40pc say Vatican embassy closure was definite snub
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin claims Catholic Church in Ireland is now at breaking point
The Government faces lingering resentment over the decision to close the Vatican embassy, the Sunday Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne poll shows.
Most people don't believe Taoiseach Enda Kenny's vehement assertion that the decision to shut the embassy was based on financial reasons.
The poll found that 40 per cent of respondents are convinced that the icy relationship between the Government and the Vatican was behind the move -- manifested most clearly in Mr Kenny's landmark address to the Dail in which he said that the Cloyne Report highlighted the "dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day".
In all, just 22 per cent believe the Government's assertion that the removal of our ambassador and his staff from the Vatican was simply to save money in the diplomatic and consular service.
Another 22 per cent believe the Government killed two birds with one stone -- shutting the embassy for both political and financial reasons. A large rump of 16 per cent don't know why the decision was taken.
The poll findings come as the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin admitted that the Catholic Church in Ireland is at "breaking point" in an interview on the most popular news programme in the US.
In an interview pre-recorded with CBS's 60 Minutes in Dublin, Dr Martin said that, with the church in crisis, now was not the time to forget the scandal of clerical child sex abuse.
Speaking of the state of the church here, he said: "It has reached a breaking point. It is at a very difficult stage. There's a real danger today of people saying the child abuse scandal is over, let's bury it, let's move on.
"It isn't over, child protection and the protection of children will go on for the rest of our lives and into the future because the problems are there," he added.
The programme stated that clerical child sex abuse and its cover-up by church leaders has taken a devastating toll on what was once one of the most Catholic countries in the world.
The programme will also claim that some parishes, which previously saw attendance rates of 90 per cent, now have only two per cent of parishioners regularly attending Sunday Mass.
Dr Martin brings interviewer Bob Simon on a tour of his old seminary and addresses the issue of falling vocations. "When I entered this building... there were 120 of us, and they were building a new extension. At the moment, I have 10 seminarians," said Dr Martin.
According to the Sunday Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne poll, among the 40 per cent who believe that the decision to close the Vatican embassy was political, a slight majority of 54 per cent believe it was a bad decision and 33 per cent back the closure on political grounds with 13 per cent "don't knows".
Among the 22 per cent who believe that the reason for closure was financial, 44 per cent think the decision was good and 38 per cent believe it was a bad decision with 18 per cent "don't knows".
The poll also found that 22 per cent of the electorate think the closure was based on both political and financial reasons. Of these, 45 per cent think it was a good decision, 31 per cent believe it was a bad decision and 24 per cent "don't know".