The stars have capsized in Ireland and Britain this week. In Britain the Wicked Witch, alias Rupert Murdoch, is dead and the populace is waking up to a new reality.
In Ireland the Prime Minister Enda Kenny gave the most courageous speech arguably in the country's history when he confronted the Vatican with the fallout from their benighted policy of covering up child sexual abuse.
This is a country remember, where until relatively recently the "special position of the Catholic Church" was enshrined in the constitution.
The speech titled 'This is a Republic not the Vatican" by The Irish Times castigated the Vatican for deciding that Ireland's civil laws did not extend to them.
The Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee, secretary to three popes, refused to carry out a root and branch investigation of the Cloyne pedophilia ring present in his church, despite new regulations in place by the Irish church itself to follow new and much stricter guidelines.
The Vatican described the Irish church document as 'a discussion document' and Magee essentially followed the Vatican diktat of see no evil inhis Cork diocese. He appointed an underling who quickly armed himself with a whitewash brush to investigate the abuses .
Kenny lit into the enablers of abuse with a courage and commitment never before seen in an Irish leader, in a country where until recently the threat of the belt of a crosier kept the politicians and people in their place .
"Cloyne’s revelations are heart-breaking. It describes how many victims continued to live in the small towns and parishes in which they were reared and in which they were abused. Their abuser often still in the area and still held in high regard by their families and the community. The abusers continued to officiate at family weddings and funerals. In one case, the abuser even officiated at the victim’s own wedding." Kenny stated
"As a practising Catholic, I don’t say any of this easily," he went on
"Growing up, many of us in here learned we were part of a pilgrim church. Today, that church needs to be a penitent church. A church, truly and deeply penitent for the horrors it perpetrated, hid and denied. In the name of God. But for the good of the institution. When I say ..., through our Government’s action to put children first, those who have been abused can take some small comfort in knowing that they belong to a nation,...where humanity, power, rights, responsibility are enshrined and enacted – always, always for their good. Where the law – their law – as citizens of this country, will always supersede canon laws that have neither legitimacy nor place in the affairs of this country.
"This report tells us a tale of a frankly brazen disregard for protecting children. If we do not respond swiftly and appropriately as a State, we will have to prepare ourselves for more reports like this."
Kenny spoke truth to power and he deserves enormous credit for it .
He feels it deeply where children are concerned. His words ring out as the ultimate chastisement to the Vatican who appear to regard children, not as flesh and blood but some bargaining chip in a complicated law suit they must reluctantly deal with.
Kenny stated "As Taoiseach, I want to do all I can to protect the sacred space of childhood and to restore its innocence, especially our young teenagers, whom I believe to be children, because regardless of our current economic crisis, the children of this country are, and always will be, our most precious possession of all.
Kenny concluded :"Safeguarding their integrity and innocence must be a national priority. This is why I undertook to create a Cabinet ministry for children and youth affairs. The legislation Children First proposes to give our children maximum protection and security without intruding on the hectic, magical business of being a child."
Now that is leadership .
As for Magee he is hiding out somewhere in America, perhaps with good reason. Under the 2006 Criminal Justice act he may well be arrested for endangering children.
That, Dear Reader, is what the country needs to see.
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