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Closing the embassy to the Holy See – the one cut the Irish government enjoyed

Closing the embassy makes no economic logic – rather it is down to a ‘cooling of relations’

By on Monday, 7 November 2011

Irish leader Enda Kenny Photo: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP/Press Association Images

Irish leader Enda Kenny Photo: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP/Press Association Images

The decision of the Irish government to close its embassy to the Holy See has aroused plenty of comment in Catholic circles. Fr Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, has played down its significance, pointing out that diplomatic relations will still continue.

And indeed they will: there are plenty of nations that do not have an ambassador to the Holy See resident in Rome. Take a stroll along the Passegiata del Gianicolo and you will see a charming renaissance villa that is the Finnish Embassy to the Holy See; but the Ambassador lives in Switzerland, and visits but rarely; the villa is used by visiting Finnish scholars. But it is nice to know that Finland sufficiently values its relations with the Holy See to keep up the villa, despite the fact that historically Finland and the Papacy have had little in common. What is distressing is that the Irish government seemingly cares less than the Finnish about its relations with the Holy See, and Ireland has had a long association with the Holy See.

The Irish government has said that this is a cost cutting measure, and while we all know that Ireland has to economise, the assertion that the Holy See Embassy produces no economic return is borderline insulting. This is the rhetoric of that famous man who once asked “How many divisions has the Pope?” It is also reminiscent of the anti-clerical propaganda of yesteryear that condemned the Church for its lack of economic productivity and its being a supposed burden on the productive part of society. Economic value is not the only value there is; and if cuts have to be made, are there not other less important things that can be cut? I can’t help suspecting that this is one cut that the Irish government actually enjoyed making.

In Italy people talk of the facts, and then the real facts that lie behind the supposed facts, or what they call dietrologia – “behindology”. What lies behind this? The Irish Times talks of economic reality but also mentions a “cooling of relations”.
The people who know will not tell us as much, but we can guess that any cooling of relations must be related to the child abuse crisis. This is payback time. No doubt the Dublin government thinks this will play well with its public, rather like Enda Kenny’s now famous Dail speech.

Come the next election, though, such posturing may come back to bite them all on the bottom, for by then it may seem churlish, short-sighted and infantile, a throwing the toys out of the pram moment. And by then too a huge irony may have struck the Irish people: the poor oppressed Catholics of the occupied Six Counties have a government that maintains an embassy to the Holy See, whereas the Irish Republic does not.

  • Anonymous

    Indeed. Ireland is being run by political pygmies. Plus ca change.

  • Fred Johnson

    In what way are Roman Catholics oppressed in Northern Ireland?

  • Moss Brennan

    On the contrary. The Irish government has finally grown a backbone towards the Catholic church.  It’s the right decision.

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    I was being ironical….. or something.

  • Buckleyce

    You call this having backbone. No Sir, this is passing the buck. Taking responsibility and action to protect the vulnerable is having backbone.
     
    Enda Kenny was in parliament for 35 years and was a junior minister. If he was really that interested in the victims why didn’t he (private members bill) or the government of the day pass child protection legislation to enforce reporting behaviour he now demands?

    He didn’t although we’ve known about this since 1999. Instead in typical Irish fashon he blames the Vatican. He and the people close to the victims had the power to do something and they didn’t. Shame!Their excuse: we were opressed by the Church! Where is personal responsibility here?

  • Paddy O’Barnacle

    Ireland — land of drunks, hot-heads, and drunken hot-heads. Europe’s answer to Mexico. Meh.

  • Robert K.

    The Irish need to start taking some responsibility for the sexual abuse crisis and stop scapegoating everything on the vatican. It was Irish priests and teachers who committed the crimes and Irish parents, bishops, police and govt. that hid them.They will NEVER heal from this disgrace until you start looking in the mirror, accept the responsibility of the culture, support the victims and move on.

  • Anonymous

    Ironic, indeed.  The Primate of All Ireland resides at Armagh within the territorial jurisdiction of the Northern Irish and UK Governments. In the future, If he wishes, he can ignore the not so subtle pressures of the Dublin Government in its practice of diplomatic action at a distance. In a curious reversal of history, one is back to the 19th century.  The British Government with an Embassy to the Vatican in Rome will be in a much better position than the Irish Government to realistically represent Irish Roman Catholics in the Vatican State. The future will be interesting indeed.  Irish Government own goal!  What a day for Irish diplomacy! 

  • Oconnordamien

    The Vatican removed it’d ambassador to Ireland in July, to be re-placed at some stage in 2012. Maybe it’s tit-for-tat. But the Vatican curbed relationships and set the precedent. If Ireland doesn’t need a Vatican ambassador, does the Vatican need an Irish one?

  • Honeybadger

    Hear, hear! I totally agree.

    I agree with Fr Lucie-Smith. Closing the Irish Embassy to The Holy See is one cut the Irish government enjoyed. I could see it in Eamon Gilmore’s face when he was on the RTE News…

    Economic reasons my eye! And I’m Bugs Bunny!

  • Oconnordamien

    As to the headline….
    No one here enjoyed cutting off of relations, rather we needed to cut off a limb that was festering.

    We will miss the meetings that the Vatican arranges, but they are just a mediator. The Vatican meetings tend to cater for the rich and powerful, Ireland’s running shorter on those sorts now.

  • Parasum

    You call this having backbone. No Sir, this is passing the buck. Taking
    responsibility and action to protect the vulnerable is having backbone.”

    ## Just as the Catholic Church in Ireland,shining beacon of Christian morality that it is, “protect[ed] the vulnerable”. Not forgetting the zeal of the Vatican to avoid blaming any but itself for the mess, and its readiness to apologise, which was very impressive.

    Oh, wait…

  • Anonymous

    @ Damo O C.
                           I think we can  safely assume Mr Gilmore enjoyed every bit of it. Whatever of Mr Kenny.

  • Buckleyce

    Pointing fingers at others especially at what you call the Church is avoiding personal responsibility!

    We are the Church, and we failed these victims.

    We are the citizens, family, friends who didn’t question the status quo of Irish politics and society and hence we failed these victims-

  • Anonymous

    Nonsense. As an Irish Catholic I am absolutely disgusted by the Irish Government. A  cheap, petty, vulgar cabal. Kenny’s Dail speech was riddled with lies & he has’nt been man enough to apologise. I dont believe he even understood most of what he read, he is totally devoid of principle, an intellectual pygmy. He’s essentially an Uncle Tom for the anti-Catholic Irish media. My grandparents fought for Irish independence, it appears there fight was a waste of time.  

  • http://twitter.com/PJTPOOAM Thomas Poovathinkal

    NEVER MIND.

    THE LESS WORLDLY POWER, INFLUENCE AND WEALTH THE CHURCH HAS THE MORE AUTHENTIC IT

    CAN EMERGE, PROVIDED THE CHURCH LEADERS  STARTED REPENTING  AND BELIEVING IN THE

    GOOD NEWS.  THEY SHOULD YEARN TO BE APOSTLES  INSTEAD OF BEING MERE BISHOPS AND

    LEADERS AND BE AT THE SERVICE OF PROCLAIMING HIS WORD;  ONLY IN THIS WAY THEY CAN

    BELONG TO THE LORD IN TRUTH. OTHERWISE IT IS ONLY PLAYING WITH WORDS AND KEEPING THE

    PEOPLE OCCUPIED TRAPPED IN DEAD RITUALS

  • http://twitter.com/PJTPOOAM Thomas Poovathinkal

    MOST POLITICIANS LIVE ONLY THEIR ANIMAL LIVES UNDER THE GUISE OF SERVING THEIR

    NATIONS. THEY INVEST MUCH OF THEIR TIME,  ENERGY AND WEALTH IN  FEEDING URGE OF

    THEIR BOLLS AND TUBES!

    LOOK AT THE ONE IN ITALY! OR FOR THAT MATTER MANY IN THE THIRD-WORLD COUNTRIES!

    ALL OVER THE WORLD IT IS THE SAME; WHEN THE PEOPLE ALSO ARE LIKE THEM, THESE

    POLITICAL ANIMALS  ARE PROTECTED AND DEFENDED AND  NOT EXPOSED.

     

    THE MORE PEOPLE GROW CIVILIZED AND GODLY (THIS REQUIRES PRIMACY OF GOD’S WORD

    IN PEOPLES LIVES)  MORE OF THESE POLITICIANS  GET EXPOSED AS THEY DO IN  SOME

    OUTSTANDING CASES IN AMERICA.

    WHO PREVENTED THE IRISH GOVERNMENT (POLITICIANS) FROM TAKING ACTION AGAINST THE

    PEDOPHILE PRIESTS IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY IF THE CHURCH DID NOT TAKE?

    HOW SILLY OF THEM!

  • Guy Pircarde

    I am astounded that the editor has not drawn your attention to the fact that the term “Uncle Tom” is a disparaging and insulting sobriquet. Clearly, you are not a scholar, and you are not very discreet. Please be quiet !!!

  • Honeybadger

    The current Irish Government are so into knee-jerk reactions, they could pass as the Tiller Girls dance troupe! The Fine Gael candidate for the Irish presidency was about as charismatic as a spent firework in a downpour!

    Fianna Fail need to re-invent itself and start working towards forming a dynamic, effective opposition (and future government) for the good of Ireland and honouring the reasons for those hard-fought freedoms instead of wallowing in its own narcissism and treating the Irish economy like a game of Monopoly and electing uninspiring nomarks for party leaders.

    In the long run, the Irish nation will bitterly regret their decision with regards the Holy See.

  • theroadmaster

    A very good good Article, Father, that very adroitly captures all the angles concerning the very unstatesmanlike decision of the government of the Republic of Ireland to downgrade their mission to the Holy See.  The ostensible reason for doing so was on economic grounds, but intelligent observers who read between the lines will see this for the flimsy excuse that it is.  It is in effect an abandonment of one of the oldest missions of the Irish Free State abroad which was established in 1929.  This setting up of this prestigious diplomatic posting was a concrete sign of a much older reality, namely the spiritual relationship that has existed between the Irish people and Rome for well nigh on 15 centuries.

  • Anonymous

    Pompous twit. ” Uncle Tom ” is a perfect description for Kenny’s sychophantic/grovelling attitute to the illiberal Irish media. I am a scholar actually ( not that it’s any big deal ) – University College Dublin ; before the liberal/feminist fundamentalists took over. You’d be in your element there now. Only closed-minded liberal fundamentalists need apply. Take a hike ; preferably near some very steep cliffs !!!.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely correct, Honeybadger. I really despair for Ireland. The lunatics have well & truly taken over the asylum ; with absolute conformism as de rigeur. The only way to survive it is to treat it with contempt & have a good laugh at their childish antics. They honestly believe they are brave/grown up in ” taking on ” the Vatican. Most of them live in considerable luxury ( particularly the left wing/liberal ones ), & appoint their cronies to all sorts of quangos, Bench, etc. George Orwell got close to it in ”  Animal Farm “.  

  • Dr PJ McFall

    No!, you do not sound like a scholar within the accepted meaning of the term. Scholars have inquiring minds and are always tolerant, open minded and understanding of opinions, especially with the things on which they disagree. Scholars are skilled in linguistics, rhetoric and oratory and clearly you are not. The crude, unsophisticated repartee with which you engage shows the limitation of you vocabulary and the mindlessness of your mindset in terms of misogyny and positive and lateral thinking. Thankfully, I learned my scholastic skills, sophistication and refinement at Trinity College, Dublin.

  • Anonymous

    As they say, beyond parody. Trinity College graduates regularly return the likes of David Norris & Ivana Baggage ( sorry Bacik ) to the Irish Seanad – I think that say’s it all about the quality of your education. If I were you, I’d ask for my money back. Thankfully UCD graduates of my generation are more discerning & return ( top of the poll ) the more free-thinking Ronan Mullen. Oh, & by the way, Kenny is still an Uncle Tom.

  • David Corrigan

    Well I suppose The Ivy League Universities, Oxbridge and The Sorbonne will be trying to recruit you for their ethics or academic standards faculty. You are the scholastic summation of what Ireland stands for at the moment.  I should imagine the late Dr Garret Fitzgerald and Maurice Manning, The present Chancellor of National University of Ireland will be is so proud of you incisive and sharp witted rhetoric. Perhaps you should go into politics and write speeches and chair committee meetings for bigots.  Finally, I suggest that you read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe and you would not be so keen to call someone An Uncle Tom. If you lived in the United States and called someone that, you would be sued. In fact, Mr Kenny, if he choose to do so can issue you with a writ, but it would be a waste to bother with a closed minded, misogynistic, racist fool. As my dear mother used to say “God save Ireland from Eejits”.

  • Dr PJ McFall

    University College Dublin is a wonderful place of learning and has much to be proud about. I know many brilliant people who graduated from UCD and thank goodness they are not like you. Actually, I do not believe that you are a graduate, because it is difficult to imagine how you proceeded (whatever faculty) in terms of academic inquiry and research methodology. The Dean and tutors would not have allowed a person like you with “pig ignorant”, ill-mannered, racist attitudes to graduate from such a prestigious establishment.

  • ECgc1956

    Alas your mother obviously scored a dramatic own goal !. God bless & keep the Faith.

  • ECgc1956

    UCD is no longer a wonderful place of learning. It long ago ceased to be a classic Catholic/intellectual university in the spirit of it’s founder, Cardinal Newman. The liberal/feminist fundamentalists put paid to that. It now churns out puerile liberal/feminist dogma. The likes of Garret Fitzgerald & Maurice Manning ( both Fine Gael acolytes ) were at the heart of the dumbing down process. In order to open your mind, can I suggest that you read Joseph Ratzinger’s Regensburg University speech. I think he had irrational, fundamentalists bigots like you in mind. Ironically, he was abused by both the liberal & Islamic fundamentalists – birds of a feather !. Kenny remains an Uncle Tom. 

  • Dr PJ McFall

    Please read “The Sermon the Mount” (Matthew Chapter 5-6-7) and “The Pharisee and the Publican” (Luke 18:9-14). I do not expect that it make much difference to your closed minded hostile attitude, but anyhow, have a go; it may give you some badly needed insight and some degree of spiritual comfort.

  • Anonymous

    Please open your mind & try thinking for yourself. Kenny got himself in this fix by parrotting a speech that was pre-written for him by a liberal fundamentalist. English readers need to know the calibre of individuals ( Kenny/Gilmore ) that we are dealing with. Kenny lied to his teeth to the people of Roscommon about retaining their hospital, for electoral gain ; he then read out a speech in the Irish parliament containing lies/innuendo about Pope Benedict & the Vatican. Gilmores political pedigree ( Workers Party ) is quite rotten ; member of a party which murdered/extorted its way to survival. In character terms, the phrase ” scum of the earth ” was invented for these two. God bless & keep the Faith.

  • Guy Picarde

    Your syntax shows that you were Brian Cowan’s speechwriter. The similarity is unmistakeable. I would assume that your linguistic diction and articulation is just as clear as his enunciation. Have you an M. Phil, Ph.D., or both?   Now!, Please be quiet!!!

  • Anonymous

    Your comments are as puerile as the clown Kenny. The only saving grace for Kenny is that he was moronically parrotting the fundamentalist mumbo-jumbo that was put in front of him. He’s basically brain-dead. My intellectual superiority obviously annoys you ( it’s a by-product of my Catholicism ) ; now be a good boy & go out & play with your toy’s ; or I could lend you a copy of the world’s shortest book – the wit & wisdom of Inda Kenny. Just about at your intellectual level.

  • Mark Castilano

    You are not a true catholic like the Cure of Ars or John Henry Newman who had humility and generosity of spirit. Your rantings show you to be a “shop window catholic” just like the Pharisee in “The Pharisee and the Publican” (Luke 18:9-14). You very much need to read “The Sermon the Mount” (Matthew Chapter 5-6-7) “Blessed be the poor in Spirit” (humility). Also what about the eight commandment: Thou shall not bear false witness”.?  Finally, what the hell is a liberal fundamentalist? Mrs Scallon used those terms a few weeks ago and she proved that was not ‘the brightest spark’. A bit like you.

  • Anonymous

    How presumptuous. You don’t speak for Newman or the Cure of Ars – thank God. They are much more robust in their writing. For liberal fundamentalists read Islamic fundamentalists = at war with rationality/reason. Both found common ground in attacking our Popes Regensburg Univ. lecture. INn any event these personalised/anti-Catholic attacks on me are a childish point-scoring distraction ( I am a Catholic ; I have broad shoulders ; sticks & stones etc. ) . The real issue is the anti-Catholic regime in Ireland. The Roman Catholic community have been highly offended by the ongoing attack on their Church & the lies told about their spiritual leader. The editor of the Irish Catholic newspaper, Gary O’Sullivan, has trenchantly attacked the regime also. This regime has said nothing about the death of  35 children in state ” care ” over the last two years. So there are hypocritical doble standards at work here, & very sinister agendas. For evil to prevail, good men must remain silent. As Catholics, that is not an option.

  • David Corrigan

    I am surprised that a good catholic like you should quote a freemason  Edmund Burke said “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”. (Don’t you get excommunicated)

  • Anonymous

    Burke was a very intelligent man. He recognised the danger of the intolerant liberal fundamentalists of his time. His writings on the French revolution & on it’s irrational hatred of Catholicism are most apt in the present frenzied climate. I have no problem in quoting Edmund Burke, or anyone of good will. For example two of Pope Benedicts staunchest supporters against reactionary attacks by liberal/atheist fundamentalists like Richard Dawkins, are atheists – Jurgen Habermas & Marcello Pero.Thank you for complimenting me as a good Catholic ; modesty forbids.