Music, I tell you.

Ireland’s government demanded answers from the Vatican’s ambassador Thursday…

Gilmore and Prime Minister Enda Kenny accused the Vatican of violating Ireland’s sovereignty by instructing bishops in the letter that they should place the church’s laws above the nation’s…

“There’s one law in this country. Everybody is going to have to learn to comply with it. The Vatican will have to comply with the laws of this country,” Gilmore said after his face-to-face grilling of the ambassador, a rare experience for the pope’s diplomats anywhere, let alone long-deferential Ireland.

Exactly why it’s music. It’s about fucking time. The pervasive deference to the Vatican – by no means just in Ireland – is ridiculous and appalling.

Kenny, who didn’t attend the meeting with the Vatican diplomat, said his
government soon would make it a crime to withhold evidence of child abuse from the police. He specified this would include any information a priest received during the sacrament of confession.

“The law of the land should not be stopped by a crozier or a collar,” Kenny


Kenny called the Vatican’s written intervention — first revealed in full by The Associated Press six months ago — “absolutely disgraceful.”

Irish leaders had sought formal Vatican approval. Instead the Vatican’s then-ambassador, the late Archbishop Luciano Storero, warned Irish bishops that a powerful church body, the Congregation for the Clergy, had ruled that such mandatory reporting of abuse claims to civil authorities conflicted with canon law.

Storero wrote that the Irish policy had the status of “merely a study document,” while the new Irish policy of making the reporting of suspected crimes mandatory “gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and canonical nature.”

He wrote that canon law, which required abuse allegations and punishments to be handled within the church, “must be meticulously followed.” Any bishops who tried to impose punishments outside the confines of canon law would face the “highly embarrassing” position of having their actions overturned on appeal in Rome.

In other words the Vatican “ambassador” to Ireland ordered Irish clerics to disobey Irish law.

A former altar boy, Andrew Madden, was first to go public with his lawsuit against the Dublin Archdiocese, which had tried to settle the claim in quiet.

Madden offered one possible solution Thursday to the church’s difficulty in choosing between Ireland’s laws and its own, which still do not make explicit the need to report suspected child-abuse crimes to police.

“If the bishops want to live by canon law,” he said, “they should take themselves off to the Vatican and live there.”


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