Saturday, 20 March 2010

Pope Benedict's Pastoral Letter to Irish Catholics

This weekend, in every Catholic church throughout the land, Pope Benedict’s “Pastoral Letter of the Holy Father to Catholics in Ireland” will be read from the pulpit. Those of us who won’t be present can, however, rely on the miraculous intercession of the World Wide Web.


The letter contains 4,674 words, but says nothing of any note. There is an apology, but El Popo could hardly say he wasn’t sorry for his organisation's cover-up of child abuse and its active role in moving the perpetrators to fresh pastures where they could find new victims to abuse.

There is a lot of talk about “forgiveness” in the letter. Thing is, I – and many of you, I imagine – grew up in an Ireland where there was very little Christian forgiveness, and even less tolerance. An Ireland in which the Church’s values and mores were inflicted on everyone, believers or not. An Ireland in which people were even denied contraception and divorce.

The Catholic Church inflicted its vision of official morality on all of us, and denied us basic rights - even as its representatives were engaged in, and were covering up, the worst kind of sins (to use its terminology).  They even ran/run the majority of our schools.  And since when was it ever a good idea to entrust vulnerable children to the care of sexually frustrated priests, nuns and brothers sworn to an unnatural life of chasity?

Then again, none of that is surprising in a so-called "republic" based on a constitution beginning with “In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority . . .”   And no prizes for guessing which organisation was charged with dispensing that authority?

I couldn’t care less what the Pope, Ian Paisley, the Ayatollah or Reverend Moon says - but I did read Benedict's mealy-mouthed apology out of a fascinated curiousity.  From what I can see, the Church seems to blame “growing secularisation” in Ireland as being at the root of its problems.   Now that depends, I suppose, on what it sees the problem as. The actual abuse itself or the fact that it was found out.  See extract below: 

“4. In recent decades, however, the Church in your country has had to confront new and serious challenges to the faith arising from the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society. Fast-paced social change has occurred, often adversely affecting people’s traditional adherence to Catholic teaching and values. All too often, the sacramental and devotional practices that sustain faith and enable it to grow, such as frequent confession, daily prayer and annual retreats, were neglected. Significant too was the tendency during this period, also on the part of priests and religious, to adopt ways of thinking and assessing secular realities without sufficient reference to the Gospel. The programme of renewal proposed by the Second Vatican Council was sometimes misinterpreted and indeed, in the light of the profound social changes that were taking place, it was far from easy to know how best to implement it. In particular, there was a well-intentioned but misguided tendency to avoid penal approaches to canonically irregular situations. It is in this overall context that we must try to understand the disturbing problem of child sexual abuse, which has contributed in no small measure to the weakening of faith and the loss of respect for the Church and her teachings."

"Canonically irregular situations"?  The fact is, it is only due to "increasing secularisation" that the scandal of clerical abuse was ever uncovered at all.  It is only through "increasing secularisation" that  the scandals of Ireland's Magdalene Laundries and industrial schools were officially exposed and  retrospectively condemned.  

People knew about these things at the time but they were too stupid, too cowed, and too in awe of the Catholic Church and Official Ireland orthodoxy to do anything about them.   Just as when instances of clerical abuse were reported to gardai on rare occasions, they chose not to act. In the cases of the laundries and the industrial schools gardai (police) actively condemned young lives to them.

And can we really be expected to believe - those of us who base our beliefs on rationality - that the people sitting in Leinster House and on local councils thoughout  the land at the time had no idea what was going with regard to all or any of  these scandals either?

So let us not "forgive", and let us not forget, the role of the State and its agents in all of this.

Back to Gombeen Nation main page


Ponyboy said...

The Pony Airways jet is fuelled up, the pilot is just waiting for the weather report from Fiumicino before we move to DEFCON 1 and get airborne. GM -did you want me to swing by Dublin, we've got heaps of room and you'd be most welcome besides you could help us with our choice of weapon. i'm opting for the curare soaked hairshirt for the job. Ratslinger's a size 40 i'd say but to be on the safe side I've brought the electrified gold rosary beads cos those boys in the big dresses can't resist the glitter and it's a great electical conductor. Ok must dash. Papal problem will be solved in 24 hours.

Laurence said...

Fine Gael now calling for RC Church to hand over all school land to state.

School lands controlled by the Catholic Church should be handed back to the State, Fine Gael spokesman on education Brian Hayes told his party’s national conference today.

"I recognise the extraordinary contribution of the Catholic Church to Irish education over many decades, but the truth of the matter is that if you were devising a new model of school patronage you wouldn't start out from the model we have now,'' he said.

Noting that the Catholic Church was the patron of 92 per cent of all primary schools, Mr Hayes said he believed it was unsustainable in the long run for patrons to effectively own school lands and property.

"In my view, the State should be responsible for educational buildings,'' said Mr Hayes.

Took them a while. Will probably be watered down or forgotten or else they'd risk losing a lot of elderly voters.

Of course, aside from the buildings, the main thing is to stop innocent children being indoctrinated with garbage such as transubstantiation.

The Gombeen Man said...

@ Ponyboy, hang on 'til I get my sunglasses and a bottle of curare. ;-)

@ Laurence. I couldn't agree more. And about time, eh?

Ella said...

Ha, ha PonyBoy, if only...

On a more serious note no admission of cover ups and no mention of anybody stepping down or being kicked out.

Anna said...

A lot of people would want to be on that sounds a wonderfully surreal plan.....
it does not need to be pointed out, that the Pope's letter does nothing but give great ammo to his detractors, WHAT a whitewssh, in fact the many victims could mount a class action for DEFAMATION:
The lack of logic, the casual all this happened because church lost 'respect ' from the was because it was given Too much fear and respect that it got Away with this for so long..and the campaign to not involve the police was 'well meaning'- meaning well for whose welfare?
Oh, and the reason it all happened was that the People weren't confessing and praying enough!!!
Oh and the greater freedom in the church brought by Vatican 2 was 'mis-interpreted'!! WHAT does this mean? That Irish clegy wrongly took greater freedom as 'now we can have sex with children.?'
Grossly insulting to victims- ANOTHER massive apology needed for this one! but laughably ridiculous.
Of course sexual repression leads to abuse.
So many Irish families sacrified a young son to the priesthood - often sent to a seminary on that track, at age 12. Great social cachet for poor people- and many thought that wss their own ticket to heaven bought. So many clerics were produced by this country, that 1000's has to be Exported, causing what IT religious correspondent Patsy Mc Garry called rape camps abroad.
NO other major religion has enforced celibacy - and it's ALL about safeguarding Church property - not for any good or holy reason. Christ certainly Never called for it, and some of the disciples were married.
ENOUGH talk, teare and frustrated rage.
ACTION is the best apology. An all Ireland petition for All church schools and hospitals to be handed over to the State. Forget about payment.The ordinary people have already paid enough for the churchs' crimes.

Anonymous said...

I cant understand why the people who oversaw the rape of children are flimflamming on their resignation, it beggars belief . It shouldnt even be a question of resignation they should be in Jail .Put them in jail cells so we can scrape back some national dignity and give some Justice to those people .

Ella said...

Hi GM, I just noticed you are on the finalist list for Political Blog 2010. Well done for getting down to the last 5. Good Luck! Thanks to whoever put you forward and the judges for taking the time to read and fully appreciate your blog.

Anna said...

Yes I also noticed Ella,
Congratulations Gombeen Man on getting to the top 5- there were more than 30 on the initial list!
I discovered your blog, around Oct 2008, when I was searching for an FÖT article ( which you'd reproduced)- I'd wiped the FOT article off my computer, and was again searching for it....when I discovered the Blogosphere- never knew it was so big.I email your funnier ones to friends in Belfast, and recommend it to them.
The 5 Best Blogs by a politician include Joan Burton ( Labour) & Joe Higgins (In A Party of His Own - literally. What more can you say about a man who, in a greedy age, and greedy country, got booted out of the Irish Labour Party for being Too Much of a Commie?)
Glad to see those nominees- on with the revolution. ( Cuffe St also nominated- we Greens are not as Black as we are painted)
On with the Blogosphere, Irealnd's Samizdat..

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks Ella, Anna!!!

Anonymous said...

The Roman Catholic Profligate Flat Earth Society of Ireland (Pastoral Letter)

We wish to issue a profound apology on behalf of The Roman Catholic Flat Earth Profligate Society to all the people of Ireland for teaching complete and total balderdash in an arrogant and dictatorial fashion over the past 1700 years. In particular we wish to say sorry because “Little Bo-Peep had Lost her Sheep” and “The Old Woman who lived in a Shoe” ought not to have beaten her children.

We are sorry that over the years we have tortured and massacred millions of people, carried out abominable rituals of diabolical debauchery with young children, including serial rape and murder. We are sorry that over the years in our Industrial Schools and Magdalene Laundries we battered, beat, buggered and buried innocent children who had been given into our care.

We are sorry that we did not make greater profits through the enslavement and exploitation of children so that His Holiness the Pope and the cardinals, bishops and priests could live in greater opulence and with more profligacy, and engage in more diabolical deeds.

We are sorry that The Inquisition had not been more successful over the centuries and that more people had not been subjected to greater torture and torment. If this had been done effectively, we would not be in this mess today and no one would be asserting that the earth is spherical and no one would challenging our contention the earth is flat. The Roman Catholic Flat Earth is an article of Absolute Faith that all Catholics must believe that the earth is flat under the pain of being bored to death by The Roman Catholic Church.

We are sorry that we predominantly used sexual perverts, sadists and paedophiles to induce torture, inflict pain and suffering, cause humiliation and doubt and instil fear in young children so that they would become permanently obedient to us and learn to permanently fear us and to fear all authority for the rest of their lives.

Most of all, we are sorry that we have been found out by the public for our pernicious dogma. Henceforth we will be more mendacious and endeavour to teach balderdash in a more subtle way and with more guile and cunning than before.

In future we hope to ensure to develop a better quality type of deviance and corruption, with more subtlety. We will send our top propaganda and brain washings agents from the Vatican to ensure that there is no change to our business (The Vatican is a multi dollar business).

We will endeavour to ensure that we conceal our perversions and use extraordinary rendition as a system of punishment. No child or person will be punished directly by us, we will contract this service out to others on a reciprocal basis. We earnestly hope that the bodies of children that were secretly murdered by clerical perverts, and secretly buried in the grounds of the Industrial Schools and Magdalene Laundries in the dark of night will never be exhumed and that no evidence against us will ever be revealed.

We hope that the documents we falsified such as children’s death certificates will never be discovered and the true amount of torture and murder that actually took place by priests Brothers and Nuns will never ever be revealed.

We earnestly hope and pray that no future Taoiseach or President of Ireland will ever insist on having the grounds of the Industrial Schools and Magdalene Laundries scanned for evidence of secret graves and use scientific evidence to expose the murders perpetrated by us. We hope that DNA evidence of child slaughter will never expose what the Vatican and The Roman Catholic in Ireland did to young children.

We will also ensure that our attire will look even more ridiculous and hideous than before, and we will wear taller and sillier hats whilst wearing ostentatious regalia and carrying senseless accoutrements. We will continue to recite nonsense and practice more outrageous rituals.

Benedict Reichstag XVI
Infallible Pontificator

Old Nick

Delia Gogan said...

I wonder if Brady or Martin asked their fellow religious maniac with the beard in England to say disparaging things about the Catholic church in Ireland. Getting a Church of England prod to criticise holy mother Ireland is certainly a guaranteed way to get Irish people to back the resident shower of creepy clerics.

Anna said...

Small footnote;
A church going friend from Newry has told me , he was at mass in Newry on Sunday 18th march: The priest Firstly called on the Pope to resign, said celibacy should never have been imposed on priests- that he would have have liked to have had kids himself, that there should be women priests, that while there were some good and saintly people in the church that there had been evil paedophiles such as Brendan Smyth & Fr Sean Fortune & Ivan Payne …mostly called for a total reform. all to a Standing Ovation…
well done Fr Mc Honest & the congregation of the Dominican! Other priests please follow