Vatican report due in early 2012


THE HOLY See yesterday issued a communique marking the “Conclusion Of The First Phase Of The Apostolic Visitation In Ireland”, indicating its final report will not be published until early 2012.

Pointing out that the focus of the visitation remains the origins and the handling of the Irish clerical sex abuse crisis, the communique calls the visitation “very useful”. The visits to the four metropolitan archdioceses and to the seminaries have been concluded whilst those to the religious institutes may require some further “in loco” (on the spot) visits.

The visitors’ reports have already undergone “an initial evaluation” both from the individual Vatican dicasteries (departments) and from a joint meeting involving the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life as well, of course, as the Secretariat Of State.

Many may be tempted to conclude that yesterday’s communique represents some sort of answer to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, who last week complained about the slow pace of the visitation process. If that is so, then the Holy See has confirmed that it continues to follow its own timetable, as evidenced by the confirmation that the final report will not be published until “early next year”.

Senior Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi yesterday said the statement had nothing to do with the archbishop’s comments.

He defended the visitors’ work, arguing that a complex survey like this requires both time and reflection. The visitation has “respected” the original timetable drawn up by the Holy See, he said.