Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Witch Hunting We Will Go

Yesterday's Dail's debate is fairly illuminating in terms of what passes for, well, modern witch hunting in Ireland.
Instead of the Salem witch trials, we have the Ferns report.
Some of this stuff is just so random, my mind is spinning.
Liz O'Donnell - The unrelenting deference, which constituted the relations between church and State, must end. It was given for many decades and expected for many decades. This special deference and relationship was extremely influential in terms of outcome, and it must end. Only then can the State act as it should, which is objectively.
I fail to see the evidence of this great Church State monolith in 2005 Dublin. Or the Midlands. Is it somewhere else? When exactly has the State been blinded by its institutional Catholicism?
Because the church in Ireland was the main interface with God, the Irish people and the State have shown deference personally and collectively over many decades. This veil of deference is the root cause of society’s failure to stop the church’s systemic maladministration and dereliction of duty to protect children as outlined in the report.
Interface with God? What planet is LOD on? Obviously some intergalactical one - interfacing with God (some people call it praying) sounds like LOD watched a few too many Star Trek episodes.
This “no more Mr. Nice Guy” approach by the State means no longer countenancing the unhealthy enmeshing of the church in the secular layers of our society. It means no more consultation between church and State on IVF, abortion services, stem cell research, Ireland’s support for family planning in the Third World, contraception or supports for single mothers, adoption, homosexuality and civil marriage. In a democracy, all views can be articulated but the special relationship must be over. The deference must be over. The cosy phone calls from All Hallows to Government Buildings must end.
Democracy to LOD means allowing all other voices a respectful platform for their opinions on various moral issues, except the Catholic Church.
By suggesting that recent years have represented a "special relationship" for the Church is disingenuous. "Cosy phone calls" from All Hallows have not impacted on the implementation of any of LOD's wishlist - the democratic process, which was encouraged by the RC church, who conducted themselves in a manner befitting citizens of civil society, was the main theme of all the issues listed. That is except, “family planning" in the third world, which was the responsibility of LOD while minister, and she conveniently disregarded the increasing evidence that the UNFPA is becoming an increasingly malignant force in the world, in many cases condoning programmes which involve forced sterilisations and abortions, including China's infamous "one child policy".
This also means, like it or not, looking at the church’s almost universal control of education in this country.
Yes, the Church owns most of the schools in Ireland. Yes, the State pays for their day-to-day running costs. Yes, LOD, do that - divide up the school system - pay off the Church. Let the State buy every school and football pitch up and down the country at the going rate. Let the religious orders demand "money back" for all the sisters and brothers who toiled for years for nothing but the fulfilment of their vocation, educating the poor and the rich alike, building the educated and wealthy society that we have today.
Then LOD goes on about money and I got bored.
There is not a single person in Ireland who would admit that the Church has acted properly with regard to its tragic and appalling history of child sex abuse. It is interesting however to note, that the Church has currently instituted a full, comprehensive and well funded child protection policy.
The State has not. They have policies and consultancy groups, but no actual child protection programme. Perhaps LOD could "interface" with the State to ensure that those inevitable cases of child abuse that will arise in this imperfect world are minimised and handled appropriately.
LOD ends however with As one who has irreconcilable differences with the institution of the church, as is probably obvious, unless it allows the laity in, including women, it is in terminal decline
Whatever happened to live and live?. Attack the Church about its appalling history. Insist that it can never ever happen again. Ensure that structures are put in to ensure it won't.
But separate the issues.
LOD, you're either a practising Catholic or you're not.
And if you’re Catholic, check out Vatican II and the laity – you will be very surprised.

Get over it, honey - you can't be a priest in the RCC but rest assured, you're a fully signed up priestess of the new Irish secularism, armed with a Fendi crozier, an Irish Times Bible and enough bile to obliterate any pretensions of a pluralistic respect toward what is simultaneously believed to be a greying impotent force of irrelevancy and a powerful enforcer of a "rigid right wing morality".

Just when I thought the female politicians of the Dail couldn't get anymore shrill and sensationalist (and apparently according to the Democracy review people, us girls need more of them to speak for us - in reality we just need to muzzle the ones we have and allow women to achieve the last bastion of equality - the right to have political opinions as people, not just as the homogenous women) Liz McManus chips in.
If this is the logic that will prevail when the idiotic quotas come in, we're in for a short ride to hell in a hand basket - she faults LOD for rewriting history as the PDs have to accept for responsibility for all the things that LOD disagreed with including taking responsibility for trying to have a referendum on abortion passed which would have created a threat to the lives of young desperate pregnant women.
How one gets from Ferns to the 2002 Abortion Referendum is beyond me. I've taken off the contacts and put on my pink tinted post feminist glasses – I still can't see it. Is feminist/female politics simply about bringing everything back to same old agenda via the uterus?
Let's conveniently disregard the evidence that Ireland is one of the safest places in the world to be pregnant and that there is absolutely no treatment for ill pregnant women that is currently illegal, or would have been made illegal in 2002.
I'm still lost. Maybe it's because I didn't vote Labour. Perhaps it's because I don't consider Liz my sister. Or maybe, just maybe, abortion has nothing to do with Ferns. Maybe Catholics are allowed a voice in the democratic and political process. Perhaps the Catholic Church, being a religion and all that, are allowed to have moral positions on moral issues. And maybe, just maybe, the Christian ideal which Catholics strive to live by is not about child sex abuse, but rather the exact opposite - it's about dignity, respect, love, equality, forgiveness, courage, self-sacrifice and falling. Falling again and again until someday you stand a little bit longer because you've got someone else to lean on.
And maybe, the real issue here is how to deal with the sins of others and how to protect the innocent from the sinful actions of others within the Church. And moving on to a healthier place when it’s all done.
The 2 Lizs aren’t contributing anything to the necessary processes of purging and slow healing. They’re just a bad advertisement for women in politics. If political life saps all reason and perspective from the female brain, quotas should not be about increasing female representation, but decreasing it. The 2 Lizs believe that high heel stamping and bitchy comments are useful political statements. If that’s the best they can offer, pass me my Bridget Jones-type Diary and my big fluffy pink pen – I’m sick of politics.



Blogger Auds said...

Check out Eagle's post on this -

Commenting as blogger won't let me edit post for some strange reason.

November 11, 2005 12:34 a.m.  
Anonymous that girl said...

SOunds like there's a witch hunt of a different flavour going on here...This piece is worthy of Mr Waters I'm sorry to say. So far O'Donnell is the only TD to attempt to join up the dots on the legacy of the Church raping children...I for one think it's time that the state took on its responsibilities and run those institutions it so casually hands over to the religios including schools and hospitals. I don't want to hear any more crap about cancer trials being halted because of religion's time to move on.

November 11, 2005 8:54 a.m.  
Blogger Eagle said...

Good stuff Auds. "That girl" is just another echo. How many Irish citizens - even those that are not Catholic - want to buy all those buildings from the Church. For, that's what would be required if they got their way. Or do they just want to adopt the Stalinist approach and just take the Church property away?

November 11, 2005 11:35 a.m.  
Anonymous ainelivia said...

"The Stalinist approach".

Yes, that is exactly the approach that both Church (in cahoots with) State, have taken to the Irish people since the inception of our independent state. Imperialist Britain replaced by a Catholic Facist State otherwise known as a theocracy.

What is that saying... "do unto others.."

November 12, 2005 3:38 a.m.  
Blogger EWI said...

How many Irish citizens - even those that are not Catholic - want to buy all those buildings from the Church.

Those buildings were paid for by the local communities, with land donated from local people, and the upkeep of both church and priest also paid for by the local people.

November 13, 2005 12:15 a.m.  
Blogger EWI said...

Or do they just want to adopt the Stalinist approach and just take the Church property away?

If you object so much to the State's involving itself with the schools, then I suppose the Government can withdraw their picking up the tab for clerical abuse and see how well they do. Bankruptcy should be an exercise in humility for the Church!

November 13, 2005 12:23 a.m.  
Blogger EWI said...

Commenting as blogger won't let me edit post for some strange reason.

Blogger's temperamental at the best of times. I prefer to use a third-party tool (Ecto) to post.

November 13, 2005 12:25 a.m.  
Anonymous ainelivia said...

EWI - you misunderstand my comment. Stalinist Church, Stalinist State. Bankrupt the Church what a good idea. You really do misunderstand my feelings on this and my meaning.

November 14, 2005 10:33 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Auds' celice is showing... either that or he is looking for someone else to use his whip on....

December 05, 2005 12:39 a.m.  
Blogger Auds said...

anonymous - what the hell are you talking about?

December 05, 2005 3:52 a.m.  

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