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Vatican silent after Taoiseach's stinging attack on Church

Officials of the Holy See are yet to respond to Enda Kenny’s Dáil speech, which has generated a huge response.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE VATICAN IS yet to issue a response after Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s blistering attack on its “elitism” and “narcissism” over clerical child abuse.

In a passionate speech in the Dáil yesterday, Mr Kenny said the rape and torture of children were “downplayed or managed” by top Vatican officials who were only focused on maintaining “power, standing and reputation.” He branded the Vatican’s position “calculated” and “withering”.

The speech was almost universally well received by survivors of clerical abuse. Founder of One In Four Colm O’Gorman last night tweeted: “I cannot find the words to express how moved I am by Taoiseachs speech on #cloyne today. This has been a long, hard road.”

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin last night said he agreed with some elements of the Taoiseach’s position. In an emotional interview on RTÉ’s Six One news, he said there was a “cabal” of clerics in Cloyne who refused to acknowledge moral norms – and the problem extended as far as the Vatican. “I’m very disappointed, annoyed,” he said.

What do you do when you’ve got groups, whether in the Vatican or in Ireland, who try to undermine what is being done or simply refuse to understand what has been done? [...] I am angry, ashamed and appalled

However, the Irish Catholic reports that Archbishop Martin is increasingly isolated within the church hierarchy, saying he “cuts a lonely figure” and is “invariably first out of the room and into his car while the other members of the hierarchy linger and indulge in a round of mutual back-slapping.”

Gerry O’Connell, Vatican correspondent for The Universe, today told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the Vatican would not delay in issuing a response to Mr Kenny’s speech, adding that officials recognise it is something which cannot be “put on the back burner”. Mr O’Connell also said the Vatican was already planning to replace papal nuncio to Ireland Giuseppe Leanza before the publication of the Cloyne report.

The Apostolic Nunciature could not be reached for comment this morning.

In a rare voice of dissent to the Taoiseach’s words, Irish Catholic correspondent David Quinn wrote on his blog that Mr Kenny had quoted the Pope out of context with the intention of inflicting “maximum damage on both the Vatican and the Pope regardless of the facts.”

Read more: Full text of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s speech >

Read more: Kenny condemns ‘dysfunction and disconnection’ of the Catholic Church >

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Michael Freeman

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