Ireland has been abuzz with news in the last few weeks. First, after sharply denouncing the Vatican’s response to clergy sexual abuse in Ireland, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is now calling on the Vatican for money. In support of a compensation bill that would create a fund to compensate victims of child sexual abuse, many of whom were abused in Catholic schools or homes, Kenny is asking the Vatican to contribute close to $2 billion.
Kenny’s recent call for funds, and certainly his earlier criticism of the Vatican, was executed largely in response to the Cloyne Report. The report, out of the Irish Diocese of Cloyne, scrutinized Church officials’ response to reports of sexual abuse in the Diocese. The Cloyne report is noteworthy for a number of reasons. For one, its similarities to the Philadelphia Grand Jury report suggest that dioceses worldwide continue to operate under systems of corruption and concealment. In chapter three of the Cloyne report, Irish civil judge Yvonne Murphy, analyzes the structure of the Diocese of Cloyne. Here Judge Murphy highlights the management structure of the Diocese, the roles of its leaders, and the Diocese’s relationship with the Pope. This is significant because it could be used in litigation as a clear and now vetted outline of the Diocese’s structure.
Lastly, Ireland has been the focus of recent media attention for the Pope’s decision to remove its ambassador to Ireland after Kenny’s public criticisms of the Vatican. Following this removal, and in response to Kenny’s criticisms, the Pope is apparently planning drastic changes for the Catholic Church in Ireland. There is talk of restructuring the hierarchy, reducing the number of dioceses, and a new level of “careful scrutiny” for new bishops. Unfortunately these types of policy changes are often nothing more than words without any concrete action to protect children. Many Irish citizens are fed up with Vatican’s structure and hierarchy and are increasingly ready for change.