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Dublin archbishop presses government, Church leaders on Cloyne report and response

Catholic World News - September 05, 2011

In comments on the Vatican’s response to Cloyne report (see today’s separate CWN headline story), Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin underlined the need to ensure that Church leaders are fully committed to faithful enforcement of sex-abuse policies.

Archbishop Martin—who has been outspoken in his demands for a rigorous response to abuse—strongly supported the Vatican’s defense against government charges that Rome had interfered with efforts to address the problem. He pointed out that “on over twenty occasions” in the past decade, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had reminded bishops of an obligation to cooperate with law-enforcement officials and respect local laws.

Regarding a much-discussed 1997 incident, in which one Vatican office questioned the tough policies in a “framework document” submitted by the Irish hierarchy, Archbishop Martin argued that the most recent problems in Ireland were caused by Church leaders who had no intention of enforcing any strong policies:

But the fact is that these same people who were prepared to brush aside the Framework Document, continued to reject the clear norms approved by Pope Benedict when they were published. They were people who regarded only their own views and would take no note of study documents, of Framework Documents or even of approved papal norms. These people may be few but the damage they caused was huge.

Policies alone cannot correct the problem, Archbishop Martin said. He insisted that “even even the best norms in the world must be accompanied by an on-going process of independent monitoring and reviewing of day-to-day practice.” Without naming names, the archbishop said that if Church and state leaders cannot reach a clear consensus on appropriate practical steps, these same people “the same elements who had reservations then, and not just in the Church, may well reappear today.”

In his defense of the Holy See against criticism from government leaders, Archbishop Martin focused especially on the claim by Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny that the Vatican had undermined Irish investigations. “I would like to know what he is referring to,” the archbishop said.

“It’s a very, very specific allegation,” Archbishop Martin observed, and neither Kenny nor his government has produced any evidence to support the charge.

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