The Irish people should help choose Catholic bishops
Church must be answerable to the faithful
Cardinal Desmond Connell, who played an inglorious role at the helm in Drumcondra while the gathering storm that led to the Murphy reports was building up, was appointed because he was a friend of the then Cardinal Ratzinger, not because of any reputation for his knowledge and involvement with the lives of the plain people of Dublin.
Similarly, the appointment of John Magee as Bishop of Cloyne, a post from which he has had to step aside, clearly owed more to his years as a papal secretary than to his services in Ireland.
We don’t know yet what the ongoing examination of the affairs of the diocese of Cloyne is going to throw up, but, to put it mildly, there is very little evidence that the Cloyne Report is going to make better reading than the Murphy Report.
The plain fact is that the present crisis has arisen because bishops, appointed solely by Rome, were formed, and operated in a culture in which the Vatican policy worldwide was: Pass the Parcel.
Under infectious diseases legislation, there are severe penalties for failing to report certain serious illnesses to the authorities. But at under the Pass the Parcel policy, what most of us would call an appalling disease, that of pedophilia, was covered up and the infectious one deliberately sent off to another parish to abuse trust and children in a manner which had, and has, lifelong consequences.
The difference between this awful mental disease and that of a physical affliction like AIDS, is that people involved in the implementation of the Pass the Parcel policy got up in pulpits and with monumental hypocrisy, in their self-appointed role as moral arbiters, instructed people as to how they should lead their lives by spouting rubbish such as contraception being wrong even in marriage, and that sex should only be employed for the procreation of children.
Condoms make the AIDS crisis worse, says the present Pope and, to give but one example, the courageous Fr. Kevin Hegarty suffered at the hands of the Pope’s loyal Irish bishops for daring to say otherwise. Father Gerry McGinty was the Senior Dean at Maynooth when students came to him voicing their concerns about sexual abuse in the College. But he was speedily transferred to an obscure parish in Louth when he raised the issue with the Church authorities
The Church’s strange attitude towards sex came about for two reasons. One, a view that if married priests had sex it meant that they approached the altar with “soiled hands.” Secondly, but more importantly, to save money. Priests’ dependents could have a claim on church property.
In Ireland, clerical preoccupation with sex and contraception veered from the ludicrous to the horrible. On behalf of the hierarchy, Archbishop McQuaid once informed the government that tampons should be banned because they might stimulate young girls to sexual activity and thus lead to contraception.