In what is perhaps an unprecedented event, the Prime Minister of Ireland has launched a visceral attack on the Catholic Church for its failure to prosecute clergymen suspected of sex abuse.

Speaking in Parliament in Dublin, Enda Kenny said he was outraged by the recently released Cloyne Report which indicated how allegations of such abuse by priests in Cork were covered up by the church.

For the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades ago, he said.

And in doing so, the Cloyne report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism, the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.”

The Cloyne Report was the fourth such document in the last six years that detailed the church’s attempts to cover-up sexual abuse by priests.

He noted that change in the church was urgent and he warned that the relationship between the Republic of Ireland – a long-time bastion of the Catholic Church – and the Vatican would never be the same again.

The rape and torture of children were downplayed or 'managed' to uphold instead the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and 'reputation', Kenny said.

The revelations of the Cloyne Report have brought the government, Irish Catholics and the Vatican to an unprecedented juncture.