“The rape and torture of children were downplayed or ‘managed’ to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and ‘reputation’. Far from listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal with St Benedict’s “ear of the heart” . . . the Vatican’s reaction was to parse and analyse it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer. . . . This calculated, withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded. The revelations of the Cloyne report have brought the Government, Irish Catholics and the Vatican to an unprecedented juncture…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 . . . as little as three years ago, not three decades ago. And in doing so, the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism . . . the narcissism . . . that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day…This is not Rome. This is the Republic of Ireland 2011, a republic of laws.”
I find myself getting quite emotional reading Enda’s speech, not because I want to bash the church, which I genuinely don’t, but because I never thought I’d see a day when an Irish Taoiseach would put republican values ahead of Rome.
Neither Bertie Ahern nor Brian Cowen did this. Enda did, and whatever else Enda does in his term of office, he should be thanked, and remembered, for this.