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Wednesday 26 August 2015

The Irish Referendum: on Bishops not Marriage

The result of the Irish referendum on so-called “same-sex marriage” was entirely predictable and had been for some considerable time.

The Irish Catholic episcopal hierarchy should hang their heads in shame. Indeed, I would go as far as to say that the Nuncio should be requesting letters of resignation. After all, in the lead up to the plebiscite the Irish bishops seemed to have already resigned themselves to their fate and, without even turning up at the ringside, threw in their collective towel.

It is all very well for those of us who witnessed the train crash from this side of the Irish Sea to complain that the “YES Equality” campaign had been massively funded from abroad, for that is, indeed, true. Just one example: one of the partners in the Yes Campaign, GLEN (the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network), received from an American outfit called Atlantic Philanthropies $4,727,860 in the period 2005-11. This is democracy American style. Buy the vote!

But the Irish Bishops had a platform and a voice and an authority that money cannot buy. They failed to use either of the first two and they long ago had lost the third. They lost it when confronted with the undoubted fact that some few priests had sexually abused children their bishops did not act AND, to make matters worse, when they found out that some among them had not acted the other bishops did not act against them. Sadly for them, the Irish are a highly literate people. They all know the story about the King having no clothes. And thy can tell the real thing when they see it.

Rabbie Burns wrote “Facts are chiels that winna ding”. When stories started appearing in the press about abuse in the Boston archdiocese in the USA, it was a certainty that Ireland would next be closely looked at. Why were the Irish bishops not ready to deal with this? And to deal with it openly and honestly? Is anti-clericalism unknown in Ireland? Did they think that RTE and The Irish Times loved them still? Well they ken noo!

Over the last ten or more years there have been relentless attacks on the Irish Catholic Church spearheaded by the gay lobby and financed from America. Because the Catholic hierarchy failed to fearlessly and frankly face up to past mistakes and be open about them, that gay lobby and their friends in the media had a field day. The picture soon became clear. There wasn’t an altar boy safe in Ireland!

That this was a grotesque lie did not matter. Nobody would have believed the bishops anyway because when the allegations began to emerge the bishops stayed silent (or lied). Their silence was taken as an admission of guilt. Thereafter, anything dreamt up by the gay lobby was believed in Ireland. Remember Peter Tatchell turning up at the Holocaust Memorial and subsequent stories of 50,000 homosexuals being done to death in the “death camps”. Untrue. Yes, some died in concentration camps were they had been sentenced to hard labour but nowhere near the number put forward. And they were never part of the holocaust, of the Final Solution. They did not feature on the agenda of the Wannsee conference which defined it and they were not herded into the gas chambers. But it was believed.

Remember the story upon which the film “The Magdalene Sisters” was based? Do you know that it was a pack of lies, the product of a fevered imagination? But it was believed. More recently, there was the story of the hundreds of childrens’ bodies dumped by the nuns in the septic tank in Tuam. It was obscenely distorted nonsense which was patently untrue because, apart from anything else, no septic tank has ever been built in Ireland that was big enough. But it was believed. And I am in no way unfeeling or uncaring of the poor wee souls who had been buried in unmarked graves. I cannot say the same for those who used them for their own evil ends.

One of which was the outcome of the referendum.

In Ireland there are 4 archbishops, 21 suffragan bishops, with one diocese currently sede vacante, and 3 auxiliary bishops. On the retired list are 3 archbishops, two of whom are cardinals, 12 bishops and 8 auxiliary bishops. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. Have any of them sung for their supper? Have any of them distinguished themselves in the defence of marriage during the lead up to the referendum?

I hope His Excellency the Most Reverend Charles John Brown, titular archbishop of Aquileia, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, is asking himself the same question.

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