Vatican Denies Cover-Up of Abuses By Priests in Ireland


In July, the Irish government issued a report contending that the Diocese of Cloyne, a rural part of County Cork, did not act on complaints of sexual abuse of children against 19 priests from 1996 to 2009. The report was drafted by an independent investigative committee headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy and also found that, while two allegations were reported to the police, no follow-up inquiry ensued. The report provides stark evidence that the Church’s earlier promises to report all abuse cases since 1995 to civil authorities were empty.

From the 1930s to the 1990s, the Irish government found that thousands of children were abused in state-run Catholic boarding schools. As in the US, dioceses often moved predatory priests to different posts, rather than turning them over to the police.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, both directed harsh words towards the Church after the report was issued in July:

“For the first time in Ireland, a report in child sexual abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades ago.

“And in doing so, the Cloyne report excavates the dysfunction, elitism . . . the narcissism that dominates the culture of the Vatican to this day.”

After Kenny’s speech, the Vatican recalled its ambassador to Ireland.

The Vatican has now issued its first public statement about the Cloyne report and, not surprisingly, it denies that there was any cover-up of abuse, says the Irish Times. Kenny’s statements were “unfounded,” says the Vatican, which rejected the charge that the it had “intervened to effectively have priests believe they could in conscience evade their responsibilities under Irish law.” The Vatican also denied that it had “hampered or sought to interfere in any inquiry into cases of child sex abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne” and that it had in any way interfered with Irish civil law. Instead, the Vatican said that the Cloyne report’s claims are based on an “incorrect reading” of a 1997 Vatican letter that had “serious reservations” about the Irish bishops’ 1996 policy requiring bishops to report abusers to the police.

Tánaiste Gilmore, who is also Ireland’s foreign minister, responded that the Vatican’s criticism of the Cloyne report was “legalistic and technical.” He also said that he holds “firm to the view that the Vatican had interfered in the affairs of a sovereign, democratic state.”

Terrance McKiernan, the president of Bishop Accountability, which has documented the flood of cases of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, put it more bluntly in the New York Times, saying that the Vatican’s response “shows that the Vatican is still in denial.”

The Vatican statement also said the Irish government was partially to blame for the sexual abuse cases. Mandatory reporting of suspected abuse by clergy members to the police was debated in the mid- 1990s but not required under Irish law. Presently, Irish parliament is debating a law that would make failing to report allegations of abuse to civil authorities a criminal offense involving jail time.

In its statement, the Vatican did say that it was “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.” While it is good to hear such words from the Vatican, many would agree, they are too little and offered way, way too late.

Related Care2 Coverage

Irish Report: Cover-up of Sexual Abuse By Priests Ongoing

Vatican Announces Symposium & Online Database to Prevent Sex Abuse By Priests

Bishops’ Report on Priest Sexual Abuse Scandal Puts the Blame on Woodstock

Photo of the Diocese of Cork in Ireland by Our Lady of Fatima -The Pilgrim Statue


Yvette S.
Past Member 6 years ago

Most of my family has remained in Ireland. We know about this, have known about it, and have done what we can, but similar to the American assaults, it is like blowing a voice in the wind to the Catholic Church. Victims were overabundant to the point of calling the abuse an 'Endemic' .

Bheadh ​​sagairt truaillithe bodhraigh mar a d'fhéadfadh siad, agus is minic a rinne.
(Corrupt priests would bother as they could, and often did).

Many of these priests were shipped over here to the USA and so the corruption continued.

The entire thing sickens me, children being abused in anyway, shape or manner is the most despicable act I can think of being committed.

Jackie Agusta
Jackie Agusta6 years ago

Just like the catholic church, they admit there was a problem, they even say sorry for the wrong doings but then they deny there was a cover up, what a load of shit. Enda Kenny should be applauded for the speech he gave and not only should the church be investigated and held responsible properly (I'm talking jail time here people) but so should the politians and guards who turned a blind eye...:-(

Frances C.
Frances C6 years ago

It's time for preachers and priests to get a real job. Time to stop brain washing people into believing in ghosts, devils, myths, hell fire, the earth is six thousand years old, everything is a sin, and you better get to church and donate money so you can be saved.

Winn Adams
Winn A6 years ago

I really hope that some day the Catholic Church, where ever it's located, will stop the cover up of all the abuse that is heaped on the children by their priests. Weed out the bad priests, allow them and the nuns to marry and monitor all those in contact with the children who participate in the services and attend their schools.

Ernie Miller
william Miller6 years ago

Any church or orginization that requires its believers to convert non believers is a hatefull and violent organization. by practice they cause harn to their non belivers in the hopes of saving them by their twisted beliefs.

Alberta Gentleman

Poor children at the mercy of those they trust!

Theo C.
Theo C6 years ago

They protect paedophiles for generations, get caught in the act once more, then lie and deny. Poisonous culture hardly describes the Vatican.

pete M.
peter m6 years ago


Ray Howe
Ray Howe6 years ago

the catholic church must realise that it is unhealthy to make men be celebate and it makes for this sort of thing to happen . Jesus will be weeping at this sad situation

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle6 years ago

I believe the INDEPENDENT investigation and report, NOT the Vatican's cover-up.