Vatican takes more time to mull Irish sex abuse

June 6, 2011 - 9:58 AM

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is taking several more months before making its recommendations on renewing the Catholic Church in Ireland following devastating revelations of clerical sex abuse and coverup.

The Vatican issued preliminary findings of its investigation into Irish dioceses, seminaries and religious orders, saying only that no further visits were warranted for dioceses and seminaries but that follow-up visits were necessary at some religious communities.

The Vatican said Monday it would come ahead with recommendations for the Irish church "in the coming months" and that a full report would be published in early 2012.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has spoken out recently, criticizing the Vatican's slow pace, and Monday's statement was unlikely to satisfy those expecting more tangible results after Vatican investigators turned in their reports in April.

Pope Benedict XVI ordered the investigation in March 2010 following revelations in Irish government-ordered investigations of chronic clerical child abuse and decades of cover-ups by church authorities.

The scandals have caused exceptional trauma in Ireland, a once-devoutly Catholic nation. An Irish government collapsed in 1994 amid arguments over its failure to extradite a pedophile priest to Northern Ireland. Since 2002, a government-organized compensation board has paid out more than euro800 million ($983 million) to 13,000 people abused in Ireland's church-run homes for children.

The Vatican's investigation in Ireland dealt with the handling of cases of abuse and providing assistance to victims. The nine Vatican-appointed investigators also looked at current procedures to prevent abuse and sought ways to improve them.

Martin said he was becoming "increasingly impatient" at the Vatican's pace of the investigation process, saying the longer the delay in releasing the results of the probe "the greater the danger of false expectations and the greater the encouragement to those who prefer immobilism to reform."

Martin has been the strongest voice in the Irish hierarchy demanding accountability and reform in the Irish church.