Wednesday, 7 December 2016

POPE FRANCIS AND IRELAND

POPE FRANCIS AND IRELAND

Patrick Murphy: Pope's visit will do little to tackle challenges facing Church
The Irish News
Patrick Murphy
Patrick Murphy: Pope's visit will do little to tackle challenges facing Church

BAD news for some Protestant graffiti artists: they may soon have to replace the traditional "No Pope here" with "Pope here - but not for very long".
Yes, the Pope is coming to Ireland. Northern nationalists are celebrating their prediction that he will come north, which suggests that they do not see the north as part of Ireland. (It's a bit like the way they used to complain about the British army occasionally crossing the border. It implied that the army had a right to be in the north.)
So, apart from re-writing some slogans, what will a papal visit mean for Ireland, north and south? The answer is that its legacy will probably be more political than religious.
While the Pope's visit is part of a worthy programme of renewing family pastoral care, his visit has a significant political dimension. Five years ago, Enda Kenny and the Dáil accused the Vatican of obstructing investigations into sexual abuse by priests, following publication of a damning report on Cloyne diocese. Ireland and the Vatican later withdrew their respective ambassadors.
Having welcomed Kenny to the Vatican this week, the Pope is visiting Ireland to mend diplomatic fences. But while diplomacy will address the Vatican's concerns, it will do little to tackle the two main challenges facing the Irish Church.
The first is that many of the faithful and former faithful no longer have the same trust or belief in the organisation following its handling of the child sex abuse scandal. Secondly, in a period of all-island austerity and associated deprivation, the Church has rendered itself increasingly irrelevant, by offering neither explanation nor solution to the growing imbalance of wealth.
Individual priests, such as Fr Peter McVerry and organisations like St Vincent de Paul directly tackle social and economic problems. But, many see the corporate Irish Church, as an organisation too removed from real world issues.
An RTE poll in March suggested that 35 per cent of southern Catholics attend weekly Mass. In Dublin it is only 17 per cent. While Mass attendance is only one measure of trust and relevance, it indicates the changed role of the Church in society since the last papal visit in 1979. Then weekly Mass attendance was over 80 per cent.
Almost three million people turned out for John Paul II, but many soon drifted from a Church which frittered away papal popularity through organisational apathy and, in some cases, arrogance.
Pope Francis is presumably coming to lay to rest the child sex abuse scandal. It is unlikely to be enough to turn the tide in what is often called post-Catholic Ireland (although we still do conscience, angst and guilt very well).
Thousands of southern families are now torn apart by poverty and drugs, victims of criminal gangs which operate freely in the light of Garda redundancies - introduced so that public money could be used to fund German banks. The Church offers prayers for political leaders at Mass and wonders why so few come to hear them.
Many individual priests toil tirelessly to address the shattered social fabric in their parishes, but the political solution to these problems lie at a much higher level.
If the Pope's visit to the south is largely diplomatic, his trek northwards will be mainly political. In praising peace, he will presumably give his blessing (not literally) to Stormont and, by implication, the border.
For the first time since its establishment, the state of Northern Ireland may well receive the Catholic Church's imprimatur. Everyone will cheer, media commentators will talk of a new beginning for Irish history and the British government will smile quietly to itself.
When the cheering and flag-waving ends and soccer or snooker replaces the Pope on television, there will still be the same lack of moral authority in Irish society, north and south. Many would argue that we are better off without the authoritarian teachings of a conservative church. They have a point, but that moral authority now rests with a new secular church called the market.
With the exception of the emerging left in Ireland (which a Christian church might be expected to support), all Irish politicians now worship at the market's altar. Ireland has moved from believing in salvation in the next life to preaching the gospel of greed in this one.
When the Pope has gone, nothing will have changed for families in poverty, the homeless, people at food banks or the sick on hospital trolleys. At that point, Catholics here might reasonably take up their spray paint cans and scrawl, more as a regret than a request, "No Church here".
PAT SAYS:

This is a very interesting article by Patrick Murphy and he gets many things right.

Francis' visit may heal some rifts at the political level but I am sure it will do NOTHING at all to re-establish the trust of the Irish people in a Church that has been shown up as an abusing organisation in so many ways.

I parts of Dublin Mass going is down to 1 and 2 % in some parishes.

I am just back from a pastoral visit to Spain Nov 29th - Dec 6th) and I discovered there that while 87% of Spaniards claim to be "Catholic" only 3 & of them go to Mass once a week.

The Catholic Church in the west has a lot of catching up and renewal to do.

To achieve this will require a lot of practical projects looking after the poor, the homeless, the sick, the jobless, etc.

However I do not think that the hierarchy and the clergy have got the message.

It will take empty churches and empty collection plates to bring it home to them.

By that stage it may be too late...........................






63 comments:

  1. Good you and your husband had a wee holiday too...Pat X

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  2. Francis will be retiring shortly and returning to Argentina (you heard it here first). Only God knows who the next pope will be. He will probably want to be in Dublin for the world families day but more than that who can say?

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    1. Maybe Pope Sean The Wounded Healer Brady?

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    2. A GAA pope? Now that would be a first. And a last.

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  3. MournemanMichael7 December 2016 at 13:15

    An interesting question arises when the RC church inevitably fades into insignificance in Ireland. Who owns the accumulated wealth now held by the church? When only very few regard themselves as RCS, to what extent can RC clergy claim ownership of huge resources donated over generations by ordinary people for benefit of a "church community " which no longer exists as such?
    An interesting prospect?
    MMM

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    1. My understanding is that these monies are vested in "trusts" that the hierarchy have full control over.

      So we will have empty churches, few priests and very rich bishops living luxurious lives in palaces.

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  4. I can remember 35 years ago seeing a beautiful church converted into a carpet warehouse in UK and thinking thankfully that could never happen in ireland. Isn't hindsigght a wonderful thing!

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    1. You will see many more of them in the future becoming night clubs, pubs, stores, etc.

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    2. Unfortunately, some become mosques. I think I prefer carpet warehouse conversions.

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  5. When all the abuse victims have been compensated I doubt if there will be much dosh left.

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  6. Thank god for the gaa, it has kept our communities active more than the rc church ever did.
    The processions we used to have to endure were such nonsense
    And the Sunday evening devotions obsolete

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    1. Why did you think that the function of the Church was to keep communities alive? The community to which she owes her first obligation is the community of believers. The confusion of religion with cultural identity (with its attitude of "sure we're all catholics") has been a disaster for the church in Ireland. As for the GAA, I am sure it has done good work, but by no means all Catholics have any connection with the GAA. I play rugby so the GAA didn't keep my community active.

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  7. 4th December 22.38
    Since, check this reference, the Gardai knew of Brendan Smyth's crimes since 1970, I wonder if the R.U,C, was not aware of this man's abysmal history and were also remiss in putting a stop to him,
    There was considerable co-operation in many matters between the two forces.
    Perhaps there is someone out there who might have the competence to investigate this?

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  8. If you're poor you often feel your dignity has been knocked out of you. The last thing you might want to do is go to church. The church is now by and large a middle class organisation. If you're struggling to buy food, listening to a sermon on a matter of dogma may not have much relevance. Most priests have no interest in social activism. They are too well off to know what the psychological and social effects of deprivation are, and won't have much empathy with someone on benefits. The pope may as well be the man on the moon if you're trying to figure out whether to buy food or fuel.

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    1. Has anyone seen the programme about a nun in Manchester running the lally centre and food Bank . Sr Rita I think she's called . I'm not impressed by her she may be doing good work but she's far from modest about it she's nout more but an arogant self publicising old bag who needs a good kick up the arse

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    2. 17.15 Would you believe Sr Rita operates in the general area of our parish. I have never met her but any reports I have heard are positive

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    3. Have you seen the daily programme on bbc1 about her ? . She comes across as very arogant and rude to her clients and a bit up herself . They don't call me the formidable Sr Rita for nothing ! Yea wotever

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  9. Not so sure the GAA can pontificate on this one after reading on this blog that they Armagh County GAA presented Cardinal Brady with gifts in November. Why would you reward anyone who covered up child abuse, I have lost all respect for the GAA after reading about this. Like the Church, the GAA have done well out of the people on the Island of Ireland on the money they rake in from them.

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    1. And who was Armagh County Secretary GAA?

      Rory Coyle :-(

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    2. Think your information is wrong and misleading on this point Pat. Rory Coyle served as interim Secretary of Armagh Co Board for a very short period while a new successor was found for Paddy Nugent and that was 4 years back.
      As a GAA fan and supporter of the association of which thankfully is most child friendly and safe it's a privilege in Ireland to have Cardinal Brady as a Patron, he's respected by many. In all aspects of public life you'll never fit everyones picture, but majority always has my support, minority has my respect.
      Maybe you have some new information on him but from my knowledge he abused nobody, it clearly suits the Church critics here to continuously use that old line.

      Armagh Orange & White supporter.

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    3. God, yet another one with their head in the sand. Glad you feel privileged to have someone who covered up abuse of children as your Patron.

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  10. Sorry for diverting away from the subject Pat. The Catholic Bishop's Conference of England and Wales are having a Christmas Reception this evening at Archbishop's House in Westminster at 6.30pm. +Vinny wants no mention or reference made to Dr Hugh Kennedy and how he came to be in the Archdiocese of Westminster. A priest contact at the Cathedral told me earlier that to say Vincent was enraged was an understatement. Westminster PP

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    1. I'm not surprised.

      But why did Vinny take him in the first place???

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    2. Pat, that comment begs a reply. He 'took him in the forstplace' precisely because he thought he could see a deal of good in him. A little bit like the reason you were accepted in Down and Conor. Another cataclysmic mistake by a flawed bishop. Happy Immaculate Conception Mi'lod.

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    3. I believe Vincent Nichols was sold a pup by Treanor and seemingly is now far from amused. So what was Treanor's role in all this Kennedy saga? Has Kennedy got some hold over +Noel? Perhaps he has given him some of the Kennedy fortune and wined and dined him in the best Belfast restaurants.
      D&C Old Timer

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  11. Wait until the sexual abuse rampant in the GAA hits the surface. Its not just English football clubs you know.

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  12. The pope is coming to promote soft bigotry. It is the bigotry of how a same sex family is denied the same church support as a standard Catholic one is. He is only interested in his own idea of family.

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  13. I too had heard of the "blackout" imposed by ++Vinnie at this evenings reception on Ambroseden Avenue. His Eminence is severely p.ssed off at this seeming tear in the seamless garment of his public and media profile as one the the only English Churchmen to deal effectively with the problems of abusive priests - unlike his bumbling, hapless predecessor. Im told that ++Vinnie is very anxious that the British media will get hold of the fact the Big H has been ministering right in his very own Cathedral, under his cardinatial nose, so to speak. I wonder will there be any journalist brave enough to face his ire by mentioning it?

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    1. Hugh didn't minister under Vinny's nose in Westminster Cathedral. He concelebrated a couple of Masses as opposed to celebrating Mass. He took part in one Eucharistic procession on the streets of London decked up in all his finery.

      From what I've been told he was in the process of hearing confessions at Westminster Cathedral but was stopped. This was after the intervention of an English Priest with N. Ireland connections who managed to alert Cathedral clergy to Kennedy's background. This coincided at the same time of his suspension by Noel Treanor. So Hugh never got his foot in the door much at Westminster Cathedral. Westminster was being very cautious with Hugh Kennedy, however, you are right to say that +V doesn't want any English rag picking up the story. You are also correct in saying that Vinny has worked harder than anyone else in the English and Welsh Bishops Conference to deal with safeguarding and abusive priests. Westminster PP

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  14. So now we have posters jealous of the gaa
    If abuse turns up it will be historical as there is the best of supervision now

    And yes it already has turned up historically if my recollection can be believed
    I'm not equating sport with religion, was just trying to state that religion played a big part of my youth but theses days sport outshines....for both boys and girls
    I am shocked to read here about Armagh, what in gods name were they thinking about having a priest in Armagh as their secretary...how easily they let all the previous clerical abuse float over their eyes
    And giving that Brady abuser gifts...my mind boggles, suppose it was Rory's idea, was it ?
    Thank god my young don't belong there....such stupid people , do they never learn....after all the abusing priests that passed through that seemingly prestigious cathedral city

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    1. I am disappointed in the GAA over the giving of Co Abuser Brady gifts. I know the GAA have very good points but it's the Armagh lot having Rory as Secretary and showering gifts on Brady which makes it all a bit distasteful for me.

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  15. So in Westminster this evening, they are having a big cover up by Vinny
    Nothing changes in the rc church
    They should say as an opening statement
    We apologise for the absence of Mr Kennedy, unfortunately he is under investigation for whatever it is
    Now wouldn't that be the best way forward
    Shame on you all at Westminister, you no better than brady
    COVERING UP AGAIN

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  16. Poor Vinney inraged, who the f*** cares whether he is or not
    The Rage should be he is sweeping it under the carpet
    Obviously no lessons have been learnt.
    The men running the RC church in Westminister stink just like the RC church all over the world
    Pat don't let this covering up go.

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    1. As one of the people he's screwed over in the past, I care very much, in fact I'm delighted.
      His apparently efficient squeaky-clean no-scandal regime is for his own benefit. Check the standard brush-off of the huge Ealing Abbey scandal because it was religious priests (http://scepticalthoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/catherine-pepinster.html and elsewhere on that blog)
      The squeaky clean image is for his own benefit.

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  17. What's wrong with people
    Why wasn't this sports abuse brought out from under the carpet before now.

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    1. People don't want to think abuse is going on and abusers have a way of twisting people's minds

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  18. I can't help but think that this Papal visit is a sign of Divine intervention Pat. The Irish bishops virtually ignored the last report into Maynooth, they put up a door to separate the seminary from the rest of the building and allowed the seminarians to kneel at Mass, but that's about it! Then with the latest scandals in Maynooth, they expelled the whistleblowers, released a ridiculous statement about it all, sent Connolly on 'sabbatical' and set about protecting their little homosexual prodigies and Grinders. They were all set up for another cover up! That was, until you took an interest Pat and exposed their dirty tricks!

    The Pope and the Vatican have to listen now. It's time to exorcise Maynooth once and for all, or close the doors on that hellhole which has been the source of rot in the Irish Church for decades.

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  19. I was thinking of the same in regard to the GAA and sexual abuse. I hope people will be brave and courageous in speaking out if they have received sexual abuse by any GAA official. The Soccer players in England are now courageously speaking out after one person was brave enough to share their painful experience.

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  20. Francis will find a much different Ireland to what JP 2 did. The legacy will be a massive tax bill to fund security etc. I believe people like yourself Pat and other interested groups should push for an audience.

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  21. I suppose the first point would be to identify who these groups are. See if they would be interested in sharing a joint request addressed to whoever oversees the diary for the visit. Might be worth keeping a copy for the press in case they choose to ignore the letter. I would also be interested in hearing their reasons should they choose to ignore or not respond to the request

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    1. But why do you think the Pope should meet Bishop Pat? While I wish him well in his ministry, it would be a mistake to confuse a social media presence with being representative of a defined group of people. The ACP, for all its faults (and I agree with little of its agenda), can at least claim to represent a significant group of whingers in the clergy.

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    2. The key for Francis is to acknowledge groups who are not necessarily in communion with R C Church. I E give the lead in taking them seriously. If Francis goes north he will have to engage with those who may see Rome as the "enemy"

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    3. Ecumenical relations with other Christians is one thing. I really do not see why, when there are so many pressing things to be done within the Church, that Pope Francis should be spending his time engaging with groups and individuals whose agenda is at odds with fundamental beliefs of the Church (the primacy of individual conscience being one example) in circumstances where they are at best fringe groups or individuals who, outside of a social media presence, cannot be said to represent any significant body of people.

      So I cannot really see why it is key to anything that Francis acknowledges groups not in communion with the Church, outside of the context of ecumenical relations with other ecclesial communities.

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    4. The key to this is not to ignore people which is a sign of ignorance. RC Church is famous (in Ireland anyway) for making problems disappear or saying nothing. This is what I am getting at.

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  22. There are indeed many flaws in the Church which have contributed to many people deciding that the Christian life has nothing to offer them and have become thoroughly secularised.

    But the solution that appears to be offered is a church focused on earthly concerns. Which is right and proper - but only in the context of a firm focus on spiritual matters.

    Without wishing to cause offence, mainline protestant denominations have implemented this social gospel with catastrophic consequences. And in Bishop Buckley's church meeting at the oratory, this programme of change has been implemented. If indeed this was the type of thing that would attract people to return to church, one would expect that most Larne Catholics would in fact attend Mass at the Oratory, rather than the local Roman Catholic church. I think it is fair to say that this has not happened. One needs to ask why not?

    A focus on the earthly concerns and a social gospel is precisely the cause of the scandals in the church and its decline. A return to the supernatural is what is needed, not an "other gospel" as St Paul described.

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    1. Have you ever asked yourself why the majority of religious people in Israel at the time Jesus lived did NOT follow him?

      When he was hanging on the cross his "congregation" was four - Mary his mother, Mary Magdala, the other Mary and Saint John.

      The "majority" had run away!

      "Men have shown that they prefer the darkness to the light".

      In 2000 years nothing has changed!

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    2. I have, and our Lord Himself said as much. But today you are talking about numbers, about decline, and about a path to renewal. Specifically, you said:

      "The Catholic Church in the west has a lot of catching up and renewal to do. To achieve this will require a lot of practical projects looking after the poor, the homeless, the sick, the jobless, etc."

      My point is that if you are saying this is the remedy for our woes, it is fair to ask why your own congregation is not larger? Are you saying that those in Larne who do not attend the Oratory have preferred the darkness to the light?

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    3. Perhaps?

      You know what they say about Larne Catholics :-)

      Maybe in The Oratory we emphasise quality above quantity :-)

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    4. I do :-) Though one hopes you are not being a gnostic having spiritual insights that the ordinary Larne Catholics lack?

      I do not think that the solutions you propose are the answer, nor do I think they will bring about renewal. And I think the statistics bear that out worldwide. Wherever we see a worldly focus, we see scandals and numbers dropping. Not that numbers are everything.

      And again with respect, I do have to point out that a piercing analysis by our Lord of the condition of the hearts of men and women really does rank higher that your own (or my) assessment of the situation.

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  23. Sorry to change topic again but have Dublin 2016 clerical changes been made public yet?

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    1. No. Changes private this year.

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    2. Do you think the priests aren't allowed to tell anyone who they are or where they're posted?

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  24. Anyone wishing to speak with Bishop Noel Treanor he will be in rasharkin this sat evening Mass to inaugorate the parish pastoral coucil

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    1. Why bother with pastoral councils? these people are only pawns. Bishops can make unaccoubtable decisions on a whim. They see priests as nobodies, so what chance have parishioners? They just want you to pay up to fund their comforts. Praying and obeying matter less these days..

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  25. You have to wonder about Pope Francis and his knowledge and use of terms such as coprophilia and coprophagia in both 2013 and 2015. Hardly terminology that is familiar to most people.

    See: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/pope-fake-news-francis-sexual-arousal-coprophilia-coprophagia-a7461331.html

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    1. My experience of parish councils was plastic pseudo politicians ruled by the p p or god forbid one of the parish lay employees

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    2. That would be a good topic for a separate posting of its own!!
      Parish lay employees!! Outside of secretaries and sacristans what jobs are funded by the individual parishes or by D&C central? Are all jobs open job posted in accordance with working practices? How many earn more than the PP? Would be good to flush out what really goes on in parishes with parishioners money!

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  26. The pope's remarks are absolutely bizarre. I wonder is he losing his marbles? What was he thinking? What a year it has been for the faithful. Who can forget archbishop martin educate the nation on the existence of gaydar and its popularity among seminarians during the summer . Then we had alleged revelations on this site about rather peculiar sexual practices most of us had never imagined. It all feels very sad and pathetic really. As the great Tina Turner put it "what's love got to do with it?"

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    1. Nuala, I thought exactly the same thing. The Vatican has also reaffirmed it's ban on gay priests.
      God help us all!

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  27. Not exactly the terminology one would expect from a Pope!
    Perhaps this is an attempt to shock us into improving ourselves!
    Today my vocabulary has increased by two - never heard of these words before

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    1. I too have learned a new word. Never heard of coprophilia.

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