Gilmore is 'not going to wait forever' for Vatican's response to Cloyne Report
Published 23/07/2011 | 05:00
The Government last night kept up the pressure on the Vatican to respond to the shocking Cloyne Report within the next five weeks as Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore lashed out at the Vatican's response so far.
Following Taoiseach Enda Kenny's historic attack on the Vatican's role in the cover up of clerical sexual abuse, a Vatican spokesman called for "objectivity" in the debate.
Mr Gilmore vented his anger at the unsatisfactory way which the Pope's chief spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi, has engaged in megaphone diplomacy by issuing personal statements on the breakdown in relations between the Government and the Holy See.
Mr Gilmore dismissed Fr Lombardi's plea that the ongoing debate on such dramatic issues as the welfare of children could be carried out "with the necessary objectivity."
The Vatican has yet to formally respond to a demand from the Government for an explanation but their spokesman said it would reply "at the opportune moment" to the questions raised.However Mr Gilmore said he expected to get the response to his questions from the Vatican Secretary of State.
"I've asked for the response. I'm not going to wait forever for it. I saw some comments in the paper this morning from a spokesperson for the Vatican press office saying something that there had to be objectivity in this discussion.
"There is objectivity in this discussion. That was a very objective report produced. It laid across a lot of very objective facts. And the objective facts are children were abused in the care of the church. The objective fact is it was covered up and not reported," he said.
"And the objective fact is the Vatican interfered in the affairs of this country and the way in which that was being dealt with by church people who were under the influence of the Vatican and under their regime," he added.
The Tanaiste said he expected to get a comprehensive response in "a reasonable time", specifying that this should be formulated "not beyond the end of August".
"This is not something that is going to be put on the long finger," warned Mr Gilmore. He is aware that Pope Benedict XVI leaves Rome for his country residence at Castelgandolfo in August.
Sources close to the Government said Mr Gilmore was anxious that the controversy would not drift into the autumn without a definite Vatican statement, especially as Pope Benedict's attention would turn to preparing for his third visit to his homeland of Germany on September 22.
Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin said Mr Gilmore should demand the Vatican Secretary of State come to Ireland to explain his position.
It was unacceptable the Vatican had tried to intervene in the affairs of the Irish State, he said on Raidio na Gaeltachta.
Mr Martin said the relationship between Ireland and the Vatican must be re-examined, in light of what was revealed in the report. He also called for an apology from the Vatican.
Last night both Pope Benedict and Fr Lombardi were strongly criticised by SNAP, the American Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Barbara Dorris, SNAP's outreach director, said that "the opportune time" for the Vatican reply must come before more innocent children were raped and sodomised by members of the clergy.
"This 'opportune time' must come in time to help victims of clergy abuse who have been suffering in guilt and self-blame for too many years," her statement said.
Ms Dorris said SNAP had heard apologies from the Pope, promises of reform but insisted that "so far we have not seen a single action that makes children safer".
SNAP said it was grateful that "the Irish Government has taken action and is working to hold church officials accountable for their disregard of Irish laws".