 2009 by the Dublin archdiocese commission of investigation also criticized the way in which the archdiocese handled priests suspected of involvement in such child abuse cases, adding that it operated on a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” regarding the reported abuse cases.
The developments came amid damages caused to reputation of the Catholic Church in several countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and the United States, by sexual abuse scandals involving the clergy.
Many of these nations have initiated independent probes into sex-abuse allegations. The scandals have already forced several bishops in many countries to step down. In the wake of the scandals, the Vatican has issued new guidelines to bishops across the world for handling all suspected abuse cases involving members of the clergy, including the reporting of all such cases to the police.