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Kenny has crossed the Rubicon with all-out attack on Rome

LIKE a Crusader heading off to pagan lands to fight the Infidel, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has embarked on an all-out battle against the heinous evil of protected clerical paedophilia in the Vatican citadel which he must not lose.

Unlike his predecessors in the office of Taoiseach, he is not rallying to the cause of the Papal Flag. He is taking on the Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pontiff under the banner of 'Children First'.

Whether wittingly in full knowledge of the likely consequences of his historic challenge to Roman supremacy, or merely playing to the gallery, the man from Mayo, literally, yesterday crossed a Rubicon of no return.

The Taoiseach's fiery speech during the Dail debate on the report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne marked him out from the deferential Ireland of WT Cosgrave and Eamon de Valera, and more notably, from the "Do-nothing Ireland" of Brian Cowen.

Moving the motion of censure as a cradle Catholic, but also as father of a young family, Mr Kenny was relentlessly savage in his verbal onslaught against the Vatican of Pope Benedict XVI.

Speaking at "an unprecedented juncture" in traditionally chummy Vatican-Ireland relations, Enda, the democratic revolutionist elevated Cloyne to a different order from the Ferns, Ryan and Murphy reports.

He did so because "for the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic . . . as little as three years ago, not three decades ago".

The question now is: has Enda gone over the top with his own scripted rhetoric? Or does he have a battle plan?

Expelling Nuncio Leanza, as advocated by Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan, many deputies and a furious public, is a nuclear option, to be used only in Apocalypse Now.

Short of this, the Coalition has moves that it can play to embarrass the Vatican into unwanted accountability to the rule of secular democracy.

They could make it known that Ireland would not welcome Pope Benedict if, as planned but not yet announced, he comes to Dublin for next June's Eucharistic Congress.

On the legislative front, the Dail could annul the ringing of the Angelus Bell on the national airwaves, which was first heard in the Holy Year of 1950 in honour of the Blessed Virgin.

Above all, it could draft that promised secular Constitution ahead of 2016 and lay to rest the 1937 Constitution of De Valera and Archbishop McQuaid, whose pre-amble pays homage to the Holy Trinity.

If he falters, Kenny will join Cowen in the catacomb of fallen Irish leaders.

Irish Independent