Irish summon Vatican diplomat over abuse cover-up

July 14, 2011 - 6:59 AM

DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland's government has summoned the Vatican's ambassador after an expert report found that Rome secretly discouraged Irish bishops from reporting pedophile priests to police.

Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore is meeting Pope Benedict XVI's diplomat, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, a day after investigators found that the Vatican in 1997 poured cold water over the Irish church's new child-protection rules.

Before Thursday's meeting, Justice Minister Alan Shatter called Vatican interference in Ireland's child-protection efforts unacceptable.

Ireland's latest investigation into Catholic abuse cover-ups highlighted the chilling effect of a 1997 letter from the Vatican to Ireland's bishops criticizing their child-protection policy. The AP published that letter in January.