WikiLeaks: Pope Benedict, child abuse and Vatican sovereignty
Wielding influence while denying it is doing so?
Isn’t that just effective lobbying?
Apparently, we learn:
‘The Pope is responsible for the Vatican's growing hostility towards Turkey joining the EU.’
‘…Ratzinger was the leading voice behind the Holy See's unsuccessful drive to secure a reference to Europe's "Christian roots" in the EU constitution.’
‘…Ratzinger "clearly understands that allowing a Muslim country into the EU would further weaken his case for Europe's Christian foundations".’
‘…the Vatican planned to use Poland as a trojan (sic) horse to spread Catholic family values through the structures of the European Union in Brussels.’
‘…that Poland will hold the line at the EU on “life and family” issues that arise…’
‘The Holy See will continue to seek to play a role in the Middle East peace process while denying this intention.’
‘…that Pope Benedict XVI's invitation to Anglican opponents of female priests to convert en masse to Catholicism was so inflammatory that it might lead to discrimination and even violence against Catholics in Britain…’
‘…Williams was given little warning.’
‘“Benedict XVI…had put Williams in an impossible situation.”’
‘“If Williams reacted more forcefully, he would destroy decades of work on ecumenical dialogue; by not reacting more harshly, he has lost support among angry Anglicans."’
‘…the decision had shifted the goal of the Catholic-Anglican ecumenical dialogue "from true unity to mere co-operation"…’
‘…some Vatican officials believed the pope (sic) had been wrong not to consult the archbishop (sic) before making the announcement.’
‘"The Vatican decision seems to have been aimed primarily at Anglicans in the US and Australia, with little thought given to how it would affect the centre of Anglicanism, England, or the archbishop (sic) of Canterbury…”’
‘Anglican-Vatican relations were facing their worst crisis in 150 years as a result of the pope's (sic) decision.’
‘“The crisis is worrisome for England's small, mostly Irish-origin, Catholic minority. There is still latent anti-Catholicism in some parts of England and it may not take much to set it off." He warned: "The outcome could be discrimination or in isolated cases, even violence, against this minority."’
‘US diplomats wonder "whether the damage to inter-Christian relations was worth it – especially since the number of disaffected Anglicans that will convert is likely to be a trickle rather than a wave".’
And that the relationship between Pope Benbedict XVI and the Archbishop of Canterbury is ‘at times awkward’.
You don’t say.
None of this is new (except perhaps the hyperbolic threat of the Ordinariate leading to violence): much of it is common knowledge, and that which has not previously been reported may be known by anyone with a little intelligence and an ounce of discernment.
But there is one revelation which irks ever so slightly:
‘The Vatican refused to allow its officials to testify before an Irish commission investigating abuse of children by priests and was angered when they were summoned from Rome.’
The response was one of self-interest and self-preservation: the Vatican used its sovereign status in response to the Irish child abuse investigation:
‘The Vatican believes the Irish government failed to respect and protect Vatican sovereignty during the investigations.’
‘The Murphy Commission's requests offended many in the Vatican, the Holy See's Assessor Peter Wells (protect strictly) told DCM, because they saw them as an affront to Vatican sovereignty. Vatican officials were also angered that the Government of Ireland did not step in to direct the Murphy Commission to follow standard procedures in communications with Vatican City. Adding insult to injury, Vatican officials also believed some Irish opposition politicians were making political hay with the situation by calling publicly on the government to demand that the Vatican reply. Ultimately, Vatican Secretary of State (Prime Minister equivalent) Bertone wrote to the Irish Embassy that requests related to the investigation must come through diplomatic channels via letters rogatory.’
‘The Irish Embassy to the Holy See offered to facilitate better communications between the Irish commission and the Holy See, but neither party took any further action.’
‘Regarding the request for the Nuncio to testify, Keleher said the GOI understood that foreign ambassadors are not required or expected to appear before national commissions. Nevertheless, Keleher thought the Nuncio in Ireland made things worse by simply ignoring the requests.’
As these investigations continue all over the world and the disturbing reports emerge detailing many thousands of cases of child molestation and rape and evidencing a chronic and systematic cover-up, one must hope that the Holy See has learned a little humility and realises that assertions of diplomatic immunity and national sovereignty are not remotely appropriate responses to the crisis.
And that they owe the Archbishop of Canterbury and Her Majesty the Queen an apology.