The Vatican recalled its Papal Nuncio to Ireland Monday in the wake of the publication of a government inquiry into child sex abuse by clergy in Ireland.
The decision also follows strong words by Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny last week criticizing the Holy See for undermining efforts to tackle clerical child abuse in Ireland.
In a statement Monday, the Vatican said Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, the Pope's representative in Ireland, was recalled for consultations at the Holy See, Vatican Radio reports.
Its statement cited the recent publication of a major inquiry into clerical sex abuse in the diocese of Cloyne (the Cloyne Report) in Co Cork and "in particular, the reactions that have followed".
The inquiry did not focus on whether the alleged abuse actually occurred, but investigated how complaints were handled and whether there were grounds for concern over the allegations.
The Cloyne Report found that the Catholic Church's standards for child protection fell short of those expected in child abuse cases and accused the church of undermining efforts to investigate allegations of abuse in that diocese. Its release prompted a number of Irish politicians to call for the government to expel the Papal Nuncio.
The report investigated allegations made against 19 clerics in Cloyne between 1996 and 2009, RTÉ reports.
Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said the report failed to acknowledge "what the Holy See has actually done over the years to help effectively address the problem [of abuse]", The Journal reports.
Enda Kenny said Wednesday that the Catholic Church had downplayed "the rape and torture of children" to uphold the institution's power and primacy.
Kenny says he has received thousands of messages of support, including from Catholic priests, since making his speech in the Irish parliament Wednesday.