This is seriously disturbing news.
According to a 1997 letter, the Vatican warned Catholic bishops in Ireland NOT to report suspected cases of child abuse to police.
The letter was "obtained by Irish broadcasters RTE and provided to The Associated Press." We're sure the Vatican is overjoyed to hear that AP is in possession of such a document.
Pope John Paul II's Ireland diplomat Archbishop Luciano Storero signed the letter himself, and warned Irish bishops that their policy of "making the reporting of suspected crimes mandatory 'gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and canonical nature.' "
Yikes! Pret-ty uncomfortable timing for this to come out, especially now that Pope John Paul II is supposed to be on his way to Sainthood.
Here's what director of the Irish chapter of Amnesty International Colm O'Gorman had to say about the letter:
"The letter is of huge international significance, because it shows that the Vatican's intention is to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities. And if that instruction applied here, it applied everywhere."
Thus far, the Vatican has declined to comment, and we can't blame them. We're not sure WHAT they'll say to bounce back from this!
Boo, Vatican! This is BEYOND disappointing.