Time for penitence

There is a powerful editorial in the Irish Catholic. It looks at a church that it says was unique to Ireland, and is now firmly in the past where it belongs.

‘Le catholicisme du type Irlandais” in many ways betrayed 14 centuries of unbroken and life-giving Christian tradition. Instead of fond memories of a nurturing Church, most remember an arrogant authoritarian Irish Church and a privileged clerical caste that obsessed over sexuality and hell fire and neglected the tender compassion of Christ.

It goes on to lay the blame for the current Irish situation firmly on the Irish bishops, and to call for firm action:

The Taoiseach’s speech, while unfair in some of the detail [a considerable understatement – Ed.], was an emotional roar from much of Catholic Ireland to the Vatican for action now. The Pope, in his Letter to Irish Catholics, promised reform but it is coming too slowly. Not only that, there is a ‘cabal’ to use Archbishop Martin’s term, of bishops actively trying to push the blame for their inaction on child abuse back on Rome. This is an amazing revisionism and even were it true, it ignores the primacy of conscience even over the Pope.

And, now, we are tired of apologies that ring hollow. The Vatican has a once in a generational opportunity now and should seize it. The step-by-step approach to renewal hasn’t worked…
The Irish Church needs someone to grab it, shake it up and make it fit for purpose because it is not capable of reforming itself. The Vatican needs to do this. Irish Catholics love their Church and want it back.

About joyfulpapist

JoyfulPapist is an adult convert to Catholicism, with a passion for her God, her faith, and her church.
This entry was posted in Church Politics, Irish Catholicism, Living Catholic lives, Uncategorized, World Affairs and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Time for penitence

  1. shane says:

    Instead of fond memories of a nurturing Church, most remember an arrogant authoritarian Irish Church and a privileged clerical caste that obsessed over sexuality and hell fire and neglected the tender compassion of Christ.

    I wonder if this is really historically accurate or just a caricature? Even in the 1950s Irish priests rarely preached about sex (except at missions).


  2. Gertrude says:

    An interesting point. Fr. Sean Finnegan wrote on Valle Adurni about the Ireland of the 50’s and from his recollections the point about ‘a privileged clerical caste’ (not necessarily on the hellfire and sex front;more on the ‘material’ side) was in fact borne out.
    As one who was around in the 50’s (just a child I hasten to add) I don’t ever remember priests, (or nuns for that matter) even ‘rarely’ preaching about sex. The most we knew was being told that St. Maria Goretti was a role model for Catholic girls. We had to read up why for ourselves!


  3. shane says:

    I have posted on this — which may be of interest. I would welcome comments:



  4. joyfulpapist says:

    According to this: http://www.irishcatholic.ie/site/content/catholicism-irish-variety-garry-osullivan the phrase “Le catholicisme du type Irlandais” has its origins in a book talking about 19th Century Irish Catholicism. “Irish Catholics – Tradition and Transition by John Jo Riordain, a Redemptorist priest: In explaining how ”Irish Catholicism” came about, he opens by lamenting ”that all of the fifteen hundred years of Christianity in Ireland, its ‘public image’, so to speak, should have been taken from the nineteenth century, which in many ways was probably the least ‘Irish’ and indeed, the least ‘Catholic’.” The term ‘Irish Catholic’ is now so loaded, so layered in its meaning that the positives of 1,500 years have slipped into the darkness of history.”


  5. toadspittle says:

    Shane, Toad remembers from the 40’s and 50’s – not in Ireland itself, but in a probably 90% Irish congregation in N:W:London, the priests seemed to speak of nothing else except contracepton. Of which they were not fond.
    No doubt, he remembers it wrongly, or, at least exageratedly.
    At school, masturbation was top of the form.


  6. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    I’ve just posted and it doesn’t show up. Let’s see about this one.


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