The Catholic Church’s own misdeeds has vastly diminished its dominance of politics in Ireland. The result is that Ireland has become a modern secular state. This is clear from the verbal pounding the Irish Prime Minister delivered to the Holy See (see below). So says Henry McDonald in a Guardian op-ed:
What makes the verbal sortie on the Vatican so groundbreaking however is that it is a Fine Gael taoiseach, whose political base lies in the conservative west of Ireland, who has led from the front. Once upon a time not long ago Fine Gael leaders were even more strident in their defence of the Catholic church’s “special position” within Irish life as drawn up in Éamon de Valera’s 1937 constitution.
In the great battles of personal liberty and sexual freedom from the 1960s onwards it was leading figures in Fine Gael who manned the barricades for traditional Catholicism as they tried to hold back the tide of liberalism surging in from Britain, Europe and North America.
It was only after the reformist Dr Garret Fitzgerald took control of Fine Gael and tried to make the Republic a more secular place to live in that the nexus between the church and the party finally began to break up. And, even then, there were still Fine Gael deputies and senators who played a prominent role in resisting the introduction of divorce, in pushing for the foetus to become a full Irish citizen via the 1983 pro-life amendment campaign and in trying to stop the liberalising of laws on homosexuality and access to condoms.
The “verbal sortie” is the Cloyne Report and the statement made yesterday by the Irish Prime Minister. That statement is now available.
Some extracts from that statement:
A day post-publication [of the Cloyne Report], the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade met with the Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza.
The Tánaiste left the Archbishop clear on two things:
The gravity of the actions and attitude of the Holy See.
And Ireland’s complete rejection and abhorrence of same.
The Papal Nuncio undertook to present the Cloyne Report to the Vatican.
The Government awaits the considered response of the Holy See.
I believe that the Irish people, including the very many faithful Catholics who – like me – have been shocked and dismayed by the repeated failings of Church authorities to face up to what is required, deserve and require confirmation from the Vatican that they do accept, endorse and require compliance by all Church authorities here with, the obligations to report all cases of suspected abuse, whether current or historical, to the State’s authorities in line with the Children First National Guidance which will have the force of law.
Clericalism has rendered some of Ireland’s brightest, most privileged and powerful men, either unwilling or unable to address the horrors cited in the Ryan and Murphy Reports. […]
This is the ‘Republic’ of Ireland 2011.
A Republic of laws…..of rights and responsibilities….of proper civic order….. where the delinquency and arrogance of a particular version….. of a particular kind of ‘morality’….. will no longer be tolerated or ignored.[…]
When I say that through our legislation….. through our Government’s action to put Children First…….those who have been abused can take some small comfort in knowing that they belong to a nation…..to a democracy……where….humanity……power…rights…… responsibility….. are enshrined and enacted …..always….always…. for their good.
Where the law – their law – as citizens of this country, will always supercede canon laws that have neither legitimacy nor place in the affairs of this country.
Read it all.