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Wikileaks Cable Shows Pope Benedict XVI Impeded Sexual Abuse Investigation

Michael Santo's picture

One of the hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables exposed by the latest Wikileaks release shows that Pope Benedict XVI impeded the investigation of Irish officials into the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal. The report came via the Guardian, who noted that the US embassy cable was sent in February 2010.

The fact that the Vatican used its diplomatic immunity status as a city state to prevent the 2009 Murphy Commission from accessing clergy is not new news. The revelations given by the cables, however, show information about the Vatican's anger at what the Holy See saw as a lack of respect.

According to cables highlighted by the Guardian, the 2009 Murphy commission's requests for information "offended many in the Vatican." Additionally, one cable said that the Vatican felt that the Irish government had "failed to respect and protect Vatican sovereignty during the investigations."

Despite the Vatican's lack of cooperation, the Murphy Commission eventually issued the Murphy Report. The report substantiated claims of many of the victims. It also concluded that some in the Church had tried to cover up the abuse.

The cable, sent on Friday, February 26, 2010 stated:

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 Vatican did not address the leaked cable directly on Saturday. Instead, it said only the leaks were a matter of "extreme seriousness."

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