Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Towards a Post-Catholic Ireland?

A government commission investigating abuses by clergy and staff on children in Irish Catholic schools and institutions, 9 years in the making, is scathing.  It describes sexual abuse as "endemic' to schools and institutions for boys going back 60 years.   Schools and institutions for girls were also horrifically abusive.  The victims number in the thousands.

No one, however, will be prosecuted.  An order of monks most heavily implicated in the report, The Christian Brothers, successfully sued the commission to prevent it from naming perpetrators and the victims.  Public opinion is outraged. 

In my one and only brief trip to Ireland (Dublin and Galway), I was struck by how young, and secular, the place was; much more than I had expected.  I even heard some talk on the telly of disestablishing the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland.  I was startled to say the least.  But, the Irish, especially the young, appear to be voting with their feet and walking away from Holy Mother Rome in droves.

I've always found it striking that an ancient institution that always demands contrition and taking responsibility from its followers has so much difficulty being contrite and taking responsibility in any way that would be convincing to anyone other than their own hierarchy.
As far as I'm concerned, these folks are in no position to be preaching anything to anyone.

I also suspect that the reason peace is breaking out in Ulster is because Protestants find the prospect of a secular Ireland a lot less threatening.


john iliff said...

I expect the pews in Roman Catholic parishes will be emptier this weekend.

This could accelerate the growth trend in Church of Ireland parishes throughout the Irish republic, as well.

Leonard said...

I read, can´t remember where, that they are importing Catholic priests INTO Ireland from Africa, India and beyond...few locals feel the ¨call¨ (no surprise after being endlessly abused and a Bishop of Rome whose childhood included snappy little arm salutes in the Hitler Youth).