The Irish people should help choose Catholic bishops
Church must be answerable to the faithful
And so, as it became patently obvious that this policy was becoming counter-productive, McQuaid and Otaviani were said goodbye to. New guide lines were drawn up. Diarmuid Martin was ordered to Dublin whether he liked it or not. In many ways his arrival reminded me of that of Paul Cullen in the mid 19th Century. Cullen’s mission was to assert Rome’s hardline view on the Irish church. He was an extraordinarily able, ruthless man, an architect of papal infallibility who might well have become Pope himself had he not been sent to Ireland.
He succeed brilliantly, getting control of the Irish educational system and establishing a devout, mindless type of Catholic obedience which provided an endless supply of nuns and priests and only began to be seriously challenged with the coming of free secondary education and of television.
Martin is, a skilled Vatican diplomat, just as intelligent, just as determined in doing Rome’s bidding, and, as a number of his rather bruised Episcopal colleagues will tell you, just as ruthless as Cullen.
Insofar as internal church working and the eradication of clerical sex abuse is concerned, I wish him well. The evil the abusers did lives after them, and the good done by a myriad of Irish nuns and priests obscured by their crimes. But insofar as I, citizen of a democratic Irish Republic, am concerned, the era of telling a brainwashed people “do as we say, not as we do” is long dead. It’s mortuary card bears a picture of Bishop Eamon Casey and Father Mick Cleary prancing around the stage in Galway in 1979 as they warmed up the crowd for the Pope’ to deliver his famous line: “Young People of Ireland I love you.”
Henceforth the truth of that statement will have to be demonstrated. If Bishops are to be accorded a place of authority in Irish society then Irish society must demand the right to check on their credentials before they are given that authority.