Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today In The News...

Just when you think things can't get any worse, a new front is opening on the assault on the Church, this time courtesy of the retired Bishop of Derry, Dr Edward Daly.  In his new book he advocates for a change to the rule of celibacy in the Church.  We'll see where that goes.  Given what we are dealing with at the moment, this is most unhelpful.

I was watching last night's Frontline programme on RTE 1, hosted by Pat Kenny.  The topic was the Seal of the Confessional, and it was a most desperate production.  It should really be called "Flatline" because the atmosphere was deadening.  The usual suspects were there advocating that the Church should disregard the Seal: Minister Frances Fitzgerald was leading the attack, with Gina Menzies, Andrew Madden and a guy called Brendan with rearguard action.  On the other side were notables such as Fr Vincent Twomey, David Quinn and Rosemary Swords, leader of the Elijah Fellowship Community in Dublin, whose intervention was powerful and disarming.   Some legal voices were also heard and they pointed out that any legislation which sought to compel priests to reveal confessions would be unconstitutional and thrown out of court.  So at least it was good for the Minister to hear that fact.

Meanwhile another blow has been dished out to Enda Kenny by former Taoiseach Brian Cowen.  He has said that the Vatican was trying to assist the government in its investigations, but the commission established by the government used the wrong channels.  When told what channels to use the commission decided not to use them, and then accused the Vatican of refusing to cooperate.  It seems to me that there may have been another agenda at work here, and perhaps, it seems to me, an opportunity was "created" to show the Vatican in a negative light so as to embellish the report's critique of Catholicism.

In other news, it seems David Norris is thinking of getting himself back into the race for the park - to become the next President of Ireland.  It seems the people of Ireland want him to resume his campaign.  Ironic given recent events: another indication that there is a most unsavoury double standard at work in Ireland today.


  1. Fieri Potest Deterius
    It could be worse!

  2. "It could be worse!"

    I fear things will get worse before they'll get better.

    We should all offer up our frustrations, anger, trials and disappointments, for the next year to the renewal of the faith in Ireland. Our bishops are incompetent knaves, and are of limited potential, but the Holy Spirit can still move mountains.

    Our opposition is formidable and the challenge is daunting, but I suspect things will look very different 20 years from now. (Remember the world can change very rapidly and often when we least expect it --- who expected the recession 10 years ago, when the now bankrupt property developers were buying up right left and centre?)

  3. Fr

    While I agree with your observation on RTE's show.I must disagree with your observations of Bishop Edward Daly.I am confused some weeks ago you asked for prayers for bishops. well Edawrd daly has spoken. i am sure no one has read his book yet,but we are all jumping on the band wagon to condem him.I refer you to listen back to the talkback programmne on Radio bbc Ulster today 13/9 where a Fr Pat attacked him.We are misxing two items into one here Edward daly led his flock through the most terrible time our country went through and was respected on all sides he did not shoot from the hip and when he did open his mouth people sat up and listened even hard line provos.Now I am not sure yet of his record on child abuse with in derry as we have not had an investigation but when and if it comes I will judge him on that score.

    so to sum up I am sure all your readers and obseversors will go out buy the book read it and then ring the man and asked him directly.

  4. Dunno about anyone else, but I'm getting sick hearing these professional victims whining about everything.

    I know people suffered, but for the love of God and all of creation, there's a time for letting go and there is a time for mercy and forgiveness.

  5. One other thing - who's going to pay for these married priests, their kept wives, nice house, two cars, plus a university education for each of their five kids? Oh, and a pedigree dog for the children. Plus foreign holidays every year. We've not thought this through, have we?

  6. What The Frontline showed was how little the Minister understood the meaning and effect of the proposed law. There are reasons why laws for the mandatory reporting of suspected crimes are few and normally confined to very special and narrow circumstances. The Ministers are stupidly acting as if they've come up with an original and brilliant idea which will transform the safety of children (yes, I know you forgot that that was what the proposed law aims to achieve!). The truth as reason will tell the average person is that such an all-embracing positive duty involves many situations such as the sacrament of confession, where there is likely to be no benefit in practice (confession was not a problem to begin with, and the proposal is in any case unenforceable), rather a likelihood of injury to fundamental rights and relationships, recognised by all civilisations, and all States but the most totalitarian of regimes, as being not only to the good of the individual but vital to society's well-being (the common good). The rights involved such as freedom of religion and conscience are of course constitutionally recognised and guaranteed and could only be interfered with if a greater constitutional right could be shown to be otherwise threatened, which is clearly not the case in the instant scenario. The connection between a priest being compelled to report a person who had confessed child sexual abuse to the police and the probable prevention of an act of sexual abuse against a child is clearly very weak (and indeed an argument can be made that unimpeded confession could contribute to a lesser number of such crimes (and sins) being committed. All the lawyers on the show were in agreement on the case for real benefit and enforceability not having been made out re interference with confession, even the retired SC judge, Ms Justice Catherine McGuinness whose record shows her to be rather unsympathetic to the natural law philosophy upon which our Constitution is (still) founded and a proponent of a more positivist concept of certain human rights (which would concede more power to the State to determine them from time to time). And as for the "Catholic" theologian, Ms Menzies and the "Catholic" priest, Fr Iggy O'Donovan (I hardly recognised him in the Roman collar!) - well ..... the less said about these great defenders of the faith the better! Lynda

  7. I don't think it's fair to characterise the views expressed by Bishop Daly as an assault on the Church. He's expressing an opinion, based on years of experience, about a discipline of the Church. It's not dogmatic teaching. You may disagree - that's fine, do so - but Bishop Daly's earned the right to be able to express an opinion. When you look at the other bishops, what they've done, what they do - I think of the abuse he took taking on the IRA at funerals. And now he's working as a full time chaplain in retirement. Treat him with some respect.

  8. Actually, Anonymous, Father said that a new front had been opened by Bishop Daly's remarks - I read that to be: in a time when the Church is being assaulted, here is another topic with which to attack the Church. Bishop Daly does indeed deserve respect and I do not think Father was being disrespectful, but he is entitled to comment. Bishop Daly is entitled to his opinion, but as a bishop of the Church he must also be careful in what he says, and in this case he has not been prudent - he knows what the media are like. Regardless of his opinion he must not forget his office.

  9. @ sick listening - priests get plenty of money to keep their precious wives and high lifestyle - they are living off the back of the people and doing nothing: it's a great life! Lazy fat cats every last one of them.

  10. I bet you that last comment was left by a provocative priest.

    Anne, I don't agree with Bishop Daly but frankly I'm fed up with careful, prudent bishops. Look where it's got us. Safety in numbers, don't rock the boat, keep your head down.

    If celibacy is important then it can be defended and discussed.

  11. Anonymous, I agree with you. But don't go and attack a priest like Fr Hogan who is one of the few who do actually put their heads above the parapet.