Premier: Embassy closure, abuse scandal not related

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny rejected claims Friday that the government’s decision to close its embassy in the Vatican had anything to do with recent child abuse scandals involving the Catholic Church.

Kenny said he had accepted the Vatican’s expressions of “abject sorrow about what happened” in Ireland.

But the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland said he was “profoundly disappointed” at the Irish government’s decision to close its embassy in the Vatican, announced late Thursday.

“This decision seems to show little regard for the … historic ties between the Irish people and the Holy See over many centuries,” said Cardinal Sean Brady.

Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Eamon Gilmore, said the decision followed a review of overseas missions carried out by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Gilmore said that the government was obliged to implement cuts to meet targets set out in the European Union/International Monetary Fund rescue program.

He said the closure of embassies in the Vatican, Iran and a representative office in East Timor would save about $1.72 million a year.


Priest brings sexism fight to meeting of reform group

In his 39 years as a Catholic priest, the Rev. Roy Bourgeois has been used to speaking his conscience on issues of justice, most notably against repressive regimes in Latin America and the U.S. foreign policy that has supported them.

In recent years, Bourgeois, 72, has turned his attention to the Catholic Church’s ban on women’s ordination, calling it an affront to God.

Bourgeois, who has been threatened by the Vatican with excommunication and faces dismissal from his religious order for refusing to recant his views, will speak on sexism in the church this weekend at the annual gathering of the Catholic reform group Call to Action.

“We profess that God created women and men of equal worth and dignity,” said Bourgeois, a Louisiana native who likens the ban to the racism in the Deep South of his youth, where black Catholics sat in the last five pews of his church.

— From news service reports