Vatican MuseumThe disclosure of a quarter million US diplomatic cables by Wikileaks has confirmed there was a good deal of tension between the Vatican and the Irish government over its inquiry into the abuse of children by the Roman Catholic Church there. The (UK) Guardian reports that the Vatican had been “offended” by requests for information and testimony by the Murphy commission (WebCite cached article):

The Vatican refused to allow its officials to testify before an Irish commission investigating the clerical abuse of children and was angered when they were summoned from Rome, US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks reveal.

Requests for information from the 2009 Murphy commission into sexual and physical abuse by clergy “offended many in the Vatican” who felt that the Irish government had “failed to respect and protect Vatican sovereignty during the investigations“, a cable says.

Note here the total lack of concern for the fact that the Murphy commission was investigating wrongdoing by Catholic clergy within Ireland … wrongdoing which had — by then — already been documented, to an extent, by the Ryan Commission. Oh no. The Vatican had no concern for priestly abuse, no interest in doing anything about it, and no interest in allowing the Irish to know what had been going on in their own country.

No way!

Rather, the Vatican was concerned about its “sovereignty.” After all, isn’t that much more important than the welfare of children in the Church’s care?

What is, perhaps, a bit worse than the fact that the Vatican chose to stonewall the Murphy commission, is that — ultimately — the Irish government surrendered on the matter:

According to [Irish ambassador to the Vatican City, Joel] Fahey’s deputy, Helena Keleher, the government acceded to Vatican pressure and granted them immunity from testifying. Officials understood that “foreign ambassadors are not required or expected to appear before national commissions”, but Keleher’s opinion was that by ignoring the commission’s requests the clergy had made the situation worse.

As usual, if it bellyaches and whines long enough and hard enough, the Vatican usually gets what it wants. It would, of course, be much better for the world if — instead of childishly stamping their feet every time someone tries to hold them accountable for their actions — the robed denizens of the Vatican finally grew the fuck up, came clean as to what they did or didn’t do, and took ownership of their own (mis)behavior.

But like politicians, the clergy will never mature, and they will never admit fault. So that won’t happen.

Photo credit: Wikitravel.

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