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The blogosphere has erupted over whether this newly revealed 1997 letter from a senior Vatican official to Irish bishops constitutes a “smoking gun,” because it expresses concerns about a proposed mandatory reporting policy — now implemented — of abuse cases to secular authorities.

On the one hand, it sure doesn’t look good — at the very least, it’s “certainly a public relations embarassment,” according to National Catholic Reporter’s John L. Allen Jr.. On the other hand, as Allen and GetReligion’s analysis explain, it’s not really anything new or surprising, either.

Some links:

Meanwhile, clergy abuse victim advocates have been stepping up their efforts, with attorney Mitchell Garabedeian releasing a list of accused abusers in the Boston Archdiocese and attorney Jeff Anderson opening a European branch of his law firm to aid in going after accused abusers in Ireland and elsewhere.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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