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Tag Archives: Irish Bishops

June 1st, 2015

Did We Deserve These Bishops?

The most interesting take on the sodomistic pseudogamy referendum, in my opinion, is that of Fr John Hunwicke,  In his blog post this morning, Fr Hunwicke actually says it does the Irish Catholic laity  enormous credit, under the circumstances, that so many of them voted NO:

When I was young, there was a lot of talk to the effect that Vatican I had defined the Papacy; but had left its teachings unbalanced by saying so little about the Episcopate. Vatican II was said to have done splendidly by correcting this balance.

So, at Vatican II, we had the status of bishops being given a puff … by the bishops! And the bishops, additionally, claiming enormous moral credit for … themselves giving themselves this puff!

I wonder what narrative History will give of the First World Episcopate in the decades since the Council.

I could go on about the collapse within the Church of the religious orders, of vocations to the priesthood. I could get rhetorical about the Liturgy. But I might simply be expressing my own prejudices. I have as many, if not more, human failings than most. And perhaps what has happened since the Council constituted (as it certainly did in the case of Liturgy) in some cases simply an extrapolation of what was already happening.

But … the Paedophile Priest scandal! Here, considered objectively, we do have a massive dereliction of duty on the part of Bishops and of Episcopacy. In many cases, it seems, they disregarded juridical procedures and maintained ‘the filth’ in pastoral ministry.

And then there have been some high-profile episcopal adulterers; firstly in Ireland and then in Scotland and most recently in England (I wonder, incidentally, if there has been any enquiry into the circumstances of Kieran Conry’s appointment; and why not).

I think it does the Irish laity enormous credit, in all the circumstances, that so many of them did vote in accordance with the teachings of the Church. (One constituency voted against SSM; two constituencies, knife-edge.)

It would be reassuring if some representative body of bishops … perhaps, let’s say, a Synod … were to express some corporate regret about what their Order has done to the Church in the last disastrous half century. It has, in some parts of the world and in more than a few individuals, shown disturbing indications of a radical dysfunctionality.

Instead, we have suggestions of enhancing still further the powers of this Order by entrenching canonically and structurally and even dogmatically the Episcopal Conferences.

Holy Mother Church needs that like she needs a hole in the head.


 Liberating from What,  Precisely?

Fr H. also has  something rather pertinent to say about the appointment  of Irishwoman Professor  Louise Richardson, as Vice-Chancellor of  Oxford University:

So this University’s next Vice-Chancellor is a girl from the Co Waterford; a TCD MA.

As a seasoned hibernophile, I would view this appointment with enthusiasm but for the fact that she took a year out from Trinity to go to America and describes the experience as ‘liberating’.

Oh dear.

She’ll probably end up as president of her home country.

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.

April 27th, 2015

Bishops in a Blue Funk Over Sodomistic Pseudogamy

I am beginning to suffer from ecclesial schizophrenia. I suppose that’s only to be expected if you attend the Novus Ordo on weekdays and the immemorial Mass on Sundays. Canadian journalist Hilary White insists that “Novus Ordoism Isn’t Catholicism” and while I wouldn’t go as far as that, I certainly  think she has a valid point.

At our local church last week the Novus Ordo cycle of readings included an account of the martyrdom of St Stephen. In his little homily before the offertory the celebrant referred  in general terms to present day martyrdoms  in the Middle East, lumping them  in for some obscure reason with the tragedy of the drownings in the Mediterranean. He then jumped to the subject of “change”, suggesting  that alterations to the liturgy after Vatican II had been difficult for some people who liked things as they were, and maybe had a love of Latin.  But, he reminded us, Cardinal Newman had written that to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.

Then Father moved on to  the referendum to change the Constitution on marriage. Our bishops, he said, wanted us to reflect deeply on this matter. But mind you, they weren’t wagging their fingers at us and telling us how to vote!

The message I took from this is that it’s  OK to vote for sodomistic pseudogamy, as long as you have thought about it really seriously. This is quite in line with our bishops’ document  “Marriage Is Important: Reflect Before You Change It.”  In a recent interview Archbishop Éamonn Martin of Armagh said he was hoping for  “a deeper and more reflective debate” before polling day.

This is utterly pathetic, and it makes me ashamed to be a Catholic. Or it would do, if I hadn’t heard a spine-stiffening sermon at a Latin Mass in Dublin the previous Sunday.  The priest said simply that the bishops were in a blue funk,   when faced with a proposal to overturn the whole God-given idea  of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. St Kevin’s Church in Harrington Street is to have a an evening of prayer for the defeat of the referendum, including 15 decades of the rosary and Benediction.

Our shepherds should  be thundering their denunciations down on the heads of this execrable government. They don’t seem to grasp that sometimes, to keep any self-respect, one has to engage the enemy in battle even if there may not be that much hope of success.

What a contrast to the uncompromising action by three Baptist churches who took out a half-page ad. in our local paper, the Dun Laoghaire Gazette:

As Bible-believing Christians, it is our duty to point out that Jesus Christ defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. ..There is much talk today about human rights, and equality. However, God as our creator, has rights over his creatures. God instituted marriage, not man. God makes the rules, and man has no right to change what God has set in place.

Marriage, as defined by God to be between a man and woman, has been universally accepted by all cultures from time immemorial. It is no longer marriage if it is redefined to mean two men or two women. No generation, until now, has dared to tamper with this definition.

This vote is not about valuing some people in our society. It is about devaluing God. This vote is not about equality, but is really about dethroning God as the ultimate authority in life…

This is why we urge you to vote NO at the forthcoming referendum on 22nd May.

Why can’t our shepherds say something as  simple and uncompromising as that, instead of bumbling on about “deep and reflective debates”.  Do they  think the media will respect them for broad-mindedness  or  despise them for their cowardice? All honour to  the Blanchardstown Baptist Church, the Lucan Gospel Baptist Church, and the Redemption Baptist Church, Athlone.

Michael Voris  of ChurchMilitant. TV was speaking of the situation in the US, but his remarks apply equally well to Ireland:

As you might imagine, saying it like it is, putting it out there, ruffles the feathers of the more genteel, the more ‘diplomatic’, the professional Catholic crowd.

Their lace-curtain approach, their ‘don’t upset people and make them feel uncomfortable’ tactics have accomplished nothing and actually are now standing in the way.

This whole tone of the Catholic Establishment must be defeated.  It’s worthless, wimpy, and whiny.  It inspires nothing—nothing except indifference.

The Church of Nice needs to get back to the gym and develop some muscles.  In the meantime, we need to get about the business of the work of great men like St. Francis de Sales and preach the hard truths—get in people’s faces, confront the evil in the Church, and all this despite being mocked and abandoned by the Establishment Church of Nice gang.

No one in the world listens to them with their pudding mouth approach. Why should we?