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Irish prime minister accuses Vatican of ‘narcissism’

By on Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Prime Minister Enda Kenny (CNS photo/Reuters)

Prime Minister Enda Kenny (CNS photo/Reuters)

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has accused the Vatican of adopting a “calculated, withering position” on abuse in the wake of a judicial report that accused the Holy See of being “entirely unhelpful” to Irish bishops trying to deal with abuse.

During a parliamentary debate, Mr Kenny said an independent judicial investigation into the handling of clergy sexual abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne “exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago”.

“And in doing so, the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day,” he said.

The Cloyne Report, published last week, found that Cloyne Bishop John Magee, a former secretary to three popes, paid “little or no attention” to child safeguarding as recently as 2008. It said he falsely told the government that his diocese was reporting all allegations of clerical child sexual abuse to the civil authorities. It also found that the bishop deliberately misled another inquiry and his own advisers by creating two different accounts – one for the Vatican and the other for diocesan files – of a meeting with a priest-suspect.

The report accuses the Vatican of being “entirely unhelpful” to bishops who wanted to fully implement the 1996 guidelines, “Child Sexual Abuse: Framework for a Church Response”.

Mr Kenny said that “this calculated, withering position” was “the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded.”

He said that “the Irish people, including the very many faithful Catholics who – like me – have been shocked and dismayed by the repeated failings of Church authorities to face up to what is required, deserve and require confirmation from the Vatican that they do accept, endorse and require compliance by all Church authorities here with, the obligations to report all cases of suspected abuse, whether current or historical, to the state’s authorities.”

Referring to a tendency identified in the Cloyne Report to put the rights of accused clerics ahead of victims, Mr Kenny said “clericalism has rendered some of Ireland’s brightest, most privileged and powerful men, either unwilling or unable to address the horrors” of abuse.

He said this “Roman clericalism must be devastating for good priests, some of them old, others struggling to keep their humanity, even their sanity, as they work so hard, to be the keepers of the Church’s light and goodness within their parishes, communities and the human heart.”

Mr Kenny said the Church needs to be “truly and deeply penitent for the horrors it perpetrated, hid and denied”.

Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, rejected criticism of the Holy See in an interview with Vatican Radio. Emphasising that he was speaking in a private capacity, he said that much of the criticism failed to take into account the efforts of Pope Benedict XVI and other Church officials to prevent future cases of child sexual abuse and to address past cases with openness and determination.

He also said it was unfair to criticise the Church for failing to insist on mandatory reporting in a country that had not deemed it necessary to make it part of civil law.

  • Honeybadger

    I categorically do NOT rely on second hand information.  For pot shots, you miss every time, matey!

    Are you getting irritated by me? GOOD! The evidence is there for all to see.

    Am I getting to you? EVEN BETTER!

    Facile and witless? Moi? Tut, tut, I’m offended – NOT!

    Now, who’s being rude and invalidating to others?

    Are you going to wheel out that old turnip about being educated by the Jesuits again? So flaming what?!

    I’ve met more ignorant and narcissistic people like yourself who attended convent school and Jesuit schools and dine out on that morsel of snobbery one minute to impress those who are too polite not to listen then turn round and slag off the Roman Catholic Church for being as much use as a jelly pickaxe.

  • Honeybadger

    And so what is it to you whether I am Ivy League, Oxbridge, Dunelm, Manc. or Chav? Who the hell do you think you are?

    Well, there’s a thing. The person to whom I am replying is someone who has NEVER been inside Oxford, Cambridge, Durham or Manchester to buy even a fridge magnet.

    Oh, your superiority complex is showing, so it is! So, you resort to insulting me, my intelligence (I’m a member of MENSA) my background and my faith, and the faith and intelligence of people who subscribe to a Roman Catholic newspaper?

    Well, your imagination is as warped and as twisted as your values. You know rack-all about me.

    Get back to reading the books you are used to – the ones with dustjackets to hide the real content of those pages your grubby fingers flick through…Enid Blyton!

  • Honeybadger

    Oh, boy! There you go again! All knowledge is second hand, you know. Your knowledge is second hand. Everyone’s knowledge is second hand.

    Your brain is second hand… borrowed from the belt of a Celtic warrior as a cheap rate personality and intelligence transplant!

    Travel broadens the mind… it didn’t do you much good, did it?

  • Honeybadger

    Studying sexual practices….hmmmmmmmmmmmm….. to what ends?

  • Honeybadger

    Boy, you are something else!

    The Roman Catholic Church this, the Roman Catholic Church that… it is not me that is showing people ignorance.

    It is you.

    You and your like who might have all the education in the world, think everyone else is inferior in the hope you can patronise them.

    You’ve made your point about the church and don’t appear to like anyone who disagrees with you just because you have training in this and training in that and learning in the other.

    So have we.

    You mention Lourdes. The finest minds in the world have descended on Lourdes since the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary since 1858. What I love about the place is that it confounds and irritates people like you – if it doesn’t, why mention it in your usual invalidating, condescending way?

    I have read one of the finest books about Lourdes written by a Fellow of Oxford University, Ruth Harris. Read it. You might learn something instead of sitting up there wrapped up in inverted snobbery like a dust mite in a snotty blanket.

    I don’t give a flying chocolate-covered, sugar-sprinkled fudgecake about the sexual practices of people in far off Polynesia or wherever. What has that got to do with the crisis in Ireland? You see, there you go again – showing off your superiority to go off on tangents away from what really matters!

    What, pray, is a ‘silk had’?

  • Justme

    Enda Kenny has just said what a lot of Catholics think at the present time. I’m one of them.
    It’s time for change and big change at the Vatican. Open the doors and let the Holy Spirit in.