Speaking at a Mass in Lucan Co Dublin marking the 10th anniversary of suicide support organisation Pieta House, [Archbishop Diarmuid Martin] said it would not be right not to accept the church’s role in fomenting such taboos.
“It would not be honest for me to stand here this afternoon and not recognise that the Church in Ireland and farther afield contributed greatly to the level of taboo which surrounded suicide,” he said.
He continued that “a Church which loses the sense of the priority of mercy gets trapped in a priority of rules, and loses the meaning of those rules. The preaching of Jesus was constantly directed against those who imposed burdens on others and never lifted a hand to help.
“That rigidity and hypocrisy remains always a temptation. It will not be combated simply by homilies and critique, no matter how important they are.”
Catholic Church is one of the only institutions in Irish society that talks about fundamental values, meaning and human purpose.
On top of that, it promotes an egalitarian ethic that is highly commendable in both ambition and scope. The command to “love your neighbour as yourself” sets a moral benchmark for Christians that, despite bordering on the unattainable, is nonetheless capable of inspiring benevolence in its adherents.
What’s not to like about Jesus’s anti-capitalism? Or Pope Francis’s social conscience? Secular humanists may baulk at the theological reasoning behind the claim that “everyone is equal in the eyes of God” but they must surely observe its sentiment.
The Catholic Church also serves a particular purpose in Ireland by providing the basic unit of community. For historical reasons, the parish remains a key identifier around which sports clubs, fundraising efforts, political campaigning and educational activities typically revolve. It is also the place towards which many people gravitate to commemorate important events like birth, marriage and death.
This poses a challenge for humanist reformers. Should one try to dismantle existing community bonds in order to build a better and fairer society? Or should one work with church bodies to try to achieve the same goal?
Eva Panicker age four, and her father Roopesh Panicker seeking to draw attention to what they call Ireland’s ‘educational apartheid’.
Eva was refused entry to her local national school because she is not Christian. Mr Panicker and his wife Najamol Kalangara say they were repeatedly told the school was entitled to give preference to Catholic children.
“Irish law allows state-funded schools to turn away children and discriminate in enrolment on the basis of religion. Section 7(3)(c) of the Equal Status Act 2000 states that schools operated by religious institutions can favour children of their own denomination in enrolment – despite the fact they are entirely funded by taxpayers. In Ireland, about 90% of primary schools are controlled by the Catholic church (most of the remainder are under the patronage of other religious institutions), so this can fairly and accurately be called the “Catholics first” law – though in my experience most Catholics, including my close friends and relatives, consider it repugnant….”
Instead of starting school last month, Reuben Murphy found himself back in his Dublin nursery for another year as his mother, Nikki, re-embarked on her quest to find a place at a local state primary for her four-year-old son.
She has already applied to 15 schools. But, following rejections from nine last year, Murphy is far from confident that a place will be found for Reuben. In a country where more than 90% of state schools are run by the Catholic church, unbaptised children like him are at the bottom of their admissions lists.
In Ireland 89% of primary schools are run by the Catholic Church.
Eighty nine per cent.
A new church-commissioned report called Catholic Primary Schools in a Changing Ireland acknowledges some parents have “little or no choice but to send their child to a Catholic school”.
The document states the church recognises the right of parents to opt out of religious instruction for their children.
But adds: “the manner in which schools do this is subject to available resources”.
The report says schools should not exceed the 2.5 hours allowed weekly for religious education. It says schools should make clear to parents upon enrolment what being a Catholic school means. They should include information on the school’s religious education programme as well as procedures in dealing with parents who do not want their children to participate in religious education.
However, the document does not advise schools as to what procedures should be put in place, apart from outlining options they “may” wish to implement.
They included The Augustinians; The Passionists: The Sacred Hearts Fathers of Jesus and Mary; The Discalced Carmelites (OCD); The Franciscan Friars; The Franciscan Brothers; The Servites; The Marist Fathers and The Dominican Sisters
The inspection process revealed:
* Poor record management in many cases making an assessment of practice difficult.
* Opportunities to safeguard children were missed, known abusers allowed to remain in ministry in 1990s.
* Variable delays in reporting allegations to the civil authorities up until 2009 (introduction of Safeguarding Children, Standards and Guidance) for most Orders and Congregations, however for some practice did not improve until 2013.
Teresa Devlin, CEO of NBSCCCI sez:
“In relation to the large reviews, I’m disappointed that, for the majority of Orders, the whole area of safeguarding is only being bedded down in the last couple of years,” said . “Of the 9 only two Orders have demonstrated good compliance with the standards, and have demonstrated their commitment to putting in place good safeguards for children as well as prompt responses to allegations of abuse. For the other 7 there is considerable work to be done. “A series of recommendations have been made within each report and the Board expects that these will be acted upon…We will request an update on their progress in implementing those recommendations in 9 months.”
Archbishop of Armagh, Catholic Primate of All Ireland Eamon Martin
You can keep us out of this.
“Over the past year or so, in my role as chair of the Council for Communications of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, I have heard a variety of views on the relationship between the Church and the media in Ireland. These views were garnered from professionals working inside and outside of Church structures, and they ranged from the negative to the optimistic.
In my view it is now time for us to build afresh mutual respect and trust between the Church and the media in Ireland, not in any fawning or deferential manner, but in recognition of the fact that we share similar goals – to seek out the truth, to highlight injustice. In many ways we have a common mission – vocation even – to interact with society and the world in order to promote truth, ask hard questions, multiply goodness, enhance beauty and to serve the common good.
I recognise that coverage of the child abuse scandals in the Church has fundamentally shifted our relationship with the media. We are a long way from the 31 December 1961 when my predecessor Cardinal D’Alton broadcast a live message of blessing and goodwill from Armagh to the newly established RTÉ television station. It is true that we in the Church have sometimes reacted defensively or in denial to legitimate criticism in the media – it is also true that some commentators, particularly on social media, seem at times to have lost the ability to objectively question a story, running instead with their consensus caricature of the Church.
Most now accept that “the media” has played a vitally important role in Ireland and around the world, in lifting the lid on a terrible and shameful chapter of our history; giving a voice to those who for years had been carrying a lonely trauma. Media attention of these issues has accelerated the development and implementation of best practice in safeguarding, both in the Church and throughout society.
There is, of course, a legitimate interest in reporting bad as well as good news about the Church. What Radharc [long-running RTÉ Catholic documentary strand] did so well, however, was to present the beautiful, edifying and spiritually-inspiring lives of people of faith in ways which reflected the beauty and goodness of God. I believe that today, when so many people are tempted to despair, we need to rediscover the Radharc vision and lift people up, giving them, as Saint Peter put it, “a reason for the hope that lies within us.” With so much conflict, hatred and division in the world, it would do all our hearts good to witness the commitment of people of faith to peace and justice, to love and understanding.”
Germany’s largest media company [Weltbild], sells books, DVDs, music and more — and also happens to belong 100% to the Catholic Church. Few people knew about this connection until this month when Buchreport, a German industry newsletter, reported that the Catholic company also sells porn.
“The petition you featured a couple of days ago on your site has nearly reached 15,000 signatures. If there is anyone who missed it can you share it again so we can try and reach 50,000 signatures.. Thank you.”