The Irish Times – Friday, December 4, 2009

FIANNA FÁIL backbencher Mary O’Rourke has disagreed with the Taoiseach’s defence of the Vatican and papal nuncio who refused to co-operate with the Dublin diocesan report.

Ms O’Rourke, a former minister, referred to the “sheer discourtesy of a body called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or something with an equally convoluted title”.

She added: “This wonderful doctrine body, wherever it is, does not reply to letters.

“Consider the discourtesy of it, and the discourtesy of the head of the Vatican, parading around Ireland in his wonderful glitzy clothes, but not replying to letters and not seeing fit to talk to his counterpart . . . whoever that is. It is just not good enough.’’

In the Dáil on Tuesday, the Taoiseach said it was “not unreasonable’’ to assume the Holy See and the nuncio believed the matter was more properly addressed through diplomatic channels.

During the resumed debate on the report yesterday, Ms O’Rourke said she was struck by an article by Maureen Gaffney in The Irish Times in which she spoke about the church’s archaic rules on contraception. “Who pays heed to them? The church, however, clings to them as if they were a totem pole of wonderful knowledge.” .

There were also archaic rules, she said, under which the church denied marriage to a person wishing to remarry after a State divorce.

“The church persists with an opaque and impenetrable system of annulment, which one can secure after something like 95 years and all sorts of tribunals of inquiry and so forth.”

Ms O’Rourke said the church was “doomed to failure and we are doomed too’’ unless it started to have an affinity again with ordinary people and their ordinary, everyday problems.

Labour’s Michael D Higgins said he found it “absurd that the papal nuncio could serve as the dean of the diplomatic corps when, in an institutional sense, his predecessors have refused to answer matters of concern within Ireland”. The convention in a number of other places was for the longest-serving ambassador to serve as dean, he added.

Mr Higgins quoted from a church document which said that the whole process of formation of candidates for the priesthood and religious life should foster an integration of human sexuality and the development of healthy human relationships within the context of celibate living. He said he would like to see any research “which suggests one could achieve the objective of such a balance while meeting the requirements of celibate living”.

Mr Higgins added: “It is a matter for the organisation itself. However, I would be dishonest if I did not say it was an issue it must examine as a source point of what is contained in the report.’’ He said “many people who have a spiritual life” had been affected by the report.

“There are many priests and nuns who are dealing every day, at this time of a broken economy, with distressed communities and people in poverty and isolation, and their work has been badly affected by this behaviour.”

Labour justice spokesman Pat Rabbitte said little had changed within the institutional church.

He added that he had heard Marie Collins, a victim, say as much when she outlined her bitter disappointment with the response of the bishops, some of whom had not even bothered to read the report.

“The media seems to dictate the changing episcopal response. They seem to be measuring what they can get away with,” he added.

“They seem to misunderstand the earthquake they have set off in society. The Vatican is silent. The papal nuncio is contemptuous.

“Whatever happens, it is the end of the age of deference.”


1 Response » to “O’Rourke rejects Cowen’s defence of Vatican silence”

  1. Personal View of a Victim of Abuse

    What can one say about Cowan’s remarks. They certainly left many people very cool indeed in fact ‘stunned’ would be more appropriate. Its good to see that Mary O’Rourke’s remarks are more balanced.

    Recall the dreadful events of the Jessica and Holly atrocity in Cambridge a few years ago. That unleashed a storm of fury from the public such that Huntley had to be protected.
    Compare that with Cowan’s supportive comments to the Vatican which is the orchestrating organisation in the PERVERSION OF JUSTICE over the past decades. Dont they get it? Are there still so many people in the Irish public who see these crimes as ‘Tidley Winks’ as Berty Ahern was overheard to describe it a few years ago?These are Crimes of a class separating to an extent that capital punishment is still on the statute books of many countries for this type of crime. This is not a commercal tribunal, this is about crimes in the league of crimes against humanity.

    And as for the band of thugs, their various bishops have come on the media to rationalise and speak about planning a future for their organisation and going forward and all that.

    The best plan for those among the clerics who hold their piety above the heinous crimes and the actions of their colleagues is to pack and go back to their beloved Rome and stay there. No if and or buts about it.

    As for the ones who remain, they need to be prohibited from contact with children in any public or healthcare capacity. Again no if and or buts about it.

    And as for that Papal Nuncio, he should be booted out unceremoniously from Ireland and take his ‘Vatican Christmas Songs’ TV enterprise with him.

    Better still, get rid of the lot and confiscate their lands and if there be difficult consequences, face them when the time comes with a honest face, dear old Irish Government.

    Best Regards


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