Ireland, first Catholic country to snap ties with Vatican

November 7, 2011 by  
Filed under newsletter-india, Persecution, Vatican City, World

Ireland first Catholic country to snap ties with Vatican

Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J

Vatican City, November 4, 2011: Given below is the text of a declaration made yesterday by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. in response to a note issued by the Irish Foreign Ministry announcing the decision of the government of Ireland to close, for economic reasons, its embassies in the Holy See and Iran, and its office of representation in East Timor.

“The Holy See takes note of the decision by Ireland to close its embassy in Rome to the Holy See. Of course, any State which has diplomatic relations with the Holy See is free to decide, according to its possibilities and its interests, whether to have an ambassador to the Holy See resident in Rome, or resident in another country. What is important are diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the States, and these are not at issue with regard to Ireland”.

– vatican info service                                 

Ireland cites Economic Reasons for closure of embassy in Rome

Ireland has become the first major Catholic nation to break its ties with the Vatican over the child sex abuse issue after it closed its embassy in the Holy See. The country cited “economic reasons” for closing the embassy, that has infuriated the Holy See as it might lead to other closures now that Dublin has shown the way. In a communique, the Irish Foreign Ministry said the mission was being closed because “it yields no economic return” and that relations would be continued with an ambassador in Dublin.

However, observers said the closure of the embassy at the Holy See, Iran and Timor-Leste would result in economies of a paltry €1.2 million per year. The Irish decision has brought relations between Dublin and the Vatican, considered unbreakable and very close, at an all-time low. Besides economic considerations, there is simmering anger in Dublin over the Vatican’s protracted cover-up of priests who sexually abused children in their care.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has accused Rome of stonewalling, if not obstructing, official enquiries into the abuse which went on as late as 2009. He said the Church was guilty of “dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and narcissism.” Ireland has been one of the most faithful daughters of the Catholic Church, banning abortion even today and introducing divorce only in 1995. But the very close relationship enjoyed by the Vatican with successive Irish governments was severely damaged by a series of reports over the Church’s seemingly deliberate obliviousness to child sex abuse by Catholic priests.

Indeed in Ireland, most educational institutions were at one time almost exclusively run by the Church and abuse and harsh, even inhuman, treatment of children flourished. “The decision to close the embassy does not surprise me,” Moira D., an Irish journalist based in Paris, told The Hindu. “For months now, there has been seething anger towards the hypocrisy of Rome and this decision will be welcomed by the people,” she said. While Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore denied the embassy closure was linked to the row over sexual abuse, Rome-based diplomats said they believed it probably played a major role.

Gilmore stressed that the decision to close down the Embassy in the Vatican was unrelated to the Holy See’s recall of Papal Nuncio to Ireland this year. The Irish government, he said, will not sell Villa Spada, a hugely valuable property which serves as the Irish mission to the Vatican. Instead, staff from the Irish embassy to Italy will be moved from rented premises to the Villa Spada. Cardinal Sean Brady, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, said he was profoundly disappointed by the decision and hoped the government would “revisit” it.

“This decision seems to show little regard for the important role played by the Holy See in international relations and of the historic ties between the Irish people and the Holy See over many centuries,” Cardinal Brady said. An Indian source at the Vatican said this decision “comes at a particularly bad time when the world is going through troubled times, both morally and economically. The Church has solutions to offer but politicians are unwilling to hear them.”

– the hindu

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