ROME - The Vatican rejected on Saturday accusations from the Irish parliament that it had sought to cover up child sex abuse by its priests and undermine child protection laws.
In its first formal response to the rebuke by the Irish parliament, the Vatican said it was "sorry and ashamed" for the sexual abuse of children by priests but added that the accusations were "unfounded".
"In this regard, the Holy See wishes to make it quite clear that it in no way hampered or sought to interfere in any inquiry into cases of child sex abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne," the Vatican said in a statement. "Furthermore, at no stage did the Holy See seek to interfere with Irish civil law or impede the civil authority in the exercise of its duties."
In July, the Irish parliament passed a motion deploring the Holy See for "undermining child protection frameworks" after a letter to Irish bishops appeared to diminish Irish guidelines on reporting sex abuse by referring to them as "study guidelines".