Vatican recalls Irish ambassador over abuse report

July 25, 2011

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican has recalled its ambassador to Ireland
for "consultations" on the official church response to a government
report that tallied how abuse cases were mishandled as recently as two
years ago.

The extraordinary move to recall the papal nuncio, Monsignor
Giuseppe Leanza, is also meant to show "a certain note of surprise and
regret regarding some excessive reactions" to the report, Vatican
spokesman Rev. Ciro Benedettini said on Monday (July 25).

The government's Cloyne Report detailed sex abuse in the Diocese of
Cloyne as late as 2009.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has criticized what he called the
Vatican's "calculated, withering position" on abuse, and accused the
church of a persistent culture of "elitism and narcissism."

"The recalling of the nuncio," Benedettini said, is "a measure
rarely used by the Holy See" and "denotes the seriousness of the
situation, and the desire of the Holy See to deal with it with
objectivity and determination."

Such an act, he added, "should be interpreted in line with the Holy
See's desire for serious and effective cooperation" with the
authorities.

The Irish government's proposed law to mandate the reporting of
suspected child abuse -- even if it meant breaching the seal of
confession -- also drew criticism from the Vatican.

Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary,
the Vatican office that oversees sacramental confessions, called the
proposal "absurd" and said Catholic priests would never comply with it.

The penalty for breaching the seal of confession is automatic
excommunication, he told the daily Il Foglio.