Ireland has decided to close its embassy to the Holy See, causing many to fear that countries around the world saddled with debt and struggling to pay their government employees may follow suit.
A Vatican diplomatic source has said, “This is really bad to the Vatican because Ireland is the first big Catholic country to do this and because of what Catholicism means in Irish history,” according to AP.
The country decided to close down its embassy due to the economic ramifications of maintaining an embassy at the Holy See. Officials from the country argue that the embassy does not bring economic returns but is costly to maintain.
The economically suffering country also determined that it would close embassy doors in Iran as well.
“No area of government expenditure can be immune from the need to implement savings,” said the Irish government.
Governing authorities added, “Today’s decision follows a review of overseas missions which gave particular attention to the economic return of bilateral missions.”
Ireland and the Vatican have been at odds in recent months over criticism stemming from the way that the Vatican has handled cases of child sex abuse in Ireland.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny spoke against the Vatican following an investigation into the abuses of the diocese at Cloyne.
Kenny said that the Cloyne investigation illustrated that the Vatican had attempted to hinder inquiries into child abuse and added that the actions on behalf of the Vatican displayed the “elitism” that continues to dominate the culture of the Vatican.
Ireland pressed that the move to close its embassy at the Holy See had nothing to do with the Cloyne report, however, Vatican Cardinal Sean Brady released a statement on the news expressing disappointment in Ireland’s decision.
Brady said, “This decision seems to show little regard for the important role played by the Holy See in international relations and of the historic ties between the Irish people and the Holy See over many centuries.”