Aide: Vatican Offers Clear Response to Cloyne

Father Lombardi Says Holy See Addressed Accusations

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 5, 2011 (Zenit.org).- In the much-anticipated Vatican response to Ireland's Cloyne Report, the Holy See offers a clear, detailed and serene answer, says a Vatican spokesman.

Speaking on Vatican Radio on Saturday, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, commented on the Vatican's response to the Report by the Commission of Inquiry into the Diocese of Cloyne. The 11,000-word statement was published Saturday.

The Cloyne Report, published in July, found that nine of 15 cases of sexual abuse were not reported to authorities between 1996 and 2009, which violates the child protection guidelines set down by the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference.

Additionally, it cited a 1997 curial letter sent to the Irish bishops' conference that expressed "serious reservations of both a moral and a canonical nature" regarding the "mandatory reporting" that was stipulated in the guidelines.

The Cloyne report noted that this letter "effectively gave individual Irish bishops the freedom to ignore the procedures."

Father Lombardi said that the Vatican response "is clearly structured and seeks to give detailed and documented answers to all the questions raised, inserting them into a broader perspective."

"The text of the document shows how the Holy See has given very serious and respectful consideration to the queries and criticism it has received, and has undertaken to answer them serenely and exhaustively, avoiding polemics even when giving clear answers to the accusations made," he explained.

The priest added that the Holy See hopes that its response "will achieve the fundamental shared goal of contributing to rebuilding a climate of trust and co-operation with the Irish authorities, which is essential for an effective commitment on the part of the Church and society to guarantee the primary goal: protecting children and young people."

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Cardinal Sean Brady, the archbishop of Armagh and president of the Irish Bishops' Conference, welcomed the Vatican statement, calling it a "comprehensive reply" that "conveys the profound abhorrence of the Holy See for the crime of sexual abuse and its sorrow and shame for the terrible sufferings which the victims of abuse and their families have endured within the Church of Jesus Christ, a place where this should never happen."

"I believe the response has been carefully prepared and respectfully presented," he added. "The time taken to prepare the reply, and its content, indicates the commitment on the part of the Holy See to deal with this matter earnestly, fairly and sensitively.

"It shows an appreciation of the seriousness of the questions raised and of the importance, especially for survivors of abuse, of effectively combating this crime."

The cardinal asked the people of Ireland to "read the document for themselves and to evaluate it objectively."

He added that he hopes it will "contribute to the healing of those who have been hurt, and also to a closer working together of all concerned with the safeguarding of children."

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-33352?l=english