Ireland's Catholics see signs of hope in Irish Church crisis
Do we want the Catholic Church in Ireland to reform itself and be a voice for the poor and lonely, feed the poor, and comfort the dying? Or do we just want to get the Church out of society? Many people want the first choice.
“It could happen a bishop” was the title of a book of reflections published some years back by Bishop Brendan Comiskey, and then the Diocese of Ferns imploded as a litany of abuse and abusing priests came to light — and Bishop Comiskey resigned in disgrace.
It had kept on "happening" for the Irish bishops; the story of clerical sexual abuse has rolled on and on since the early 1990s with regular head-on collisions in which a report is published detailing shameful abuse and a cover-up or a bishop is found to not have co-operated with the civil authorities.
The latest chapter in this appalling saga is the bishops returning on Ash Wednesday from their meeting with the Pope at the Vatican to a near-hysterical atmosphere accusing them and the Pope of window-dressing and participating in a sham.
In Rome, the bishops were talking about penitence and humility, about this being a step on a journey, about learning to listen to each other better and their desire to reassure victims of abuse that they are trying to finally show leadership.
Yet that message, which is I believe genuine, is being drowned out by angry voices — those of victims and priests like Peter McVerry and F.r Brian D’Arcy, who have had enough of clericalism.
The picture of bishops kissing the ring of the Pope in Rome has sent ordinary Catholics into spirals of indignation, the degree of which was once reserved for "West Brits" who might bow and scrape in an audience with the Queen of England. The Irish Catholics who once scorned the English and their Queen now have turned in almost Presbyterian zeal to jeering their spiritual monarch and his medieval customs of deference.
Many feel the papal monarchy, encased behind its high walls in Rome, doesn’t get it just as the Queen of England didn’t get it when she refused to lower her flag to half-mast on the death of Princess Diana. The key issues of a straightforward papal apology and the acceptance of resignations could have been delivered in Rome easily enough, but weren’t. They probably will come, but Rome moves slowly if deliberately.
And this I believe is the crux of the issue --to some extent, the Vatican doesn’t get the need to react to instant crises — if you’ve seen it up-close you’d know why: iI’s a civil servant bureaucracy led by elderly men who have mostly spent their years in academia or administration.
They know that once they try to play the popularity game (Pope John Paul II was the exception that proves the rule) and respond to demands of abuse victims or angry clerics, they open the floodgates and they will end up going from crisis to crisis. That is what is happening to the Irish bishops, until now.
They have been told by the Vatican to be honest and courageous, firm and resolute, and to set a plan in motion for responding to this crisis and to stick by it. It will take time, there will be a hue and cry, but stay the course and you will get there. That is what I believe the Vatican has told the Irish bishops: Start being bishops and lead, stop being led by this crisis.
- Gay teacher fired from Catholic school after...
- Nelson Mandela once considered a terrorist...
- Racist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent...
- Nelson Mandela was against IRA decommissioning.
- Irish radio presenter suspended after anti-Isra
- Unionists regret US envoy Haass’ call for...
- Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne brands new Pope...
- Irish students told “No Irish Need Apply”...
- Website attracts 80,000 Irish people ready...
- Top ten negative terms used to describe Irish...
This makes me sad. I believe he should sue, but he chooses not to. I have a problem with the school's position that Catholics and non Catholics alikePhoto shows Irish revolutionaries three years before Easter Rising
Did any body notice how quick Independent.ie pulled all the negative comments about past & present corrupt politicians that ruined Ireland ?? EndaGay teacher fired from Catholic school after applying for same-sex marriage license
You cannot be a teacher in today's world without caring deeply for the welfare of the next generation and supporting the education systems we work inGay teacher fired from Catholic school after applying for same-sex marriage license
Love is love Chuck and it should be enjoyed by all, even you. I said the Catholic church, I don't know what you read, God only knows what is in your l