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WikiLeaks: Sex Abuse Panel "Offended" Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI uses a handkerchief during a canonization ceremony at the Vatican Oct. 11, 2009. AP Photo

Vatican officials were angry when their fellow priests were summoned from Rome to testify before an Irish commission investigating allegations of priests abusing children.

In a cable to Washington, U.S. diplomats wrote that requests from the commission to the church "offended many in the Vatican," the Guardian newspaper of London reported Friday evening.

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The disclosure comes from the trove of secret State Department cables released to a number of news outlets by the document-dumping website WikiLeaks.

Without much cooperation from the Vatican, the commission eventually concluded some bishops attempted to cover up incidents of abuse. Between 1975 and 2004, 320 people complained of child sexual abuse in the Dublin archdiocese, according to the commission's report.

In the cable about the controversy, U.S. diplomats wrote that Vatican officials felt that Irish opposition politicians wanted to make political gains from the investigation, the Guardian reported. Vatican officials felt that the Irish government "failed to respect and protect Vatican sovereignty during the investigations," the cable says.

While the Irish government eventually granted Vatican officials immunity from testifying, a deputy to Noel Fahey, the Irish ambassador to the Holy See, felt that ignoring the commission only made things worse for the Vatican, the Guardian reported.

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