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Debate: Is there any hope for Catholic Ireland?

Can removing bishops, redrawing dioceses and a papal visit next year lead the Irish Church towards renewal?

By on Friday, 29 July 2011

Benedict XVI may visit Ireland next year when it hosts the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (CNS photo)

Benedict XVI may visit Ireland next year when it hosts the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (CNS photo)

Many Irish Catholics are furious with the Church. The prime minister, Enda Kenny, says he has received “thousands” of messages of support for his outburst against the Vatican last week. His government wants to limit the seal of Confession. Vocations are at an all-time low. Priests face widespread anger.

The latest tide of hostility is down to the Cloyne Report – a devastating indictment of the Church’s handling of abuse allegations as recently as 2008.

What can be done? The Pope has apologised; the Church is being subjected to a Visitation; several bishops have resigned. There are calls for the number of dioceses to be cut, and for many more bishops to stand down. But will that lead to renewal?

Next year, Pope Benedict XVI may be visiting Ireland when it hosts the 50th International Eucharistic Congress. He may not: the trip has never been confirmed by the Vatican and, in the current climate, it could be cancelled. Some have called for the Eucharistic Congress itself to be cancelled.

But if Benedict XVI does visit he would be able to confront the crisis in person. His trips to Turkey, France, the Czech Republic and Britain show he is unafraid of hostility. Perhaps, combined with drastic reform, his visit might nudge Ireland towards reconciliation.

  • Anonymous

    Haha, OK coffee is now on hand.
    Your have posted a very long reply but it need not be so long a response. It’s very simple really. All prophecy is conditional on man’s response. Therefore if we respond to the warning in the prescribed manner we can hold either mitigate, delay or even reverse the current crisis. This is true for all prophecy.
    How does this tie into Revelation? Well i think your understanding of the when and why those events is alittle off.
    You say;  ‘The visions within Revelation however are triggered by the coming of the
    Anti-Christ (Rev 6:2) not ununified human activity/sin. It is logical
    therefore to say that regardless of the state of humanity, there will be
    a point where he (the Anti-Christ), is born and allowed to grow up in
    order to fufill what God has ordained’

    You are simply incorrect. Revelations will not unfold independent of sin and the free will of man. Sin is the bedrock on which the forces of Anti-Christ build their power. It comes about in stages, the sins have to accumulate to pave the way for his acceptance. Previous generations would have been able to see Anti-Christ for what he was and so the demoralisation and spiritual blindness needed to deepen to the levels we have today, i.e.Catholics don’t even know the basics of their faith, do not practice it, and are indistinguishable from the worldly. Therefore the light has gone out of the world and the Satanic delusion will be far more powerful and effective to turn Father against son, Bishop against Bishop etc etc. The fact that the Father can see into our future and see the inevitability of these events does not mean it has to come about during our lifetime. That is our choice. There is a point of no return regarding Revelations but even in this case we can mitigate the general destruction as a people and save ourselves and those we love on a personal level if we follow the prescription from Heaven.
    Perhaps not the best explanation so i am expecting a few follow up questions. LOL

  • Martin

    Good response in regard to the build up of sin in order for events to come about. I agree with you . I think the point i was trying to make was that the terrible events wouldnt be triggered until the Anti-Christ actually arrives on the world stage and that IS going to happen at some point in time. I do not agree that this event can be prayed away, although delayed i will accept.

    My main concern was that it was implied, even stated that the events within revelation could be avoided full stop when the bible says that they will happen (time of course not stated).

  • Anonymous

    It will happen at some point yes, no one disputes that because even if God could not see into the future, it is inevitable that at some point in time there will come a few generations that choose evil over good, i.e. Anti-Christ over God.
    By the way, the forces of Anti-Christ are here right now. How many people on the public stage or even that you know personally are genuine followers of Christ? The Pope yes, a hand full of Bishops and Cardinals but who else? That should tell you something right there. I also personally believe that Anti-Christ personified walks the earth although he has not made his public entrance yet. The stage is currently being set for that with economic collapse, food shortages, Catholic apostasy and never ending wars, threat of all out war etc. Anti-Christ will appear as a man of peace doing wonders and seeming to have the solutions to all our problems. The Christians have had their time, a new age of Aquarius is dawning, he will probably pretend to be in contact with Aliens or higher being etc etc blah blah blah. His entrance is much closer than people think….

  • Petrus

    I’m afraid Pope John Paul II and, to a lesser extent, Pope Benedict XVI must shoulder a good bit of the blame for the debacle that is the Irish Church.  Times after time, incompetent, liberal men are promoted to the episcopal ranks and sound, traditional priests are targeted for persecution.  Sadly, this is not unique to Ireland and is happening the world over.

    We need authentic Catholic priests to replace the old clerical hippies in cope and mitre.  Seminaries need a complete overhaul and dioceses need to be much more selective in who they ordain.  Obove all, traditional rite of the Sacraments and the Traditional Mass must be reintroduced.

  • Concerned Catholic

    I do not advocate iconoclasm.  I advocate justice. I want to see all criminal priests who abused children brought to justice.  They must be defrocked and tried in a Court of Law.  All are accountable under the law, including men of the cloth.

    The Church in Ireland is infested with modernist homosexuals who have brought Catholic Ireland to it’s knees.  The Holy See has the moral obligation to clean this mess up.  Part of the clean up involves removing those clerics who covered up these evil crimes.  The Church must get tough and bring the criminals within the Church to justice. 

  • Ronan Coghlan

    The main trouble was that the Irish Government knew that any time the Church said, “Don’t vote for such-and-such a party” that party was finished politically.  The Irish would not vote for it for fear of going to hell.  In addition, many Irish politicians, particularly those in the Fianna Fail party, were uncouth roughnecks who didn’t regard beating seven bells out of a child was in any sense wrong.  When I was growing up, beating children with belts or sticks was considered the norm, even in middle class homes.  The priests themselves sometimes came from primitive backgrounds.

    Howver, before the British start pointing accusatory fingers, I have met former inmates of British orphanages in the 60s and the conditions they described there sounded like something out of Dickens.

  • Veritas

    This is actually a real opportunity to re-inforce true catholicism in the “erastian” Church in Ireland!
    The connection between church and state has been by far to corporative and unhealthy and this is a splendid opportunity for one of the truly great Popes to make a historical difference and insigate a revival of the faith!

    Never mind the few liberal middle-class lot that go protestant and end up in the ever more utilitarian “Church of Ireland” – they are no loss to the true Church! 

    Let us all pray to St Patrick to guide Benedict XVI on this important mission!

  • asg1

    foolish rhetoric

  • Dolly

    Try reading the press Rory!

    If there wrong, show me a papal denial?

  • Dolly

    The Irish are a Christian nation notwithstanding roman catholic failings.

    If Ireland should decide in the end to join, as one, with us here in the UK, they will find the Anglican Christian worship both humbling and repsectfull in many ways and of course, a wide church. 

  • Honeybadger

    There is hope… if Ireland will quit being the victim.

  • Veritas

    A wide and, more and more, secular “church” – not the future for the Gospel!!

  • The Catholic Herald

    It sounds like you must have had a terrific experience. Would you be interested in writing more about it? If so, please email the Catholic Herald team on

  • Fidelioque

    The shocking truth is that the Irish Laity must take some responsibility for what has happened.  They ignored the teaching of the Church on homosexuality and the destruction and misery it caused.  But let me make myself clear before the bullies come round with their `homophobic` whitewash.   There are more heterosexual poedophiles thant homosexual ones but the truth is that regardless of sexual orientation a poedophile is a poedophile and I resent the idea that I can call a heterosexual a peodophile but not a homosexual.   It is nonsense.   When a practicing homosexual was made rector at Maynooth did the Irish Catholics object.  No, they believed the ongoing story in all parts of the world that it is just a choice of lifestyle.  The Catholic Church in its teaching has greater respect for such individuals.  Why is it wrong for a gay to give blood?  Why do so many die of Aids?  Why will half of them contract aids before they are 50 years old.   The secular society does not have enough interest in gays as persons to ask these questions. They are treated as `pets`.   But such questions should have been asked by Catholics despite being misled by their often homosexual poedophile priest.   The Church has a good case for asking gays to refrain from sex but the secular media does not care.   What happened was that the moral life of the Irish Church became an abyss of sexual exploitation as the gay peodophiles found a home there with children at the age of puberty on tap.

  • Anonymous

    Not  to diminish the high crimes of the RCC but please examine the Jehovah’s Witnesses who go door to door and come on our property.  Jehovah’s Witnesses pedophiles.

     Many court documents and news events prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses require two witnesses when a child comes forward with allegations of molestation within the congregation. Such allegations have customarily been treated as sins instead of crimes and are only reported to authorities when it is required to do so by law, (which varies by state). It has also been shown that child molesters within the organization usually have not been identified to the congregation members or the public at large. These people engage in a door to door ministry, possibly exposing children to pedophiles.
    Although the Watchtower Bible Tract Society claims that known pedophiles are accompanied by a non-pedophile in such work, there is no law stating that such a practice must be followed.
    The Watchtower corporation has paid out millions in settlement money already.
    –Danny Haszard abuse victim 

  • Martin


  • Logmion Pilon

    The Rock been negligent, breached its duty of care or committed crimes against
    god? then tell us your
    truthful stories of abuse and neglect and your views.

    Is The Rock
    built on sand like Christchurch? Will the Pope vacate the

    Is the Holy
    Pilon (mortar & pestle = bread) as powerful as the Holy Grail (Chalice =

    At C.1:Q.96, Nostradamus foretells of an iconoclastic prophet, using
    refined language to continually educate, who is raised in the Last

    Logmion is here and says “Bring Back Petrus

    Facebook Logmion

  • Veritas

    Oh, that’s very low…Dolly! There have been no evidence whatsoever, only tabloid journalism on the issue, and all serious commentators have concluded that the Pope acted both firm and fast when he finally got the authority (as a Cardinal) to do so. If there would have been some real evidence to the contrary all of the left-wing and liberal catholic hating press would have never left the issue!!

  • Dolly

    There have been consistent press reports of the Popes involvement in the knowledge of and subsequent cover up of abuse by Roman catholic priests. More specifically the press pointing to a very specific grouping within the Roman Church acting as the investigative body.

    It is not what I say Or what you say that matters but what the Roman Catholic Church, which professes it had little knowledge of peadophillia activity in its ranks, has yet to deny with the force one would expect it to have if indeed innocent of a cover up.

  • Barneyjo

    “Butchers!! See what they have done to my church on earth!!  Were it not for the Angels, I would have destroyed them all long ago”  This is taken from the writings of Saint Pio, in which he recalls a dream wherein he meets our Lord as he berates and condemns the Catholic Hierarchy for their stewardship of the Church.  Very surprising then that he was ever beatified surely!!

  • Barneyjo

    The present Pope, in his previous existence as Cardinal Ratzinger issued an instruction by letter, in Latin to all the Bishops across the world, that ALL instances of allegations of abuse by clerics be reported to his department within the Vatican.  It is reported that the flow of files from Bishops all across the world was so great, that responsibility was eventually returned to the local Bishop to manage these cases.  It is all documented.

  • Nishant Jeyaraj

    Yes, there is every hope for Ireland. It is surely the last trial, the greatest of them all, the test of withstanding scandal. Those who give scandal are murderers, but those who take scandal are suicidal. After this, according to St.Malachy, (yes the same one who made the “Peter the Roman” Papal prophesy) not only will the Catholic Faith continue to prevail in Ireland, his beloved native isle, the land of St.Patrick as well, would be instrumental in bringing England back to the Faith. Though it is a private revelation, since he foresaw the Protestant Revolt and especially the Anglican schism some 500 years before it happened, we have every reason to believe he also foresaw the future.

  • Michael McManus

    Hes not wanted in Ireland , Survivors in Ireland call him the leader of the roman catholic church world wide paedophile army

  • Fr Thomas Poovathinkal

    Fr Thomas Poovathinkal

  • Obuadhaigh

    On the other hand maybe you do not understand the enormity of the task that effecting change entails.

  • Professoran

    Not to be bombastic here but one has to credit some of the blame on the admissions staff of the seminaries. All things being equal, having an attraction to the opposite or the same sex shouldn’t matter to a celibate population of men such as priests. The problem is that those with same sex attraction are much more likely to be pedophiles as well as have a host of other mental problems as well. Blame it on society, needless guilt or whatever, but the bottom line is the same.

  • Joannie

      What a dumb question to ask! Of course there is hope for the Church in Ireland despite the hostility of the government and secular authorities as well as the Irish Press and Media. Consider that there are currently 22 new seminarians combined with others for a total of about 92. If there were no “hope” for the Church why would young men bother to go into the seminary if they were so “angry” at the Scandal (which the secular leaders at the time also did not do a good job themselves) Do not just take the word of the secular press because they cannot be trusted to tell than just one side of an issue.

  • Patrick hunter

    For A Worldwide Eucharistic Revolution

    By Liam Ó Comáin


    A Review

    This to be welcomed publication contains articles, prayers, meditations, and poems relating to the objective as expressed in the title of the book. A publication whose contents emphasises constantly that the Creator of all- our Eternal God – is the Eucharist!

    Not just some material that God fits into.

    Throughout its contents this truth in a sense is the be all and the end all underlying the publication. A reality which the author emphasises is the only cure for the problems experienced by humanity at present and forthcoming. For as human society experiences

    the disease of secularism and its dead end roads of agnosticism and atheism mankind is set to encounter a satanic onslaught which it has never experienced before.

    In fact it has begun already as confirmed by the constant attacks via the media against Our Lord’s Body that is the Catholic Church. Also the scandals relating to Priests and children confirms the truth of the La Salette predictions that by the third millennium some Priests and religious by their behaviour would crucify Our Lord over

    . The author however elsewhere condemning such behaviour requested that because of the constant attack of satan anything is possible. Referring to the fact that two of Jesus’s

    chosen twelve Peter and Judas denied and betrayed him. Persons who had witnessed happenings that confirmed Jesus was the promised Messiah.

    This publication priced at six pounds and 99 pence sterling is a call to mankind to accept the truth and to ensure that the love of our Eucharistic God via his creation will ensure

    peace and prosperity for humanity prior to the eventual entrance into eternity.

    The author resides in Derry City although born in Limavady, Co. Derry, in the north of Ireland. A leading figure in the Irish civil rights campaign and republicanism he admits being for years a communist and an atheist until his return to the Church in latter years.

    Copies can-be obtained from PublishNation, 3 Grenville Court, Lymer Avenue, London SE19 1LR. Copies can also be ordered via the internet from Amazon Books. It is also available on the American Lulu internet site.

    Patrick Hunter

  • Liam Ó Comáin

    The Satanic Onslaught

    It is my belief that the coming into being of other so called churches resulted from the continuing onslaught of Lucifer against the Church of Christ. Which sincere believers in those other churches and cults would not accept but the Word of God states truthfully that one church and one church only was established and that Church’s existence was assured in-spite of heresy fed by satan in order to destroy the Church of Our Saviour. A guarantee reinforced by Jesus when he ensured St. Peter – the first human father of the Church- that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. A continuing offensive movement, today, which involves aside from the abortionistic, atheistic, agnostic, secular, and media elements, etc., of satan’s milieu Priests and Religious have fallen victim to the onslaught of the father of lies as he tries to destroy the Priesthood. Lucifer knows that if he can destroy the Priesthood the Church will not last long. But it is doomed to failure because of the original guarantees of its founder, Jesus. Thus the sins of some clergy and religious today implies that satan is using them as a method of attempted a destruction of the Church. As in the past he used the claims of ‘heresy’ and the concept of ‘reform’ in his struggle against the Body of Christ. Also in the history of the Catholic or Universal Church satan in the past, as now, has used the sinful behaviour of even Popes to attempt to destroy it. But the source of all evil is banging against a stone wall, that is, the grace of the Holy Spirit, and what satan does is doomed to failure.

    On this matter my final reference to modern clerical betrayal we must not forget that two of Christ’s chosen apostles betrayed Our Saviour, that is, Judas and Peter. Yes, in-spite of his love for them and their witness of his statements and acts confirming who he claimed to be Judas sold him for thirty pieces of silver to his enemies and Peter who was the first leader of his Church (in modern terms-1st Pope) denied him three times. Thus if it can happen at that
    level satan can manipulate from top to bottom the Church’s membership

    if we stop following Jesus. For JuandelaCruz in his writings emphasises that the way to life eternal is narrow and to traverse it we must deny ourselves by imitating Christ including his experience of the cross. Any lapse in this is dangerous as our Christian history confirms.