What campaign? Well basically, the government think they should appoint Catholic priests, rather than the Catholic hierarchy. Much as they have an ‘official’ Dalai Lama, etc. Ain’t that an interesting idea?
Wow, I really don’t know which way to jump on this one. Much as I think the Vatican should basically not do anything anywhere at all, a state-appointed priesthood is an extraordinarily totalitarian idea.
Well OK, the English invented it. But that was back when England was really very totalitarian. It’s as opposite to the separation of church and state as is possible. On the other hand, I think it would be great if Catholics in Ireland cut ties with Rome.
It’s a power struggle between two quite different yet equally objectionable powers – when I think about, probably the two most powerful absolutist regimes on Earth. And now Enda Kenny is caught in the middle.
Maybe I’ll just get some popcorn and enjoy this one.
What I hate about the Vatican is their holier-than-thou attitude. It may not pretend that it’s above error, but it continuously insists, to us and to itself, that even if it does on occasion do harm it ultimately achieves a greater good.
Look closely at the logic of that. The more harm the Vatican does therefore – whether it be protecting paedophiles from the law or impeding the prevention of AIDS – the more good it must be doing. The benefit of its existence must outweigh these ephemeral evils. To think otherwise would be to confront a truly appalling vista.
And if the good the church does must inevitably outweigh the bad, then preserving it and its power in the world must surely be worth more than the safety of a child. Or any number of children.
This kind of ruthless logic is what makes religious organisations last for thousands of years while kingdoms and empires rise and fall.
But when an Irish politician unequivocally condemns the actions and the attitude of the Vatican, you know that times are changing. Addressing the Dáil, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said:
The rape and torture of children were downplayed or ‘managed’ to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and ‘reputation’.
Couldn’t have put it better myself really. Well maybe stylistically, but the content is spot on. He continued:
. . . a report into child sexual-abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See, to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic . . . as little as three years ago, not three decades ago. And in doing so . . . excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism . . . the narcissism . . . that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.
Broadly speaking, he tore them a new one.
Hight time, and popular support is overwhelming. Irish new media publication TheJournal.ie did decide to give space to a priestly apologist for the Catholic church, but I think that was mainly to give the rest of us a target. His point though, if the metaphor is not unfortunate, was that we should not throw the baby of the church’s teachings out with the bathwater of its failings. Society needs a spiritual dimension, and the church has contributed much of practical value too.
I’m not going to argue against the social utility of religion – not today at least. For the moment I’ll accept the assertion that people, some people at least, require or benefit from religion in their lives. The question that still remains however, which I would like to ask this apologist, the Vatican, and every cleric who put the instructions of the Vatican before the safety of children: Why does that religion have to be Catholicism?
There are many other faiths. Heck, there are even many other forms of Christianity. Perhaps people in Ireland who wish to practice a religion should choose one that has sinned less.
Here’s one aimed at the Irish readers, though everyone else’s moral support would be welcome of course. It may be based on a Facebook group, but it’s no slacktivism. It’s a good old-fashioned letter writing campaign.
The object is to request, politely but with brio, that the Vatican’s representative in Ireland should be sent home – just as would the diplomats of any state that instructed its agents to break domestic law and to conceal acts that broke domestic law. The analogy with a country caught spying is a strong one; by any standard these are the actions of an unfriendly power. The Vatican must accept that it cannot put its own interests above those of a nation’s children without gaining the enmity of that nation.
You can write to your TD, Senator and/or directly to the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Eamon Gilmore). There’s a letter template, but of course you can use your own words.