Thursday, January 21, 2010

Captain Calls For Ward Room Meeting For Officers Of Sinking Ship

Apparently the Vatican has forgotten the 'unsinkable' Titanic was also built in Ireland.

Bishops of all 26 dioceses in Ireland have been summoned to Rome next month by Pope Benedict for an unprecedented emergency meeting on the child clerical abuse scandals.
The two-day meeting at the Vatican on February 15 and 16 will hammer out the initiatives that will be proposed by the pontiff in his special pastoral Lenten letter addressed exclusively to the Catholics of Ireland.

Details will be announced by the bishops on their return to their dioceses on Ash Wednesday, February 17.

Intense preparations for the Rome Summit will be conducted at an extraordinary meeting of the Bishop's Conference on Friday in St Patrick's College, Maynooth.

Today's 'Irish Catholic' newspaper reports that Pope Benedict decided to call all Irish bishops to Rome because of what he perceived to be a very serious situation in Ireland.

An index of the urgency surrounding the Rome venue is that the heads of the major Vatican Congregations will take part in the talks in a desperate bid to address the anger and shock felt by Catholics since the publication of the Ryan and Murphy reports.

Leading the Irish side will be Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin.


By the end of the Rome summit, agreed concrete proposals will be incorporated by the the Pope in his Lenten letter, which will be published to coincide with the return of the bishops to their dioceses for the Ash Wednesday liturgies.

Meanwhile, Irish bishops and priests will be asked by Pope Benedict XVI to hold public services of repentance as atonement to victims of clerical abuse.

Pope Benedict will make the request to leaders of the Catholic Church in the pastoral letter, the Vatican has confirmed.

And he will call for more lay participation in the running of the church. (Participation is one thing, sharing authority and accountability is quite another.)

His letter will also include a strong condemnation of "heinous crimes" perpetrated by priests against children. (This is only half of the equation. What about the 'heinous crimes" perpetrated by supervising bishops?)

Last month, the Pope said he shared the "outrage, betrayal and shame" felt by Irish Catholics after the publication of the Murphy and Ryan reports into the way abuse claims were handled by church leaders.

Sources said Pope Benedict's letter would not, however, contain a detailed blueprint for the reorganisation of the Irish church, such as the holding of a national synod or assembly of bishops, priests and laity. (Of course there won't be any such thing. That could get to the root of the whole problem.)

Archbishop Martin has predicted that the Pope's letter will be "quite a significant document".
He said it would mark the beginning of a process whose ultimate aim would be "a very significant reorganisation of the church in Ireland".

"The climate in the church, which allowed abusers to go unpunished, will only change once there is a renewal, a willingness to publicly accept responsibility for one's actions and greater involvement by lay people in all areas of church life," Archbishop Martin said. (AB Martin gets it. The question is does the Vatican have any desire to "get it."


If the Pope's letter is just a beginning that would be one thing, but if it is the final definitive statement, that's quite another. I suspect this beginning will also define the ending. I suspect that because the Vatican response is being determined by the very same authorities who caused the 'very serious' situation in the first place.

There will be no lay involvement, no parish involvement, no rank and file priestly involvement, and no Irish governmental input in determining the response. It will be determined with passive input from Ireland's bishopric and by Pope Benedict and his handpicked 'ward room'. Which means Ireland will be given the opportunity to participate in spiritual Masses of atonement while the Vatican continues to support legal attempts to avoid material atonement.

In the meantime this will also allow the Vatican to present the abuse crisis as an "Irish" problem, not one endemic to it's entire global structure. We've already been told these concrete proposals won't call for nor approve an Irish Catholic synod or any kind of national gathering which includes others not wearing purple. These concrete proposals will not contain any kind of meaningful reorganization or course correction. They will be limited to moving the purple chairs around on the sinking Irish Catholic ship.

I say let it happen, and let no one be deceived. I don't think AB Martin is deceived at all. I think he knows he is being asked to over see the sinking of the Irish Catholic ship. The Vatican will insist on their prerogative to captain this ship and maintain total control over it's course. That this will result in this Irish ship continuing to grind itself to pieces on the Rock of Peter is of no moment.

As the senior Irish prelate, I hope AB Martin chooses not to go down with the ship. I hope he chooses to throw out the life boats and plots a different course. If he does, he may find out he has more crew members than he ever thought possible and that the Holy Spirit will see he has an endless supply of life boats.


  1. I agree that Bishop Martin has it in his hands to make things in the Irish and all the Catholic Church a lot better if he choses a truly ethical response. Will he? I am sure that those handling the Rock of Peter are doing everything they can to keep him under their thumbs.

  2. I don't know the answer to that Dennis, but I do know that once one reaches a certain spiritual stage it's almost impossible to follow religious authority if that authority violates one's personal conscience.

    I suspect Dr Martin is having a major battle with in himself and I hope and pray he sides with his conscience.

  3. Knowing PBXVI, this is just a big show gathering of the men in purple to make it appear they are doing something constructive. Very telling that no one in the laity in the lower berths and decks of the titanic RC Church will be seen or heard of at this meeting.

    It sounds as if Bene wants the Irish priests to wear sackcloth and ashes to repent for Benedict's sins. Benedict will continue to parade around with his ermine fur cape and fancy silk robes and red slippers. I can't help but see Benedict as an evil and very corrupt person. My turn today to vent.

  4. Does anyone know how to say "smoke and mirrors" in Gaelic?

    Jim McCrea

  5. Toit agus scátháin!

  6. Toit agus scátháin --- and maintenance of power and control:

    "Would you be free from the pesky need to lead?
    There’s power in control, power in control;
    Would you o’er pastoring a victory succeed?
    There’s wonderful power in control.


    There is power, power, self-serving power
    In control of the lambs;
    There is power, power, self-serving power
    In total control of the lambs.

    Would you enjoy your passion and pride?
    There’s power in control, power in control;
    All those pretty gowns that come with the ride;
    There’s wonderful power in control.


    Would you be attired in raiment all aglow?
    There’s power in control, power in control;
    Guilt stains are ignored no matter where you go.
    There’s wonderful power in control.


    Would you avoid service to the flock that you lead?
    There’s power in control, power in control;
    Would you have them daily your praises to sing?
    There’s wonderful power in control."

    (With apologies to “There Is Power in the Blood” by Lewis E. Jones)

    Jim McCrea

  7. I'm not sure about the political or religious implications of this, but the photo is not the Titanic, but the inter-island ferry Wahine, which sank in Wellington harbour, New Zealand, Easter (ah, maybe that is it!) 1968.