THE VATICAN was “offended” when the Murphy Inquiry directly summoned Catholic officials to answer questions, believing the actions of the inquiry were an “affront to Vatican sovereignty”, it has emerged.
The revelation is contained in the latest tranche of documents published by WikiLeaks, which has obtained copies of over 250,000 diplomatic cables sent to and from US ambassadors worldwide.
In one of the documents dated February 26 of this year, Julieta Valls Noyes – the US’s ambassador to the Holy See – wrote that the Inquiry, operating outside of the official umbrella of the state, had sidestepped the usual diplomatic procedures of going through the Irish embassy – but that the Holy See was greatly put out by this tactic, refusing to respond.
Such was the Vatican’s opposition to being directly contacted that it accused some in Ireland of “making political hay” of the situation by asking the Irish government to demand a Vatican response to the inquiry’s questions.
Ultimately, the Vatican’s secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone wrote to the Irish embassy asking it to act as an intermediary – apparently to no end.
The Papal Nuncio – basically the Vatican ambassador – in Ireland was also summoned to answer questions, but similarly stonewalled any requests, saying it was understood that foreign ambassadors were not expected to appear at ‘foreign’ commissions.
The document also says that the Irish government – as indicated through its own Vatican ambassador, Noel Fahey – eventually chose not to demand that the Vatican respond, acknowledging that the inquiry’s contact had not come through the official channels.
The state was, however, keen for the Vatican to respond nonetheless, as it wanted to ascertain how complicit the Department of Education had been in the systematic sexual abuse of children by clerics and lay members of the Church.
Valls Noyes’ note also writes that the “crisis in the Irish Catholic Church” was expected to “be protracted over several years”, as the Murphy Report investigated just one of the dioceses in the Irish Church.