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									Vatican letter told Ireland's Catholic bishops not to report child abuse | World news | The Guardian

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    Vatican letter told Ireland's Catholic                                                                 Share    14

    bishops not to report child abuse                                                                      Tweet    1

    Policy to tell police about priest suspects was vetoed, as lawyers
    say proof at last of cover-up by papacy
    Associated Press in Dublin
    The Guardian, Tuesday 18 January 2011 15.48 EST                                                        Email

                                                                                                       Article history

                                                                                                       World news
                                                                                                       Catholicism · Ireland ·
                                                                                                       Religion · Vatican ·
                                                                                                       Europe · The papacy

    A copy of the 1997 letter from the Vatican, obtained by Irish broadcasters RTE and
    provided to AP, warning Ireland's Catholic bishops not to report all suspected child-
    abuse cases to police. Photograph: AP

    A letter to Ireland's Roman Catholic bishops has been revealed by the
    broadcaster RTE that contradicts the Vatican's frequent claim it has
    never instructed clergy to withhold evidence or suspicion of child abuse
    from police.                                                                                                                 On the Guardian today
    The 1997 letter documents rejection of a 1996 Irish church initiative to
    help police identify paedophile priests. Signed by the late Archbishop
    Luciano Storero, Pope John Paul II's envoy to Ireland, it instructs
    bishops that their new policy of making the reporting of suspected crimes
    mandatory "gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and
    canonical nature".

    Storero wrote that canon law, whereby allegations and punishments are
    handled within the church, "must be meticulously followed"; any bishop
    who tried to go outside canon law would face the "highly embarrassing"
                                                                                                                                 Comment is free
    position of being overturned on appeal in Rome.
                                                                                                                                 Russell Brand: Philip Seymour
    A 2009 Irish state report found this actually happened with Tony Walsh,
                                                                                                                                 Hoffman is another victim of
    one of Dublin's most notorious paedophiles, who exploited his role as an[2/8/2014 10:58:04 AM]
Vatican letter told Ireland's Catholic bishops not to report child abuse | World news | The Guardian

    Elvis impersonator in a popular "All Priests Show" to get closer to                                                            extremely stupid drug laws
    children. In 1993, Walsh was defrocked by a secret church court, but
    successfully appealed to a Vatican court, and was reinstated in the
    priesthood in 1994. He raped a boy in a pub restroom that year. Walsh
    since has received a series of prison sentences, with a 12-year term
    imposed last month. Investigators estimate he raped or molested more
    than 100 children.

    Catholic officials in Ireland and the Vatican declined requests from the
    Associated Press to comment on the letter, marked "strictly confidential";
    RTE said it had been given it by an Irish bishop.
                                                                                                                                   World news
    "The letter is of huge international significance," said Colm O'Gorman,
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    director of the Irish section of Amnesty International. "It shows that the
                                                                                                                                   picture sparks racism debate
    Vatican's intention is to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities.
    And if that instruction applied here [in Ireland], it applied everywhere."

    Joelle Casteix, a director of the US advocacy group Survivors Network of
    Those Abused by Priests, described it as "the smoking gun we've been
    looking for." It was certain to be cited by lawyers acting for victims
    seeking to pin responsibility directly on Rome, not the dioceses.

    To this day, the Vatican has not endorsed any of the Irish church's three
    documents since 1996 on safeguarding children. Irish taxpayers, rather
    than the church, have paid most of the €1.5bn to more than 14,000
    abuse claimants dating back to the 1940s.

    In a 2010 letter to Ireland condemning paedophiles in the ranks, Pope
                                                                                                                                   Premier League football clockwatch –
    Benedict XVI faulted bishops for not following canon law and offered no                                                        as it happened
    explicit endorsement of child-protection efforts by the Irish church or
    state. He was widely criticised in Ireland.

    O'Gorman (who was raped repeatedly by a priest in the 1980s when an
    altar boy) said evidence is mounting that some Irish bishops continued to
    follow the 1997 Vatican instructions. A state investigation of Cloyne
    diocese is to come out soon, citing crimes concealed as recently as

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