Tuesday, 9 May 2017


Church’s good deeds ‘almost obliterated’
  • The Irish Times
  • Archbishop Eamon Martin: every Catholic position “is argued from reason”

    Decades of service by countless nuns and priests in education and healthcare are being “almost obliterated by a revised and narrow narrative that religious ethos cannot be good for democracy”, Catholic Primate Archbishop Eamon Martin has said.
    He said there was a view that religious ethos stands “against the progress and flourishing of society and the rights of citizens” and there was a tendency in some public discussion to give the impression that things related to faith were “unconnected with reason”.
    “In fact every Catholic position on concrete morals is argued from reason even when there exists a biblical warrant for that position,” he said.
    Archbishop Martin was speaking at the University of East Anglia in England yesterday night where he delivered the Newman lecture on The Church in the Public Sphere – a Perspective from Ireland.

    Maternity hospital

    His comments come after major controversy over the Sisters of Charity being given ownership of the planned new national maternity hospital, prompting calls for a total separation between church and state.
    There has also been a long running debate over the church’s patronage of more than 90 per cent of the State’s 3,200 primary schools, with many parents calling for more options as to where their children are educated.
    Archbishop Martin said it was “simply not true that the Catholic Church has a desire to create a theocracy in Ireland, North or South.
    “However, the church does expect that in a true pluralist democracy or republic, religion and faith will continue to have an important part to play in the national conversation.”
    He was convinced “that the failures of the past must not be allowed to define us, but should instead help all of us in the public sphere learn lessons for the present about where church and society might today be similarly marginalising the poor, stigmatising the unwanted or failing to protect the most vulnerable”.


    The role of religion and faith in Irish society had been “hugely impacted by secularisation and is evidenced by a steady decline in church attendance and in vocations to the priesthood and religious life,” he said.
    Archbishop Martin cited the State’s most recent census (2016), which showed the numbers identifying as Catholic had fallen by 132,220 since 2011 and that the numbers declaring no religion had risen by 198,610 in the same period.
    The figures, he said, confirmed “that we have moved, or at least are rapidly moving, from a society in which it was virtually impossible not to believe in God, to one in which faith is one human possibility among others”.


    "Every Catholic position is argued from reason".


    Limbo - which is now closed was "argued from reason" ?

    The whole human being was contained in the male sperm and the woman only provided the "oven that baked the bread" was "argued from reason".

    The Virgin Birth was "argued from reason".

    Not eating meat on Fridays, which is now allowed, was "argued from reason"?

    "The vagina is the gateway to hell" was "argued from reason"?

    "The voice of the bishop is the voice of God" was "argued from reason"?

    "The pope is infallible" was "argued from reason"?

    etc, etc............

    "Decades of service by countless nuns and priests in education and healthcare are being “almost obliterated

    Not true!

    We all know about and are grateful to all the good priests, nuns and Christian Brothers who did great good in their lifetimes.

    I am never done talking about and telling stories of, the good priests, nuns and monks I have met in my life.

    But we also remember that by running schools, hospitals and other institutions the Church received millions and millions of pounds from the state that has left most religious orders as multi millionaires.

    And we also remember all the good mothers, fathers, doctors, nurses, teachers, bus drivers, dinner ladies, etc who showed wonderful dedication to their vocations over the same decades - and their successors do not have the money in the bank the Church and religious orders have!


    When the Waterford swimming coach Billy Keneally was recently sentenced  to 14 years in prison for abusing boys for decades his priest uncle said:

    "He was good to his mother"!

    Image result for billy kenneally

    Does Amy want us to forget the horrific scandals - the abuse of children - the Tuam septic tank babies etc because priests and nuns did good in the past and got paid millions for the good they did?

    That will not be happening!

    And why should it?

    "Martin said it was “simply not true that the Catholic Church has a desire to create a theocracy in Ireland, North or South".


    What is controlling 90% + of our schools about then?

    What is wanting to control the new National Maternity Hospital ( Euro 300,000,000) about then?

    "The role of religion and faith in Irish society had been “hugely impacted by secularisation and is evidenced by a steady decline in church attendance and in vocations to the priesthood and religious life,”

    Good! Ireland must become a 21st century secular, pluralist Europen democracy.

    That's what most of us Irish citizens want.

    That why I, as a catholic, a priest and a bishop want.

    I don't need or want the state to bolster up my faith. I have God and His Holy Spirit for that.

    And I do not want to foist my faith, my beliefs, my religion on any of my fellow country men and women by having my beliefs enshrined in either the constitution or laws of my country.

    I want the freedom to practice my faith - and that is not in danger. 

    As far as I am concerned the place for the Catholic religion is in the church, the home and if required a Catholic Sunday school.

    In fact the only ones making it difficult for me to wear my clerical collar in public these days (which I always do anyway)  is not the state, the populace or the police - but the priests and bishops who have disgraced my faith and my calling by abuse and the cover up of abuse!

     So, Amy, if you are serious about not wanting your Catholic theocracy let you and your fellow hierarchs keep your hands off my constitution, my laws, my schools, my hospitals etc.

    They tell me you studied and taught mathematics?

    That figures because it seems to me that you are not the brightest button on the shirt when it comes to theology, civics and social and political science!

    Amy you want us to believe that all the problems of the Catholic Church are in the PAST?


    1. Why are you giving you full support to Maynooth / Gaynooth?

    2. Why are you turning a blind eye to clerical misbehaviour in your own diocese?

    3. Why do you not acknowledge letters of complaint and meet the complainants?

    I'm afraid your actions do not live up to your fine words!


    1. I agree with virtually everything you say, but you say that you do not wish "to foist" your faith on others. However, in God's eyes, your faith and knowledge of Him is your most precious possession which He expects you to share with others. He has asked you to help spread the Gospel!
      "Going therefore, teach ye all nations..etc"
      (There are several other such quotes but I don't have the exact references to hand at this moment. Others will probably know them..)

      1. I am thrilled to share my faith with others and to spread the Good News.

        But I do not need the state to do that for me.

    2. I think some of today's main post above rings a bit hollow. If your faith genuinely meant that much to you, why would you seek a situation in which the State would be at best indifferent and unsupportive to it and on some issues, in direct sharp conflict with it? Today, I simply haven't the energy to address all these points individually re/eg education in the formation of the complete child etc.
      I have done so before very fully, but obviously to no avail.
      Once people are locked in a mindset, they only hear a viewpoint which supports it and no longer listen... One of those things which life has taught me..

      1. I think there is no need for the state to be in conflict with churches and religions. That might lead to persecution?

        We just need church and state to be totally seperate and not interfere in each other's domain - "Give unto Caesar ......

      2. (I am same poster as 10.54)
        I do want to listen to what you are saying..... In an unrealistic ideal world you could maybe have Churches /State "totally separate and not interfere in each other's domain" as you envisage.
        But this is simply not possible as Church and State essentially, one way or another, impinge on all parts of our lives and ideally would probably be most efficient if they were in supportive harmony rather than in conflict with each other and with us as a democracy. That too would be a Utopia! So at best, we have to have compromise I suppose.
        Why do I say that they cannot be completely separate?
        One of the first things that comes to mind is that your faith and your deeply held beliefs will inform how you see society, how you want to live your life and what you regard as important for yourself and your children--in fact for everyone right from the unborn to the elderly and infirm. You will feel that your first duty is to God but you must also reconcile that with your duty to "render to Caesar" and to live alongside your diverse fellowmen and you will be bound to obey the laws of the land. Some of the laws passed in government may be upsetting to you as they could be in direct opposition to your values and views. But you are bound by the law of the land and law by its very nature must impinge on issues of morality, issues like truth, justice, fraud, theft, fairness in employment etc and the right to life. Most issues will be fine (since Law was built on Christian principles historically), but there will also be significant potential for a conflict of interests. I could list these but you get the point already.
        So your situation is made much easier, if there is in fact close support, co-operation and respect between Church and State. You will feel at ease in that country because your interests are acknowledged and protected and you would probably vote for candidates whom you felt respected your point of view. Those people sitting in government will have arrived there with their deeply held values too and this will reflect the quality of debate and what sort of society they want us to live in. They don't leave their convictions at the door when they walk in, nor should they. What is "neutral"? A person who stands up in a debate will always come at an issue from some angle, based on his beliefs or lack of them. That's reality. So at times it will be an uneasy relationship, but Church and State are woven together and intertwined and we depend on fairness and lawful free speech to rub along together.

    3. There is a difference between Roman Catholic Ethos and Christian Ethos. England has a Christian Ethos but that does not stop it being pluralistic. We should not throw out our heritage but at the same time not be afraid to relinquish physical control. Maybe it is that some don't trust the Holy Spirit to do the business unless they own the Building

    4. I pay a lot of tax and I want my children to go to Catholic schools. I do not want my tax Euros spent on funding and maintaining a system of "secular" schools, because that implies that such schools are ideologically neutral, when that is definitely not the case. "Secular" schools have an agenda. That is not necessarily a bad agenda, but it is an agenda nevertheless. Each type of educational system has values, a secular school is no different. Whether one agrees with the values or not is another question.

      So why not take the state out of the picture altogether? Furnish each parent with educational vouchers to spend on the type of education they want for their child. Introduce legislation to cap the fees that schools can charge so that the value of the voucher matches the fees charged by schools, and in the same legislation ensure that there is reasonable adequate provision of non-religious schools throughout the country.

      That to me seems much more sensible that foisting so-called secular education on people. Making all schools "secular" and effectively forcing children to attend them (since most would not have financial means to do otherwise) is just another example of state control of the individual, whereby the Church is replaced by the State.

      1. Can I ask you why you want your children to go to Catholic schools?

      2. Of course. Principally because I want that Catholic vision of life to permeate their entire education. So that it is not just "Sunday school" whereby religion is taught as a category divorced from the rest of life, but it is a theme which is woven through and permeates the curriculum. More than that, the structure of daily school life, where religious matters such as prayers, religious assembly, Mass etc are integral, extends to the school the Catholic environment of the home. I believe that Catholic education is holistic and when done well (regularly it isn't) can have really positive outcomes.

        But I fully appreciate that this is not the choice for everyone and I can understand why they do not wish to educate their child in such an environment. But my wishes must also be respected to have my child educated in such an environment rather than one in which God plays no meaningful role other than perhaps in a study of comparative religions as an academic study.

      3. I must congratulate you on your very clear and rational explanation of your position.

        Would you not be at all concerned that your children might be "formed" in a way that they might see some issues in a way that is not supported by rationality, science, medicine, psychology, biology etc?

      4. Yes of course but that question rather presupposes that Catholicism is incompatible with those things and that the alternative, secular education, is entirely rational etc. I consider that Catholicism, correctly taught, is compatible with those things. But here we have to define correctly what we mean by Catholicism. I may be wrong, but your question seems to imply the type of dogmatic Catholicism that looks only to the surface of things. Whereas in my practical experience, and looking at the universal Church, we see in Catholicism a great depth and breath of intellectual enquiry.

        Moreover, I am far from convinced that a secular school implies rationality. It might do, but the conflation of reason with secularity is misplaced. Neutral does not exist.

        All of that said, I still don't think it is the key point. The key point is the one of freedom from state coercion and the right of parents to be free of Catholicism if they so choose, but also the freedom to be free of mandatory secularism and to actively choose a Catholic education if one wishes.

      5. You certainly strike me as a parent who will keep a good watch on your children's development.

        Every blessing to you all.

      6. I'd certainly be challenging any medieval philosophical hocus pocus and attempted biblical exegesis by those giving a biblical text a quick glance and drawing unwarranted conclusions on issues of human sexuality and the "mortal" sin of masturbation...but mercifully I have found Catholic educators to be significantly more impressive than their reputation might indicate and thus no intervention has been necessary...

    5. In other news, it seems Gorgeous et al. are keeping a low profile by using social media accounts that do not bear any photographic trade of themselves. Perhaps this is all part of the grand 'ordination plan', +Pat?

      1. I KNOW that these folk are operation secret and anonymous social media accounts and are continuing previous activities.

        They are doing this now and will do it after ordination.

        These will be the Church scandals of 2020 and beyond.

      2. Have you seen conclusive evidence indicating that these 'secret and anonymous' accounts are being used by the people you suggest? To form a Twitter or Facebook profile, one needs an email address. People can create false email addresses easily, that do not bear any resemblance to there own identity. It is almost impossible to know whether or not these people are using false online identities, without having seen them do it. Surely?

      3. I have seen conclusive evidence and am, with help, monitoring same.

        To do this people just need to create a new email address like: nocaed78@gmail.com

        Nocaed is deacon spelled backways :-)

      4. Is that an actual email address in use Bishop Pat, or one you made up as an example? As the previous writer said, how can you be absolutely sure it is being used by Georgeous or others, unless they are displaying photographic proof?

    6. I used to work in retail and we took a lot of credit card payments by phone. The business knew that sooner or later some of their employees would be involved in fraud and their fraud department spent all their time scanning the accounts for it. As soon as it happened, security swooped and the criminals were ousted. The firm was wise enough to know that if you loose your reputation, you have lost everything. There is a certain arrogance in the church that they think they have the right to get away with it and people will just accept it. No- they won't.

      1. Very good point, Jane.

        Yes, 'arrogance' is the appropriate word.

    7. Pat,
      I can only surmise that you are being deliberately obtuse in your comments below today's posting. The reference to reason is :“In fact every Catholic position on concrete morals is argued from reason" The doctrinal points you go on to caricature do now fall within the area of concrete morals.

      The reason the religious have amassed such fortunes is because selfless men and women ran hospitals and schools taking no personal salary - instead it went to the order or was ploughed back into the institution.They are using this money to fund many third world projects.
      Henry the 8th saw an east target in stripping the monasteries it seems avaricious eyes in politics are having a similar temptation in our own times. It goes to prove that there really is nothing new under the sun.
      Chill out Paddy and don't let your own estrangement from the church poison all your goodness.

    8. Would it be possible for an Independent ordinary Catholic congregation to survive, say serviced by independent clergy. Maybe even married men ordained by Bp. Pat or by Ab. Michael Cox? What about an Irish branch of the Old Catholics with Vat.ll liturgy?? No special agenda, such as feminism or gay rights or secularism, or whatever. - just the ordinary everyday selfless service that + Pat speaks of when talking about the many good and faithful ordinary priests who laboured at the coal face, bringing the presence of Christ into the daily lives of so many. A simple desire really. Shame that it should come to this, that we even have to ask the question. Good to see some sensible debate return to the blog, by the way!

    9. Our priest is excellent. Intelligent good and kind. It is heartbreaking for priests like this and I am sure there are many of them. The film "Calvary" is very good.

    10. Long life the Deacon Byrne he will be an asset to the diocese of Dublin. Very wise young man. I cant wait to hear him preach in the pro cathedral. He will liven up that stagnant diocese. Thats why the archbishop wants him

      1. 17.34 spoke too soon. Mere provocation here. Let it be cast into oblivion-where it belongs.

      2. Yes, I look forward to Byrne's preaching too. I hope he shows slides from his holidays ...

    11. Pat who made you a bishop?

      1. It's a thing they call google, look it up.

    12. When Archbishop Martin refers to the 'Church's good deeds', he really means 'the clergy's good deeds'.

      Amazing that more than fifty years after the closing session of the Second Vatican Council, an archbishop can still equate 'Church' with an infinitesimal number of its members.