September 5, 2011. (Romereports.com)
The Vatican is reaching out to Ireland after being strongly criticized by Dublin last July on the way the Church handled cases of sex abuse in the country. The Holy See responded with a detailed letter denying their accusations and offering collaboration with the Irish government to improve relations.
In late July, Ireland called on the Vatican for an official response to the “Cloyne Report,” alleging that between 1996 and 2009 the then Bishop of Cloyne ignored the rules of the Episcopal Conference and did not report cases of sexual abuse. There were 19 priests in questions dealing with the abuse of 40 minors.
The report also accused the Vatican of not supporting the bishops who wanted to impose these guidelines. In fact, a letter was published in 1997 addressed to the bishops, stating the concern of the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy on forcing bishops to report abuse.
In the 11,000 word response, the Vatican says the Congregation for the Clergy urged caution to prevent their good intentions from contradicting canon law and from creating processes that would invalidate their efforts.
It also notes that in that same year, the Irish Parliament decided it would not be mandatory to report cases of abuse.
It also says that these rules were not mandatory because the Irish bishops presented them as an interim document, and didn't ask for validation.
On the other hand, Rome has said that in no way did they aim to hinder or impede the investigation of cases of sexual abuse.
The report concludes with the Vatican extending their hand to the Irish government, asking for a constructive dialogue based on mutual respect.
Meanwhile, the Irish government has maintained their reservations. They have stated their appreciation for the collaborative offer and assured that they will soon offer an official comment to the Vatican's response.