"Catholic Bishop of Raphoe Dr Philip Boyce has said the Catholic Church is being attacked by the arrows of a secular and Godless culture.
Dr Boyce also said it was rocked from the inside by the sins and crimes of priests and consecrated people.
An independent review of diocesan files relating to child abuse allegations against priests is nearing completion in the bishop's Donegal diocese.
He has promised to publish the findings of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church when he receives them, which is likely to be next month.
Bishop Boyce made his remarks last Saturday but they were not released to journalists until yesterday evening.
He told worshippers at the Novena at the Marian shrine in Knock, Co Mayo that they were living through a testing moment of history and a spiritual dark night now engulfs the church.
The bishop urged Catholics to act hopefully and with patience and predicted that the church would rise again." (RTE news, this morning).
Well, it is just a pity that a "secular and Godless" culture did not exist in Ireland when the abuses perpetrated by the powerful, State-influencing, Catholic Church were in full swing.
When the bishops whispered into the ears of elected politicians who twiddled their rosary beads in their pockets as they genuflected to do the church's bidding. As did much of the Irish population who sometimes even colluded in sending children off to the Magdalene Laundries or the industrial schools, as they tugged their forelocks before the unholy trinity of priests, police and politicians.
I am not quite convinced that a "secular and godless" culture exists even now in Ireland, but public attitudes are not quite so unquestioning and prostrate before the still-powerful Catholic Church, which continues to run 90% of our schools. Yet, a 2009 poll by the Iona Institute asserted that 65% still go to mass at least once a month, while the Irish public attitude to abortion rights continues to be misinformed by Catholic ideas of conception.
Education Minister, Ruairi Quinn, will begin negotiations with Catholic Church representatives next month in an attempt to get them to pay half the compensation bill to those they abused.
It might be timely for him to insist that schools, in our supposedly secular and Godless society, are finally taken out of the Church's control.
Back to Gombeen Nation main page