Monday, June 7, 2010

Benedict's Shock Troops Sent To Ireland To War On Liberals, Not Heal Clerical Abuse

Undoubtedly Archbishop Dolan will get his coveted promotion to Cardinal now that he has agreed to be a member of the visitation team who will beat--I mean sermonize-- the Irish Catholic Church back into submission to Rome and it's theology of the priesthood.

New Vatican campaign to clamp down on 'liberal opinion'
By John Cooney - Irish Independent - Monday June 07, 2010

VATICAN investigators to Ireland appointed by Pope Benedict XVI are to clamp down on liberal secular opinion in an intensive drive to re-impose traditional respect for clergy, according to informed sources in the Catholic Church.

The nine-member team led by two cardinals will be instructed by the Vatican to restore a traditional sense of reverence among ordinary Catholics for their priests, the Irish Independent has learned.

Priests will be told not to question in public official church teaching on controversial issues such as the papal ban on birth control or the admission of divorced Catholics living with new partners to the sacraments -- especially Holy Communion.

Theologians will be expected to teach traditional doctrine by constantly preaching to lay Catholics of attendance at Mass and to return to the practice of regular confession, which has been largely abandoned by adults since the 1960s.

An emphasis will be placed on an evangelisation campaign to overcome the alienation of young people scandalised by the spate of sexual abuse of children and by later cover-ups of paedophile clerics by leaders of the institutional church. (This will be a trick and a half since Benedict is bound and determined to shove the whole problem back down our throats as the solution.)

A major thrust of the Vatican investigation will be to counteract materialistic and secularist attitudes, which Pope Benedict believes have led many Irish Catholics to ignore church disciplines and become lax in following devotional practices such as going on pilgrimages and doing penance.

Bishops and priests will be instructed to preach to their congregations the unchanging central message of Jesus Christ about love, healing and repentance. (As meted out by the magical celibate all powerful priesthood.)

While the restoration of church discipline and pious practices such as praying to Our Lady and the saints will be welcomed by regular church-goers, the Vatican investigation is likely to face a backlash from liberal Catholics who want more accountability and democracy in church decision-making. (The backlash will come from MATURE Catholics who may or may not be liberal and could very well be conservatives who understand religious authority without accountability is tyrany, not salvation.)


Vatican officials are finalising the precise terms of the instructions for the investigators named last week by Pope Benedict, who initiated an 'Apostolic Visitation' last March in his pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland.

The investigators are clearing their diaries to visit Ireland's four principal archdioceses, the national seminaries and study centres run by religious orders in the autumn.

In the wake of the shocking Murphy report into clerical child abuse, the conservative Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, will examine the study courses conducted for trainee priests at the national seminaries in St Patrick's College, Maynooth, and the Pontifical Irish College in Rome.
At a meeting held in Maynooth last month, Archbishop Dolan told a gathering of priests "to return to basics" and to ground their ministry in "prayer, humility and a rediscovery of identity".

Archbishop Dolan's address, titled "God is the only treasure people desire to find in a priest", was the high point of the Irish church's celebration of The Year of the Priest, a campaign to encourage vocations to the priesthood.

The hardline address was enthusiastically endorsed by Cardinal Sean Brady, the Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh.

This week, as part of the Vatican's rigorous restoration policy, a widely promoted rally will be staged in Rome to cap what Pope Benedict has called "The Year of the Priest".

Thousands of priests from across the world, including from Ireland, are expected to attend the showcase event which is planned as a major spectacle trumpeting the special status of the priesthood.


If this wasn't so incredibly sad it would be funny. This amounts to Benedict declaring a civil war with in the Irish Church itself. The shrink in me see this as one man acting out his own internal war through his external position. Unfortunately Benedict has the power to do this. If for no other reason than this one, the power structure in the Church has to change.

This visitation is not about the love, healing and repentance which would actually be healing. It's about blaming the laity for the sins of the father's. It's about demanding the laity bow down before the very clerical system which abused them and piously beg for more. This is truly pathological.

I have one last observation. It's no accident that Ireland has been chosen as the place to wage this war. Ireland has a history of tolerating an abusive hierarchy and an abusive Church for the good of their souls. Rome is betting Irish Catholics are willing to undergo another round of abuse for the sake of this 'marriage'. Somehow I think Rome has misread Ireland exactly the way an abusive spouse misreads the anger of the abused spouse. There is a limit. There is a time when the abused finally says no more, not ever again, I have had enough. I don't care what you say. I can no longer trust or believe anything you say because in the final analysis it's always and forever more all about you.

I think Ireland has reached this point with Rome. I think a lot of us are reaching this point with Rome. It's just too bad there is no mechanism in place through which Benedict can be sent off to enact the drama his own internal conflicts in the solitude of his own soul. Perhaps Irish Catholics can send him that message.


  1. Each of the churches in our "parish" is having a "celebration" to honor our priests--as organized and decreed by the priests of course!
    Please let the rebellion start with you Ireland!

  2. Another "investigation" that is really part of Benedict's Inquisition against mature adults.

    Very sad that it has come to this destructiveness for the Church. Nobody wins with a Taliban Pope.

  3. Colleen - here's hoping you will comment on the Chris Hedges piece at GayMystic. I don't have quite the acumen for the task. Scarifying.

  4. "Bishops and priests will be instructed to preach to their congregations the unchanging central message of Jesus Christ about love, healing and repentance."

    This preaching is always directed by the priests and bishops as for us to do, but not for them to do.

    This is what is wrong with the priesthood of the RCC under the leadership of Benedict.

    It can't be a one-way street anymore. To be united to Christ means the priesthood must be united to Christ. I don't believe they are.

  5. Somehow, I think the American clerics are going to discover they have underestimated the level of anger among the Irish laity.

  6. Jayden that piece of Chris's is just flat brilliant. The best synopsis I have yet read about what it is we are facing. What I liked best about it was he pulled no punches when it came to the futility and bankruptcy of the left, especially as this has worked out under Obama.

    For those interested in what Jayden and are I commenting on, which is highly pertinent to this thread, see here:

  7. Colleen, I just read the Chris Hedges piece. This is unfortunately what is happening. There is a dismantling and revisioning taking place and the democrats and liberals are the scapegoats in the Churches and in politics. The right wing and conservatives will not see the destructiveness of their actions, but they are bent on being the ultimate in destroyers.

  8. Butterfly liberals are fueling the whole thing because they keep trying to use reason where reason is not being heard. In a sense this is precisely the weak link the rightwing leadership is exploiting and one of the major points Chris Hedges is trying to make.

    Keep liberal concepts on the level of discourse with no real action and it is just one more block in building the rightwing take over.

    Actions speak louder than words everday, all the time. Put action in place so people can experience the reality and you don't need words. Obama, and progressives in general have to stop substituting words for action. What did St Francis say, something to the effect--Spread the good news and speak only when necessary.

  9. Yes. Beat the laity into submission! Make them bow down to their priests. Show then who's boss.

    And watch them walk away...

  10. I still get the newspaper put out monthly by my local diocese. The letter from the bishop was all about how 'unfortunately' anybody can call themselves Catholic and there wasn't anything the hierarchy could do to stop it. So we lay Catholics need to pay extra special attention and make sure that we only read the 'truly Catholic' sources as approved by the hierarchy. Because 'only they' have concern for the good of our souls. Assertion after assertion after assertion - as if that is all it takes to convince people.

    I went through the drama of an abusive spouse. That abusive spouse used the exact same tactic of assertions piled on assertions. And the cutting off of outside friends and influences... I felt the same way after reading that column as I did after another fight with that abusive spouse. Surprisingly enough, it was anything but healing or uplifting. The ex-spouse [20 years and counting] never figured it out. I think the hierarchy is in that same position.

  11. Personally I don't think it's a failure of liberalism. Any more than Jesus was a failure of Messianism. Those who side with the wealthy, the corporations, the lobbyists, the PR machines that seduce the unwitting with fears and rage and deceitful lies, they have bought and paid for the politicians and anyone who might oppose them.

    I think we're part of an epic struggle here - just as Jesus was. The Beatitudes indicate that many will mourn and suffer for the sake of righteousness. We are to pick up our cross. It's not a "failure" of those who seek to live out the Gospel. Indeed, I think the strength of the opposition indicates, to my mind, the righteousness of our cause - and the threat we constitute to those who stand with the Pharisees and the forces of evil.

  12. Traditional respect for clergy?

    Respect must be earned. It doesn't come with the office or the collar.

    Traditional? What do they have in mind? I'm reminded of Frank McCourt's books, especially "Angela's Ashes". No. It isn't going to happen.

    By chance Mrs. p2p and I had dinner with some friends on Saturday and mentioned this blog. One woman, a traditional Irish person, revealed how her husband had beaten her on her wedding night. She turned to the priest who had just married them, showing her bruises. The priest said "What did you do to anger him?" She's 62 years old and the incident took place 42 years ago. It took a while for her to disentangle herself from the abusive husband and the church. She's never gone back.


  13. I watch my church continue to walk away from God's teachings. It's appalling. I note that the problem lies in the lack of faith shown by the people, and that the approach continues to be little crisis country by country, never addressing the whole church. The problem must be seen as small pockets, containable with plausible deniability.

    Let me pose a question. What if the devotional practices and penances were to be performed by the clergy, maybe with an invitation for the laity to join them. What if it were worldwide, and not this little dog-and-pony show? Would this group feel it would be good to join in? Or is that not enough, is that kissing the devil once again?

    I ask because I want some action that I can perform. I keep acting in the negative -- withholding monies, reacting to the latest garbage slung at the laity, talking to people who see dialogue as waiting for me to find that the church is always right even when it is wrong. (Michael Sean Winters wrote an article in The Tablet about the Phoenix excommunication. He says that religion is "reduced to ethics in American culture". He thinks religion should be unaffected and unmoved by ethics, rather than learning from and rising above it. How do you dialogue with that?)

    Looking for hope here. So far I think my best course might be just to feed some hungry folks.

  14. mjc I know where your coming from. I was thinking today that maybe what needs to happen is to just flat hi jack the Church at the Parish level.

    We could target certain parishes in every diocese and just take them over, and I mean take them over. This would involve setting up a shadow parish council in which all money would be donated through a separate incorporated fund and distributed by this council.

    This is pretty much what rich rightwing operatives do on the diocesan level. They use their resources to target a given bishop in exchange for influencing diocesan direction. It is what OD and the Legion do on a Parish level, except in their cases, a lot of the money goes into the global organization. They let the other pew sitters essentially pay for all other Parish needs in a sort of parasitic operation.

    Really, it may be that the thing to do is to co opt how the rightwing works and use it ourselves--and not apologize for it. If it's good for conservatives it's good for progessives. Besides, this would also let those in the hierarchy who disagree with the current agenda know that there is support in the Church for their position.

  15. They need to have more pilgrimages and doing penance. You have got to be kidding here. The Church wants a return to regular confessions. After what many of the priest have done, including what some have done in confessionals, is it any wonder that fewer people go to confession. When the Pope speaks of repentance does this refer to the priests and bishops or to the laity?

  16. wow, Colleen. Not the answer I expected, but very interesting. We all know priests who think Jesus is more important than their bishop.

  17. I believe that the composition of this "Visitation" as being all bishops of Irish descent from overseas will itself be seen in Ireland as, at best, condescending.

    Relations between Irish born-people and Americans of Irish descent are not nearly as friendly as they look at first glance.


  18. These times do seem reminiscent of the early 1930's as Noam Chomsky observes. The Church hierarchy is exactly where they were in 1930, right next to the fascist wingnuts with all their hatred & wrath, supreme view of themselves, with Catholic politicians in key positions of power. I believe I have written about the 1930s before, clearly seeing the likeness in the spirit. The mere mention of Nazi's was not taken very well and it was said that anyone who would bring Nazi's up would not be taken seriously. The parallels are there. It's the same spirit of evil.

    There could possibly be a Civil War or States seceding.

    I have never heard of States boycotting other States before Arizona's very fascist stance on immigration. It is happening though.

    All I really know is that true Christians do not war with one another. We try to be good Samaritans. This is all I really know.

    In the end, if fascists take over the country I think I will just die of a broken heart.

  19. There are no words to vent my shock & anger over this issue. Humor does temper it, with the realization that they are sending Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee (from NYC & Boston respectively) to lecture what is left of the Irish pew sitters on OBEDIENCE!!!

    In the mind of Ratz & the Vatican Administrators, "sin" = being at variance with the Church (i.e. them).

    Their mantra would be: "Christ is with his Church. The Pope is head of the Church. So if you are against the Pope/Church, you stand against Christ". As most Catholics are incapable of critical thought, such lies (viewed as Eternal Truth) are literally frightening to them!

    The article mentions sin & Confession, claiming that the ppl have strayed from the Sacrament. let us deal with something called TRUTH:

    1) the churches are locked up tight all day in most locales, both in the US & even in Ireland from what I understand.

    2) 'Father is...never in'.

    3) Thus, Sacramental Confession DOES NOT EXIST!

    If you cannot comprehend this, go look a a parish schedule. If it is offered at all, it is for a scant 30 minutes a week.."other time by appointment".

    I defy you to walk into ANY church & try to either see a priest for confession, OR to try to make an appointment with him,

    HA! Good luck with that!!!

    The clergy/bishops have effectively connived over a period of 40 years to shut of access to the Sacrament. By discouraging first subtly, then more overyly. Until it became a self fulfilling prophecy that...."nobody goes to Confession".

    See how this worked?

    Now most Catholics have been brainwashed to believe that Christ gave to Peter & his successor the power to 'bind & loose' sins. And that their actions thus would be valid in Heaven.


    Jesus explains the 'binding & loosing elsewhere in the Gospel, as the moral responsibility to FORGIVE OTHERS. And that what WE refuse to forgive will be 'bound' AGAINST US in heaven. Don't listen to the idiot Bishops - listen to Christ!

    Now, since they have long since removed the ancient Penitential Rite which preceded the Mass, in which ALL were shrived of ALL sins prior to mass....and they try to deny & hide this history....they are BINDING. They refuse to allow communal Penance services, imposing General Absolution in the same manner as the ancient mass.

    Now they lock up the Confessionals.

    What do you think God will do to them for 'BINDING' men's sins?

    It will not be pretty.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  20. Benedict is trying to replay a game that has been lost, lost, lost in Ireland decades ago. And the four Archbishops of Irish descent may be counting on the kind of flattering respect that Cardinal Cushing got long ago but that no archbishop can count on now. It is really funny, Colleen, in the sense of utterly hilarious. Most Irish readers of the article you quote will actually giggle. What is annoying is the amount of money and time that will be wasted on this utterly fatuous exercise. The visiting archbishops will certainly not ask embarrassing questions about child abuse since they themselves (at least in the cases of Dolan and Murphy-O'Connor, have been pestered with such embarrassing questions and want to hear no more of them).

  21. TheraP - I agree with you... "Personally I don't think it's a failure of liberalism."

    I think it is an over the top, ridiculous in fact, view to be blasting or blaming the liberals or progressives for fueling the rise of a "Christian" fascist movement.

    A lot of these right wing views have been around a long time. It is somehow our fault that there are a lot more bullies around today.

    The problem is with the Christian faith and how it has been abused by clerics and priest and ministers for their own egotistical and narcissistic joy ride.

  22. "As most Catholics are incapable of critical thought, such lies (viewed as Eternal Truth) are literally frightening to them!"

    I believe you are misunderestimating us. We're not helpless politically or spiritually, particularly in the United States. We may well have a lurch to the right in November but, as Obama has found out, this country is a big ship to turn. Most of the right wing noise is born of racism, fear and stupidity, bolstered by the media's incessant need to find false dichotomies. Given any power, the right wing has proved incapable of governing and the first time they poke a stick at Social Security or Medicare their support will evaporate. What we do best in this county is do business and Dominionism is bad for business.

    I like the idea of a shadow parish.

  23. It seems to me that what the Pope etc; is doing is "creating secularism".

    Secularism is a response to clericalism. The moment a priest becomes separated, ( ontologically), from the laity is the moment secularism begins.

    The priest, ( ontologically different), states to the layperson, "You cannot understand sacred things. Only we priests can." The response of the laity is quite logical, " Well, I'll leave it to you. I'm off to do what I have to do. Goodbye".

  24. That makes sense Anonymous... the Pope is creating secularism.

  25. The cardinals will hob-nob with the Irish bishops.. and the Irish laity will either ignore the whole thing or boycott events or picket.

    How the mighty misunderstand what's going on! How they misconstrue the way to fix things.

    I'll repost a link to that blog of mine from a while back:

    That says everything I have to say to the bishops - one and all!

  26. TheraP -

    "The cardinals will hob-nob with the Irish bishops.. and the Irish laity will either ignore the whole thing or boycott events or picket."

    I agree. It will be a big yawn, overall. EWTN will make it appear as if 'the ppl listened & obeyed'.

    Of course 'the ppl' will consist of the minority of Irish Catholics who are devoted drones of Opus Dei & the Legion of Christ. They will say all the right words to the cameras.....

    EWTN will not be interviewing the REAL Irish laity who will either ignore the whole thing....or the protesters. I think if you asked the average person in an Irish pub you would get an earful! But EWTN will not be doing THAT interview.

    You will have someone of the ilk of Dana (who turns my stomach) or those two effeminate Irish priests who have a show about "Europe & the Eucharist". They will basically tell you that: "oh, everything is grand now...and we're having geand mass.....the ppl are coming back.....the new evangelization is really working sound as a bell, you know...".

    When you have a ready-made cheering section, political rallies can be made deceptively impressive.

    Hitler knew that much......

    Anon Y. Mouse

  27. Butterfly -

    "That makes sense Anonymous... the Pope is creating secularism."

    Ratzinger is an old master at creating the Culture of Relativism.

    Now - whether one wishes to believe this or not - consider the vast amount of corporate ownership & control (literal or vicarious) which Opus Dei has. IN the fields of education, finance, publishing, media (including Hollywood....), govt., intel, etc.

    In order to create a 'Culture of Relativism' you need to create & maintain a Strategy of Tension. If you had something to do with the intentional implementation of dissatisfaction with organized religion. If you enabled secular cultural diversions which encouraged ppl to leave the churches. If you destroyed their faith.

    ...and at the same time controlled the "Right Wing", and facilitated the rise of the Religious Right.

    You would have created the penultimate Strategy of Tension.

    Now what if you also had connectivity (overtly very well removed.....) to the drug trade & pornography?

    This would only further enable the Secularizing trend.

    Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  28. I think you've hit on something here mouse. You suppose someone or someone's in the vatican are intimately familiar with Marx? You know, ostensibly to study how to combat Marxian thinking?

    Never, ever to actually put it in play. :)

  29. @mjc:

    "(Michael Sean Winters wrote an article in The Tablet about the Phoenix excommunication. He says that religion is "reduced to ethics in American culture". He thinks religion should be unaffected and unmoved by ethics, rather than learning from and rising above it. How do you dialogue with that?)"

    ## As he says:

    "There is a yet deeper concern, and one that has not been much commented upon in the Phoenix situation. Yes, the controversy can be seen as a part of the culture wars. But it is also an example of a deeper pathology in American religious experience – the way religion is reduced to ethics in American culture. "

    The emphasis is on the pathological nature of the reduction - he's not saying "religion should be unaffected and unmoved by ethics, rather than learning from and rising above it" , but that religion is being reduced to it, which is a very different thing, and a very bad one.

    STM you and he are in reality on the same page.