2011-09-03 13:08:32

Der Vatikan antwortet auf irische Vorwürfe: Eine Zusammenfassung des Dokuments

Summary of the Response to Mr Eamon Gilmore,
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland,
concerning the Cloyne Report
On 14 July 2011, following the publication of the Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Diocese of Cloyne (Cloyne Report), Mr Eamon Gilmore, Deputy Prime Minister (Tánaiste) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland, in the course of a meeting with the Apostolic Nuncio in Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, conveyed the Irish Government’s request for a response from the Holy See to the Report and to the Government’s views in its regard.

1. General remarks about the Cloyne Report

The Holy See has carefully examined the Cloyne Report, which has brought to light very serious and disturbing failings in the handling of accusations of sexual abuse of children and young people by clerics in the Diocese of Cloyne.

The Holy See wishes to state at the outset its profound abhorrence for the crimes of sexual abuse which took place in that Diocese and is sorry and ashamed for the terrible sufferings which the victims of abuse and their families have had to endure within the Church of Jesus Christ, a place where this should never happen. It is very concerned at the findings of the Commission concerning grave failures in the ecclesiastical governance of the Diocese and the mishandling of allegations of abuse. It is particularly disturbing that these failures occurred despite the undertaking given by the Bishops and Religious Superiors to apply the guidelines developed by the Church in Ireland to help ensure child protection and despite the Holy See’s norms and procedures relating to cases of sexual abuse. However, the approach taken by the Church in Ireland in recent times to the problem of child sexual abuse is benefitting from ongoing experience and proving more and more effective in preventing the recurrence of these crimes and in dealing with cases as they arise.

2. Issues raised by the Cloyne Report

The Holy See’s Response addresses in detail the various charges made against it, which seem to be based primarily on the Cloyne Report’s account and assessment of the letter addressed to the Irish Bishops on 31 January 1997 by the then Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Luciano Storero, concerning the response of the Congregation for the Clergy to the document Child Sexual Abuse: Framework for a Church Response (the Framework Document). The Commission of Inquiry asserts that this response gave comfort to those who dissented from the stated official Church policy and was unsupportive especially in relation to reporting to the civil authorities.

The Holy See wishes to state the following in relation to the response of the Congregation for the Clergy:

3. Issues raised by Irish political leaders

The Holy See wishes to state the following in relation to some of the reactions of Irish political leaders:

In fact, accusations of interference by the Holy See are belied by the many Reports cited as the basis for such criticisms. Those Reports – lauded for their exhaustive investigation of sexual abuse and the way it was managed – contain no evidence that the Holy See meddled in the internal affairs of the Irish State or was involved in the day-to-day management of Irish dioceses or religious congregations with respect to sexual abuse issues. Indeed, what is impressive about these Reports, and the vast information that they rely upon, is that there is no support for these accusations.

In this regard, the Holy See wishes to make it quite clear that it in no way hampered or sought to interfere in any inquiry into cases of child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne. Furthermore, at no stage did the Holy See seek to interfere with Irish civil law or impede the civil authority in the exercise of its duties.

4. Concluding remarks

In its Response, the Holy See offers a presentation of the Church’s approach to child protection, including the relevant canonical legislation, and refers to the Holy Father’s Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, published on 19 March 2010, in which Pope Benedict indicates his expectation that the Irish Bishops will cooperate with the civil authorities, to implement fully the norms of canon law and to ensure the full and impartial application of the child safety norms of the Church in Ireland.

The publication of the Cloyne Report marks a further stage in the long and difficult path of ascertaining the truth, of penance and purification, and of healing and renewal of the Church in Ireland. The Holy See does not consider itself extraneous to this process but shares in it in a spirit of solidarity and commitment.

In a spirit of humility, the Holy See, while rejecting unfounded accusations, welcomes all objective and helpful observations and suggestions to combat with determination the appalling crime of sexual abuse of minors. The Holy See wishes to state once again that it shares the deep concern and anxiety expressed by the Irish authorities, by Irish citizens in general and by the Bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful of Ireland with regard to the criminal and sinful acts of sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy and religious. It also recognizes the understandable anger, disappointment and sense of betrayal of those affected – particularly the victims and their families – by these vile and deplorable acts and by the way in which they were sometimes handled by Church authorities, and for all of this it wishes to reiterate its sorrow for what happened. It is confident that the measures which the Church has introduced in recent years at a universal level, as well as in Ireland, will prove more effective in preventing the recurrence of these acts and contribute to the healing of those who suffered abuse and to the restoration of mutual confidence and collaboration between Church and State authorities, which is essential for the effective combating of the scourge of abuse. Naturally, the Holy See is well aware that the painful situation to which the episodes of abuse have given rise cannot be resolved swiftly or easily, and that although much progress has been made, much remains to be done.

Since the early days of the Irish State and especially since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1929, the Holy See has always respected Ireland’s sovereignty, has maintained cordial and friendly relations with the country and its authorities, has frequently expressed its admiration for the exceptional contribution of Irish men and women to the Church’s mission and to the betterment of peoples throughout the world, and has been unfailing in its support of all efforts to promote peace on the island during the recent troubled decades. Consistent with this attitude, the Holy See wishes to reaffirm its commitment to constructive dialogue and cooperation with the Irish Government, naturally on the basis of mutual respect, so that all institutions, whether public or private, religious or secular, may work together to ensure that the Church and, indeed, society in general will always be safe for children and young people.

(rv 03.09.2011 ord)

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