Ireland loves its heroes, even those like Michael Collins who met his end at the hands of fellow Irishmen. Collins was never more popular than he was at his funeral. The response was overwhelming, just like the response last week to the comments of Ireland’s Taoiseach, or Prime Minister. Using words like dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and narcissism, Enda Kenny was not talking about the opposition party but instead the culture of the Vatican which he accused of downplaying and managing reports of the rape and torture of children in order to uphold its own power and reputation, a reputation that is already tarnished.
The Prime Minister’s measured outrage came in response to yet another report accusing some Irish priest of abuse and the now inevitable cover-ups, this time in County Cork. Some of these cases are of recent vintage, not allegations from decades ago.
The latest report has driven an even bigger wedge between Irish Catholics and The Vatican, something that would have seemed impossible even a generation ago. There have been previous reports, but this one, according to the Prime Minister, is a dagger “because for the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic.” In a democracy such behavior is an indictable offense.