VATICAN CITY — Newly released US diplomatic cables indicate that the Vatican felt "offended" that Ireland failed to respect Holy See "sovereignty" by asking high-ranking churchmen to answer questions from an Irish government commission probing decades of sex abuse of minors by clergy.
That the Holy See used its diplomatic immunity status as a tiny-city state to try to thwart Ireland's government-led probe has long been known. But the WikiLeaks cables, published by Britain's The Guardian newspaper on Saturday, contain delicate, behind-the-scenes diplomatic assessments of the highly charged situation.
The Vatican press office declined to comment on the content of the cables Saturday, but decried the leaks as a matter of "extreme gravity."
According to the deputy to the Irish ambassador to the Holy See, the Irish government gave in to Vatican pressure and allowed the church officials to avoid answering questions from the inquiry panel, according to one of the cables from a US diplomat.