Thursday, September 10, 2009

Church and State - Unholy Alliance

Despite their failure to gain a solid, legal commitment to workers rights the Government took great trouble to appease another group in Ireland.
To reduce the risk of another rejection they trumpeted a protocol, or 'guarantee' on the issue of abortion, and got the Catholic Hierarchy onside for the second Lisbon vote.

Not withstanding that I do not believe abortion to be a political issue but a moral one, I believe in total separation of Church and State.
I do not think any church in Ireland has the right to comment on the democratic process.
But it appears that with the blessing of the church the Government have given us provisional absolution, that is, provided we show remorse and redeem ourselves at the ballot box.


I wrote about my anger and sadness after the Ryan Report, the deviant cruelty of some clerics - perhaps worse still the cover up, the refusal to accept full responsibility and the reluctance to fully pay compensation.
A deal was agreed with Dr. Michael Woods (Fianna Fail of course) while serving as Minister for Education. Woods signed an agreement with the church about child sex-abuse scandals which limited their compensation liability to only €128 million.
However, this scheme is projected to eventually cost the Irish government, and therefore the Irish tax payers, €1.35 billion.

But hey, we are bailing out the bankers with the already paid bail out and the proposed future NAMA process.
I do feel it is important to stress that it was a minority in these orders that committed the worst abuses. But the abuse was systematic, and as the Ryan Report showed, known to the hierarchy.

The deal done gave protection to many abusers from Irish law, and absolved the hierarchy by sacrificing the named orders.

The agreement was signed just before the Irish general election, 2002, and was not laid before the cabinet for its approval. It then remained unpublished for several months.

In 2003 after brokering the deal, Woods claimed his strong faith made him the most suitable person to negotiate the deal.
In view of this I believe that Opus Dei and other Catholic societies should be made disclose the names of all members employed by the state or in the judiciary.

Woods defended the deal, claimed the Department of Education and Science had the management role in the schools in question and that the state knew all the details when making the deal.
That may well be true, the state allowed the institutions and the virtual establishment of a theocracy after all, but why is the tax payer in terms of burden ten times more liable.

Woods also declined to allow the examination of the the legality of the court orders that committed the child inmates for decades into the industrial school system.
This was a system whereby, on moral grounds, the church could have children taken into their care - and defended this power bitterly, as we will see from the Noel Brown Mother and Child act.

Pat Cox, Irelands primary Eurocrat, took objection to an anti Lisbon leaflet he received in Knock, a place of pilgrimage where the Virgin Mary, Mother of God is alleged to have appeared.
The irony is the leaflet came from a very right wing Catholic group opposed to Lisbon, COIR.
Quite often the Yes camp promote them as the main opposition to the Lisbon treaty. It is to associate all those who would vote No to Lisbon with a small splinter group, and I have written of this smear by association before.

A leaflet COIR produced featured Caravaggio’s “The taking of the Christ”. It is known as the Judas Kiss painting.

Ireland for Europe Campaign Director Pat Cox has brought the leaflet to the attention of the Jesuits who hold the image rights to the centuries old painting.
In line with the new directive from the Irish Hierarchy, the Jesuits stated that COIR did not seek or obtain permission to use this image and that the matter would be pursued.  The Jesuits would not allow the use of this image “for such controversial and inappropriate purposes”

In that case any church should remain outside of the political debate.
Pat Cox said he “was offended to see this sacred image being misused by associating it with this shameful and untruthful propaganda”
According to Ireland for Europe there is a clear dividing line between the protection or promotion of Christian values and the publication of false or misleading propaganda in relation to the Lisbon Treaty.

(* this section of the article has been updated further after the conclusion)

I do not believe that the church even has a moral right to comment at this point in time since the Ryan report.
And yes, the tax payer is the one who will bail out the church in Ireland in spite of their sins, along with the floundering bankers, failed politicians and reckless speculators.

For so many years, due to theocratic control exercised by a few unelected and unaccountable people over citizens and politicians we had a Gulag system in this republic where sin and crime were synonymous, even condoms were illegal. Because of the power of the Church, civil divorce has only recently been bought into law, whereas annulment was always an option, especially with the right connection.

Single Mothers were forcibly separated from their own babies and interned in Laundries and other institutes.
Rape victims who fell pregnant were also interned, and treated as if they were guilty of some crime.
Quite often we see that both they and their children were subjected to continued abuse.

Dr. Noel Brown, a man who was instrumental in ending the scourge of TB in Ireland was blocked by the church when he attepted to secularise and improve healthcare for mothers and children. He faced many of the accusations that face President Obama today.
It was apparently beter for a child to be institutionalised rather than take the risk in a country 85% catholic that a protestant family might adopt a child, for fear it would lose it's soul.
Browne had earlier also managed to snub the Catholic hierarchy in 1949 when he was the only minister to attend the Church of Ireland funeral of Douglas Hyde, the first President of Ireland.
The Catholic Church has, and will, play a positive role in Irish society, as have and will other belief systems.
But we come from an Island where more often religion was used to divide and control us.

Lets not forget that in the interests of preserving power the Catholic church has on many other occasions held back the progress of Ireland as a free and sovereign nation.

They came out strongly against Parnell because he was named in a divorce case, and he was Protestant.
This after having achieved more for Irish tenant farmers in his short parliamentary life than the church had achieved in all the years of the feudal system that existed.
In return they got Manooth University.

When the Fenians rose, they were read down from every pulpit in the land, hell was not hot enough and eternity not long enough.

The Churches centre of power is a transnational, unelected beaurocracy based in a European city that has a lot of power and influence across the globe.
To the centre of power delegates, selected by a local hierarchy, are sent to consult with the mechanisims of governance from afar.
Their are councils and committees, factions and different group who specialise in certain areas.
Their deliberations are done in camera - behind closed doors, with no accountability or independent oversight - and their decisions have a very real and profound effect for all Catholics.

It is little wonder that the EU as it will be if the Lisbon treaty is bought into law is something that is so familiar to the Irish hierarchy.

The entire republican ideal in Ireland came from Protestant nationalists like Tone and Emmet who did not see the importation of Catholic monarchs as a solution, but the development of a French or American republican system as an Irish answer to an Irish problem.

Catholicism is distinctly monarchical, where men have assumed the right to rule because of their belief in God. Cardinals are called the Princes of the Church for that very reason, that is the position that they hold, that one of them will be the next Pope, the next ruler.
Bishops equate to Barons, Arch Bishops to Earls. It is the same pyramid scheme that evolved from the Roman empire that monarchy did.
As with the UK's coat of arms, where Dieu et mon Doit - that God is my right, and other countries that have a monarchy decided on by accident of birth in the catholic church we have a situation where men elect from among them a man chosen to be the successor of the apostle Simon, Christ’s vicar on earth.
Due to this unquestionable authority derived from the Pope the catholic church in Ireland which has had an undue influence on our elected Governments.

A 5 year old child is no more catholic than he is a member of the fireman’s union.

I think the hierarchy’s primary mission right now should not be to copper fasten their position in Government circles with the self assumed protection of the unborn, but to seek forgiveness and redeem themselves in the eyes of the living victims of abuse

*UPDATE 12/11

In the Irish times on Thursday 10th again we see the link between church and state being used to supress opposition to the Lisbon treaty from any group.

Irish MEPs called on the church to take a stand against the monthly church newspaper Alive for publishing an advert opposing the Lisbon Treaty by a very small group from Cork called Éire go Brách for gods sake!

Alive was set up as a response to pope John Paul II’s call for “an evangelisation that is new in its fervour, new in its methods and new in its expression”.

Until the Lisbon treaty I never heard of such demands being made of such a minor publication, what are the Political clases so scared of ?

Marian Harkin MEP said the claims made in the advert were “disgraceful” and “deliberately constructed to frighten people”.

Éire go Brách's campaign director Máire de Faoite said the paragraph quoted in the advert was contained in an explanatory note on the charter, which was contained in a consolidated version of the EU treaties.

Ms Harkin said the church should take action to ensure that Alive is not being distributed in the porches of any of its churches.
Fine Gael MEP Mairéad McGuinness said the advert was scandalous, and the church needed to take on any groups that made statements in its name.
Fr Brian McKevitt, managing editor of Alive, said it was interesting that liberals who proclaim to be in favour of freedom of speech often want to silence criticism.
He said he would not comment on the veracity of the advertisement’s claims. “People have to judge for themselves the advert, like they do for adverts for plumbers in other newspapers”
One supposes that questions will only be raised if they do not tow the Government line.
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