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Cloyne: Tánaiste reacts to Vatican statement as Taoiseach says he doesn't regret speech

The two most senior figures in government have given their initial response to what the Vatican has been saying about the Cloyne report this morning.

Eamon Gilmore and Enda Kenny (File photo)
Eamon Gilmore and Enda Kenny (File photo)
Image: Peter Morrison/AP/Press Association Images

THE TÁNAISTE EAMON Gilmore has said that some of the Vatican’s detailed response to the Cloyne report into clerical sexual abuse should not be allowed to obscure the obligation for abuse to be detected and reported.

He was speaking after the Vatican published its response to the Cloyne report in which it denied claims it interfered in efforts to report priests implicated in sexual abuse allegations in the Cork diocese of Cloyne and criticised the Taoiseach’s response to the report in which he slammed the attitude of the Vatican.

In a statement, Gilmore said the Vatican’s response would be studied by the government but that some of the argumentation put forward by the Holy See was “very technical and legalistic” and he said the government’s concerns “were never about the status of church documents but rather about the welfare of children.”

Betrayal

“The sexual abuse of children is such a heinous and reprehensible crime that issues about the precise status of documents should not be allowed to obscure the obligation of people in positions of responsibility to deal promptly with such abuse and report it,” he said.

He also rejected the Vatican’s claim that a 1997 letter from the then Papal Nuncio regarding the interpretation of a so-called Framework Document for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse in the church “could be open to misinterpretation, giving rise to understandable criticism.”

Gilmore said of this: “I remain of the view that the 1997 letter from the then Nuncio provided a pretext for some to avoid full cooperation with the Irish Civil authorities.”

He also added: “The sense of betrayal which was felt by Irish people about this matter, and which was clearly expressed by the Taoiseach, came about not only because of the nature of child abuse itself but also because of the unique position which the Catholic Church enjoyed in this country, manifested in many ways, over many decades.”

The Tánasite concluded that he would work to progress the Holy See’s wish to continue dialogue and cooperation about the issues raised by the Cloyne report “above all with a view to promoting child welfare and ending the appalling scourge of clerical abuse.”

No regrets

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that he does not regret his response to the publication of the report when he made a statement to the Dáil in July, according to the Irish Times.

Speaking at the Curragh Camp during Cavalry Remembrance Day today, Kenny said he not yet read the Vatican’s response this morning but would in due course.

He stood by a speech made to the Dáil on 20 July in which he said amongst other things:

“The Vatican’s reaction (to events in Cloyne) was to parse and analyse it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer. . . . This calculated, withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded”.

Read the full response by the Vatican here >

Read more coverage of the Cloyne report >

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