Irish Independent.

Tuesday July 26 2011

THE Government last night stuck to its pledge to force priests to break the secrets of the confessional box and reveal abuse as tensions boiled over with the Vatican.

Relations between the Vatican and Ireland plunged to a new low as the Holy See’s Ambassador was recalled to Rome to discuss the fallout from the Cloyne Report.

On top of the diplomatic row, a senior Vatican official dismissed the Government’s plans to bring in a new law to compel priests to pass on details of abuse revealed in confession.

In the wake of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s scathing attack on the Vatican, Monsignor Giuseppe Leanza was summoned back to Rome so he could brief Pope Benedict XVI and senior church officials on details of the damning report which accused the Catholic hierarchy of covering up for paedophile priests.


The Government attempted to play down the significance of the move.

However, the Taoiseach will not be retracting any of his comments and sources believe the Vatican is now taking the request for a comprehensive response to the report seriously.

“The ball is very much in their court. It’s become clear to them (the Vatican), that this administration has a different approach to previous administrations,” a government source told the Irish Independent.

The Vatican deputy press officer Father Ciro Benedettini said: “The recall of the Nuncio denotes the seriousness of the situation and the Holy See’s desire to face it objectively and determinedly.

“Nor does it exclude some degree of surprise and disappointment at certain excessive reactions.”

Diplomatic sources claimed the language in the statement was not as provocative as was being suggested and the Government was told at the weekend about the withdrawal of the Nuncio.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said the decision to recall the Papal Nuncio to the Vatican for consultations was a matter for the Holy See.

“The Government is awaiting the response of the Holy See to the recent report into the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne and it is to be expected that the Vatican would wish to consult in depth with the Nuncio on its response,” he said.

Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti, of the Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary, dismissed suggestions priests should break the secrets of the confessional box and reveal details of abusing clergy.

“Ireland can approve all the laws it wants but it should know the church will never allow itself the obligation to betray the confessional to civil authorities.

“It is absurd to think that priests should be obliged to betray what is said in the confessional box,” Archbishop Girotti said.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter reiterated his plan to bring in the new law on withholding information on crimes against children and vulnerable adults, which he said “will apply regardless of any internal rules of any religious grouping”.

“The central focus of the Government is child protection.”

– Fionnan Sheahan and Nick Pisa in Rome


6 Responses to “Church and State clash over secrets of Confessional”

  1. One of the things drumed into me as a child was that a repentant sinner is loved by god above all others. This has been a way of getting out of guilt in not acting. if thay treat the pedophiles as repentant sinners then its thier religion that makes them unfit as child order to get attention from others we all need a reason. this has killed so many innocent childhoods.

  2. Since a change was made in canon law in the mid eithies why not now. Up untill then thay were against cremation but then it became okey especally since this was done by the church in the case of the Undug Madelaines. So thay can change thier laws sometimes.

  3. Now if its really time for the pope to have an objective view on abuse well he should have a look as to why it was kept secret . Surely when thay got together to discuss the problems caused it was not in confessional boxes but in rooms inside the vatican.its the victims themselves who contacted thier local head of the church. and it was them who hid things and sent dangerous people into the places where thay could abuse.

  4. sean morrison says:

    The secrets of the confessional. If it becomes law, do you think that a child abuser will tell that in the box knowing that he or she may be arrested ? It is quite obvious to the bishops, and other priests, nuns who is gay and who isin’t, I can smell one a mile away myself, so what does that leave,? it is the duty of the superior of the flock of religious orders to cull the queers and have them arrested, failing to do so puts the blame on the back of the superior and he or she takes the rap and is jailed. Thats my tuppence worth.

  5. Evin Daly says:

    A red herring folks – the rule is unenforceable.

  6. Delma says:

    At long Last!!, no more shielding harmer’s of the most vulnerable. Now the church is not beyond reproach, as it has been to the detriment of so many.
    People will no longer accept such comments as
    “It is absurd to think that priests should be obliged to betray what is said in the confessional box,” Archbishop Girotti
    This progress,, well done to you all for making this happen.

Leave a Reply