Vatican admits mistakes in Irish abuse scandal
In a long-awaited reaction to an official report, the Vatican has admitted "grave failures" over the handling of a child sex abuse scandal involving priests in southern Ireland but denied that it tried to block investigations.
"The Holy See is deeply concerned at the findings of the commission of inquiry concerning grave failures in the ecclesiastical governance of the diocese of Cloyne," said the Vatican in its official response to the report on Saturday.
July's publication of the report into more than a decade of abuse by priests in Cloyne triggered an unprecedented attack by Prime Minister Enda Kenny who called the Roman Catholic Church's behaviour "absolutely disgraceful".
The Cloyne report condemned the Church's handling of abuse claims against 19 clerics in Cloyne between 1996 and 2009, saying it was "inadequate and inappropriate".
It strongly criticised the failures of the former bishop of Cloyne, John Magee, who had been private secretary to three successive popes, Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II.
Last year, Pope Benedict XVI wrote a letter to Irish Catholics expressing shame and remorse over the abuse of children by members of the clergy,, But campaigners say the Church is guilty of a cover-up - a claim the Vatican vigorously denies.
"The Holy See wishes to make it quite clear that it in no way hampered or sought to interfere in any inquiry into child sexual abuse in the diocese of Cloyne," said the statement.
The Cloyne case is only the latest in a series of abuse scandals for the Catholic Church in Ireland that were first exposed in a 2009 report detailing hundreds of cases of sexual abuse of children by priests going back decades.
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