A new review of the work of the group that investigated clerical sexual abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin charges that priests did not get even-handed treatment.
After 30 years, five constitutional referendums and multiple headline-grabbing cases, Ireland’s blanket ban on abortion remains one of the most restrictive in the world, admired and abhorred by activists on alternate sides of the issue.
But after Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny introduced in April legislation to activate a latent 1992 Supreme Court ruling that authorized termination in cases where a woman’s life is at risk, 2013 could prove a tipping point in the decades-long standoff.
The head of the Catholic church's child safeguarding watchdog said he is encouraged by the latest audits of the handling of abuse allegations by dioceses and a religious congregation.
Ian Elliott, head of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, said the seven audits, published Wednesday, show "clear evidence of steady progress in developing robust safeguarding structures" in the church.
The Irish cannot afford to be complacent about violence, even though they have lived with a peace agreement for 15 years, said Ireland's most senior Catholic leader.
"Just as they can contribute to the sources of conflict, issues of social and economic justice constitute an integral element of the work of peace," said Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, president of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference.
While some corners have praised the pope for his simple gestures, reformers question whether he will address issues that have cost the church "a generation of Catholics."
Ruth Bowie was in the throes of grief when she found out she would never know her unborn child. At the 12-week mark, a pregnancy scan showed the baby had anencephaly, a fatal condition in which a portion of the brain and skull never form.
Bowie, 34, a pediatric nurse, knew the implications of the birth defect even before the doctor explained. But the life-changing news didn't stop there.
"The doctors said we will continue to look after you, or else you can choose to travel," she recalled.
Archbishop Charles Brown, apostolic nuncio to Ireland, was chosen to restore trust in Irish leadership after decades of clerical scandals and cover-ups.
An estimated 250 protesters demonstrated Sunday evening in Dublin at a vigil outside the papal nunciature in support of the restoration to ministry of Irish Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery.
The head of the Redemptorist fathers said he regrets that Fr. Tony Flannery broke his silence to reveal that the Vatican threatened him with removal from his congregation.
The president of the Irish bishops' conference urged Catholics to make their views on abortion clear to politicians as the government considers legalizing abortion in limited circumstances.
In his Christmas message, Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, reiterated the church's opposition to such legislation.