17 May 2018

The Irish Referendum

I originally posted this piece on 1 June 2015. It seems depressingly relevant as the Irish electorate faces another Referendum, again, in effect, inviting them to vote for or against Christ.

When I was young, there was a lot of talk to the effect that Vatican I had defined the Papacy; but had left its teachings unbalanced by saying so little about the Episcopate. Vatican II was said to have done splendidly by correcting this balance.

So, at Vatican II, we had the status of bishops being given a puff ... by the bishops! And the bishops, additionally, claiming enormous moral credit for ... themselves giving themselves this puff!

I wonder what narrative History will give of the First World Episcopate in the decades since the Council.

I could go on about the collapse within the Church of the religious orders, of vocations to the priesthood. I could get rhetorical about the Liturgy. But I might simply be expressing my own prejudices. I have as many, if not more, human failings than most. And perhaps what has happened since the Council constituted in some cases (as it certainly did in the case of Liturgy) simply an extrapolation of what was already happening.

But ... the Paedophile Priest scandal! Here, considered objectively, we do have a massive dereliction of duty on the part of Bishops and of Episcopacy. In many cases, it seems, they disregarded juridical procedures and maintained 'the filth' in pastoral ministry.

And then there have been some high-profile episcopal adulterers; firstly in Ireland and then in Scotland and most recently in England (I wonder, incidentally, if there has been any enquiry into who knew what about Kieran Conry before his episcopal nomination; and why not).

I think it does the Irish laity enormous credit, in all the circumstances, that [in the Gay Marriage Referendum] so many of them did vote in accordance with the teachings of the Church. (One constituency voted against SSM; two constituencies, knife-edge.)

It would be reassuring if some representative body of bishops ... perhaps, let's say, a Synod ... were to express some corporate regret about what their Order has done to the Church in the last disastrous half century. It has, in some parts of the world and in more than a few individuals, shown disturbing indications of a radical dysfunctionality.

Instead, we have suggestions of enhancing still further the powers of this Order by entrenching canonically and structurally and even dogmatically their Episcopal Conferences.

Holy Mother Church needs that like she needs a hole in the head.

17 comments:

Deacon Augustine said...

As Conry was CMOC's protege, they are unlikely to look into the circumstances of his appointment. After all it might cast doubt on all the appointments CMOC has had a hand in - not least the role he played in "Team Bergoglio."

Michael Leahy said...

Found your last line hilarious, Father, probably because it is utterly true. Was it Saint Athanasius who described the floor of Hell being paved with the skulls of Bishops? In fairness, I suspect that the root of the problem lay in an excessive faith in the so-called and since much discredited "science" of psychology at the expense of Christian morality and Canon Law. Of course, this begs the question of how much Faith these Bishops had in their Faith.

For anyone who has the time, the writings of a very brave and determined Jewish lady, Dr. Judith Reisman, are very instructive about this issue. If only a minority of Bishops could have shown a fraction of her courage this disaster might have been nipped in the bud.

Joshua said...

So the Irish have blasphemed the Trinity, Whose dominion they acknowledge at the outset of their now shamefully perverted Constitution; the snakes have been let back into Ireland; is St Patrick to be removed as the Patron of so unhappy an isle? In better days such would have brought an interdict upon the whole country. They had better remember what happened to Atlantis.

Stephen said...

How much more strengthened can the order of bishops get? Are they not together the Magisterium, who, according to RC teaching, when in union with the Bishop of Rome, are IT, as in, there ain't nothing more?

Jane said...

The failure to teach Humanae Vitae was and is a massive dereliction of duty the consequences of which are visible as far as the eye can see. Not only were the Catholic laity let down, but the whole world was and is denied the liberating truth which reduces divorce and infertility, adultery and abortion. Of course, the whole world wouldn`t, en masse, have accepted such a teaching, but what a brake it would have been on the cart which now careers so wildly down the slippery slope.

It`s not too late - let`s have clear teaching on the intrinsic evil of contraception, NFP in every parish - offered to parishioners and to the wider population - sermons about sin and how to be absolved of it, confession queues, lots of absolution and a real joy in Life, Family, Children, Modesty, Purity, Grace. And no Mercy without Contrition.

Jane said...

Thank you to Michael Leahy for the pointer to Dr. Judith Reisman.
Watch three or four minutes from 4 minutes onwards to understand another aspect of the enemy`s strategy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-un-M2ePCg

Seamus said...

The late Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete used to say that you can tell that the bishops are the successors to the apostles because, when the chips were down, the apostles distinguished themselves by betraying Our Lord, denying Our Lord, and running away like scared rabbits rather than standing with Our Lord.

Lepanto said...

Retired Irish Bishop, Willie Walsh, told the secular press just after his retirement that he is not at all convinced that there is an afterlife. With 'leaders' like that, Irish apostasy should come as no surprise. What a pity that someone didn't think to ask whether he actually believed anything at all before they decided to ordain him. I hope that he is enjoying the pension and benefits provided by those who (presumably) disagree with him on this fairly basic matter. Bishop Willie's views on same-sex relationships are, of course, predictably 'modern'.
If I were Pope, I'd sack the lot and employ some traditional Catholics with short tempers and long whips to interview candidates. (I am available if the Pope is reading this).

Jacobi said...

"last disastrous half century"

That says most if not all of it Father. Better not go into detail, another time perhaps.

Looking at the Voris video recently he asked the question, " are you a baptised Catholic". Now Baptism has continued but most of those interviewed simply did not believe, because, they were never taught, either in school Apologetics or RE, or from the pulpit or whatever. Of course you don't believe in things you don't know about or understand or which your so-called teachers don't appear to be very enthusiastic about.

And that is what has happened to the Church in the last fifty years.

viterbo said...

When you look at the stats for the vote the 'yes' crowd were not an Irish majority of possible votes, just a majority of unfortunate actual votes. "Of the 3,221,681 registered Irish voters, 1,201,606 (37 percent) voted “Yes” to same-sex civil marriage; 734,000 (23 percent) voted “No” on the issue; 13,818 (less than 1 percent) of the votes were “spoiled”; and fully 1,272,257 voters (40 percent) did not turn out at all."

"Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated." G.K.Chesterton.

Tony V said...

"I wonder what narrative History will give of the First World Episcopate in the decades since the Council."

I suspect it will be that the Second Vatican Council, like the First, was extremely inopportune.

GOR said...

I was struck by Matthew Parris’ article in The Spectator – “In Irish Catholicism, it seems God can be outvoted”.

That it takes a self-admitted gay atheist to remind the Hierarchy of their responsibilities is sad - but telling. That a humbled Hierarchy was unable to mount a strong defense of truth is disappointing, but not unexpected. Years of ‘protecting their own’, tolerating dissent - and worse - and leaving error unchallenged, have their effects.

Instead of kow-towing to the ‘majority’ with wishy-washy talk of ‘reality checks’ and ‘new language’ the bishops and priests need to ask themselves why they had less faith than the 743,000+ faithful who stood up for Truth. St. Paul’s words ring true: “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.”

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Decree Concerning Reform, Session VI, Chapter I

"The same holy council, the same legates of the Apostolic See presiding, wishing to restore a very much collapsed ecclesiastical discipline and to reform the depraved morals of the clergy and the Christian people, has deemed it proper to begin with those who preside over the major churches [bishops], for unblemished character in those who govern is the salvation of those governed."

Decree Concerning Reform, Session XXIV, chapter I

Finally, the same holy council, moved by so many very grave afflictions of the Church, cannot but call to mind that nothing is more necessary to the Church of God than that the holy Roman pontiff apply that solicitude which by the duty of his office he owes the universal Church in a very special way by associating with himself as cardinals the most select persons only, and appoint to each church most eminently upright and competent shepherds [bishops], and this the more so, because our Lord Jesus Christ will require at his hand the blood of the sheep of Christ that perish through the evil government of shepherds who are negligent and forgetful of their office.

Just think of the quality of Cardinals and Bishops chosen by the Popes since, say, 1950.


Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Saint Raymond of Penafort:

If the preacher of truth is really not deceiving us when he says that all who want to live godly lives in Christ will suffer persecution, then no one, I think, is exempted from this general rule. If he is, it is because he neglects or does not know how to live a sober, upright and religious life in this present age. I should hope that you would not be counted among their number. Their homes are peaceful and complacent. They live in security and never feel the touch of the Lord's rod. They pass their days in plenty and in the end go straight to hell...

Arthur Gallagher said...

My FB friend Cathal loftus observed that a large facor in voting on the 8th will be about revenge. It will not be rational, but it will be about Savita, and other women, about the Magdalen Laundries, about adoption and industrial schools, and episcopal hypocrisy. For many people, it will be about anything except human life, and the facts will not matter.

vetusta ecclesia said...

The wall of silence around Conry is the height of clericalism. Do not the faithful, especially those of A and B over whom he was set, have some right to know about his career trajectory and his fate subsequent to his disgrace?

William Murphy said...

As regards the inflated authority of Bishops' Conferences....who wrote this in 2013 in "Evangelii Gaudium", para 32?

"Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated.[37] Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach."

If doctrinal authority is devolved to individual Bishops' Conferences and each ends up with different doctrines, we are going to have more flavours of "missionary outreach" than Starbucks has coffee types.