It has been a busy few days here, and in Ireland it has been an eventful week. More revelations concerning the Cardinal and the media has been bursting a gut to make the most of it. It has been a difficult week for the Church here, once more we were bombarded from all sides with accusations, anger (rage even), protestations, inertia, bigotry, opportunism - at this stage it all just congeals into one big ugly tumour. God help the poor victims at the heart of all this. One also wonders how we can kick start the reform of the Church here in Ireland with all this. Would a complete clearing of the decks help?
One thing which struck me was the hypocrisy at the heart of the media campaign. I accept that Christians who fail to live up to Christ's teachings frequently fall into the category of hypocrite - that is why Jesus in his wisdom gave us the Sacrament of Confession. But the "holier than thou" attitude of the media is sickening. While RTE has been exposed, they are still jumping on the bandwagon and throwing stones. The recent BAI report on the Prime Time Special Mission to Prey was damning - the National Union of Journalists are not happy with it and are challenging it. I notice in their defence of the journalist involved, the NUJ are using arguments not too dissimilar from those the Cardinal is using to defend himself: interesting.
The reporter at the heart of the whole affair has finally resigned - it took her long enough: if she was a Catholic bishop she would have been hounded out long ago. Given that RTE is calling for episcopal resignations all over the place, in this libel case they have been slow to clear the decks. Some minor shuffling around took place, but I am inclined to think that that was merely cosmetic.
Meanwhile the politicians are breaking their own demand for separation of Church and State by demanding, albeit in a cautious way, the resignation of the Cardinal. They preface their remarks with the phrase "in my personal opinion" - who would ever think that "personal" would become such a dirty word? I see the Minister for Education is trying to use the situation to push his agenda to get the Church out of education: he is not comfortable with the Cardinal being the head of the Church in Ireland when the Church has the patronage of so many schools. Meanwhile Enda Kenny, our Taoiseach, has said that it is not up to him to determine who leads the Church. It's a pity he didn't adopt that attitude last July when he attacked the Pope.
Personally (if they're all using it, so will I!) in my view I think they are very concerned over who leads the Church - an erastian puppet denomination would be much more favourable to the current administration here in Ireland than an independent universal communion. After all with abortion and gay marriage, among other things, being lined up, a supportive native Irish catholic church is the preferred option. Some have even suggested to me that certain political figures are in dialogue with certain religious figures to see if such an institution could be created and "the Vatican" airbrushed out of Irish Catholicism. Is that possible?
In other news: the dissenting nuns in the US LCWR are reacting to the recent report from their Apostolic Visitation - they are not happy. Reading their response I am reminded of an incident from the life of Blessed John Paul II concerning the disciplining of a nun who was ardently pro-abortion and had herself elected to a legislature. The Vatican had been in dialogue with her for some time pointing out that her position was not in keeping with the teaching of the Church, but she dug her heels in, refused to resign her office in the legislature (priests and religious are not allowed present themselves for national/civic election) and maintained her position on abortion, publicly promoting the “pro-choice” position. The Pope finally had enough and sent a representative for a final chat to see if she could be persuaded to back down: she refused. So she was asked that if it came to choice which would she choose: her position as a consecrated religious or that of an advocate for abortion? Defiant as ever she maintained her position. The papal representative reached into his briefcase and took out a document: it was a dispensation from her vows, already signed. Having made her position clear, she was being dispensed of her vows and free to go wherever she liked. The nun was stunned.
The LCWR representative is Sr Brigid McDonald and she's lashing out in good old dissenting fashion. Her reaction goes to prove the truth of what the Visitation found. Like the sister above, Sr Brigid, it seems, is pro-abortion. Is it not time for an official to pop over to the US from Rome with a briefcase?? Here's an interesting article on obedience from Fr Bevil Bramwell. He notes: "Interestingly, people who have trouble with obedience to the Church will still obey their boss and the weatherman or the cop on the beat and not note the inconsistency." I would go further and say, from my own experience, that those who reject obedience to the Church demand obedience from those under them and they can be tyrannical superiors.
Anyway, to cheer us all up on this Bank Holiday Monday, some music. Today is an easy day for many, another day of rest - not here - I have a funeral later and lots to do. But sit back and enjoy a little piece of Mozart - always puts you in the right mood! From The Marriage of Figaro, this is Figaro's fantastic aria at the end of Act One, "Non piu andrai". It was the piece I used for auditions when my heart was set on an operatic career. "Sometimes I wish....." Ah no, stop now, Father, serving God is better.
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