|Archbishop Martin gets to deal with the fallout from more Vatican double speak, finger pointing, mental reservation, and plain old fashioned hypocrisy.|
The Vatican has released it's formal response to the Irish Government, and most specifically Taoiseach Enda Kenny's blistering attack on the Vatican Institution. Readers can access the full 27 page response here. The response makes some valid points, especially when it moves into the fact the Irish government itself was not too keen on mandatory reporting for other professionals back in the mid nineties.
When I finished reading it I was left with two thoughts. The first was the finger pointing between two governmental structures is sickening given the fact both colluded with each other for years in keeping the lid on massive institutional abuse in Ireland. My second thought is that no where in this carefully worded response does the Vatican come close to admitting it's demands for Pontifical Secrecy in all it's canonical instructions since 1922 regarding the sexual abuse of children might have been a major influence for Magee's response in Cloyne--he who had spent years in the upper echelons of the Vatican world. Most of the folks who really know the ins and outs of clerical sexual abuse all point to the demand for Pontifical Secrecy with it's baldly stated penalty of excommunication as a major contributing factor in bishops keeping silent and silent and silent. Which leads me to the following article in the Irish Independent. What in the world is Archbishop Martin saying in it? Is he backhandedly stating the same kind of thing the led directly to Cardinal Schonborn's trip to the Vatican woodshed?The Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin has admitted that "a cabal" protecting clerical sex abusers may be operating at the highest levels in the Catholic Church.
Clerical abusers shielded by ‘cabal’ of protection in church
Dr Martin said: "There may be a cabal in Cloyne. They may have friends in other parts of the Irish Church. They may have friends in Irish society. There may be friends in the Vatican."
Asked yesterday who was preventing the protection of children, he said: "The numbers that are involved in this are few. The damage that these people cause is horrendous. It's for all of us to see where they are, but in the long term I have to take the responsibility that in Dublin there are not cabals who reject our child protection laws.
"Everybody knows there are people who have challenged what I do, there are people who challenge what the Diocese does, people challenge what the national norms are. They exist. The way we get out of the cabals is by those of us who are convinced of what we are doing, being strong together." (I bet some of those people had a hand in writing the official Vatican response.)
His comments come as a national audit of clerical sex abuse by the gardai's sexual crime unit is expected to reveal a huge volume of complaints against priests dating back 80 years when it is completed within months.
Yesterday in a long-awaited response the Vatican said it was "sorry and ashamed" of what happened in the Irish church, but denied it aided a cover up.
The Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said yesterday: "I remain of the view that the 1997 letter from the Nuncio provided a pretext for some to avoid full cooperation with the Irish civil authorities. (That's because the letter did. It specifically stated the norms of Canon Law must be fulfilled, and then it went it on to say something about cooperation with civil authorities. Those norms included the unstated one about Pontifical Secrecy.)
"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."
The Vatican response makes a valid point about the hesitancy of the Irish Government to enact real reform back in the nineties. What the letter doesn't really acknowledge is that once the lid blew off, the Irish government has finally accepted the fact that healing for victims comes with a price for the government. That price is more than money, it's also admitting it screwed up, it colluded in the silence, it made horrific mistakes, it followed when it should have led, it shirked it's responsibility to protect it's children. It would be nice if some other clerical leader besides Archbishop Martin could come to the same realization with in the Church.