Wikileaks, i cablo Usa sulla pedofilia nel clero cattolico (2)

Pubblicato: 2 settembre 2011 in Varie
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US embassy cable – 10VATICAN33


Identifier: 10VATICAN33
Origin: Embassy Vatican
Created: 2010-02-26 16:32:00
Classification: SECRET
DE RUEHROV #0033/01 0571632
P 261632Z FEB 10
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 VATICAN 000033 


E.O. 12958: DECL:  2/26/2035 

VATICAN 00000033  001.2 OF 003 

CLASSIFIED BY: Julieta Valls Noyes, DCM, EXEC, State. 
REASON: 1.4 (b) 
1.  (C) Summary: The November 2009 report of cover-up by local 
bishops of revelations of physical and sexual abuse of children 
by Irish clergy appalled Catholics and others worldwide. 
Vatican and Irish officials\' first concern was for the victims, 
but that reality was sometimes obscured in the events that 
followed which also   cast a chill on Irish-Vatican relations. 
The Vatican believes the Irish government failed to respect and 
protect Vatican sovereignty during the investigations.  Much of 
the Irish public views the Vatican protests as pettily 
procedural and failing to confront the real issue of horrific 
abuse and cover-up by Church officials.  The resulting profound 
crisis in the Irish Church, meanwhile, required intervention by 
Pope Benedict, who met with Irish Church leaders in December 
2009 and in February 2010 to discuss next steps.  Although the 
Pope will address a pastoral letter on the situation to Irish 
Catholics in the next few weeks, both the Vatican and the local 
Catholic Church agree that further follow-up should be handled 
domestically in Ireland.  The Vatican\'s relatively swift 
response to this crisis showed it learned key lessons from the 
U.S. sex abuse scandals in 2002 but still left some Catholics - 
in Ireland and beyond -- feeling disaffected.  The crisis will 
play out for years inside Ireland, where future revelations are 
expected, even as new clerical sex abuse allegations are being 
made in Germany.  End Summary. 

Origin of a Scandal: Horrific and Endemic 

2. (U) The Irish scandal broke in the 1990s, following a series 
of criminal cases and Irish government enquiries that 
established that hundreds of lay persons and priests had abused 
thousands of children in Ireland for decades.  In 1999, Irish 
Prime Minister Bertie Ahern announced a program to respond to 
the abuse, including a compensation scheme into which the 
government and various religious orders made contributions.  In 
announcing this program, Ahern was the first Irish official to 
apologize to the victims.  He also launched a study into abuse 
at Irish institutions run by religious orders but overseen and 
funded by Ireland\'s Department of Education.  After nine years 
of investigation, the Ryan Commission issued a report in May 
2009  that detailed horrific abuses, including 325 alleged cases 
of abuse by priests, and concluded they were \"endemic.\"  With 
the crisis unfolding, Irish Catholics and Irish investigators 
turned to Rome for additional answers. 

Political Reaction: Inquiries Offend Vatican and Irish Public 
--------------------------------------------- ---------------- 

3. (SBU) After release of the Ryan report, the Irish Government 
ordered an investigation of the Ryan Commission\'s allegations 
against priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin, to be conducted by 
the independent Murphy Commission.  Sidestepping diplomatic 
channels, the Murphy Commission sent a letter requesting further 
information to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 
(CDF), which follows issues relating to clerical misconduct and 
crimes.  The Commission also asked the Vatican Nuncio in Ireland 
to answer questions.  (Judge Murphy argued that the body did not 
have to follow normal inter-state procedures in making its 
requests because the independent commission was not part of the 
Irish government.) 

4. (S/NF) While Vatican contacts immediately expressed deep 
sympathy for the victims and insisted that the first priority 
was preventing a recurrence, they also were angered by how the 
situation played out politically.  The Murphy Commission\'s 
requests offended many in the Vatican, the Holy See\'s Assessor 
Peter Wells (protect strictly) told DCM, because they saw them 
as an affront to Vatican sovereignty.  Vatican officials were 
also angered that the Government of Ireland did not step in to 
direct the Murphy Commission to follow standard procedures in 
communications with Vatican City.  Adding insult to injury, 
Vatican officials also believed some Irish opposition 
politicians were making political hay with the situation by 
calling publicly on the government to demand that the Vatican 
reply.  Ultimately, Vatican Secretary of State (Prime Minister 
equivalent) Bertone wrote to the Irish Embassy that requests 
related to the investigation must come through diplomatic 
channels via letters rogatory. 

5. (S/NF) The Irish Embassy to the Holy See offered to 
facilitate better communications between the Irish commission 
and the Holy See, but neither party took any further action. 
Irish Ambassador Noel Fahey (formerly ambassador to Washington) 
told DCM this was the most difficult crisis he had ever managed. 
The Irish government wanted to be seen as cooperating with the 
investigation because its Education Department was implicated, 
but did not want to insist that the Vatican answer the requests 
because they had come outside of regular channels.  In the end, 
the Irish government decided not to press the Vatican to reply, 
according to Fahey\'s Deputy, Helena Keleher.  Moreover, Keleher 

VATICAN 00000033  002.2 OF 003 

told Polchief the CDF probably did not have much to add to the 
inquiry.  Regarding the request for the Nuncio to testify, 
Keleher said the GOI understood that foreign ambassadors are not 
required or expected to appear before national commissions. 
Nevertheless, Keleher thought the Nuncio in Ireland made things 
worse by simply ignoring the requests. 

6. (C) The resentment caused by the Murphy Commission tactics - 
and failure of the Government of Ireland to temper them -- now 
has worn off a little in Rome.  This is in part because the 
legal and diplomatic questions posed by the Commission\'s demands 
are now moot since the Murphy Commission released its report in 
November 2009.  It substantiated many of the claims and also 
concluded that some bishops tried to cover up the abuses, 
putting the interests of the Church ahead of those of the 

7. (C) The Irish people\'s anger, however, has not worn off.  The 
refusal of the Holy See to respond to the Murphy Commission 
questions caused a furor of public disbelief in Ireland when it 
became known.  Foreign Minister Martin was forced to call in the 
Papal Nuncio to discuss the situation.  The Irish public was not 
mollified.  Resentment toward the Church in Rome remains very 
high, particularly because of the institutionalized cover-up of 
abuse by the Catholic Church hierarchy.  In the wake of the 
scandal, four of the five bishops named in the Murphy Report 
have resigned; the fifth has refused to quit.  Archbishop 
Martin\'s Christmas Eve Midnight Mass announcement of the 
resignation of two of the five key bishops named in the Murphy 
report was met be thunderous applause, which he had a hard time 

Pastoral Reaction: Meetings with Clerics and Messages to 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 

8. (C) Meanwhile, the normally cautious Vatican moved with 
uncharacteristic speed to address the internal Church crisis. 
The Pope convoked a meeting with senior Irish clerical leaders 
on December 11, 2009.  Irish Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop 
of Dublin Diarmuid Martin came to Rome and met with the Pontiff, 
who was flanked by Cardinal Bertone (the Vatican Prime Minster 
equivalent), and four other Cardinals whose duties include 
oversight over some aspect of the Irish situation.  At the end 
of the meeting, the Vatican issued a statement saying that the 
Pope shared the \"outrage, betrayal, and shame\" of Irish 
Catholics over the deliberations, that he was praying for the 
victims, and that the Church would take steps to prevent 
recurrences.  Archbishop Martin told reporters afterwards that 
he expected a major shake-up of the Church in Ireland. 

9. (SBU) The Vatican\'s next move was to call a broader, two-day 
meeting with Irish bishops, February 15-16, to discuss the 
crisis.  There, the Pope urged the bishops to address the sexual 
abuse with resolve and courage, to prevent any recurrences, and 
to bring healing to the victims.  Meeting participants examined 
and discussed a draft of the \"Pastoral Letter of the Holy Father 
to the Catholics of Ireland\" that the Pope will issue by the end 
of March.  A later Vatican statement said the abuses in Ireland 
were a \"heinous crime and also a grave sin.\" 

10. (U) At a press conference on February 16, Vatican spokesman 
Lombardi said the meeting was aimed at dialogue and 
direction-setting, and was not intended to produce specific 
policy decisions. The statement quoted the bishops\' assurances 
that \"significant measures have now been taken to ensure the 
safety of children and young people.\"  The full text is 
available at 
services/bulletin/news/25154.php?index=25154& po 

Public Reaction: Vatican Response Helps, but More Needed 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 

11. (C/NF) Judging by media commentary, many  non-Irish 
Catholics felt the Vatican\'s response to the crisis was a good 
start but more was needed.  Irish Deputy Head of Mission Keleher 
told polchief on February 18 that she sympathized with victims\' 
groups\' criticism of the Vatican statement, because it was not 
more focused on the pain caused to the victims.  Victims\' 
associations also have complained that the Pope did not issue an 
apology for the abuses and that he did not order the removal of 
the remaining bishop accused of the cover-up.  (Archbishop 
Martin\'s comments in December apparently had convinced many that 
the Vatican would remove the errant bishops if they did not 

Comment: Some Lessons Learned, but Crisis Will Play Out for Years 
--------------------------------------------- -------------------- 

VATICAN 00000033  003.2 OF 003 

12. (C) In keeping with the Catholic practice of making local 
bishops ultimately responsible for the management of their 
dioceses, we expect that the locus of the crisis and measures to 
address it will remain largely with the Catholic Church in 
Ireland.  One exception will be on decisions of whether to 
accept or reject resignation offers from the implicated bishops 
-- or the removal of the bishop who  refused to offer his 
resignation -- which rest with the Pope.  The other big 
exception will be the Pope\'s pastoral letter to Irish Catholics, 
in which the Vatican may address concerns and criticisms about 
statements and actions undertaken to date.  After this, though, 
the Vatican will return to the background - while keeping an eye 
on the Irish bishops and continuing to urge them to speak with 
one voice.  Our contacts at the Vatican and in Ireland expect 
the crisis in the Irish Catholic Church to be protracted over 
several years, as only allegations from the Dublin Archdiocese 
have been investigated to date.  Investigations of allegations 
from other Archdioceses will lead, officials in both states 
lament, to additional painful revelations. 

13. (C) In Ireland, these abuse scandals occurred at the end of 
a long period of increasing secularization of society - and may 
further reduce the influence of the Catholic Church. Indeed, the 
great vehemence of the Irish reaction to this crisis reflects 
how far the Catholic Church in Ireland has fallen.  Once 
ensconced in the Irish Constitution, the Irish Catholic Church 
reached the height of its prestige and power with the 1979 visit 
of Pope John Paul II but it has been falling ever since.  At the 
same time, the Murphy Report reflects Irish shame over the 
collaboration of Ireland\'s state bodies, including its schools, 
courts and police, in the appalling abuses and cover-up that 
occurred for decades. 

14. (S) Vatican analysts, meanwhile, agree that the Holy See\'s 
handling of the Irish scandal shows the Vatican learned some 
important lessons from the U.S. sex abuse scandal of 2002.  By 
acting quickly to express horror at allegations, to label the 
alleged acts both crimes and sins, and to call in the local 
leaders to discuss how to prevent recurrences, the Vatican 
limited - but certainly did not eliminate - the damage caused to 
the Church\'s standing in Ireland and worldwide.  Unfortunately, 
given the growing abuse scandal in Germany, it may need to 
deploy those lessons again before long.  End Comment. 

15. (U) Embassy Dublin contributed to and cleared this cable. 


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