Page last updated at 13:00 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Vatican 'ashamed' of Irish abuse report

Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza
Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza said the Vatican condemned the abuse

The Vatican is ashamed by the findings of the Murphy report into clerical abuse in the Dublin diocese, the Pope's representative in Ireland has said.

Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza expressed his shock at how Church and state authorities handled allegations of child abuse against 46 priests.

"We feel ashamed about what happened, I must express again my shock, my dismay," said Archbishop Leanza.

He met with Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Martin on Tuesday.

The Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, published in November, looked at cases of abuse over a 30 year period.

"I understand the anger of the people and the sufferings of those who have been abused," said Archbishop Leanza after the meeting.

"We totally condemn this."

Relevant documents

The Papal Nuncio had been criticised by the commission for ignoring a request for information

In February 2007, the commission wrote to him asking him to forward all relevant documents in his possession.

It also requested that he confirm whether he had any such documents but the Papal Nuncio did not reply.

Earlier this year, the commission again failed to receive a reply after sending the Papal Nuncio extracts from its draft report which referred to him and his office, as it was required to do.

During his meeting with Mr Martin, Archbishop Leanza said he should have responded to a letter from the commission formally.

Afterwards he told the media he felt at the time that he did not need to respond to the letter, which he felt was forwarded to him for information purposes.


In May, the Ryan report was published detailing accounts from more than 2,000 people who said they had suffered physical and sexual abuse at Catholic-run orphanages and industrial schools in the Republic of Ireland, going back many decades.

When asked about the silence of the Vatican following the publication of the Murphy and Ryan reports, Archbishop Leanza said time was needed to study their contents.

He said the Murphy Report was now under study at the Vatican and he said he hoped there would be a response to its contents following a meeting on Friday.

Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray has travelled to Rome this week where he is expected to offer his resignation to the Pope.

He was criticised in the Murphy Report for the way he dealt with a paedophile priest when he was an auxiliary bishop in Dublin.

Mr Martin also sought a commitment from Archbishop Leanza that the church would fully co-operate with the upcoming inquiry into the Cloyne Diocese.

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