Taoiseach Enda Kenny's blistering attack on the Catholic Church should be a wake-up call for dishonest and immoral clergymen, it has been warned.
An emotional Archbishop Diarmuid Martin accepted the Vatican was unhelpful in sending the 1997 letter questioning the authority of Irish bishops to agree on child protection.
An outspoken critic of the Church's handling of abuse, he said the only way all allegations, abuse and cover-ups can be exposed is through invasive audits of each diocese.
"I'm very disappointed, annoyed," he said.
"What do you do when you've got groups, whether in the Vatican or in Ireland, who try to undermine what is being done or simply refuse to understand what has been done."
Close to tears in an interview on RTE Television, the Archbishop said the Diocese of Cloyne had ignored Vatican policy issued in 2001 by Pope Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with authority .
"What does that say? What sort of a cabal is this that is in there (Cloyne) and still refuses to recognise what the norms of the Church are?" he asked.
The Archbishop added: "If they think that by not getting at the truth they are helping the Church the statement in today's Dail should teach them a lesson."
Archbishop Martin said six elderly priests were verbally abused at a colleague's funeral this week when someone challenged them, claiming they "should be ashamed of themselves".
"Those who felt they were able to play tricks with norms, they have betrayed those good men and so many others in the Church who are working today," he said.
"I am angry, ashamed and appalled by that."
The Archbishop said the Vatican does not defend the rape of children.
"I find myself asking today, can I be proud of the Church that I'm a leader of? What I'm seeing - I have to be ashamed of this, and I have to be ashamed because of what was done to the victims and what was done to other people."
The Archbishop himself pushed for full disclosure of Church files when a judge-led inquiry was probing the handling of clerical abuse in the Archdiocese before he took control.
He even went as far as a High Court battle with his predecessor Cardinal Desmond Connell to ensure all 70,000 secret documents be handed to the Murphy inquiry
Archbishop Martin said he has never been reprimanded by the Vatican for doing so.
He called on the Vatican to announce full support for the local church in Ireland on mandatory reporting of abuse allegations to the state authorities and ensure that internal reviews of the handling of complaints are published.
The Archbishop said he was disappointed the Taoiseach did not apologise for failures of the State.
The Archbishop said good priests and people working with children in parishes up and down the country were questioning themselves.
© Press Association