16 thoughts on “Is Irish Catholicism an Irrelevant Minority Culture? New Post on Slugger O’Toole”

  1. Cultural Catholicism is dead in ireland and the sooner we get over it the better. I agree with Bishop Martin, who is really echoing Pope Benedict and his smaller, pure, more dynamic, faithful and on fire Church.

    At the moment, we are still operating as if we are Catholic Ireland. We are not. The sooner we all get over it, especially the Bishops, the better.

    At the minute we are all so lukewarm we are pretty much irrelevant. Only a Catholic Church on fire can hope to evangelise the culture and make a new start here in what is now pagan Ireland.

    I think the Catholic Church in Ireland lost its saltiness and lightiness a long time ago.

    Let’s call time on the wretched show! The Catholic Church in Ireland is filled, essentially, with baptised pagans who do not know Christ. It’s not completely their fault. The bishops and priests share a shocking responsibility for the mess we are in.

    My fear now is that dissidents from the faith such as the ACP will use this crisis as an opportunity to try more of the same as we’ve seen these last 40 years. Nothing like a crisis to advance your agenda.

    Of particularly concern is the prospect of baptised pagans being put in key positions within the Church. We’ve seen what clampits can do when given the chance. The last thing we need is more of the same.

    I’ll finish on this, a little saying that was on my daily calender a few days ago:

    ”Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

  2. I was glad to see his Grace note the crucial role played by Vatican 2 in the secularisation of Irish society. In retrospect the Second Vatican Council was a total and unmitigated catastrophe for the Irish Church; the Church has no prospect of recovery until the 1960s ‘reforms’ are undone.

  3. Hard to disagree with most of Martin’s comments. The intellectual infantilisation of Catholic culture ( if truth be told it always depended way too much on coercion/mob-rule ) has become glaringly obvious over the last 30 years. It’s quite embarrassing to see Catholic Bishop’s appearing on the media totally unable to intellectully defend the truth & beauty of Catholic teaching. The liberal media know that it is very easy to caricature/distort/mis-represent the Church’s teaching, the tragedy is the Bishop’s are unable to properly defend the faith. This is left up,to a few brave/good men, such as Fr. Vincent Twomey. The irony is that while the media successfully undermine Catholicism, they have’nt ( indeed they cant ) replace it with any coherent alternative philosophy. So a damaging void is created in society, with catastrophic social results. The 4th estate ( media ) are so childishly self-satisfied with their pyrrhic victory over their ” old enemy “, that they don’t realise they are creating a societal monster. However, I agree with Martin & Pope Benedict. Catholicism was always best when it was a minority/despised religion. I think the decline in numerical membership ( in the west anyway ; the west is an intellectual & demographicbasket case in any event ) is for the best & will result in a better Church. Having said all of the above, I think Archbishop Martin should be more encouraging, rather than simply raising the white flag of surrender.

  4. Shane, I don’t think that Archbishop Martin is saying that Vatican II contributed to secularisation in Irish society. Secularisation was already there. That’s his point. The way I read Martin’s speech is that he regrets that Vatican II was NOT fully implemented in Ireland. If it had been, Ireland would have a healthier Catholic Church, with a more educated and empowered laity.

  5. Gladys, he states his belief that “the Council was one of the most significant events of the twentieth century for Irish culture taken as a whole, especially through its documents on the Church in the Modern World and on Religious Freedom and thus on the concept of pluralism” and that he “always find it a little ironic that one of the most significant events which influenced the development of a more pluralistic and thus a more secular Ireland actually took place – of all places – in the Vatican”.

  6. I actually think that the Catholic Church in Ireland before Vatican II was largely a crusty old shell. All appearances, but with little true devotion, little genuine fire for Jesus Christ, but with a lot of hypocrisy and self-serving. Shoot me down, but that’s what I think. I don’t have rose-tinted glasses about what the Church was like in Ireland before Vatican II.

    Because the thing was such an empty sham, then Vatican II happened and gave the clowns something to do, they wreaked the outward shell and implemented their own religion.

    The whole mess has come crashing down, with the sex abuse scandal really being the toxic cherry on top.

    I see bright things for the Catholic Church, even here in wretched Ireland, but we need to ditch all those who are against the authentic Catholic project, and that includes the disastrous Association of Catholic Priests, the very definition of ‘unfit for purpose’. The sooner, the better. Oh, and we also need some good bishops: most of the current batch are unfit for purpose, as Eric pointed out.

  7. Eric, before the Council the Irish Church not only possessed a multitude of social apostolates and publications but also a substantial Catholic intelligensia. The Church’s teaching was expounded and defended in Studies, Irish Ecclesiastical Record, Christus Rex, The Standard, Irish Rosary, Doctrine and Life, The Furrow, Irish Independent, Capuchin Annual, Irish Theological Quarterly, and not least the 2500+ Irish Messenger and CTSI pamphlets. Children studied the Catechism and Sheehan’s apologetics at school. Take a look at back issues of those publications from the 1950s and compare them to any Catholic publication today (regardless of how orthodox or traditional) and it would almost make you weep. Consider the future Cardinal William Conway writing in Christus Rex in 1952 explaining the Church’s attitude to state control:


    or Bishop Browne of Galway’s pastoral on the same:


    or Archbishop McQuaid’s pastorals on the proposed legalization of contraception:


    or Con Lucey (later bishop of Cork and Ross) on the application of the Church’s social teaching:


    and then compare them to their successors. What bishop nowadays could explain the Church’s teachings with comparable confidence and erudition? The flock are largely left to fend for themselves. The incompetence and intellectual mediocrity of the Irish Church Establishment, so steeped in progressivism and Vatican II babble, must have their predecessors doing cartwheels in their graves.

  8. Gladys, once again the Catholic fundamentalists are using your blog as a platform to expound their version of Catholicism, under the guise of agreeing with Archbishop Martin.


    The commentators on your blog would drag us back to Vatican I.

    When I read Archbishop Martin’s speech, I hear a man asking us to get back to Jesus’ main points: challenging the abuse of power by both church and state, sticking up for the poor and marginalised, and not being too concerned about whether the Catholic church is the ONE TRUE CHURCH (don’t forget his point there about ecumenical cooperation).

  9. Paul, please cut out the name calling. Labelling people as fundamentalist because they dont subscribe to your dogma is just intellectually lazy. Leave that to the Irish media, they have it to a fine art. On the contrary, the posts so far have been very thoughtful & interesting, clearly made by people with a deep love for their Church ( including Glady’s for her Church ). By the way, Jesus came to save all, not just the poor & marginalised. His teachings ( & his graces ) are equally applicable to the rich & famous. No one is criticising meaningful ecumenical co-operation. Given the power of the enemies of Christianity, it’s absolutely essential. Pope Benedict is a strong advocate of same. The future of western civilisation is at stake, If present trends continue, & liberal/secular zealots have their way, Christianity will be totally banned from the public square.

  10. Shane, just read your post & some of the links. They are quite impressive. I think though that the Church did itself no good by not emphasising the concept/teaching on free will. While a lot of the teaching was intellectually & morally very sound, it was imposed too much. The method should have been – this is our teaching, this is the intellectual basis for it, now you are free to adhere or not or subscribe to something else, if you so wish. This would have avoided a lot of the contemporary chips-on-shoulders syndrome. In fairness to the Church then too, a lot of the latter day denigration may be ascribed to what the great CS Lewis describes as ” chronological snobbery “. The latter day enlightened liberal media commentators feel that they are way too smart for simple Catholicism. Sometimes to do with rationalisations of their unorthodox lifestyles; sometimes from sheer childish pride.

  11. Thanks Eric. My blog, Lux Occulta, has a lot more old Irish Catholic publications if you’re interested (just click on covers to view pdfs). I take your point about teaching methods, but that was the way things were done in those days, throughout the world, and not just in religious education either. Learning methods (influenced by constructivism) today have gone to the opposite extreme. People today also have a much shorter memory span.

  12. Paul: Trent is a valid council of the Church, as are Vatican I and II. All of them are valid Councils and applicable today. It’s not like ipods, were each new model supercedes the previous models and renders them obsolete and irrelevant. That is not how the Church works.

  13. 818
    “However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.”

    As a baptised Protestant I assume that Catholics should accept people like with with respect and affection as a fellow Christian and brother in the Lord even if we are separated….this is a good basis for ecumenical co-operation and I would wish fellow Protestants would extend the same spirit of generousity to Catholics in their offical teaching.


  14. Rodney, delighted to see you sourced that paragraph of the Cathecism. You are absolutely correct in your analysis. By the way, I have encountered many people, who have been pleasantly surprised at ” official ” Catholic teaching when they read it in the Cathecism. The teaching is so often distorted/caricatured by a hate filled media. For example 2357/2358/2359 on homosexuality is often a revelation to many in it’s understanding/compassion. God bless.

  15. Martin above in this page says, “I think the Catholic Church in Ireland was largely a crusty old shell. Little true devotion etc. etc. Have you any evidence to support this conetention. Are you able to read deeply into the lives and souls of the Irish Catholic people before Vatcan 2 commenced on the11th. October 1962?

Leave a Reply