Friday 31 May 2013

The Kenny-Martin catechetical failure

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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Thursday 30 May 2013

Abortion, FF, Colm Keaveney and the Archbishop of Dublin

How lucky we are to live in a democracy.  The Fianna Fáil leader, Micháel Martin's attempts to overturn FF pro-life policy and to reject recent Ard Fheis votes has collapsed and he has been forced into "allowing" a free vote.  Imagine, our public representatives will be allowed to vote according to their own views rather than have them imposed on them by party leadership.

Except in this case their should be no free vote for either FG or FF as both parties committed themselves to opposing abortion legislation before the last election.  They are now renaging on their promises.

The legislation will undoubtedly pass and without amendment of any significance.  We can only hope that we can scrape together 10 TDs to at least force a vote.  An unholy alliance of some pro-lifers and pro-abortionists may force the issue.  The Government would love to get this one through without a vote.

I hesitated to comment two weeks ago on the intervention by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin;  I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and see how things panned out.  It was a very odd letter from a bishop as it began

"I write as a citizen of Ireland who happens also to be the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. Independent of the role of politicians and of judges, the Constitution of Ireland belongs in the primary place to all the citizens of Ireland, whose right to express their views should not just be respected but encouraged."

I get the point he is trying to make, that he is not arguing from authority, but as a fellow citizen.  But the fact is, he is the Archbishop of Dublin and he signed the letter "Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin".  He has a particular responsibility to provide leadership for the Catholics within his diocese, and, as Primate of Ireland, within the whole country, including to the members of the government and Oireachtas who are Catholics.  It was a bad start.

The rest of the letter has a good point, I think, and a bad one.  The good point, and he has been successful in this, is forcing clarity that any termination of pregnancy provided for in this legislation would not be allowed to deliberately force the killing of an unborn child.  So that in late term terminations, there could be no question of scissors in the neck a la our American friends, but rather some form of induced labour or caesarian section followed by full medical attempts to save the life of the unborn.  I think it has been good to show that the constitutional protection would not allow otherwise.  This has given rise to considerable discussion as to what will happen to such children, the disabilities that could follow, the failure of the State to consider these matters etc.  It has prompted the Chairman of the Labour Party, Colm Keaveney, TD, to announce that he will be opposing the abortion legislation.  These are positives.

The negative, however, flows from the same issue, as it brings up issues of time limits and viability.  The message goes out that if you are going to terminate your pregnancy, you should do it early enough to ensure the baby dies.  This can hardly have been the message that the Archbishop of Dublin would intend.

Once viability comes into the mix as a criterion, then we have the fatal foetal conditions being brought up.  If it's okay to kill a child early because it's non-viable, then surely it should be okay to kill a child who is non-viable after birth?  And so the door opens another little bit.

2 encyclicals - one on Faith and one on Poverty

As someone fluent in Italian, I try to keep an eye on Church websites in Italy as you can pick up bits and pieces of information you don't get elsewhere.

The website of diocese of Molfetta, Ruvo, Giovinazz and Terlizzi has an article by the bishop on his recent ad limina visit to Rome.

Molfetta is a lovely little city in the south of Italy - visit if you get the chance.

It's clear that the Archishop, Luigi Martella, was entranced by the new Pope.  You can read the whole piece here.

What was of most interest was the chat about Pope Benedict and two upcoming encyclicals.  Don Gino writes:   Poi ci ha parlato con tanta tenerezza di Benedetto XVI: “Quando l’ho incontrato la prima volta a Castelgandolfo, ho notato che aveva una memoria lucidissima – ha detto – anche se fisicamente provato. Ora sta decisamente meglio”. Infine, ha voluto fare una confidenza, quasi una rivelazione: Benedetto XVI sta terminando di scrivere l’ enciclica sulla fede che sarà firmata da Papa Francesco. In seguito, intenderà egli stesso approntare la sua prima enciclica sui poveri: Beati pauperes! La povertà – ha precisato - intesa non in senso ideologico e politico, ma in senso evangelico.

Allow me to translate roughly:

Then we spoke with such tenderness of Benedict XVI:  "When I first met him at Castel Gandolfo, I noticed he had a lucid memory" -  he said - "although physically worn out.  Now he is definitely better."  Finally, he wanted to tell us something in confidence, almost a revelation: Benedict XVI is finishing writing the 'encyclical on faith that it will be signed by Pope Francis.  Later, he himself would prepare his first encyclical on the poor: Blessed are the poor! Poverty - he explained - understood not in ideological and political sense, but in the evangelical sense.

Interesting - the encyclical on faith will have a quality not often seen, though it has happened in the past that Popes have taken over the work almost completed by their predecessors.

Lombardi has denied the story so I expect there must be some truth in it.

Of course the good archbishop should have kept his mouth shut.  Do people not realise that when someone, especially the Pope, tells you something in confidence, it shouldn't end up on your blog?

58th Daily Sayings of Light and Love (St John of the Cross)

It is not God’s will that a soul be disturbed by anything or suffer trials, for if one suffers trials in the adversities of the world it is because of a weakness in virtue.  The perfect soul rejoices in what afflicts the imperfect one.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Overheard in Dublin - James and Rhona

James Reilly, Minister for Health:  "Rhona, please support our abortion legislation, sorry Protection of Life Bill".

Rhona Mahony, Master of National Maternity Hospital:  "I'm not sure, Jim.  It's a bit dodgy.  We don't really need it and all that suicide stuff is nonsense medically.  I don't really want to be killing babies."

James:  "We need your support because them auld fellas are all pro-life and we want a fresh, young and female face to make us look good".

Rhona:  "You're such a charmer, Reilly.  How grateful would you be?"

James:  "Well what do you want?  I'd offer a seat in the Seanad but we're abolishing it and that windbag Crown is already there.  What about a new MRI scanner?"

Rhona:  "What about a new hospital?"

James:  "What?!"

Rhona:  "Here's the plans.  €150 million or thereabouts.  That's my price.  Call me when you're ready."

James:  "Well, you'll have to give us full support on abortion and something else as well".

Rhona:  "We're moving to St Vincent's.  That way we can take out the Sisters of Charity as well;  they won't know what's hit them."

James:  "Anything else?"

Rhona:  "Where can I get my roots done round here?"

Lest we forget - the dawn of a new, well, everything

Ah, it's easy to forget the bright hope that shone upon our land just two years ago before it all sank under the lies and broken promises, that first Dáil speech:

"It is said that the tomorrow imprinted on our ancestral retina is our today. So, when our children look into our eyes, I want them to see a future where kindness, goodness, dreams and imaginings, strength and belief passed silently and unobtrusively from mother to daughter and father to son over the millennia, merge to create a life of authenticity, honesty, dignity, compassion, brilliance, creativity, purpose, confidence, generosity, affection, laughter and heart, a life where they can plan, hope, dream and live their dreams in their own country.  [Unless their mother says she's suicidal, in which case, pity about you]

That our lives and futures are predicated on one thing is true. That is why today I enter into a covenant with the Irish people. In these times of crisis, full of many unknowns, honesty is not alone our best policy but our only policy. The new Government will tell the people the truth regardless of how unwelcome or difficult that might be. We will tell it constantly and unreservedly. It is the only way because the people always have a right to know. I use the word “covenant” over “pledge” and “promise” because I believe the old ways of politics damaged us not alone financially, but emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. The word “covenant” restores a sense of heart, soul and spirit to leadership and our shared national life.  [If you don't count the broken promises made before the election, the commitment not to legislate for abortion, and the lies told about the Holy Father and ignoring his response when it came]

"This is our country. This is our journey. Yes, we are in times without precedent but I believe that for Ireland this current crisis is the darkest hour before the dawn, that we have a generational lightness of soul, that in the long Hibernian nights on the western edge of Europe we remembered the light that went before, imagined the light to come. We are a people looking always and ever to the possibilities of a new day. That new day is here, a bright new day where there is no gap, where the people and its Government are one again, [Now where have I heard that before,  Volksgemeinschafta day when our people are united in cause. Seamus Heaney said: “You have to try to make sense of what comes, remember everything and keep your head.” We will. Together and for our country let us believe in our future. For Ireland and each other, let us lift up our heads, turn our faces to the sun [Really, Cara al Sol?  The anthem of the Falange] and, as has been already said, hang out our brightest colours [and a bit of Michael Collins for good luck]. This is the first day of a journey to a better future. That future will be achievable when Ireland can again take charge of its own destiny, when by the centenary of the 1916 Rising we can prove to be the best small country in the world in which to do business [bit of a collapse of rhetoric], to raise a family and to grow old with dignity and respect."

Enda Kenny, March 9, 2011.

56th Daily Sayings of Light and Love (St John of the Cross)

Since God is inaccessible, be careful not to concern yourself with all that your faculties can comprehend and your senses feel, so that you do not become satisfied with less and lose the lightness of soul suitable for going to him.

Friday 24 May 2013

The Irish Times tries to implicate Christians in Woolwich killing

Two Muslim extremists hack a young British soldier to death to death on the street in London.

Only The Irish Times could come up with a headline like this:

Man arrested for London decapitation from devoutly Christian family

Monday 20 May 2013

Pius XII gives the biscuit

Arising from comments in my post on Pope Paul VI, there was some discussion on Pius XII and a plate I have.  Here it is.

John Crown in breach of Press Code - complain to the editor of Sunday Independent

The anti-Catholic John Crown

Doctor, Professor, Senator, Newspaper columnist John Crown [Ed: when does he do any work?] had a vicious, nastly, vile article in the Sunday Independent.  You can read it here.  It was the sort of thing written by anti-Catholics in Britain and the United States a hundred years ago.

I read it and fumed and then I wrote a letter of complaint to the editor.  Have a read below and I suggest you do likewise (though please write your own version).  The only way to prove that someone has caused "grave offence" is to be gravely offended and to indicate that in numbers to the editor and subsequently the Press Ombudsman.  Email address is and the Press Code is here.

My letter of complaint below:

Dear Editor, I wish to complain about the above article by Professor John Crown in your newspaper on 19 May, 2013. I believe it to be in breach of the Press Code of Practice, Principle 8 – Prejudice, which states that:

Newspapers and magazines shall not publish material intended or likely to cause grave offence or stir up hatred against an individual or group on the basis of their race, religion, nationality, colour, ethnic origin, membership of the travelling community, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, illness or age.

I believe the tone and content of the article was intended to and likely to cause grave offence or stir up hatred against Catholics.

Catholics are called a “cabal of insurrectionists, sympathetic to the agents of a foreign state are….plotting and executing a coup d'etat”. We are “agents of this oligarchic dictatorship” [the Vatican] who “are interfering in our democracy as surely as, but thankfully much less effectively than did the Italians and Germans in aiding the overthrow of the Spanish Republic in the 1930s.”

We are likened to “Gunpowder Plotters” the “recently demilitarised Provos”, the “Contras” and “anti-constitutional Keystone Phalangists”.

We live in a state (the constitution never actually calls it a republic) which guarantees religious freedom, which declares authority comes from God and that public worship is due to Him. We live in a state in which my right to live as a Catholic is protected. Part of being a Catholic is the belief that the head of our church on earth is the Pope. That does not make us foreigners in our own country.

Crown is entitled to his opinion, but under the Press Code of Practice he should express that opinion in a way that is not intended or likely to cause grave offence.

Apparently my site is attracting perverts

Emmelie de Forest, singer of the winning song at Eurovision 2013

The internet is a funny thing.  Was just checking my stats for readers over the weekend.  Normally my top two countries for readers are Ireland and the United Kingom.  Suddenly it's Malaysia and people in Indonesia, Pakistans, and Serbia.  It looks a little bit like the scoreboard from Saturday's Eurovision Song Contest. 

Entry Pageviews

Malaysia 315

United States 304

Colombia 284

Indonesia 227

Pakistan 197

India 190

Brazil 151

Philippines 122

United Kingdom 114

Serbia 88

Further digging would suggest that perverts looking for something sleazy are coming upon my site [Ed: careful now].  I hope they stay and get some benefit.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

End of era and other clichés - Sir Alex Ferguson retires

Sir Alex gives his blessing to the faithful at Old Trafford
There was shock and dismay in the red side of Manchester when Sir Alexander Ferguson announced his retirement as manager of Manchester United.

Sir Alex plans to spend the next few months quietly in his summer residence while building work is carried out on a new residence for him within the grounds of Old Trafford. 

He will be known as "emeritus Manager" and will be entitled to wear the traditional black overcoat.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Most Rev Denis Nulty's first address as bishop-elect of Kildare and Leighlin

Carlow Cathedral before its re-ordering
I would like to thank all of you for your welcome this Tuesday morning – Bishop Moriarty, Bishop Smith, Monsignor Byrne, brother priests, religious sisters and brothers, parishioners of Carlow and people of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. I thank His Excellency, Archbishop Charles Brown for his accompanying me in recent days. I thank Monsignor Brendan Byrne for the graciousness of his hospitality, his kindly support to me personally and his unstinting care for the Diocese over the past three years. I equally thank my predecessor Bishop Emeritus Jim Moriarty who is delightfully with us this morning for his very fine stewardship of the diocese during his tenure and I wish him continued happiness and blessings in the years ahead.
A line from the first psalm of Morning Prayer this morning reads: “O send forth your light and your truth; let these be my guide. Let them bring me to your holy mountain to the place where you dwell”. I am honoured, privileged and humbled to be chosen by Pope Francis to be bishop for and with the people and priests of this superb Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin.

I come from Slane, where the story of faith on Irish soil began [em, Saul, Co. Down?] when Saint Patrick lit the fire and used the shamrock to teach us about God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This diocese too has its own strong symbol of our faith in the Saint Brigid’s Cross.

I was ordained for the Diocese of Meath, and Bishop Michael Smith who stands beside me today, opened many doors of ministry to me in the Diocese. For that and much more, I am eternally grateful to him. I have enjoyed my time immensely in Meath and there is a sense of sadness in leaving colleagues and friends, even if it’s only down the road. While there is an excitement around new beginnings there is also a nervousness around the challenges that lie ahead. I have been understandably anxious in recent days since my meeting with Archbishop Charles Brown – an anxiety that has been eased by grace – the gentle grace of acceptance; the grace of responding to that call; the grace of the prayers of our friends in Heaven; the grace of trusting in the judgement of others – a judgement that suggests I have a capability greater than I feel myself to have.
This morning I have travelled from the mouth of the Boyne at Drogheda where she eases herself into the Irish Sea, to the Diocese where that winding ribbon finds its source in the spring at Carbury in County Kildare! Rivers were an essential part of the story of the early Church for life and communications in travel – the Barrow is to Kildare and Leighlin what the Boyne is to Meath. In this Year of Faith the Boyne and the Barrow remind us of the life-giving water of baptism. They also remind us that today so many people are thirsting for the water of new life and hope – those living in negative equity in the commuter belt; those coping with the stress of the daily treadmill; those out of work searching for a deeper appreciation of their self-worth and dignity; farmers coping with the fodder crisis and late spring, how much that life is needed – may each find solace and support in this hour. I am equally conscious this morning of those who have been wounded by the Church and the terrible sins of individuals who should have brought life, but instead inflicted pain and destruction on too many.

Water speaks of life and life is precious and dear to us at all levels and particularly in our times, human life – its giftedness and sacredness. And what a message last Saturday’s National Prayer Vigil offered at Knock: Cherish them Both – Mother and Child. Monsignor Byrne’s statement in the lead up to the Vigil very eloquently reminded us: “a life is a life. Whatever happens, the need to respect that life should never be reduced to a ‘choice’ or an arbitrary timeline”. Mothers deserve nothing less than the best medical and psychiatric care available, especially during pregnancy when the lives of two persons – the life of the unborn and the life of the mother – are at stake. As the Bishops’ preliminary response to the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013 last Friday reminded us: “The Gospel of life is at the heart of the message of Jesus: the deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of life is always morally wrong”.
I come today to the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin as a Priest who has been immersed in parish life since Ordination. My first ten years were in the Cathedral Parish in Mullingar. For the past fifteen years I have been Parish Priest of Saint Mary’s Parish, Drogheda. They have been a very rewarding and enriching twenty-five years, during which I have been taught so much about being a Priest among People in the struggles and the joys of ordinary life. From the Church of the Assumption at Saint Mary’s in Drogheda I find myself today at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Carlow.

I am a priest who works earnestly, who loves the priesthood and loves working with priests and people. But I am a priest who needs to learn a great deal about the story of this diocese, its geography, its people, its priests, its traditions and its history – be patient with me as I embark on a journey that will take me to every parish in this Diocese, to listen to the Spirit speaking through the faith and example of committed priests and parishioners. I know there is dedicated involvement of laity at many layers of Church life. I come to support this engagement. I come to listen to the conversation of faith in the Diocese. I come to care for priests, to encourage seminarians and to support the faith growth of the young, who may feel at times isolated or on the fringe. For many priests these are difficult days as they see their number grow perhaps older and fewer and the demands heavier – let us work together to encourage vocations and to develop collaborative ministry.
It only remains for me to thank all of you for being here today, and to invite you to do what Pope Francis did as he made his first appearance on the balcony at Saint Peter’s; to ask you to implore a blessing on me … and together let us pray the Prayer of Saint Francis:
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life”
Saint Brigid, pray for us …
Saint Conleth, pray for us …
Saint Laserian, pray for us …
Our Lady of the Assumption, pray for us …

New bishop of Kildare and Leighlin appointed - Most Rev. Denis Nulty

Most Rev. Denis Nulty, Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin with a first communicant

Update:  Bishops' Conference Website has just made the announcement at eleven o'clock.  See details here.

Further update:  crowd gathered at St Mary's in Drogheda being treated to tea and buns at the parish centre.  The curate, Fr Joe Campbell, read out a statement from the bishop-elect, read the gospel annunciation story and then they all prayed a decade of the rosary for Fr Denis, with much tears mingled with smiles.

And another update:  Bishop Smith issued the following statement following the appointment of Fr Denis Nulty as Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin:
"I warmly welcome the announcement today that Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Denis Nulty, P.P., V.F. of St. Mary’s Parish Drogheda in the Diocese of Meath as Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin.

Fr. Denis brings many gifts to the task of being chief shepherd of Kildare and Leighlin.

His leaving us leaves a deep void since his contribution to the mission of faith in the Diocese went far beyond his own parish. He has at all times brought to his priestly ministry great dedication, commitment and wisdom both during his ten years in the Cathedral parish, Mullingar and since 1998 as Parish Priest of St. Mary’s. He became Ireland’s youngest parish priest at the time of his appointment to St. Mary’s, a large and expanding parish.
Fr Denis brings to his ministry intelligence and approachability, rooted in a deep faith, that was appreciated by all who crossed his path. I have every confidence that he will fulfil his new ministry with the same dedication and commitment that has characterised his priestly life.

He goes with the prayers and good wishes of all of us, priests and people."

And another:  Kildare and Leighlin wikipedia entry updated already.

And more:  former curate of Bishop-elect Nulty pays tribute.

And again:  Bishop-elect's first public statement.

Original post below:

The parish priest of St Mary's Parish, Drogheda (Diocese of Meath) has been been appointed as bishop-elect of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin by the Holy Father.  The word began to leak out yesterday when the faithful were invited to a meeting at St Mary's Church in Drogheda at 10.15am this morning.  It didn't take much of a soothsayer to figure out that someone was getting a pointy hat, the only question being "which diocese?".  There was great hope in Drogheda that Fr Nulty, the extremely popular parish priest for the last fifteen years, might be made co-adjutor for the Diocese of Meath.  But a source in Carlow revealed that morning plans were underway there as well and with no hint of anything in Mullingar it quickly became clear to all that Fr Nulty would be leaving the beauty of St Mary's in Drogheda for the horror which is Carlow Cathedral.

It's a big job for a big priest.

Hat/tip to Whispers in the Loggia for the material below:

What of the style "bishop-elect"? Bishops are elected in the Catholic church -- albeit by an electorate of one. (Except when, in 1985, a liberal cabal of gays, heretics, liturgical dancers and pastoral associates gathered at a secret country ranch in Colorado to elect Roger Mahony as Archbishop of Los Angeles.)

Bishops of the Latin rite, with the rare exceptions of places like Salzburg, where centuries-old concordats which are still in force concede the election of the bishop to the Cathedral Chapter, are chosen -- "elected" -- by the Pope "acting on the opinion of the Congregation for Bishops."  (And where that phrase doesn't appear in the letter of appointment, hide the children and the seminarians, because something crazy went down. This has been known to happen, however sparsely.)

Within four months of election -- known in the law as "canonical provision" -- a nominee who does not yet possess the episcopal character must receive ordination and take possession of his office. The latter is constituted not in the sacramental act, but in the presentation of the papal letter of appointment (which authorizes the ordination to take place "from the hands of any Catholic bishop outside the city of Rome") to the diocesan college of consultors or the chapter of canons. In the case of a new bishop who has already received episcopal ordination, the installation must take place within two months.

The ancient tradition remains that a bishop-elect takes to himself three principal ordaining bishops for his episcopal ordination. The lack of record-keeping in earlier times dictated this practice to ensure that at least one of the prelates had a valid place in the apostolic succession stretching back to the time of the apostles. Even though these difficulties have been cleared up over time, it wasn't until the post-Vatican II period at which all bishops present would participate in the ritual which would transmit the lineage to the newest among them. However, despite the participation of all in the new rite, the presence of two chief co-consecrators is maintained.

In terms of the externals, from the moment their appointments are announced, bishops-elect are entitled to the styles "Excellency" (in Ireland "Lord") and "Most Reverend." They may also immediately assume the amaranth choir cassock, zucchetto, biretta, mozzetta, rochet, the pectoral cross and the simar with appropriate piping and shoulder cape, just in case they've got any of those lying around, because you never know. (The rest -- mitre, crozier, ring -- are, of course, conferred at ordination.)

Monday 6 May 2013

If Abraham Lincoln had been Enda Kenny - a thought experiment

Enda: Take this out to my plantation and start planting, boy.
Enda Kenny keeps promoting the line that he has no choice but to bring in abortion legislation (even though he said the exact opposite before the election).  He is of the opinion, or so he says, that the judgment in the X-case is forcing his hand (even though, as he also keeps repeating, other governments didn't feel so compelled for twenty one years).  

The Taoiseach said the people’s wishes had been determined and set out by the Supreme Court, which determined what the Constitution actually meant.  “People have given their views on this already but it’s now a process that we’ve entered into as a legislature and that’s our responsibility in this Republic,” he said.

The same line has been repeated ad nauseam by Eamon Gilmore and the other pro-aborts.  I listened to Pat Kenny grill a pro-life TD last week and the X-case judgment was presented as in the same manner as the unbreakable last word on abortion and suicide.

Two words came into my head listening to all this - Dred Scott.

In 1857 the United States Supreme Court ruled, in the case Dred Scott v. Sandford, that that African-Americans were not citizens, and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court.  They also ruled that the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in any territory acquired subsequent to the creation of the United States.  it was an appalling decision, the X-case judgment of its day.

Three years later, in November 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected 16th President of the United States.  

So if Abraham Lincoln had been Enda Kenny what would have happened next?  Well firstly he would have established an expert committee comprising lawyers and slave owners to bring forward recommendations on preparing legislation and regulations to implement the Dred Scott judgment with a view to removing citizenship from African Americans in those States where they were citizens and to end any regulation of slavery by the federal government.

Abraham Lincoln would then have forced the Senators and Congressmen from his party (The Republican Party) to support new laws enforcing slavery and removing citizenship from African-Americans.  

There would be no Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 freeing slaves in territory occupied by Union forces.  There would be no 13th Amendment in 1865 outlawing slavery.  

Instead there would have been legislation copper-fastening a bad, immoral, judgment.

When Catholics would remind Abraham Lincoln of Pope Gregory XVI's 1839 bull, "In Supremo Apostolatus" (which reiterated papal opposition to enslaving "Indians, blacks, or other such people" and forbade "any ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this trade in blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse.") Lincoln would, Enda Kenny style, shrug his shoulders, and say "this is a Republic, the Pope is entitled to his opinion but I have a responsibility to implement the judgment of the Supreme Court.  This isn't new legislation, this is about protecting slaves and their owners."

So when you next hear "X-case" just reply "Dred Scott".

Star of EWTN condemns draft Irish abortion legislation

Fr John of Jesus, OCDS, popular presenter on EWTN, preached on Sunday on the draft abortion legislation.  Read the whole thing here or most of it below:

During the week the draft legislation for the introduction of abortion was published and despite assurances from the government, in reality this legislation is the first step in the introduction of abortion on demand – as inadvertently revealed by two TDs.   I would urge you all to read the legislation.  But in summary there are many difficulties with this bill not only for unborn children and women in crisis, but also for religious freedom.   First of all we need to bear in mind that many legal figures have told us that there is no need for this legislation – clarification of procedures will help protect women in difficult medical situations.  Despite what pro-abortion groups claim, abortion is never medically necessary to save a woman’s life.  Just a few weeks ago our nation’s doctors confirmed this, and rejected the idea of legislation.  Even more recently one third of our psychiatrists issued a joint statement rejecting the idea that abortion was a solution to a pregnant woman contemplating suicide – objective research and experience show that abortion actually increases the risk of suicide.  Yet the government, for some reason, has chosen to ignore the advice of the experts in this area.  This legislation is not necessary and is not based on legal, medical or psychiatric grounds – it seems to be a purely ideological exercise.

There are other issues.  Under this law abortion will be permitted up to birth. All hospitals which deal with obstetrics will have to perform abortion regardless of ethos – in other words this law will force Catholic hospitals and institutions to carry out abortions.  Doctors, nurses and midwives may avail of a conscience clause but only if they themselves arrange for others to replace them – that amounts to cooperation in abortion.  However administrative and ancillary staff are not covered by the conscience clause, and so they will be forced to cooperate materially with abortion.  These are just a few concerns.

This act, it is obvious by reading it, is the first step to more liberal provisions for abortion, as we see happened in Britain and other places.  It is obvious too that a Catholic cannot support this legislation and remain in good standing in the Church – to vote for this bill constitutes a grave sin and if not repented may well lead to canonical penalties.   In their statement the Bishops have described this bill as “morally unacceptable” and it is.  

As a pastor of souls speaking to my brothers and sisters in the Christian faith I want to remind you that as citizens of this republic you have the right to make your views known to your elected representatives.  As men and women who believe in the cause of life, for mothers and babies, and learning from medical science that one life need not be destroyed to save another, we acknowledge that there is another way.  I would urge you to do what you can for the cause of life so this legislation does not become the law of the land.  Let us listen to the Lord’s word on the sanctity of human life, on the little children.  Like the Hebrews in the desert, Ireland now faces a choice: life or death.  Let us choose life.

The things I have to put up with

I had some friends round on Saturday night and we were watching a film - The Grudge 2.

Apparently expecting people to turn their phones off during the film is unreasonable and controlling and I'm suffering from CDO (like "OCD" only with the letters in alphabetical order the way they should be).  Other symptoms, it seems, include putting three sweets in a line before you eat them.

Luckily I don't bear a grudge.

Friday 3 May 2013

In which Catholicus Nua tries to restrain his annoyance at Cardinal Sean Brady and how the ghost of Paddy Hannon haunts the episcopal conference

Shortly after the bishops issue a strongly worded statement attacking the draft abortion legislation (expect to hear RTE, Irish Times and government parties insisting on "Protection of Maternal Life" legislation) Cardinal Brady is asked by a journalist:

"Have the bishops discussed whether politicians who advocate support for the legislation should be barred from communion, as has happened in some US dioceses?"

What answer should he have given?

Well there's short and truthful - "No, we didn't discuss that"

There's longer and useful - "No, we didn't discuss that.  The legislation is in a draft form and we want to ensure that people are aware of the full moral implications of what is involved before they consider voting.  We want people to realise that this represents a distinct movement from necessary medical practice to the deliberate killing of an innocent unborn child....."  And so on.

Instead what did Cardinal Brady say:

"There would be a great reluctance to politicise the Eucharist....I say that they (politicians) have an obligation to oppose the laws that are attacking something so fundamental as the right to life and they would have to follow their own conscience."

Here endeth the Church's contribution to the debate.  Follow your own conscience (understood as do what you like), there will be no repurcussions for you as a Catholic politician and we will ignore Canon Law as we did on child abuse for many years.

Canon 915 makes crystal clear that a Catholic politician who votes for abortion must be refused communion and the onus is on the person distributing communion to refuse.  It's got noting to do with politics - it's everything to do with integrity of the sacraments.

Contrast the statement by Cardinal Burke courtesy of EWTN:
Cardinal Raymond Burke says that local Catholic politicians who support the procedure should be refused Holy Communion in hopes of inspiring their conversion.
“There can be no question that the practice of abortion is among the gravest of manifest sins,”Cardinal Burke told the Irish newspaper Catholic Voice in an interview published Feb. 1.

Once “a Catholic politician has been admonished that he should not come forward to receive Holy Communion,” the cardinal added, “as long as he continues to support legislation which fosters abortion or other intrinsic evils, then he should be refused Holy Communion.”

The American cardinal heads the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest legal tribunal that rules on canon law.

Cardinal Burke said that the local bishop and parish priests must ensure that Holy Communion is properly received to avoid “the grave sin of sacrilege” from those like Catholic politicians who receive Communion in spite of “grave moral evil.” The bishops and clergy must also prevent the “scandal” caused by this kind of reception because it “gives the impression that the Church’s teaching on the intrinsic evil of abortion is not firm."
  He also addressed the issue in academic detail back in 2007 - worth a careful read here.

Preliminary response by the Catholic Bishops of Ireland to Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013

The Catholic bishops of Ireland stress once again the importance of continuing to provide a health care service in Ireland which ensures complete respect for the sacredness of the life both of the mother and her unborn baby. The bishops express their appreciation of the work carried out day by day in this ethos by doctors, nurses, midwives and other health personnel. Through Cura, the Church’s crisis pregnancy agency, help is available to any woman facing a crisis pregnancy.

The Heads of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013 published by the Government on Wednesday would, if approved, make the direct and intentional killing of unborn children lawful in Ireland. The Bill as outlined represents a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law and is unnecessary to ensure that women receive the life-saving treatment they need during pregnancy.

The Gospel of Life is at the heart of the message of Jesus; the deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of life is always morally wrong. We uphold the right to life as the foundation of every other human right. We encourage a deeper understanding of the inviolability of the right to life of both a mother and her unborn child, in all circumstances. Accordingly, at this crucial time, it is essential that all who share these beliefs make them clear to their legislators.

The Bill also appears to impose a duty on Catholic hospitals to provide abortions. This would be totally unacceptable and has serious implications for the existing legal and Constitutional arrangements that respect the legitimate autonomy and religious ethos of faith-based institutions. It would also pose serious difficulties for the conscientious beliefs of many citizens.

Abortion, in the sense of directly killing the unborn child, is never a remedy for suicidal ideation and therefore should never be cited as a justification for the direct killing of an innocent human being. It is a tragic moment for Irish society when we regard the deliberate destruction of a completely innocent person as an acceptable response to the threat of the preventable death of another person.

We invite all who cherish human life to support the Vigil for Life which is taking place in Knock tomorrow - see below. We encourage everyone who can attend the Vigil to do so or to join in prayer with us. Cherish both mother and baby! Choose life!

Special national Vigil of Prayer for Mothers and their Unborn Babies to take place in Knock

Mass in the Basilica will be live streamed on

Tomorrow Saturday 4 May will see a national Vigil of Prayer for Mothers and their Unborn Babies taking place at Our Lady’s Shrine in Knock, Co Mayo. The theme of this Vigil will be ’Choose Life: We Cherish Them Both’ and it is supported by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

This special liturgical event will begin at 1:00pm with a Rosary Procession and will conclude with Mass in the Basilica at 3.00pm. The main celebrant for the Mass will be Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, and the homilist will be Bishop Brendan Leahy, Bishop of Limerick. A blessing for expectant mothers who are present will be given during the Mass.

Parishioners from around the country have been invited to attend the Rosary and Mass. For further details on the ‘Choose Life: We Cherish Them Both’ national Vigil of prayer, pilgrims can view the pro-life website which contains personal video testimonies and special prayers dedicated to protecting the unborn.

Why do Fianna Fáil even need to consider this abortion legislation? They gave a clear pre-election commitment to oppose abortion legislation.

Official Statement from Fianna Fáil to the Pro Life Campaign

Dr Joseph McCarroll
Pro Life Campaign
104 Lower Baggot Street
Dublin 2

17th February 2011
Dear Dr McCarroll,

Thank you for your letter dated 11th February 2011. I note that you are reviewing the views of the different political parties on abortion and the protection of embryos on Tuesday next.

I set out my response our position as below:

Fianna Fáil’s position on abortion remains unchanged and will maintain Ireland’s ban on abortion. [Couldn't be clearer?]

Fianna Fáil will uphold the right of the Irish people, and the Irish people alone, to decide on Ireland’s abortion laws. [i.e. not the ECHR] We will oppose moves to legalise abortion in Ireland. Our track record in this regard is clear.

Fianna Fáil Taoisigh negotiated legally binding guarantees, which were attached to the Treaties of Maastrict and Lisbon, ensuring that nothing in those reaties, or in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, affects the operation in Ireland of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution.

The Government mounted a robust defence of Ireland’s abortion laws before the European Court of Human Rights in A, B and C vs. Ireland. The Court found that the Irish Constitution is not incompatible with the ECHR, and that States enjoy a margin of appreciation regarding protecting the right to life of the unborn, thereby affirming the Government’s view that it is the Irish people who have the right to decide on abortion.

Fianna Fáil will ensure that any new regime put in place in respect for assisted human reproduction fully respects the right to life of the unborn. [So presumably the definition of "unborn" must include embryos outside the womb which is excluded in this legislation.] In this context, Fianna Fáil in Government has insisted that all EU research funding programmes respect Ireland’s national position in relation to embryo research through the ethical subsidiarity clause.

We have ensured that no embryo research in Ireland has been or can be funded by the EU. In the negotiations on the 7th EU Framework Research Programme, Ireland played an influential part in crafting a compromise whereby the Commission undertook not to submit proposals for research activities that destroy human embryos.

I can also confirm that we are opposed to research on embryos and will not support moves to legalise this in Ireland. [Again, presumes the definition of "unborn" covers these embryos.]

Yours sincerely,

Micheál Martin TD
Leader Fianna Fáil

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Pro-life Rally, Leinster House, 5pm today (Wednesday 1st May)

I don't have any other information beyond this.  If you can, get along to the Dáil and let them know what you think of the plans to kill the unborn children of suicidal women.

I haven't had a chance to read the legislation carefully so haven't checked the hidden language.  But clearly a line has been crossed with abortion for suicide, irrespective of the doctors and and panels put in place.  From a pro-choice perspective this is clearly a foot in the door.  And never mind who hates the analogy, but that's exactly how the Nazis operated.  You cross a line and then the line moves and move it will.

The panels are clearly designed to appease moderately pro-life (whatever that means) politicians who presume that in practice no one will get an abortion by this means.  Firstly because the procedure will be too complex and women will prefer the relative ease and anonymity of going to England.  Secondly because pro-life doctors or psychiatrists will be able to scupper the scheme by saying "no" at the panel stage.  Thus you satisfy the X-case judgment and the ECHR in theory but really nothing changes.

The problem with this argument is that you will have conceded the prinicple and when the practice doesn't work from the pro-choice perspective, the pressure, including judicial pressure, will begin again.

Let's look at the second issue, pro-life doctors on the panels.  Well firstly, some will refuse to serve on the basis that they won't facilitate abortion.  If they adopt that approach then only pro-choice doctors will be on the panel.  Alternatively they agree to serve with a view to vetoing abortions.  But will they be allowed?  On United States juries, where there is a trial for a capital crime which could attract a death sentence, you will not be allowed to serve if you oppose the death penalty.  US juries always comprise supporters of the death penalty.  I suspect the same approach will be taken here with abortion panels. 

While there are many fine practitioners, the medical profession across the world has collapsed in the face of demands for abortion.  And remember, midwives here often take their lead from the Royal College in England.

The conscientious objection clause is relatively weak.  Institutions aren't protected.  Medical practitioners have some protection, but are still expected to provide referrals.  There is no protection for administrative or ancilliary staff.  There is no clear protection for management along the lines of the recent Scottish judgment.

That's all I've had time to glean for the moment.