Parking tickets are one thing, and…

The Irish Times notes how globally the Vatican thinks and acts.

Ultimate responsibility for the way in which the safety of children was so recklessly ignored does not lie with any individual bishop. It does not lie even with the Irish hierarchy as a whole. It lies with the Vatican. We know this because the approach to allegations of child abuse was consistent, not simply between bishops or across Irish dioceses, but around the world. There was a way of doing things – keeping the crimes secret and moving the abusers on to another parish until the whole pattern began to repeat itself.

World government with a vengeance, that is – a theistic institution that has managed to make itself a state yet has global authority, and is focused on its own well-being before that of anyone else on the planet.

It is in the light of the primary role of the Vatican that we must see the unwillingness of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and of the papal nuncio to respond to requests for information from the Murphy commission. The Taoiseach, in a painfully deferential statement in the Dáil, has endorsed these refusals as acts of “good faith” consistent with diplomatic norms. This submissiveness is entirely inappropriate to the leader of a republic, some of whose most vulnerable citizens have been grievously harmed by the policies and practices of the Holy See.

Depressing, isn’t it? Once again, the powerful prosperous men of the church and the Vatican are protected and the vulnerable people are thrown to the wolves – by their own government. The prosperous men of the church and the Vatican matter, and the mere people don’t.

The Vatican does not do things lightly. When it refused to deal with the commission except through diplomatic contacts at the level of one state to another, it was not being precious. It was asserting a claim that is crucial to its efforts to avoid the consequences of its own policies. The insistence on being treated as a state rather than as a church is the key to its claim of sovereign immunity.

Which is a thing that it shouldn’t want to have. Yet it does want to have it. It wants to do bad things to people and get away with it. It wouldn’t put it that way, of course, but that’s what it wants and what it’s been doing.

It is quite disgraceful that the Taoiseach should play along with this manoeuvre by endorsing the Vatican’s behaviour towards the commission. If the Vatican is indeed to be regarded simply as a foreign state, then it is a state that has colluded in the commission of vile crimes against Irish citizens.


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