Mssrs Kenny and Martin, Taoiseach and Leader of the Opposition are fine examples of what is wrong with the faith in Ireland and with religious formation over the last number of years.
I don't want to repeat their banalities, nor to trouble myself with finding their specific comments in response to statements made by Irish bishops or a Monsignor from the Vatican. But there are three key things they appear not to undertand:
1. Ecclesiology. They declare themselves to be Catholics but give no indication that they understand what that means. When they refer to "The Church" it is always in reference to something else, something external to them. It is an NGO, a lobby, a pressure group. We are constantly being told by liberal Catholics about the bad old days before Vatican II when ordinary Catholics thought the Church meant "the bishops". Well, I don't buy that. If you read remarks from politicians of old it is obvious they had a far clearer notion of their place within the Church than people do today.
2. Conscience. This means only doing what you want. Unless The Party decides otherwise. The generation of Catholics who took their lead from Professor Paddy Hannon and the Irish Episcopal Conference. When asked to discuss the real issue they fall back on platitudes of "complex" and "sensitive", "divisive" and "divergent". And yet still try to impose your own view without a free vote.
3. Morality. If something is wrong in itself then it can't be made right by legislation, or by doctors or psychiatrists or the ECHR. And if it is wrong in respect of even one child, then it is irrelevant if it opens the floodgates or not. If a bad law allows the direct, intentional, killing of only one child in a century, it remains a bad law. In this past week we have seen the heroic efforts to rescue a new born baby from a sewage pipe, in the same country that would have had no problem killing her before birth. Wales saw the biggest search in its history last year to find one lost child, April Jones. We value every child, whether conceived in rape or incest, whether a genius or a genetic failure.
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