Vatican ashamed of Dublin sex abuse

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The Independent Online

The Pope's Ambassador to Ireland today said the Vatican was ashamed by the devastating findings of a damning inquiry into clerical sex abuse in Dublin.

Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza expressed his shock and dismay at the Murphy Report into paedophile priests and church cover-ups in the Archdiocese.

"We feel ashamed about what happened, I feel really I must express again my shock, my dismay," the senior clergyman said.

"I understand the anger of the people and the sufferings of those who have been abused.

"We totally condemn this."

The Catholic Church has been under severe criticisms after the inquiry revealed Vatican officials refused to deal directly with investigators, suggesting they should use official diplomatic channels.

Archbishop Leanza said: "If there was any mistake from our side, we also apologise for this.

"But certainly there was no intention not to co-operate with, not to give co-operation to the Commission."

The inquiry, based on a sample 46 priests, uncovered a sickening catalogue of paedophilia among clergymen and subsequent cover-ups by the hierarchy.

Several auxiliary bishops were severely criticised including Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray, who is in Rome and expected to tender his resignation, and retired bishop Dermot O'Mahony, who stepped down as patron of a pilgrimage charity yesterday.

Other senior clergymen have been warned to reflect further on their positions.

Archbishop Leanza met with the Irish Republic's Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin to discuss the damning inquiry.

The senior clergyman said he expressed the Holy See's shock and dismay over the findings.

The report by the Commission of Investigation into child abuse in Dublin, unveiled last month, revealed two letters requesting information from the Papal Nuncio were not answered.

A similar request to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith led to a missive to the Department of Foreign Affairs that the commission was not going through the proper diplomatic procedures.

But Archbishop Leanza said he received one letter from the Commission along with extracts from the report, concerning the role of canon law, the structures of the Archdiocese of Dublin, framework of the Commission and a final one concerning a priest.

All-Ireland Primate Cardinal Sean Brady and Dublin Archbishop Dr Diarmuid Martin will meet the Pope in the Vatican on Friday.

Archbishop Leanza said he expected a response from the Vatican following the meeting.

Foreign Minister Mr Martin said he expressed the Irish public's deep anger and outrage over the contents of the report.

Mr Martin said he asked for a commitment from the Papal Nuncio that there will be full co-operation with a separate inquiry into child sex abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne in Co Cork.

"My focus was very much on the need for a substantive response even now to the questions that have been raised by the Commission and also a very clear commitment that there would be a comprehensive response to any question that might be raised, or asked, in relation to Cloyne," the minister said.

The minister said the Papal Nuncio stressed there was no desire to cover anything up and the Vatican wanted to co-operate with all inquiries.