The news today in the Irish Independent is …
THE Pope will be officially told the Irish Catholic Church is “on the edge” of national collapse and has only five to 10 years to make a radical recovery by giving laymen and women a greater say in decision-making.
This warning will be submitted in the coming months in a confidential report to Pope Benedict XVI by an international investigator examining the state of the Irish church in the wake of the Murphy and Ryan reports into clerical child abuse.
The full article is here, I’ll let you read it all at you leisure.
To some this is perhaps bad news, but for many others such as myself, this is very good news indeed. Having grown up in Ireland, I’d heard some things that I simply refused to believe at the time, but now know that my friends were not simply telling me tall stories. For there lurking under the social covers were deep dark tragic tales. I need not repeat such stories, we all know them.
The abuse that took place did not happen despite the system, it was the system. To this day the clerics are still in denial and advise that you should not condemn the entire church due to a few bad priests. This of course is now recognised by many as nonsense because this tragedy was compounded by the hierarchy protecting the abusers and covering it all up, then add to that the other clergy who simply turned a blind eye to what was going on and pretended it was not happening. A few brave honest people did attempt to speak out over the years from inside, but when you have a prevailing policy of gagging and silencing combined with a social unwillingness to face the truth, it did nothing at all to prevent the horror from continuing.
There is much to condemn with the belief system itself. It is awash with not just a god, but an entire collection of supernatural entities that includes god, jesus, his mother, a vast assortment of saints and angels, oh and lets not forget the other side where we also have lots of demons to choose from as well. On a regular basis the faithful are expected to attend a ceremony where a male virgin will recite a magical incantation that is claimed will transform some bread and wine into the actual flesh and blood of a god for consumption, not just in a symbolic sense, but quite literally.
Yet, it is not critical thinking, nor an appeal to reason that has prevailed in the downfall of this strange and truly bizarre mindset, but rather it has been the emotional revulsion generated by their truly abhorrent behaviour and their frantic attempts to cover it all up.
So what happens now?
I would like to think that we shall see the emergence of a more secular republic, and perhaps we will indeed observe the decline of Catholicism. No more will it be a country run by run by religious orders in schools, hospitals and some say even the government, where belief oversees the running of practically everything. But without a real foundation built upon critical thinking, I fear we shall not see a greater degree of secular thinking, but will instead see new forms of superstitious thinking arise and take hold to replace it all.
Gone will be beliefs in angels and demons, instead we might see other forms of fundamentalist thinking take hold, or alternatives such as a belief in aliens, ghosts, and psychics rushing in to fill the vacuum left behind.
Well, perhaps that’s all part of what it means to be Irish. If its not jesus and mary, then it will be talk about the little people and spirits, but what else would you expect from a people who have turned the pastime of drinking into a profession. As for me, well I’m Irish, so I’m off now to sample a tipple or two as well. Ah but just before I go, let me ask you one question, “Am I wrong?”. If so, please do tell me why, because I’d really like to be wrong and retain a hope for a more secular less superstitious Irish future, and if not that, then at the very least a little less nonsense.