Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments as follows:
On July 20, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny accused the Holy See of meddling in Irish affairs, citing the recently published Cloyne Report (an Irish government document on priestly sexual abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne) as evidence; he also said that attempts by the Holy See to “frustrate” the Irish inquiry occurred “as little as three years ago.”
All of this is a lie: there was no interference; the Cloyne Report never made such an accusation; and nothing has happened in the last three years to warrant these charges.
To be sure, there were points of contention between what the Irish government requested and what the Holy See thought judicious. At most, this constitutes uncooperativeness; it is a lie to say it merits the accusation of “interference.” Also, anyone who can read knows that the Cloyne Report never even suggested that the Holy See sought to meddle in Irish affairs. Lastly, when Kenny was asked to provide evidence of attempts by the Holy See to “frustrate” the inquiry in the past three years, the best he could do was to assert that his remark was based on “anger and frustration.” So that gives him the right to lie about the Holy See?
The fact of the matter is that the Irish government lagged behind efforts by the Catholic Church to remedy sexual abuse. In 2008, the Church’s Elliott Report took the Diocese of Cloyne to task for not following the 1996 guidelines on this issue that were issued by the Irish Bishops. Indeed, while the Irish government was still debating what to do about mandatory reporting of these crimes, the Catholic Church already had its guidelines in place. Had Bishop John Magee followed them in Cloyne (and had he followed canon law), things would have been different.
The Irish make much of a 1997 letter by the Apostolic Nuncio in Ireland seeming to weaken the 1996 guidelines, but the Holy See has effectively rebutted that interpretation. Besides, only one clear case of abuse in Cloyne was recorded after the letter appeared. In short, the Irish need to hit the reset button before they get themselves in any deeper.
For an excellent extended treatment of this issue, click here.