In a discovery that is being called “the smoking gun,” Irish media is reporting that they have a 1997 letter from the Vatican warning Ireland’s Catholic bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police. This was from 1997 — less then 13 years ago in the midst of the scandal. This occurred during the tenure of Pope John Paul II.
The letter appears to contradict denials from Vatican officials that they ever discouraged reporting child abuse to the police.
The letter is from the late Archbishop Luciano Storero, who served as Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland (his top diplomat to that country). Storero warns that the policy of Irish bishops to report such crimes “gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and canonical nature.” He reminds them that both allegations and punishment must be handled within the church and that this canon “must be meticulously followed.”