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 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 the Irish fact-finding 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 seriousness."
The US ambassador to the Holy See also condemned the leaks and said the Vatican and America cooperate in promoting universal values.