We have known for some time, but now have solid proof, that the Vatican ordered the Irish Bishops to cover-up clerical abuse and not to report it to the police …
Now what makes this interesting, is that its not historical, its recent. The 1997 letter, obtained by RTE, and signed by the late Archbishop Luciano Storero, Pope John Paul II’s diplomat to Ireland … says that canon law — which required abuse allegations and punishments to be handled within the church — “must be meticulously followed.” He warned that 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.
What makes this quite frankly appalling is that the year before this letter, in 1996, they were claiming that they had an initiative in place to begin helping police identify pedophile priests following Ireland’s first wave of publicly disclosed lawsuits … they lied and decieved the public with that claim … and this letter proves it beyond any doubt.
The AP Press Release out today reads …
Catholic officials in Ireland and the Vatican declined AP requests to comment on the letter, which RTE said it received from an Irish bishop.
Child-abuse activists in Ireland said the 1997 letter should demonstrate, once and for all, that the protection of pedophile priests from criminal investigation was not only sanctioned by Vatican leaders but ordered by them.
“The letter is of huge international significance, because it shows that the Vatican’s intention is to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities. And if that instruction applied here, it applied everywhere,” said Colm O’Gorman, director of the Irish chapter of human rights watchdog Amnesty International.
Joelle Casteix, a director of U.S. advocacy group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, described the letter as “the smoking gun we’ve been looking for.”
Casteix said it was certain to be cited by victims’ lawyers seeking to pin responsibility directly on the Vatican rather than local dioceses. She said investigators long have sought such a document showing Vatican pressure on a group of bishops “thwarting any kind of justice for victims.”
“We now have evidence that the Vatican deliberately intervened to order bishops not to turn pedophile priests over to law enforcement,” she said. “And for civil lawsuits, this letter shows what victims have been saying for dozens and dozens of years: What happened to them involved a concerted cover-up that went all the way to the top.”
To this day, the Vatican has not endorsed any of the Irish church’s three major policy documents since 1996 on safeguarding children from clerical abuse. Irish taxpayers, rather than the church, have paid most of the euro1.5 billion ($2 billion) to more than 14,000 abuse claimants dating back to the 1940s.
In his 2010 pastoral letter to Ireland’s Catholics condemning pedophiles in the ranks, Pope Benedict XVI faulted bishops for failing to follow canon law and offered no explicit endorsement of Irish child-protection efforts by the Irish church or state. Benedict was widely criticized in Ireland for failing to admit any Vatican role in covering up the truth.
O’Gorman — who was raped repeatedly by an Irish priest in the 1980s when he was an altar boy and was among the first victims to speak out in the mid-1990s — said evidence is mounting that some Irish bishops continued to follow the 1997 Vatican instructions and withheld reports of crimes against children as recently as 2008.
Two state-commissioned reports published in 2009 — into the Dublin Archdiocese and workhouse-style Catholic institutions for children — unveiled decades of cover-ups of abuse involving tens of thousands of Irish children since the 1930s.
A third major state-ordered investigation into Catholic abuse cover-ups, concerning the southwest Irish diocese of Cloyne, is expected to be published within the next few months documenting the concealment of crimes as recently as 2008.
You can read the full press release here.
You can also read all about this in the Irish Times here.
Apparently also the RTE program reports …
at a 1998 meeting with Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy (1996 until 2006), then archbishop of Dublin Desmond Connell thumped a table in frustration as the cardinal insisted it was Vatican policy to defend the rights of an accused priest above all.
When faced with the claim that Catholicism is the citadel of goodness and that all the bad press was just a few bad priests … be skeptical. The evidence tells a very different story, this was a conspiracy, orchestrated by the Vatican, to lie, deceive and cover-up the most appalling degrees of rampant abuse
When faced with the claim that they have cleaned up their act and put everything right … be skeptical. This is also now proven to be an outright lie.