Vatican is stunned by Irish decision to shut its embassy to Holy See

November 4, 2011

(Dark rainclouds gather over the Vatican's Saint Peter's Basilica, in Rome December 12, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Helgren)

Catholic Ireland’s stunning decision to close its embassy to the Vatican is a huge blow to the Holy See’s prestige and may be followed by other countries which feel the missions are too expensive, diplomatic sources said on Friday.

The closure brought relations between Ireland and the Vatican, once ironclad allies, to an all-time low following the row earlier this year over the Irish Church’s handling of sex abuse cases and accusations that the Vatican had encouraged secrecy.

Ireland will now be the only major country of ancient Catholic tradition without an embassy in the Vatican. “This is really bad for the Vatican because Ireland is the first big Catholic country to do this and because of what Catholicism means in Irish history,” said a Vatican diplomatic source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

He said Ireland informed the Vatican shortly before the announcement was made on Thursday night. Dublin’s foreign ministry said the embassy was being closed because “it yields no economic return” and that relations would be continued with an ambassador in Dublin.

The source said the Vatican was “extremely irritated” by the wording equating diplomatic missions with economic return, particularly as the Vatican sees its diplomatic role as promoting human values. Diplomats said the Irish move might sway others to follow suit to save money because double diplomatic presences in Rome are expensive.

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Hoorah for Ireland. After all it has gone through, it is finally standing up to the corrupt male dominated church that is completely out of touch with the modern world. If the Vatican was run like a modern government – a democracy with checks and balances – the abuses that went on for decades (perhaps centuries) would have been flushed out and stopped long ago.

Instead the Church relied on its political power in Ireland to silence critics and let the abuse continue. “promoting human value” seems to have been ignored in order to maintain political power. The Pope should take lessons from the Arab Spring and the fall of Gaddaffi. In today’s world where access to information can’t be kept behind the curia’s closed doors, more and more the Church’s lost “human values” will be seen.

All I can say is that my mother has gone to our local cathedral for Sunday mass over 70 years, and now that she is over 90 and can’t drive the parish can’t even provide transportation for her to receive the sacrament. What happened to the spirit of Vatican II? Isn’t the clergy suppose to be the servants of the people?

Posted by Acetracy | Report as abusive

First, Christ did not appoint Peter as the First President of the Catholic Church. Second, I’m sure that if you were to call your parish church and as for Holy Communion to be brought to you 90 year old mother I’m sure a Minister of the Communion would be most happy to do so.

Posted by colombo | Report as abusive

The beginning of the end for the Catholic church’s influence?

Posted by HAL.9000 | Report as abusive