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Apostolic visitation of Irish dioceses concluded; follow-up on religious orders due

Catholic World News - June 06, 2011

An apostolic visitation of the four archdioceses of Ireland has been concluded, the Vatican announced on June 6. However, further probes will be made of some Irish religious orders.

The apostolic visitation—which was undertaken in response to the sex-abuse scandal in Ireland—was conducted in six parts, with separate inquiries in each of the country’s four archdioceses, along with inquiries into seminary training and religious life. The Vatican announced that the visitations had been concluded, gaining “a sufficiently complete picture of the situation of the Irish Church,” in each area, with the exception of religious life.

For some religious orders, the Vatican disclosed, the Congregation for Religious will arrange more detailed visits. That announcement will undoubtedly prompt protest from the Irish religious who have complained about Vatican assertions of authority—much as some American nuns complained about an apostolic visitation into the life of women’s religious orders in the US.

The prelates who conducted the visitations have submitted their reports to the Vatican, and various offices of the Holy See will be making recommendations to the Irish bishops, the Vatican said. A full report from the Vatican on the visitation will be released by early next year.

The Vatican announcement comes just days after Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin expressed frustration with the pace of the apostolic visitations, and said that he hoped reports would be available soon.

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