Sharia Law, Vatican style

I meant to post this ages ago, but it got lost in the furore over Murdoch and the ‘riots’. It’s an extract from the statement that the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Enda Kenny, made to Parliament following the publication of the official report into child abuse (and the covering up of same) in the Diocese of Cloyne. The Irish Times published the statement in its issue of July 21, and it’s worth reading in full. The extract that first caught my eye runs like this:

THE REVELATIONS of the Cloyne report have brought the Government, Irish Catholics and the Vatican to an unprecedented juncture. It’s fair to say that after the Ryan and Murphy reports Ireland is, perhaps, unshockable when it comes to the abuse of children.

But Cloyne has proved to be of a different order.

Because for the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See, to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic – as little as three years ago, not three decades ago.

And in doing so, the Cloyne report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism – the narcissism – that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day. The rape and torture of children were downplayed or “managed” to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and “reputation”.

Far from listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal with St Benedict’s “ear of the heart”, the Vatican’s reaction was to parse and analyse it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer. This calculated, withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded.

The radicalism, humility and compassion which are the very essence of its foundation and purpose. The behaviour being a case of Roma locuta est: causa finita est.

Except in this instance, nothing could be further from the truth…

As someone who fled my clerically-oppressed homeland many moons ago, I never thought I’d live to hear an Irish politician speak so plainly. And to be honest, I didn’t think that Enda Kenny had it in him. I was wrong.

The key issue is whether the Catholic church accepts the principle that its agents and employees have to obey the laws of the jurisdictions in which they operate. One of the most shameful aspects of the country in which I was brought up is that the Vatican was allowed by the State to run its own version of Sharia Law.

As a result of the statement, the Papal Nuncio (Ambassador of the Vatican) has been recalled to Rome. We await with interest the Vatican’s response. In the meantime one useful interim step the Irish government could take would be to remove all Catholic church involvement in Irish schools.