Vatican publishes response to Irish report on clerical sexual abuse

(UPDATED STORY: Vatican responds to Irish government report on clerical sexual abuse)

VATICAN CITY — “The Holy See understands and shares the depth of public anger and frustration at the findings of the Cloyne Report,” the Irish government report on how allegations of the sexual abuse of children were handled in the Diocese of Cloyne.

The Vatican today released a 19-page response to statements in the Cloyne Report and in formal Irish government observations about it that accused the Vatican of undermining “the Irish church’s own efforts to deal with clerical child sexual abuse.”

The text said:

At the outset, the Holy See wishes to state its abhorrence for the crimes of sexual abuse which took place in that Diocese, and indeed in other Irish Dioceses. The Holy See is sorry and ashamed for the terrible sufferings which the victims of abuse and their families have had to endure within the Church of Jesus Christ, a place where this should never happen. It appreciates how difficult it must have been for them to approach the authorities and speak of their appalling and traumatic experiences, which continue to blight their lives, and hopes that the sharing of these experiences will go some way towards healing their wounds and allowing them to know inner peace and serenity.

The Irish government’s Cloyne Report was issued July 13 and examined how the Diocese of Cloyne handled accusations of clerical sexual abuse. It said the local bishop paid “little or no attention” to safeguarding children as recently as 2008, but it also accused the Vatican of being “entirely unhelpful” to Irish bishops who wanted to implement stronger norms for dealing with accusations and protecting children.

In late July, the Vatican took the unusual move of recalling its nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza. The Vatican said calling the archbishop back to Rome signaled the seriousness of the situation and how intent the Vatican was on drafting a comprehensive response to the Cloyne Report.

The Vatican Secretariat of State and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees the church’s response to the sex abuse scandal and handles cases involving accusations against priest, were the primary drafters of the response. But it also included input from the congregations for clergy and bishops.

A central focus of the Cloyne Report’s criticism of the Vatican was a January 1997 letter to the Irish bishops containing observations from the Congregation for Clergy regarding the bishops’ 1996 document “Child Sexual Abuse: Framework for a Church Response.”

The Vatican congregation had described the document as “not an official document of the episcopal conference, but merely a study document.”

In the Vatican’s view, the Cloyne Report quoted sections of the letter out of context and misunderstood the technical nature of what constitutes an official document of a bishops’ conference with Vatican-approved norms binding on all the bishops in that country.

The Vatican’s response said the Irish bishops never asked for that formal recognition, so “the Holy See cannot be criticized for failing to grant what was never requested in the first place.” But the response also said that each of the bishops, who have the power to institute norms for their own dioceses, knew they had the authority to adopt the norms for their own dioceses.

The failure in the Diocese of Cloyne to protect children, the Vatican said, was not the result of the Vatican telling then-Bishop John Magee that he didn’t have to follow the Irish norms — in fact, he had said he intended to implement them in Cloyne.

“The basic difficulty with regard to child protection in that diocese seems to have arise not from the lack” of formal Vatican recognition, “but from the fact that, while the diocese claimed to follow the guidelines, in reality it did not,” the Vatican response said.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters this morning that the Vatican’s primary concern in drafting its response was to promote “constructive dialogue and cooperation” with the Irish government “so that all institutions, whether public or private, religious or secular, may work together to ensure that the church and, indeed society in general, will always be safe for children and young people.”

This morning, he said, Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, the Vatican undersecretary for relations to states, personally delivered the report to Helena Keleher, charge d’affaires of the Irish embassy to the Holy See in Rome.

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7 Responses to Vatican publishes response to Irish report on clerical sexual abuse

  1. Bro. Ringo says:

    Well there is.All the usual head-spinning,obfuscating gobblydegook we’ve come to expect from the Vatican.The last sentence in the featured portion of this “response”illustrated the sheer banality of the Church’s “solution” to this crisis; to all intent and purpose ther victims might as well just go to a psychotherapist!!When you have the pope himself wondering …”What is wrong…in our whole way of iving the Christian life to allow such a thing to happen”…Well. That sort of spells it out,does’nt it? Catholic children are truly defenceless chickens trapped in a den full of foxes!But, all isd not loss. The Church’s solution is amazingly simple:Put the Lord Jesus Christ at the center of everything,where truly belongs,for true peace and healing.Not the church,pope,Mary,rites,rituals,or ceremony,not rosaries,saints…Rid yourselves of all the useless detrius of religion and dead “tradition” and embrace the only true Healer.Your alway-open invitation is in the Gospel of Matthew,chapter11,verse28.Go to Him,now.God bless all.

  2. Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh says:

    When is Pope Benedict XVI going to admit his role in allowing priest sexual abuse of children to flourish worldwide? When is he going to become accountable? When will he make all bishops accountable? What kind of leader is the Pope when he is so ready to blame others and not himself? All roads for the mess of priest sexual abuse lead to policies made at the Vatican in Rome. It is time for Pope Benedict XVI and the Curia to become accountable to the people of God!

    Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago, USA

  3. Not to diminish the serious sin of the RCC but Please examine the Jehovah’s Witnesses who go door to door and come on our property.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses pedophiles.
    Many court documents and news events prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses require two witnesses when a child comes forward with allegations of molestation within the congregation. Such allegations have customarily been treated as sins instead of crimes and are only reported to authorities when it is required to do so by law, (which varies by state).

    It has also been shown that child molesters within the organization usually have not been identified to the congregation members or the public at large. These people engage in a door to door ministry, possibly exposing children to pedophiles.

    The Watchtower corporation has paid out millions in settlement money already.
    — Danny Haszard abuse victim

  4. Khrum says:

    I dare you hiding behind the doors and pretand nothing ever happened after all the proof that as been brought in the open.Why are you hiding those MOLESTERS is behind compreantion.
    And you wonder why so many catholic have no more faith in any of you.
    You all should be ashame for this if this is the way to teach tolerance well that is not the way.Bring those people to justice as every other child molesters.
    Less then that is not an option if not I hope to GOD you get wash out of money because you deserve to pay with everything you own.
    Stand up like man and quit hiding behind that robe have the gut to admit what you know is the truth.

  5. lfd says:

    Unfortunately this is a old sin and a old cover up

  6. I am truly astonished by the ignorance of Khrum, Dr. Rosemary McHugh and Bro. Ringo. The Pope is not blaming others rather than himself. How can you even think this? He has wept with victims on more than one occasion. Read a few Catholic sources for a change! HE IS NOT PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY OF THESE CRIMES, almost all of which happened years before he became Pope, HE DOES NOT PERSONALLY HIDE ANY SEX CRIMINALS, THE CHURCH’S LAWS ARE THE TOUGHEST IN THE WORLD – ACCUSED PRIESTS ARE GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT – AND MANY PRIESTS HAVE BEEN AND STILL ARE BEING UNJUSTLY ACCUSED. I was molested by a Scots Presbyterian family friend when I was 8yrs old; my sister was raped by a Muslim domestic at the age of 5; New York State cannot keep up with the cases against its secular teachers; Rabbis are also known to be molesters, as are ministers from all other religions,SO LET’S HAVE SOME DECENT, BALANCED, INFORMED, judgements!

  7. No one loves Jesus more than a devout Catholic. We love Him so much that we follow every single doctrine he taught the Apostles.

    Please, please, meditate on why Jesus did not explain Himself in John 6 when many disciples turned away from this “analogy” (as Protestants view it), that he made about eating His flesh and drinking His blood? He made many analogies during his mission and, though some were queried, people did not desert him in disgust for saying them. They began seriously doubting what Jesus was teaching about Himself in John 6:38 – where He says He has come down from Heaven, and they figured this was impossible. Now Jesus began increasing the pressure to sound the depth of their “belief” in Him.

    Do you know why drinking blood was forbidden to the Jews? Leviticus 17:10-14. Here, we see how God made blood sacred to the Jews, in anticipation of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the future Messiah. This verse in my Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible, study edition, says: “If any member of the House of Israel or any resident alien consumes blood of any kind, I shall set my face against that individual who consumes blood and shall outlaw him from my people.” You need to read through to verse 14 to get the full picture.

    According to an American apologetist, Tom Nash, there was also a Jewish insult in Jesus’ time that derived from this law: “I will eat you”, meaning “I will slander you, [I will destroy you].” How could someone be saved by slandering/destroying Jesus? No wonder most in his audience rejected this teaching. They recognised Jesus was speaking in either cannibalistic terms or insulting terms, but they would not continue to trust Him, to wait and see how He would resolve this apparent dissonance with common sense.

    In order to regain their trust, all Jesus had to do was to call them back and say: “My friends, you know well I often use parables and analogies. Well, granted this analogy is quite strong, but all I meant was….” But He didn’t. Jesus was acknowledged as a wonderful teacher, and one who spoke with an awesome authority. Therefore, He wanted to be taken literally. So much so that He increased the strength of his language, moving from a generic word for eating “phago” to a word “trogo” that means to gnaw on something, to munch it, to give added emphasis. But the disciples who left Him would not trust him as Peter and the Apostles continued to do, in spite of their perplexity. [John 6:67-68] The Jews were so infuriated by His intransigence that from then on they plotted to kill Him, [John 7:1].

    Only the Apostles remained, trusting Jesus would explain the inexplicable to them, trusting because they believed God does not lie. Jesus, being God, can be and is present everywhere. He is not bound by our Time nor by the restrictions of our bodies. His glorious Body and Blood can be given as food for our souls and never run out. We are not eating bits and pieces of a physical body!! So it is Catholics who know the Truth in all its beauty, because we know the full Truth of Christ’s teachings. Our Holy Tradition of what the Apostles had taught and had passed down, is what helped the Church produce the Canon of the Bible that Protestants say they love so much. To me, it appears that they only love what suits their man-made understanding because they stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the teachings that were faithfully handed on, generation after generation, in sermons and letters – a huge treasure trove which is held by the Catholic Church alone. I invite you all to begin the adventure of studying the Church Fathers. What joy is ahead for you if you do so. As for the insults so commonly hurled at Jesus’ splendid mother, I pity the miscreants who make them, for when they face Our Lord in eternity, they will not find him pleased with their surly objections to Catholic devotion to Mary, His real mother and our spiritual mother.

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