Reactions to the Cloyne Report

By Dennis Coday
National Catholic Reporter
July 14, 2011

We have posted two news stories about the Cloyne Report. See Foreign minister summons nuncio, seeks response to Irish abuse report and Irish report reveals abuse, bishop's mismanagement. Here's one reaction to it.

Statement by Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director,

The government report on the recent handling of clergy sex abuse cases in the Cloyne diocese in Ireland is eerily similar to the grand jury report released earlier this year by the district attorney of Philadelphia. Like Philadelphia archdiocesan officials, Catholic church leaders in the Cloyne diocese continue to show a brazen disregard for both civil law and the church's own internal policies.

The Cloyne report is disheartening confirmation that even today, despite the Church's knowledge of the profound anguish of thousands of victims, its reform policies are public relations ploys, not child protection programs.

Also disturbingly familiar is today's account of the Vatican's deliberate weakening of the mandatory reporting policy that the Cloyne diocese instituted in 1996. The Vatican similarly undermined the US bishops' attempt in 2002 to mandate reporting of all allegations. The Essential Norms that were promulgated as binding canon law for US dioceses in 2006 omitted the reporting requirement in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, replacing it with the far less stringent provision to merely "comply with all applicable civil laws."

[See link below. Compare the Charter's Article 4 (pdf pg. 16) to Essential Norm 11 (pdf pg. 34). The Charter, first drafted by US bishops in 2002, is merely a set of guidelines; the Norms were developed subsequently by Vatican officials and are canon law for US dioceses:


In Philadelphia this past February, the public prosecutor indicted Monsignor William Lynn, the official directly in charge of responding to allegations (Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan's counterpart), on two counts of child endangerment. That case is moving forward in criminal court.

The Philadelphia precedent raises the question: How many second chances will Irish church officials get before they too are criminally charged for enabling the molestation of children?


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