Vatican hits out at 'excessive reactions' after Cloyne Report

The Vatican has today expressed its "surprise and disappointment" at some responses to the Cloyne Report into clerical sex abuse.

The comment will be seen by many as a reference to Taoiseach Enda Kenny's recent Dáil speech, during which he condemned "the dysfunction, the disconnection, the elitism that dominates the Vatican today".

Vice-director of the Vatican press office, Father Ciro Benedettini, this afternoon confirmed that Papal Nuncio Archbishop Leanza has already arrived in Rome after being recalled for "consultations" on the Cloyne report.

The Vatican spokesman said the principal aim of the recall was to make it easier for its Secretary of State and other officials to prepare the Holy See’s official response to the Government in the wake of the Cloyne report into the mishandling of child sex abuse claims.

“The recall of the Nuncio, being a measure verily adopted by the Holy See, denotes the seriousness of the situation and the Holy See’s desire to face it objectively and determinately,” he said.

“Nor does it exclude some degree of surprise and disappointment at certain excessive reactions.”

Fr Benedettini added: “The recall of the Nuncio should be interpreted as an expression of the desire of the Holy See for serious and effective collaboration with the (Irish) Government.”

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said the decision to recall Archbishop Leanza was a matter for the Holy See.

“The Government is awaiting the response of the Holy See to the recent report into the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne and it is to be expected that the Vatican would wish to consult in depth with the Nuncio on its response,” he added.

The Vatican said the recall of the Papal Nuncio was a measure rarely used by the Holy See.

Two weeks ago, Minister Gilmore ordered Archbishop Leanza to get answers from the Vatican on claims it allowed priests to ignore mandatory reporting guidelines on suspected child abusers within the church.

The Pope’s envoy was told to take a message to the Holy See that the Government believes its conduct has been disgraceful and unacceptable.

The Vatican became embroiled in the latest Irish church scandal after revelations about a 1997 letter, from the then Papal Nuncio to Irish bishops, a year after reporting guidelines were enforced to enhance child protection.

The correspondence stated that the bishops policy was “merely a discussion document” and that the Vatican had serious moral and canon reservations about mandatory reporting of clerical abuse.

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