Monday, January 16, 2012

People Not Happy, Not Happy At All

I must say I am surprised - pleasantly surprised.  It seems, according to a report in The Examiner newspaper today, that the Irish people are not happy with the government's closure of the Irish embassy to the Holy See.

Indeed it seems some people see ideology at work and one person claimed the closure of the embassy was more due to the Minister for Foreign Affairs' alleged hatred for Catholicism than economic reasons, and compared the Minister, Mr Eamon Gilmore, to Oliver Cromwell. (Note for those not familiar with Irish history and Irish insults: to be compared with Oliver Cromwell is, for us Irish, perhaps the worst insult that can be thrown at anyone - Oliver Cromwell massacred, burned and pillaged his way around Ireland - he was also a ferocious anti-Catholic bigot, who martyred numerous innocent Catholics for their faith).

According to the report, based on information obtained from the Department of Foreign Affairs under the Freedom of Information Act, of letters and communications received by the Minister concerning the closure, 93% disagreed with the closure and reject the excuses offered by our political masters.  Many of them see that our reputation abroad will suffer - and they are right: as I mentioned before, certain diplomats and commentators abroad have been scratching their heads to figure out what is wrong with the Irish. Let's not blame the Irish, just the government. 

So, will we see a u-turn in the near future, or will ideology trump common sense, the will of the people and Ireland's collapsing international reputation?  

Fr Gabriel Burke has a very good post related to the above - the outgoing Australian ambassador to the Holy See stressing the importance of a residental diplomatic presence at the Vatican.  He confirms what many people say about relations with the Holy See:
“It is the oldest organisation in the world, and it does have a huge network,” he said.  In fact, “as recently as the Balkans War, some of the best information as to what was really happening on the ground was not held by the CIA or the KGB but, in fact, right here in Rome by the Holy See.”
Only a country intent on an isolationist policy can afford not to have a residential diplomatic presence in the Vatican. 


  1. I have most un-Catholic thoughts about Gilmore & co which I shall keep to myself. Needless to say, I am not impressed with these people, and I am pleased and pleasantly surprised that the Irish public shares in my un-impressment.

  2. The embassy should stay closed: it does not benefit the Irish Church, it only allows politicians to lobby the Vatican. We need the Church here to get effective leaders; we cannot allow politicians to have a say in the appointment of bishops. They will only make things worse.

  3. I understand the F0I request related to only the period of 12 days beginning on the date of the announcement. I think many more complaints would have been received after that period than during it. And the writing/postcards campaign of various groups, organised to respond to the sudden and arbitrary decision, only began a couple of months ago.

  4. Shane: Is there any evidence (or even a suggestion) that politicians have lobbied the Government on the appointment of bishops?
    If such lobbying happened, is there any evidence (or even a suggestion) that the Vatican has entertained such lobbying?