Kenny does not regret Vatican speech


Taoiseach Enda Kenny said today he did not regret his recent Dáil speech criticising the Vatican in the wake of the Cloyne report.

Responding to a Vatican statement which rejected Mr Kenny’s criticisms as “unfounded”, the Taoiseach said: “No. I made my statement to the Dáil, and obviously the question being asked by the Tánaiste on behalf of Government was to have the Vatican respond in respect of a statutory commission of inquiry arising from the Cloyne situation.”

During his speech in July Mr Kenny criticised the Vatican’s reaction to allegations of clerical child sexual abuse.

He told the Dáil: “Far from listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal with St Benedict’s 'ear of the heart' . . . the Vatican’s reaction was to parse and analyse it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer. . . . This calculated, withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded”.

The Vatican said today Mr Kenny’s claims, which “he made no attempt to substantiate” were “unfounded”.

It said the allegations were based on an incorrect reading of a 1997 Vatican letter expressing “serious reservations” about the Irish bishops’ 1996 policy requiring bishops to report abusers to gardaí.

Speaking at the Curragh Camp during Cavalry Remembrance Day today, Mr Kenny said he had not yet had an opportunity to read the Vatican’s response.

“I need to read this report and speak to the Tánaiste and obviously the Government will comment.”

Mr Kenny added that the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore had asked the Papal Nuncio to respond on behalf of the Vatican. That request had been made quite a few weeks ago.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, also speaking at the Curragh, said it was important that the Government gave detailed consideration to the Vatican's response.

"I'm not going to pre-judge that response until I've had an opportunity to read it," Mr Shatter said. Asked to assess the current state of relations between the Vatican and the Republic, he said the Vatican's response would get reasonable consideration and reflection.