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May 25th, 2015

The Bishops Were ‘Frit’

The bishops’ performance in the referendum was utterly pathetic, with the one exception of Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin. It’s surely no coincidence that the only constituency to vote No was Co. Roscommon in the Elphin diocese.
The performance of His Grace of Dublin was probably the worst. He’s the one who needs a “reality check” most of all. A consummate politician and diplomat, he set himself the impossible task of avoiding annoying  the Irish Times and RTE, without offending Almighty God. He’s a highly intelligent man, and he must know in his heart of hearts it can’t be done.
Yes, the Bishops of Ireland were “frit”, to use Margaret Thatcher’s expression.  Just like the English hierarchy under Henry VIII.
My friend Pastor Emeritus sums it all up neatly:
Now we know that the Catholic Church in Ireland needs a ‘reality check’!   That’s official.   But such a check has already been taken by the Association of Catholic Priests, resulting in the acceptance of the mores of society in Ireland today as the way forward for the Church.  It would seem that many bishops, judging by their actions before the referendum, go along with that.   As the Archbishop of Dublin put it, ‘The time when a bishop would tell people how to vote is long since gone’.
I think that we now face the problem Newman faced in the Anglican Church—do the bishops believe in Apostolic Succession?   Do the Catholic people of Ireland believe in it?   What drew people to Jesus was the fact that he spoke with authority.  Then he said to the apostles, ‘He who hears you, hears me’.   Have the bishops lost their nerve, afraid of unpopularity?   All they could bring themselves to say was that they would vote NO, but the people they were meant to lead were left to confuse compassion for gay people with the truth of the nature of marriage.    Faith and morals are the sphere for the bishop, and he cannot opt out with a “who am I to judge?”
God help us all now.

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