Vatican rejects Irish criticism over sex abuse

September 3, 2011 - 6:05 AM

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican has vigorously rejected accusations it sabotaged efforts by Irish bishops to report priests who sexually abused children to police.

The Vatican issued a lengthy response Saturday to the Irish government following Prime Minister Enda Kenny's unprecedented July 20 denunciation of the Vatican's handling of abuse.

The Vatican said Kenny's claims, which followed the publication of a report into the diocese of Cloyne, were "unfounded" and based on an incorrect reading of a 1997 Vatican letter expressing "serious reservations" about the Irish bishops' 1996 policy requiring bishops to report abusers to police.

The Vatican also rejected accusations it diminished the policy's seriousness, saying the bishops themselves never sought to make it binding.