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The aftermath of Pope Francis' visit to Ireland

by Frank Schnittger Mon Aug 27th, 2018 at 11:29:30 AM EST


Much lower than expected crowds show up for Pope Francis' Mass

Pope Francis' visit to Ireland, just concluded, was very different to that of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, in 1979, but it is very difficult to gauge it's significance in the immediate aftermath. The visit was dominated by the clerical child sexual abuse and cover-up scandals, and other scandals concerning Church run mother-and-baby homes, forced adoptions, and forced labour in Magdalen laundries. Pope Francis referred to these scandals in all four of his speeches and begged forgiveness for the Church's part in them.


What he did not do was announce any concrete measures to help bring the perpetrators and those responsible for the cover-up to justice, such as releasing files on the perpetrators held by the Vatican to state prosecutors. He referred to some Archbishops and Cardinals being sacked but claimed he was limited in what he could do by opposition from the Curia. It seems that too many people directly involved in the cover-up are still in power in the Vatican.

The Pope himself has also just been accused of covering-up the abuse by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in Washington and called on to resign by the former Vatican ambassador to the US, Archbishop Vigano, a conservative with hard-line anti-gay views. The Curia may be fighting back.

The crowds attending his ceremonies where also much reduced on 1979 when over a million attended Pope John Paul II's Mass in the Phoenix park. This time half a million were expected but only an estimated 130,000 showed up, perhaps not helped by the inclement weather. Croke Park Gaelic stadium was also far from full for a Papal homily on family values despite a host of musical stars performing as well. A rival protest event organized at short notice with no logistical support by abuse survivor Colm O'Gorman drew a crowd of about five thousand.

Many practicing Catholics were hoping the Pope's visit would result in an upsurge in religious fervour as had happened after Pope Jon Paul's visit in 1979, followed soon after by a clause banning abortion being inserted into the Irish Constitution through a referendum carried with a two thirds majority. Exactly the same majority removed that clause just a few months ago, and so the two Papal visits nicely book-end a very significant change in  popular attitudes to Church doctrine and teaching in the meantime.

Leo Varadker gave a widely praised speech to the Pope urging the Church to adopt a policy of mandatory reporting of sex abuse allegations to civil authorities world-wide, a policy only recently adopted by the Irish Church following some opposition from the Vatican. As a non-practicing Catholic he had to tread a thin line between representing the public interest and appearing to breach the principles of separation of Church and State and freedom of religion by interfering in Church affairs. In the circumstances, it was the very least he could do.

The united front on this issue presented by both the Irish Church and State does however represent a powerful signal to the Vatican that any further non-reporting of allegations, or interference in the subsequent investigations will not be tolerated. The Pope appears to have been visibly moved by the forthright condemnations of church actions declared to his face by abuse survivors at a private meeting organized by the church even though it excluded some of the more vocal church critics on the issue.

Most people who met him appear to have been impressed by his sincerity and listening skills, but many expressed disappointment at the lack of any concrete follow-up actions proposed by the Pontiff during his visit. Most will now adopt a wait-and-see approach to see if Vatican policies, personnel, and practices really do change. Few expect any fundamental changes in church teaching and practice, for instance on birth control, same sex marriage, the medical management of unsafe pregnancies, and the ordination of women; but future appointments and policy pronouncements by the Vatican will be watched closely.

Pope John Paul II initiated a conservative counter revolution in Ireland when he visited in 1979, one which took a generation to reverse. Far from a repeat performance, it is just about possible that Pope Francis' visit to Ireland will have more of an impact on the Vatican than on Ireland.

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Dear Sir,

Pope John Paul II's visit to Ireland in 1979 initiated a conservative counter revolution in Ireland and led to the Eighth Amendment banning abortion in 1983.

This time around, the Irish church and state stood united in condemning clerical child sex abuse and other abuses of women and children, and demanding more effective action from the Vatican to bring perpetrators and those who cover up for them to justice.

Could it be that Pope Francis' visit will have more of an impact on him and on the Vatican that it has on Ireland?

Frank Schnittger



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 27th, 2018 at 11:53:39 AM EST
Dear Sir,

Why should anyone take any of these monsters seriously?  The gall.

Sincerely,

Humans with IQs Above Room Temperature

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2018 at 12:54:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dear Humans with IQs Above Room Temperature,

Monsters must be taken seriously in order to levy and collect reparations from them.

Your servant,

Ms Zappone
Children's Ministe
Republic of Ireland

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Aug 28th, 2018 at 04:34:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who knows? More to the point: Who cares?

The gullible will remain faithful, the rest will walk away and by generation be less tolerant of medieval men in Gucci frocks telling them how to live their lives. By the time the conservatives, walled away in the Vatican, notice that there really is a problem, it will be far too late.

Too fond of the power to command governments, the inevitable corruptions have led to the loss of western europe & N America. Eastern Europe, Africa nad S America remain obedient, but for how long?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 27th, 2018 at 01:40:59 PM EST
I started the first draft of the Diary with a snide "I know many of you are waiting with baited breath to hear how the Pope's visit went" but decided a more sober tone is more appropriate for the front page. Nevertheless I am not expecting a large readership...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 27th, 2018 at 02:03:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, this is mostly an Irish issue, but if there was ever a proof that the stranglehold the RCC used to have over Ireland is decidedly loosening, this visit was definitely it.
by Bernard on Mon Aug 27th, 2018 at 06:47:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In  my world, "RCC" are the initials of the Rape Crisis Centre in Dublin, which led to some confusion for a moment.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2018 at 09:03:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Death by acronyms... sorry about that.
Then again, I wasn't that far off topic.
by Bernard on Wed Aug 29th, 2018 at 06:35:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/Ireland now lists 94 Catholic priests and brothers who have been convicted of sex abuses offenses in Ireland to date. No one has been convicted of covering up their abuse. Strict data protection and defamation laws in Ireland make it difficult to report the names of all clerics and brothers who have allegations of abuse against them, estimated by the website to number 1,300.

This is because the making of a false allegation can cause irreparable damage to the reputation of the accused. However there has been only one high profile case of a priest being accused in error - my national broadcaster RTE - in a programme called Mission to prey. For the most part, the media have been scrupulous in researching and documenting the evidence for any allegations made. Of course the abused had no such protections.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 27th, 2018 at 06:34:12 PM EST

Did you catch his remarks on the plane home?

The Vatican has rolled back on a recommendation by Pope Francis that parents seek psychiatric help for children who show homosexual tendencies.

The pope made the comments to journalists as he was flying back to Rome from Ireland, but the Vatican later removed his phrase from its official account, saying he had not meant to suggest that homosexuality was a mental illness.

The pope was asked by a journalist what he would say to parents who observe homosexual traits in their children.

"When it shows itself from childhood, there is a lot that can be done through psychiatry, to see how things are. It is something else if it shows itself after 20 years," he said.

He added that ignoring a child who showed homosexual tendencies was an "error of fatherhood or motherhood".

However, when the Vatican later published the pope's answer, the reference to psychiatry had been removed.

Get your house in order, your Holeyness? Psychiatric help for known paedophiles is perhaps a higher priority? In closed institutions, yes?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2018 at 10:56:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I missed that. The Church always seems to confuse homosexuality with paedophilia. Psychiatry is irrelevant with homosexuality and not of much help with paedophiles either.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 28th, 2018 at 01:18:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Closed institutions.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2018 at 03:03:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've thought of an easy solution to Catholicism's problems in regard to marriage in the priesthood, empowering women in the Church, recognizing the need for effective contraception, and becoming accountable to its membership: become Lutherans.
by Andhakari on Wed Aug 29th, 2018 at 04:45:11 AM EST
A few Catholics with concerns on these issues have joined the Anglican Church of Ireland which is not all that different in terms of theology and ritual, but which has women and married priests and bishops, no issues with contraception, and some accountability through Parish select vestries and Diocesan synods. Others find the Church of Ireland too redolent of the old Anglo-Irish ascendency. Most just drift away from organised religion altogether. Even most practicing Catholics maintain a huge cognitive dissonance between Church teach and doctrine and their own beliefs and behaviours on medical and social issues.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 29th, 2018 at 11:14:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's always a tension between folk religion and formal institutions - not to mention elite religion, which is often different again in the details.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2018 at 01:40:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't just thinking of the rank and file, but the whole show, priests, candlesticks and all.  Just declare that through a clerical (heh, heh) error the protestants really won the 30 years war, and associated conflicts, and the Church would like to offer sincerest regrets for the last 501 years of silliness, plus here's the keys to the Vatican, and we're off.
Problem solved, except for all the paedophiles (who knew there were so many?).  Send them off to America to join the Dennis Hastert wing of the Republican Party.
by Andhakari on Wed Aug 29th, 2018 at 03:16:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's all that power and property to consider. Church people have to make a living somehow, and who would employ them?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 29th, 2018 at 03:53:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keep them on.  Just like a corporate takeover.  The mission is the same.  The facilities aren't too far out of line.
Baptisms, confirmations, weddings and funerals.  And the regular weekly stuff.  All pretty much the same except the priests will come with a variety of genitals, and get to go on dates without sneaking around.
Maybe the Lutherans could take on the Pope, as a kind of a constitutional monarch figure: no power, but waves to the common folk and has his bits kissed by Trump, and others like him.
by Andhakari on Wed Aug 29th, 2018 at 04:12:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But doesn't that have the disadvantage that when you die, you will go to Hell?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Aug 29th, 2018 at 11:22:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
most abuse survivors have already been there

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 29th, 2018 at 12:13:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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