Ireland Closes Embassy to the Holy See

DUBLIN (CNS) ­– Ireland will close its Embassy to the Holy See in what has been described by officials as a cost-saving measure.

Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore said the move is not a result of a recent dispute between Ireland and the Vatican, which led Italian Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, papal nuncio to Ireland, to be temporarily called back to the Vatican in late July and later reassigned to the Czech Republic.

The Vatican had recalled Archbishop Leanza citing “certain extreme reactions” from politicians after the Vatican was criticized in a report regarding the mishandling of clerical abuse in the Irish Diocese of Cloyne.

In a statement issued late Nov. 3, the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, downplayed the Irish government’s decision.

“The Holy See takes note of the decision of Ireland to close its embassy in Rome,” Father Lombardi said. “Naturally, every state that has diplomatic relations with the Holy See is free to decide … whether to have an ambassador to the Holy See who is resident in Rome or resident in another country. What is important is diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the states, and this is not in question with Ireland.”