New nuncio for Israel a 'humiliation'


ISRAEL’S BIGGEST-circulation daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, has this week called Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto’s appointment last week as papal nuncio to Israel “an embarrassment and a humiliation”, largely because of his conduct during the clerical sex abuse crisis in Ireland.

In particular, the newspaper highlighted the fact that the Murphy commission report on clerical child sex abuse in the Dublin archdiocese reported that a request to the nuncio in February 2007 for “documents in his possession relevant to the commission’s terms of reference” received no reply.

The commission said it received no reply primarily because it had not approached either the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome or the nuncio in Ireland “through appropriate diplomatic channels”.

The Israeli newspaper said: “[This] appointment is a slap in Israel’s face . . . Therefore, Israel must demand clarifications from the Vatican and Ireland regarding the archbishop’s conduct during the paedophilic priest scandal – before his term as ambassador to Israel begins.”

Holy See and Israeli diplomatic sources last night played down reports of diplomatic “tensions” caused by the appointment.

Senior Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said the media criticism of the new nuncio was without foundation.

An Israeli government spokesman told The Irish Times that relations between the Holy See and Ireland were “not the concern” of Israel.

He added: “The state of Israel and the Holy See have good relations which are founded on mutual trust. Israel has agreed to the appointment of Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto as the new ambassador to Israel, as suggested by the Holy See. We wish the new nuncio success in his post.”