Vatican City: The Vatican, reeling from
unprecedented criticism over its handling of sexual abuse
cases in Ireland, took the unusual step today of publishing
its internal files about a priest accused of molesting
youngsters in Ireland and the US.
The files published on the website of Vatican Radio are
part of the documentation the Holy See plans to turn over to
US lawyers representing a man who says he was abused by the
late Rev Andrew Ronan.
The man, known in court papers as John V Doe, is seeking
to hold the Vatican liable for the abuse. A federal judge in
Portland, Oregon ordered the Vatican to respond to certain
requests for information from Doe`s lawyers by Friday, the
first time the Holy See has been forced to turn over
documentation in a sex abuse case.
The documentation includes the 1966 case file with Ronan`s
request to be laicised, or removed from the clerical state,
after his superiors learned of accusations that he had
molested minors in Ireland.
The Vatican today said that the documentation culled from
the Vatican`s internal personnel files proved that it had only
learned of the accusations against Ronan in 1966, after the
abuse against Doe occurred.
The Vatican`s decision to publish a selection of the
discovery documentation on its website comes amid
unprecedented criticism of its handling of sex abuse cases in
Ireland, and as it still seeks to recover from the fallout
over the abuse scandal that erupted last year.
Thousands of people in Europe and elsewhere reported they
were raped and molested by priests as children while bishops
covered up the crimes and the Vatican turned a blind eye.
Last month, an independent report into the Irish diocese
of Cloyne accused the Vatican of sabotaging efforts by Irish
Catholic bishops to report clerical sex abuse cases to police.
The accusations prompted Irish lawmakers to make an
unprecedented denunciation of the Holy See`s influence in the
predominantly Catholic country, with heated words in
particular from Prime Minister Enda Kenny.