Will Vatican probe of abuse scandal look into overall health of Irish Church?

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CatholicCulture.org

October 08, 2010

Writing in the Irish Herald, Garry O’Sulivan, the editor of the Irish Catholic follows up on his earlier suggestion that the Irish bishops have sought to limit the scope of an apostolic visitation into the Irish Church, but Vatican officials have resisted their efforts. O’Sullivan argues that the Vatican investigation will look beyond sex-abuse complaints in search of an underlying cause:

The Vatican believes that the culture that set into the Irish church in the 1960s onwards weakened the faith in Ireland and led to a loss of respect for the Church and its teachings. The investigators will want to look at this.

If O’Sullivan’s analysis is on target, the inquiry in Ireland could prove to be a turning point in the Church’s worldwide struggle to address the scandal, perhaps leading to the overdue recognition that the sex-abuse crisis is not an isolated problem but a symptom of a wider disease.

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Irish bishops working to limit scope of apostolic visitation?

CatholicCulture.org

October 07, 2010

Irish Church leaders sought to limit the scope of a Vatican investigation when they met this week with officials of the Holy See, according to a report in the Irish Catholic.

Ireland’s leading Catholic newspaper reported that the four Irish archbishops who met with Vatican officials on October 6 were hoping that the apostolic visitation of the Irish Church would focus on the handling of sex-abuse charges and the training of future priests in Irish seminaries. The report said that “the bishops do not want a broader investigation of their overall management, something they resisted strongly in their meetings with the Pope last February when the prospect of a visitation was raised.”

However, the Irish Catholic notes that the schedule for this week’s meetings in Rome—designed to coordinate plans for the apostolic visitation—gave the Irish prelates only one day to make their arguments. That tight schedule, the paper suggested, could indicate that “the terms of reference may have been decided and that the Vatican has a clear idea of where it wants this process to go.”

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Bishops seek to limit Vatican visitation

The Irish Catholic 

7 Oct 2010

Garry O’Sullivan,  in Rome

Irish archbishops meeting with Vatican personnel and the proposed apostolic visitors have sought to limit the terms of reference of the Vatican inquiry to two issues: the investigation of the handling of child abuse by clergy and the examination of the formation regime in seminaries, according to informed sources in Ireland and in Rome.

The Irish Catholic understands that the bishops do not want a broader investigation of their overall management, something they resisted strongly in their meetings with the Pope last February when the prospect of a visitation was raised.

It is believed that Vatican personnel want a broader investigation and not just a look at child abuse. The meeting between Cardinal Seán Brady of Armagh, Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam and Archbishop Dermot Clifford of Cashel and Emly with the visitors and Vatican personnel yesterday (Wednesday) was expected to be tense as The Irish Catholic went to press.

It is understood that the archbishops are anxious that they had not been informed of the detail of the proposed terms of reference to date and were expected to only have a limited time on Wednesday to discuss it.

In a round-table meeting they were expected, according to informed sources, to discuss who the visitors should meet, whether it should be confined to child safeguarding.

The discussion would also include how long the visitation should take, what form the report should take, to whom the report will be sent and whether the process should be widened to other dioceses.

On Tuesday, the apostolic visitors met key personnel in the Congregation for Bishops under its new prefect, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who is the latest name in Vatican circles to emerge as a potential successor to the Pope.

Issues

Given that the Irish archbishops have only had one day in Rome to deal with the terms of reference issues, suggests that while they are being consulted to ensure that there is a unified approach to the whole procedure, the terms of reference may have been decided and that the Vatican has a clear idea of where it wants this process to go.

Vatican observers here have said that this visitation is seen as a last opportunity for the Irish Church to get its house in order.

Power

Therefore, the visitation will need a wide remit to look at the exercise of power in the Irish Church.

Some visitors have already conducted a preliminary visit to Ireland and it is believed they have met representatives of the laity, clergy, religious, seminarians, councils of priests, child safeguarding trainers, advisory committees, diocesan councils along with others to discuss procedures and structures in the dioceses.

The visitation is expected to take a year to complete. It is likely that the bishops would like it finished before 2012 when the International Eucharistic Congress is to be held in Dublin.

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