One has to sympathize with the overwhelming majority of good priests in Ireland who are trying to do good work against communal suspicion and distrust today. Too many bad apples must make their lives very hard indeed.
So a wise Pope will not willingly define the currently low status of his church by a visit to Ireland or a Eucharistic Congress which will only be a mere shadow of the last Congress and that triumphant visit more recently by Pope John Paul. It is some measure maybe of the lack of real understanding of the situation by the hierarchy that they even invite him to come here.
A sharper definition of the situation was provided by the government itself when it responded to a media query by saying that yes, of course, if the Pope did come to Ireland he would be offered all the protocol of a state welcome.
It is also clear, however, that there is little chance of the Vatican embassy being reinstated anytime soon. The old mould is well and truly broken. I think we are all the better of that.
I understand that the once charismatic and hugely popular Bishop Eamon Casey is now at the time of his life when he is spending periods in nursing homes. I have always argued that he was savagely over-punished by his peers when he fell from grace.
He has effectively been silenced down all the years since. Speak about forgiveness!
If Bishop Casey sinned he did so with a mature woman. There was no vulnerable altar boy or little schoolgirl involved as in so many of the other horrifying episodes. I can never forget that.
In synopsis, we would all be better off if the Pope stayed away.
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