Category Archives: Ireland

Is A Papal Apology What Is Needed?

Pope Benedict XVI apologized to the people of Ireland for increasing revelations of sexual abuses caused by actions of members of the clergy. He admitted there had been “grave errors of judgment” on the part of those in charge of the Catholic Church. He appealed to priests to “openly acknowledge your guilt and submit yourselves to the demands of justice.” However, many critics are concerned at failure to open the files and allow secular authorities to investigate any and all claims of abuse on the part of clergy members. There is also a sense the Pope simply lacks a grasp as to the extent of what occurred in Ireland, let alone understand what must be done.

The issue of celibacy remains one that is not examined. Celibacy was NOT a practice among original members of the Catholic church and was added hundreds of years after the death of Jesus Christ. It is time to reopen the topic by asking a commission representing a cross section of views to examine the topic and make recommendations.

An apology today will simply require another one tomorrow unless changes are made in celibacy,

Still Another Tale Of Priestly Un-Priestly Behavior

There are two things that certainly will be in the news these days, a story about Israel and housing and a story about a priest who abused children while the church gazed off into space. Still another example emerged when Bishop Seamus Hegarty announced that he had known about a priest who sexually abused an eight year old child and the girl’s family was paid to remain silent. The girl endured a decade of abuse at the hands of a priest who had been invited to her home where the abuse occurred. She was told that God would punish her if anything was said to other people. However, when she turned 18 the story emerged. She recently won a court case and was awarded about $20,000 in compensation.

The family went to Bishop Hegarty and informed him of the sexual abuse but the good bishop expressed more concern over the “ill priest” who needed their “pity” rather than their anger. As the father put it, Hagerty was “totally unsympathetic.” As so often occurs in these child abuse cases, the messenger is the culprit, not the culprit.

I’m Sorry, Says Cardinal, Is The Priest?

The ongoing saga of paedophile priests in Ireland continues with an apology from Cardinal Sean Brady for his failure to adequately handle a case of child abuse in 1975 when two children were compelled to take a vow of silence while the church conducted an investigation. Cardinal Brady now admits the police should immediately have been informed since it was a crime not merely in the church, but in civil society. Father Brendan Smyth was relieved of clerical duties and recommended for psychiatric treatment, but since the police were never involved in the incident, Smyth continued having access to children and most probably abused other youngsters. Cardinal Brady told Catholics: “I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in.”

The reality is such stories of abuse of children continue emerging as well as actions by church officials to protect the clergy. In the end, both children and the Catholic Church suffer and even as Brady announced he would reflect on what happened in order to exam his future, isn’t there need for the Catholic Church to also reflect and consider if there are alternatives to the current policy of celibacy?

Blasphemy In Ireland-Dumb Law Of Decade?

Every so often a group of humans passes a law or expresses an idea which is so ludicrous as to deserve some sort of award for stupidity. The Irish government has passed a “blasphemy law” which makes it a crime to tell a member of a religion that his ideas are weird or lacking in truth. According to the law, blasphemy is defined as: “publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting related to matter sacred by any religion thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion.” As Nicholas Nugent of Ireland Atheist notes, this is simply a “silly and dangerous” law.

For example:
define: “Grossly abusive.”
define: “insulting.
define: “sacred”
define: “intentionally”
define: “outrage”
define: “substantial number.”

No Torture–Terrorists Caught?

According to fox News haters of democracy, the only way to save the city or to save the nation from the bomb ticking in a subway is to torture someone into revealing the place of explosion so the 24 crew can rush to the scene and prevent mayhem. However, in real life, solid police work has prevented a group committed to al-Qaeda from pursuing a plan to assassinate a Swedish cartoonist who committed the horrible sin of portraying the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog. Of course, Muslim newspapers an publications constantly portray Jews in despicable ways, but, then again, if you portray non-Muslims in a grotesque fashion, you are simply carrying out the mandate of God.

The bottom line is the seven Muslims were captured without resorting to torture or any form of physical abuse. It simply required good old fashioned police work, cooperation from security agencies throughout the world and a dose of common sense.

Urge Law In Ireland Against Female Genital Mutilation

Over the past twenty years, Ireland has witnessed the arrival of new immigrants from African, Middle Eastern, and South American countries. At a recent conference, many Irish human rights advocates demanded passage of a law that would declare illegal female genital mutilation(FGM). According to Labor Senator Ivana Bacik, “there is a lack of clarity as to whether a defense of consent might apply to any parent charged with assault arising out of allowing FGM to be practiced on their daughter.” It is difficult for a teen age girl to stand up and denounce a parent they know might wind up in jail for forcing them to have FGM.

It is estimated in Ireland there are about 2,500 women who have been subjected to FGM. There undoubtedly is also need to rethink immigration laws since immigrants might take the girl back to their native land for the FGM. Modern life increasingly becomes more complex.

A Sad Tale Of Religious Abuse

It is all too common on blogs to single out stories concerning abuse by priests or nuns as examples of the failure of religion. For example, a priest in Ireland is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl, and after the abuse making her say 10 Hail Marys in order to seek penance. Obviously, the priest, Father Maeliosa O’Hauallachain was attempting to manipulate the mind of a teen age girl in order for her to take on guilt for what was done to her by another human. The woman, now 42, described in detail how the priest fondled her, made her masturbate the man, and played with various parts of her body. What does this tale really reveal?

First, being a priest or imam or rabbi is no guarantee the individual is any healthier in sexual issues than the average person. Second, religion is used for immoral as well as moral desires in life. But, the question rarely raised in these examples of abuse in the Catholic religion is whether there is need to allow priests and nuns access to a healthy normal sex life. Marriage in itself is no guarantee that people are sexually content. But, certainly, there is now sufficient evidence of the need to allow marriage for priests and nuns.

Is It Blasphemous To Be For God?

A new strict blasphemy law in Ireland makes it a serious crime punishable by a fine of up to $44,000 for anyone who has the audacity to deny the existence of the Almighty. The law defines blasphemy as “publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation o matters sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents to that religioin with some defenses permitted.” In response to this insult to free speech, Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland, commented: “this law is both silly and ridiculous and dangerous.” It is silly because in a secular society the right of free speech can not be silenced by denial of being contrary to other views.

I do not have any pipeline to whoever or whatever resides in the sky. But, then again, since no one has ever seen the Old Man in the sky, and no one has proof they have spoken with it or him or whatever or whoever, how can those who deny there is someone in the sky be compelled to pay for having such views. Frankly, the only blasphemy is denying the right to express a religious or non-religious viewpoint.

I assume members of the Irish legislature which passed this law grasp they have now empowered fundamentalist Muslims and Jews and Hindus to take people to court for opposing their ridiculous ideas

Irish Priest Sexual Abuse Debate Goes On

A recent report on the existence of child sexual abuse in Catholic churches continues to reverberate throughout Ireland. Bishops Eamon Walsh and Raymond Field were the latest members of the Catholic clergy to resign after evidence emerged there had been neglect in protecting the rights of children. They issued a statement: “As we celebrate the Feast of Christmas, the birth of our Savior, the Prince of Peace, it is our hope that our action may help bring the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims/survivors of child sexual abuse.” Dublin Labor Councilor Aodhan O Riordain added his own hope, “as a principal of a Catholic school, I feel we can hide from the debate no longer.”

What is the debate about? As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who was born 2009 years ago, we should recall that the early leaders of the Christian church were not celibate and had families and enjoyed healthy and normal sexual lives Perhaps, it is time to return to the original views of the Christian church?

Pope Accepts Bishop Resignation On Child Abuse Cases

Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of Bishop Donal Murray in Ireland because of his “inexcusable” mishandling of child abuse cases. Over the years, parents and children made complaints regarding the behavior of priests, but the good bishop decided to ignore their statements because of his firm belief that priests were men of God, not men of the flesh. “I humbly apologize once again,” he told an audience of those who had been abused of knew of such behavior, “to all who were abused as little children.. I repeat that my primary concern is to assist in every way I can on their journey towards final closure and serenity.”

I have no doubt the Bishop is speaking from his heart and is truly sorry for what happened. But, isn’t it about time for such bishops and the Pope to pose even more critical questions concerning priests and nuns in the church? Isn’t it about time to rethink the entire idea of marriage for the clergy and hope allowing priests and nuns a normal sexual life will result in healthier sexual attitudes?