Decision of papal nuncio not to attend Dáil committee 'scandalous'


THE PAPAL nuncio has declined an invitation to address the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee, a decision described as “scandalous” by Fine Gael’s spokesperson on children Alan Shatter.

Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza was invited to appear before the committee following calls for his expulsion after the Murphy commission revealed that the papal nuncio had refused to co-operate with its inquiry into clerical abuse in the Dublin diocese.

In a letter to committee chairman Michael Woods, Archbishop Leanza said “it is not the practice of the Holy See that apostolic nuncios appear before parliamentary commissions”.

The letter, dated February 12th, said: “As the papal representative I am always available to examine questions of mutual interest in the relations between the Holy See and Ireland through contacts with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, as has been the norm hitherto.

“I wish at the same time to assure you that the Holy See and its representatives are fully committed to fostering good relations between the Holy See and Ireland.”

Mr Shatter, a member of the committee, described the decision as “not only deeply regrettable but incomprehensible”. He called for the matter to be raised during meetings taking place in Rome between Ireland’s bishops, the pope and senior curia members.

“Constructive transparent dialogue and a change of approach is essential,” Mr Shatter said. “The victims of abuse and their families, as well as the general public, are entitled to expect that all available information that could inform the deliberations and conclusion of the Murphy commission will be furnished to it.

“I believe there is a solemn duty on both the papal nuncio and the Vatican authorities to co-operate in this. It is not only scandalous that such co-operation is not forthcoming but that the Vatican’s ambassador to Ireland is unwilling to publicly discuss with elected members of the Irish parliament the stance taken to date or to indicate any willingness to overcome the current impasse.”