Pressure was mounting tonight for the resignation of senior clerics who shielded paedophile priests to protect the reputation of the Catholic Church.
Politicians and churchmen said clergy named and shamed in a sickening report on child sex abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese should be removed from their positions.
The inquiry revealed three decades of horrific abuse was hidden because the Catholic hierarchy, obsessed with secrecy, was granted Garda immunity.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said it was another appalling litany of shame.
“Apologies here are not good enough,” he said.
“This is a case where men protected guilty men. This is a case of where people in authority, leadership, knew this was going on.
“This is a case of where this wasn’t confined to the 1950s. It went on to the 1990s.
“People who were in positions who are still in positions, they should not continue in those positions.”
The Murphy report revealed that the primary loyalty of bishops and archbishops, who oversaw the movement of abusive priests from parish to parish, was to the Church.
Three archbishops -John Charles McQuaid, Dermot Ryan and Kevin McNamara, who are dead – never revealed the secret Church files.
Cardinal Desmond Connell, who held the post between 1988 and 2004, only handed over information to gardaí on about half of suspected abusers under pressure in 1995.
Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray, retired Bishops Dermot O’Mahony and Laurence Forristal, Bishop James Kavanagh, who is dead, and disgraced Bishop Brendan Comiskey – a reformed alcoholic who failed to control paedophile priests when in charge of the Ferns Diocese – also all knew about child abuse for many years.
Deputy head of the Dublin Archdiocese, Bishop Eamonn Walsh, insisted that clergy named in the devastating probe should not stay in their jobs.
“I would be the first to say that anyone, including myself, if I were to be found not up to the job of protecting children, then that person should go,” said the former priest secretary to disgraced Archbishop McNamara and Cardinal Connell.
“If people feel that their bishop, their senior person, or whoever it is, is not able to protect children properly then that person ought not to be in the job.”
Bishop Walsh said the Vatican should also apologise for not co-operating with the inquiry.
The Commission revealed it wrote to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome in September 2006 and the Dublin-based Papal Nuncio in February 2007 for any information relating to the inquiry, but received no reply.
The CDF instead contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs stating the Commission “had not gone through appropriate diplomatic channels”.
It is understood requests made to the governance of the Vatican must pass through diplomatic channels, in this case the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin and the Irish Embassy to the Holy See in Rome.