By John Cooney
Pope Benedict XVI has stayed silent over the devastating Dublin diocese abuse report more than 24 hours after publication of its sordid revelations that have shocked Mass-going Catholics and couples with young families.
On Thursday, hours after the release of the chilling report, the Vatican chief spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi, said issues such as abuse scandals were handled by the local Church rather than by the Holy See.
But last night the Pope’s representative in Ireland gave an assurance to the Irish public that Pope Benedict was committed to rooting paedophile priests from the ranks of the Irish clergy.
Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, told the Irish Independent that Pope Benedict had told all the Irish bishops during their meeting with him in Rome after the Ferns report of his abhorrence of child sexual abuse.
The Pope had instructed the Irish bishops, headed by Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, to make every effort to cleanse the Irish church of the scourge of priestly paedophilia.
The Dublin commission’s report revealed that two letters seeking information from the Nuncio had not been answered, and that a similar request to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had told the Department of Foreign Affairs that the commission should use normal diplomatic channels.
But the commission’s chairperson, Judge Yvonne Murphy, said that the commission was independent of the Government, and that she did not avail of the diplomatic post between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Vatican.
Asked for a specific comment on this reference to the Nunciature and the congregation, a spokeswoman for Archbishop Leanza said: “It is not the practice of a Nuncio to comment in public on Church-State relations in the country in which he is working on behalf of the Holy Father.”