Note :- I found this on my hard drive. It was originally written two years old.
I quite enjoyed reading Wexford Peoples opinion piece by Brian Whelan entitled 'Relentless attack on faith and religion'. The title alone is rather paranoid.
World Youth Day is akin to an oasis where people can be themselves, practicing religious freedom, something they can't easily do at home.
Why? Because there is a relentless attack on faith, on religion, on the church, on people who believe. Day after day, the negative publicity and the attacks and the awful modern-day persecution of Christians is harder and harder to withstand. And so it's absolutely fantastic that these young people are given the opportunities that World youth Day provides.
In other news, the former bishop of the Cloyne has returned to Ireland after leaving the country 'around the time of the report' into the mis-handling of abuse cases in his diocese. The report found :-
-> He misled a previous inquiry and gave a false account of how he was handling allegations
-> Between 1996 and 2005, his diocese failed to report nine out of 15 complaints made against priests, which ‘very clearly should have been reported. The most serious lapse was the failure to report the two cases in which the alleged victims were minors at the time the complaint was made’
-> While the dioceses ostensibly supported child protection procedures, it was ‘never genuinely committed to their implementation‘ his ‘diocese put far too much emphasis on the concerns of the alleged offenders’
-> The report states he must take primary responsibility for the failure to implement the procedures
-> The Catholic Diocese of Cloyne was ignoring the church’s own guidelines on child protection as recently at 2009
-> In most cases gardaí were not informed of child abuse allegations against clergy
-> His clerical colleague, Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan ‘stymied’ the implementation in Cloyne of child protection policy, and told the Commission he was ‘very disappointed’ with it
-> Monsignor O’Callaghan first withheld the identity of a perpetrator from authorities and then attempted to have a particular garda officer investigate it
-> In what the report said was ‘clearly and unequivocally’ a child sexual abuse case, the Commission says it cannot understand how the Monsignor concluded no sexual abuse had occurred
-> The Vatican and its representatives are also criticised – the Commission says the Papal Nuncio replied to its request for information by saying he was ‘unable to assist you in this matter‘
-> The garda response comes under the Commission’s microscope – on one case the Commission says it does not accept there was a proper investigation of the complaints, despite the fact the gardaí insist an investigation took place
But I digress. Getting back to Mr Wheelan and the 'awful modern-day persecution of Christians':
When Enda Kenny made his now famous 'attack' on the pope, the Vatican and the Church, I'm sure he didn't mean to disenfranchise every catholic in Ireland. After all, as the leader of a people, the majority of which profess to be catholic, it would have been a pretty calamitous move. Especially for a politician, who must echo the wishes of the people he represents and leads.
Howls of mocking laughter from the gallery Brian ! Enda Kenny, for once, stood up and represented the Irish people on the international stage. As for 'disenfranchise every catholic' and the alleged catholic majority in Ireland, one only has to read the front cover of the paper in which the column appears : Church crisis as Masses are cut. The cause of this crises is solely on the shoulders of the roman church.
Amazing though it might seem to those who contribute most to the debate about the perceived oppression that the Church brings upon people, when calamity strikes, it tends to be the place we turn to for comfort and solace. And before I'm told that that's because of how we were conditioned, being brought up and brain-washed with a dependence on faith as a utopia, think for a moment of places more secular than here, think of Norway where that awful tragedy happened a few short weeks ago.
The news coverage on Sky showed a lot of clips of people in churches, lighting candles and saying prayers.
I find that comment a pathetic exploitation of a tragedy and before he drags me into the muck, I will only point out that Roman Catholics represent just 1.71% of the population of Norway. Sky may have 'showed a lot of clips of people in churches' but it was not the Church.
World Youth Day, where thousands will travel from Ireland and indeed hundreds of thousands from across the world, must also baffle those who have ' seen the light', and who apparently know that faith is pure sentiment and foolishness.
And of course it must also be very unsettling to those who are atheists or whose agenda seems to be the eradication of faith and church.
Spain was once one of the largest roman catholic countries in the west. Now the average age of Spanish priests has risen to over 63 and Spaniards who identify as catholic have dropped 11% in eleven years. Spain, like Ireland, is rapidly throwing off the chains of roman rule. World Youth Day is nothing but a desperate attempt to shore up the declining Spanish revenue stream and raise the catholic brand awareness.
So no, I don't find catholic crowds of similar size to an average Justin Bieber concert unsettling. Quite the opposite in fact.