Vatican Reassigns Ireland Envoy to Czech Republic

Posted July 29th, 2011 at 11:35 am (UTC-5)
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A papal diplomat at the center of a bitter confrontation between Ireland and the Vatican has been transferred to the Czech Republic.

Pope Benedict recalled Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza from Dublin earlier this week following the Irish parliament's strong criticism of the Roman Catholic Church for its role in covering up child sex abuse. Leanza will become the new Vatican envoy to Prague.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny denounced the church last week, accusing its hierarchy of dysfunction and elitism, and putting the reputation of the church ahead of child rape victims.

The remarks to lawmakers followed the publication of a government-sponsored report issued earlier this month condemning the church for its response to allegations of clerical sexual abuse of children.

Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore summoned Leanza two weeks ago to demand an official explanation from the Vatican. The Vatican has said it will issue a response at the “opportune time” but has not done so yet.

Catholics in Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium have demanded church accountability for the abuses, which began coming to light eight years ago in the United States and later became apparent in Europe.

Victims have accused the church hierarchy of failing for decades to punish errant priests.