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Tag Archives: Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

February 19th, 2016

The Bloody Question for 2016

In the time of Queen Elizabeth I of England,  “the Bloody Question” was put to Catholic priests who fell into the hands of the authorities. It was some variant of this: “If the Pope were to invade England, whom would you support—Pius V or Her Majesty?” If he answered “the Pope”, he became a candidate for hanging, drawing and quartering; if he replied “the Queen”, he showed himself to be a disloyal Catholic.

Radio-Telefis Eireann and other media outlets have an updated version of this device, which they put to bishops and priests who agree to be interviewed about the Eighth Amendment. It goes like this: “Can you oppose the  Amendment and still be a Catholic in good standing?”  If you say No, you’re an uncaring dogmatist; if you say Yes, then it’s OK for a Catholic to vote for a pro-abort.  The media began  began using this dodge  at the time of the original Pro-Life Referendum in 1983, and Morning Ireland used it again yesterday in an interview with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin.

You would think that by now the archbishop’s media handlers (I hope he has some?) would have prepared His Grace for this Bloody Question, which was bound to be asked. He muffed it hopelessly,  launching into an obfuscating  apologia about the necessity for reflection on “the kind of society in which we live” , the needs of the marginalised, social housing etc. The question of the Eighth Amendment was all important, he said, but he insisted it was up to the conscience of the individual whether to support candidates who wished to overturn it. It was “not his job to give guidance on whom to vote for”. People needed to “grow up morally”.

Consummate diplomat that he is, Dr Martin seems determined to avoid attracting the ire of the RTE-Irish Times axis. This is why he doesn’t follow the example of Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin and Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, both of whom have come out quite strongly in support of candidates who wish to keep the Amendment. (They haven’t named names, of course: that really would be to engage in “pulpit politics”.)

It’s not for a layman to tell the clergy how to respond to the Bloody Question; but if they agree to go on air it does seem to me that the only way to deal with this is by short-circuiting it. For instance, they might begin by pointing out that this is a question of killing the innocent, and then  tell their interrogator that they can’t understand how any serious Catholic could vote for anyone who wishes to facilitate such an atrocity. It could also be pointed out that the measure has saved thousands of lives  in the past quarter of a century.

I’ ve  just seen this gratifyingly  blunt response by Pope Francis, on the plane back from Mexico:

Abortion is not a theological problem, it is a human problem, it is a medical problem. You kill one person to save another, in the best case scenario. Or to live comfortably, no? It’s against the Hippocratic oaths doctors must take. It is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil in the beginning, no, it’s a human evil. Then obviously, as with every human evil, each killing is condemned.

Now why couldn’t Archbishop Martin have said something like that?







June 7th, 2015

Archbishop Martin’s Missing Backbone

His Grace of Dublin does not take kindly to criticism. I know at least two journalists who received  telephone tongue-lashings from Archbishop Martin after writing things of which he disapproved.

Diarmuid Martin

Archbishop Martin: Not a Happy Bunny…

I think if he ever sees this, he’ll go absolutely spare. I have shamelessly pinched it from a blog called  “Eccles”,  where it appeared a few days before the sodomistic pseudogamy referendum.

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth has confirmed that the relics which arrived at Southampton today pertain to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, and not, after all, to Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St Thérèse of Lisieux. Apparently, this was a ‘replacement item’, delivered when the real relics were out of stock.

It is normally considered ‘bad form’ to open the box and see what the relics actually consist of, but in this case an exception was made and it was discovered that what had been delivered was the lost backbone of Archbishop Martin. This was reported missing earlier today, when the good archbishop declared that, although he himself would vote against same-sex ‘marriage’, he had no wish to stuff his religious views down other people’s throats. After all, it’s not an archbishop’s job to give moral leadership and guidance (ask Vincent Nichols!)

Bishop Egan has declared himself dissatisfied with the replacement item, feeling that the archbishop’s spine is unlikely to be truly an object of veneration, nor indeed capable of working minor miracles.


Not a very sacred relic.

Meanwhile, other prominent Irish Catholics have entered the ‘same-sex marriage’ debate, including the silenced Red Emptyhead, Tony Flummery. Faithful to the Vatican’s command Pone soccum in eo, O Antoni (“put a sock in it, Tony”), Fr Flummery has maintained a dignified silence, talking only to the trees and his pet rat, O’Connor. However, lacking any concrete guidance from Archbishop Martin, a man whom he deeply reveres, it seems that Fr Flannery will probably vote “yes” in accordance with Enda Kenny’s wishes.

Enda Kenny

‘Another text from Satan. What can he want now?’


May 28th, 2015


If you can bear it, watch this video until the end. I can’t improve on Fr Ray Blake’s comment:

In a way this video says everything about what is wrong with the Church in Ireland; it is narcissistic and feel-gooding, self-neutering, incapable of reproducing itself, neither evangelising nor being self-critical. It is shallow, self-referential, lacking the ability to speak to either the mind or the heart, only to sentiment. It neither depends on or leads to Jesus Christ, in fact it becomes a replacement for him.

Elsewhere Fr Blake  says:

A friend bought an autobiography of a bishop recently and then complained how shallow, self justifying it was. How it seemed to lack any talk of Grace and seemed spiritually vacuous, as if it was written by a name dropping minor politician, rather than a Christian and a man of faith. I have yet to read it but I suspect it is typical of any apologia of any bishop today, with no attempt as Newman might have made, to reveal his method of thinking or his spiritual motivation, or the action of God in his life.

A Church that is rootless is not ‘owned’ by the people. A Church that is afraid to teach because it has cut itself from its previous Magisterium, and which instead sows uncertainty, has nothing to say in the daily living of its members, nor in the intellectual forum in general. In fact it is irrelevant. It has all the outward appearance that it once used for the furtherance of its mission but has lost its interior meaning. It is not so much an Emperor with no clothes, but the clothes without an Emperor; all that is left is the institution, which itself is meaningless. In Germany, as in Ireland, the real-estate portfolio seems to be what the Church is about rather than any actual teaching or revelation of Christ.

What I find so sad about Archbishop Martin’s statements is that they  seem to be about institutional power, and influence, the very thing that disgusted the Irish during the abuse crisis. This is what even practising Catholics seem to find so objectionable about the Irish bishops, but in fact they are like many European bishops who have nothing to say and nothing to offer except a vacuous institution; the Church preaching not Jesus Christ but simply protecting its back…

…they have emptied the Church of meaning, leaving it ineffectual, substituting for doctrine a warm feeling, for the worship of God, a celebration of community. This what the Irish Church has been offering for decades—pap!


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.




A Welcome Appointment

I was greatly pleased when that outspoken pro-life priest and medical ethicist Fr Kevin Doran was appointed Bishop of Elphin last month. It was he, you will probably recall, who resigned from the Board of the Mater Hospital when that institution cravenly agreed to comply with the Government’s Orwellianly-titled Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, opening the door to the possibility of abortion in this country.

Bishop Doran has now braved the ire of the media and the chattering classes by denouncing the recent decision to carry out an early caesarean section on a woman threatening suicide as “really unethical”. When the present low-level persecution hots up, as it almost certainly will, he will be in the firing line.

I first met Fr Doran in 1983 when I had written some pro-life pieces for the old Catholic Standard. He invited me to join an outfit called the Life Education and Research Network (LEARN). The two of us edited a book called Abortion Now by various authors, including William Binchy and nurse tutor Loretto Browne. At that time, if memory serves, Fr Doran was chaplain to University College, Dublin. Later he became spiritual director at the Irish College in Rome.

He is one of the kindest and most considerate priests I have had the good fortune to know. When my wife and I arrived in Rome on our first visit, he went out of his way to call at our hotel and took us out to dinner at a delightful restaurant on the Via Merulana, between St Mary Major and St John Lateran. He showed us around the college and procured tickets for a papal audience the next day, and drove us to one of the catacombs.

During his time at the college, Fr Doran was very helpful to young Irish couples who chose to be married in Rome. Many of them found it stressful to deal with Italian officials, who were inclined when faced with communications difficulties to raise their voices and gesticulate. The Irish tended to think, mistakenly, that this was a sign of anger and impatience, and resented it.

Like the late Fr Des Forristal, Bishop Doran believes in letting a thousand flowers bloom. While not particularly in favour of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, as parish priest of Glendalough he was very willing to accommodate the Latin Mass Society of Ireland when it organised walking pilgrimages across the Wicklow mountains from St Colmcille’s well near Tallaght, concluding with a Vetus Ordo Mass in his church.

Ad multos annos.


Archiepiscopal faux pas

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin showed remarkably poor judgment when he criticised a young curate who had told his parish priest he was unhappy about some of the things Pope Francis has said.

In the first place, this was a private conversation. This PP had no right to snitch on his curate, and His Grace should not have compounded this breach of confidentiality during a speech in Australia. The relationship between this PP and the curate may have been damaged beyond repair.

Secondly, there are, I understand, only two priests under the age of 40 in the Dublin archdiocese. So it is very probable that this young curate can be identified.

And all, as one critic put it, just to add a bit of colour to the archbishop’s sociological discourse. It was ill done.

True to form, Fr Seamus Ahearn of the “Association of Catholic Priests” said we need to hear more comments like the archbishop’s, as “the few young priests there are in the Irish Church appear to embrace a very traditionalist view of Church”. Personally, I’m delighted to hear that they do.

Incidentally, I can’t help wondering why their ageing liberal colleagues are always so averse to using the definite article? Can anyone explain it?


Gardening Talk Is Racist?

Do you like pottering around the garden? A spot of mowing, maybe some weeding, or making sure the slugs haven’t got at the lettuces? Perhaps you like trying to grow different varieties of roses, tulips or daffodils, or maybe cabbages, carrots or runner beans? Maybe you even listen to gardening discussion programmes on the radio…?

Stop! All that gardening talk is racist, according to a senior lecturer in–you’ve guessed it–sociology. On the BBC radio programme Thinking Aloud Dr Ben Pitcher of Westminster University asserted that the station’s Gardener’s Question Time is “riddled with racist overtones”. It is full of  “racial meanings”, and all those references to soil purity and non-native species are promoting nationalist and fascist beliefs.

Dr Pitcher believes the programme is connected with the crisis in white identity in multicultural Britain. Apparently people are ashamed to be overtly racist so they conceal their perverted ideas behind all this gardening talk.

You really couldn’t make it up. How did this head-banger ever secure a senior lecturing post at a university? But he’s not the only academic with such views. On the same programme, Lola Young, a former professor of cultural studies, agreed with Dr Pitcher’s analysis. Back in the 1980s, said she,  gardening enthusiasts were talking about going out “rhododendron-bashing”. That was at a time when Paki-bashing was something that was all too prevalent on our streets.・ Quod erat demonstrandum?

Come to think about it, the most surprising thing about Ms Young’s analysis is that she didn’t shy away from using what usually now has to be referred to as “the P-word”. Hope someone reports her to the Race Relations Board.


A Problem Like Sharia

We noted in our first issue that Lefty neo-fascism is on the march. I don’t go in for conspiracy theories, but it is amazing how the militant Left, almost everywhere you look, is trying to shut down debate on controversial topics from Islam and Israel to global warming and “gay marriage”.

A few examples culled from an article by Mark Steyn in the London Spectator.

In California, the chief executive of the software company Mozilla has been forced to resign because he once made a political donation in support of traditional marriage.

At Westminster, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee declared that the BBC should seek  “special clearance” before it interviews those who challenge the climate change consensus. Such sceptics would include the former Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson, not to mention many highly-qualified scientists.

Also in London, a multitude of liberal journalists and artists responsible for everything from Monty Python to Downton Abbey have signed an open letter in favour of the first state restraints on the British press in three and a quarter centuries.

And in our own island of saints and scholars, a speaker at the National University of Ireland, Galway, who tried to argue against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions programme against Israel was shouted down by thugs screaming obscenities, and ordered to “get the **** off our campus”.

This whole attitude is summed up by another example given by Steyn, quoting Erin Ching, a student at $60,000-a-year Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, in her college newspaper: “What really bothered me is the whole idea that at a liberal arts college we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion.”  Yeah, says Steyn, who needs that?  “There speaks the voice of a generation: celebrate diversity by enforcing conformity.”

You can read his entire article by googling  “Spectator Steyn Diversity”.

I just love his gallows humour: “By mid-century a majority of Austrians under 15 will be Moslem. Salzburg, 1938, singing nuns, Julie Andrews: How do you solve a problem like Maria?・ Salzburg, 2038: How do you solve a problem like Sharia?”


Infallible Fallacies?

I haven’t forgotten that I promised in a previous issue to try to tackle some concerns that have arisen about aspects of the present pontificate. As an unqualified layman, I am reluctant to attempt anything of the kind, but it can’t be avoided indefinitely. For the present, as much for my own enlightenment as anyone else’s, here are some pertinent questions.

1. Does the Faith come from the pope? Y/N

2. Does papal infallibility operate in every single thing the pope says and does? Y/N

3. Is the pope impeccable? Y/N

4. Does the pope have to understand the subtleties and nuances of Church politics, geopolitics, economics, the agenda of the media or the machinations of the various factions in the Curia and hierarchy? Y/N

5. Is it necessary for either the validity of the papacy or the survival of the Church for the pope to be a a major player in academic philosophy or theology, have the right ideas about politics, economics, culture, sociology or history? Y/N

6. Can a pope be crazy and still be pope? Y/N

Finally, a harder one:

7. Can the pope be wrong on matters of aith and morals? Can the pope be a heretic and still be the pope? Y/N

I’m sorry to be so Delphic, but I’ll try to be a bit more forthcoming next time.