An Irish Senator has called on the entire hierarchy of the country’s Catholic Church to resign, as a rift appears between the state and the Vatican over child sex abuse by priests.
The move by Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway follows a report last week that found church authorities in the diocese of Cloyne in County Cork had failed to report many abuse cases.
It said the Vatican had disparaged Irish child protection guidelines in a letter to Irish bishops.
On Wednesday Ireland’s parliament rebuked the Vatican for undermining child protection frameworks.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny launched an attack on the Church that was unprecedented from an Irish
“The Cloyne report excavates the dysfunction, the disconnection, the elitism that dominate the culture of the Vatican today. The rape and torture of children were downplayed, and managed to uphold instead the primacy of the institution, its power, its standing and its reputation,” he said.
The report accused Bishop John Magee, one responsible for the Cloyne diocese, and who had previously been private secretary to three popes, of falsely telling the authorities he was reporting all abuse allegations to police.
Now even the Irish church itself accuses the Vatican of undermining child protection. The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, went on television to express his shame, saying “I find myself today asking ‘can I be proud of the Church that I am a leader of?’ What I am seeing I have to be ashamed of. I have to be ashamed because of what was done to victims and other people in the Church,” he said.
The Vatican has offered “grief and condemnation” of the crimes described in the Cloyne report, but it denied the Vatican had encouraged Irish bishops to ignore the Irish guidelines.
Nevertheless as the rift between church and state grows, there have even been calls by two politicians to end the 80-year-old tradition of saying daily prayers in the Irish parliament.