Irish government firm but diplomatic in reply to Vatican
CWN - September 09, 2011
In a statement responding to the Vatican’s lengthy answer to the Cloyne report, the Irish government has taken a conciliatory tone, backing away from earlier harsh criticism of the Holy See.
The government did not apologize for the earlier statements, or retract complaints of Vatican “interference” in Ireland’s internal affairs. But the short statement avoided confrontational language.
The government said that it expects “the fullest cooperation from the Holy See, the Catholic Church and other relevant bodies” in efforts to root out sexual abuse. The statement concluded by welcoming the Vatican’s invitation to “a constructive dialogue and cooperation with the government.”
The statement did not respond directly to a challenge from the Vatican for justification of the charge by Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny that the Holy See had interfered in Irish governmental affairs. But the statement did say that a 1997 letter from the apostolic nuncio “provided a pretext for some members of the clergy to evade full co-operation with the Irish civil authorities in regard to the abuse of minors.”
Justice minister Alan Shatter enlarged that complaint in an RTE broadcast interview, saying that the Vatican’s failure to answer questions from an independent investigating commission was also a form of interference. The Vatican had said that the commission’s queries should be made through normal diplomatic channels.
Responding to Vatican dismay at the fiery tone of public statements by Kenny and other political leaders, the government said that those statements “accurately reflect the public anger of the overwhelming majority of Irish people.”
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