Ireland Legalises Abortion: Its Rejection of Roman Catholic Domination
In May 2018, Ireland voted – by a landslide – to legalise abortion, the murder of the unborn in their mothers’ wombs. 66.4%, or two thirds of the citizens, voted in favour of abortion, 33.6% voted against it.
How did it come to pass that a country which had been one of the most Roman Catholic countries in the world came to vote so overwhelmingly in favour of something contrary to official Roman Catholic doctrine?
The reality is that the Republic of Ireland is no longer the staunchly Papist country it was until very recent times. And this vote to legalise the murder of the unborn was, in the words of the pro-abortionist, homosexual prime minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, “the culmination of a quiet revolution that has been taking place in Ireland for the past 10 or 20 years.” Indeed it was “the culmination of a fundamental shift in Irish society – and one that has come about with stunning speed.” And specifically, this phenomenally swift shift in Irish society has to do with the position of the formerly all-powerful Roman Catholic “Church” in Ireland. The vote in favour of abortion was “a dramatic defeat for the Catholic church’s one-time domination of the Republic”, “[reflecting] Ireland’s emergence as a socially liberal country no longer obedient to Catholic dictates.” More than anything else, it was “a blunt rebuttal to the Catholic hierarchy, which has been beset by scandals over sexual abuse, financial crimes and its historic treatment of women.”
This astounding change needs to be examined closely. The swing to an overwhelming support for abortion is just the latest phase in the rejection, by so many Irish people, of the religious institution which for so much of Ireland’s history dominated every aspect of their lives. Why has it happened?
To give an idea of just how rapid, and massive, Ireland’s rejection of Roman Catholic teaching has been, the following is a correct summary: “Social change in Ireland has been profound. In the 1990s, homosexual activity was criminal here. Divorce was forbidden. It was still difficult to buy a condom, the sale of which was outlawed until 1985. Within a generation [note that! – S.W.], all of that has changed. In 2015, the majority-Catholic nation of about 4.8 million people was the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by referendum.” “The nation of 4.8 million people has experienced some of the fastest social and economic change in the world. In a matter of 30 years, Ireland has gone from being a poor and deeply Roman Catholic country to one that is seeing high growth rates and has installed a gay man as prime minister.” As one businessman put it: “Ireland has gone from criminalizing gays, having just one television channel and priests running the show, to now a liberal, European society.”
78% of Irish people still identify as Roman Catholic by religion, according to census data for 2016. This is a large drop from 1991, when 92% of Irish people identified themselves as Roman Catholic, but even so it is still a very high percentage. However, this figure of 78% does not refer to practicing Roman Catholics: the reality is that today, only 20% to 30% of Irish people attend the mass weekly, down from an astonishing 80% to 90% as recently as 1983. This is no longer the vast majority, but very obviously a minority.
What has happened?
The Priestly Sex Abuse Scandal: the Biggest Factor in Ireland’s Rejection of Romanism
Without any doubt whatsoever, the single most significant factor in the rapid and very sharp decline in the number of practicing Irish Roman Catholics has been the shocking, scandalous, widespread and very numerous sexual abuse cases, committed by Romish priests against children, which have rocked Ireland (and so many parts of the world) in the past few decades, as I have written about elsewhere. These bachelor priests of Rome, who swear to an unnatural vow of celibacy, being forbidden to marry contrary to the law of God (1 Tim. 4:1-3), succumb to temptation placed before them by the unnatural, sinful and unscriptural practice of auricular confession – and a huge percentage of these priests are homosexuals, as I have shown in another article. Nothing, absolutely nothing, has done more to damage the reputation of these men than the fact that so many tens of thousands of them have sexually abused children.
Gladys Ganiel, a political sociologist at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, said that economic changes in Ireland, combined with the loosening of the laws on the sale of contraceptives, undermined the alliance that had existed between Roman Catholic priests and Irish mothers, which had been central in maintaining conservative Irish Roman Catholicism. But she pointed to the most important cause when she added: “This begins in the 1960s, but somebody stood on the accelerator in the 1990s when things started coming out about Church abuse. The 1990s are also when Ireland becomes economically prosperous for the first time. It’s a perfect storm. Religious [i.e. Roman Catholic] authority declines in Ireland from a much higher peak than the rest of the world. It’s quite dramatic, but with hindsight, it’s not as unexpected.”
This analysis is correct. For centuries Ireland was intensely, fanatically Papist, one of the most Papist countries on earth. It was a land where Rome’s bachelor priests ruled with an iron fist. Their word was law. The false “Church” of Rome “sat” upon this nation and kept it down (Rev. 17:1). It was backward; superstitious; often fanatically violent; and its people would do almost anything for their priests.
But then the scandal of thousands of priests sexually abusing children broke – and that fact, combined with Ireland’s desire to keep up with the rest of the immoral West, rapidly turned its people against their priests. In the words of an Irish retiree, after the priestly sex abuse scandals broke, “instead of people bowing their heads whenever a priest passed by, they could actually stand up and say, ‘Hang on, Father, what happened back then?’” For the first time ever, Ireland’s priests were no longer respected, no longer deferred to in everything, no longer held in awe, no longer even trusted. In fact, things had reached such a head in Ireland by the time of the referendum campaign on whether or not to legalise abortion, that the Roman Catholic institution was largely absent; and when some priests threatened their congregations that they would not be permitted to participate in the mass if they voted in favour of abortion, the Association of Catholic Priests even urged its members not to preach about this issue from the pulpit! This was a very far cry from Rome’s much-vaunted, very public official policy against abortion the world over, and it was a very far cry from the days, not so long ago at all, when the threat of being banned from participating in the mass would be sufficient to cow Irish Papists into submission, afraid for their eternal salvation.
But not only was the Romish “Church” largely absent from the massive clash in the public arena on the subject, anti-abortion campaigners even actively discouraged the Romish “Church’s” participation on their side, for they were so concerned that if they were seen to be siding with the “Church”, voters would tarnish them with the same brush!
Other Contributing Factors
The priestly sex scandals were the major contributor to the Irish rejection of Rome and its teachings in this vote. But there was more: “Ireland’s practice of placing thousands of unwed mothers into servitude in so-called Magdalene laundries… did not end until the mid-1990s. And in a case that traumatized the nation, the remains of nearly 800 children born out of wedlock were found in 2014 in a Catholic-run home for mothers and their children in Tuam.” I wrote about this scandal at the time, in an article.
At the same time, Ireland’s youth were no longer as uneducated as their parents and grandparents had been; and, also at the same time, the country experienced massive economic growth. It became known as the “Celtic Tiger”, living standards greatly improved, the country was flooded with multinationals, and Irish expats returned home after imbibing the liberal and secular humanist “values” of much of the West. They simply were no longer conservatively Roman Catholic.
All of these factors, taken together, contributed to the people of Ireland moving away – for the first time since Rome came to dominate their land – from the religion of their fathers and grandfathers, the religion they had been raised in, the religion which controlled every aspect of Irish life. They began to reject the teachings of their “Church” on such matters as contraception, divorce (in 1995), homosexuality (in 2015) – and now, abortion.
In just a generation, Ireland changed profoundly.
Gail McElroy, professor of politics at Trinity College, Dublin, correctly summed it up when she said: “This is devastating for the Roman Catholic hierarchy. It is the final nail in the coffin for them. They’re no longer the pillar of society, and their hopes of re-establishing themselves are gone.”
The Ryan Report into Priestly Abuse
Let us examine recent history regarding the Irish priestly sex abuse scandals, to see just what went wrong for the priestly hierarchy in this once-deeply Roman Catholic nation.
A massive, 2600-page report on child sexual abuse by Romish priests in Ireland (known as the Ryan Report) was published in May 2009 by an independent commission, the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse, after listening to evidence from victims given over a nine-year period. The commission was established by the Irish government in 2000 to hear evidence from people who alleged that they suffered abuse at institutions since 1940. These institutions, funded by the state but usually run by Roman Catholic religious orders, included schools, orphanages, hospitals, children’s homes, and other facilities.
The report stated that physical and sexual abuse, including rape, was endemic in government institutions for boys that were run by Roman Catholic religious orders, chiefly by the order known as the “Christian Brothers”, between 1940 and the late 1970s. Literally thousands of boys were abused during this period. It said: “A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys.” Children lived in daily terror. And although girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the order known as the “Sisters of Mercy”, suffered much less sexual abuse (although it certainly did occur), they suffered frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless. “In some schools,” the report stated, “a high level of ritualized beating was routine…. Girls were struck with implements designed to maximize pain and were struck on all parts of the body. Personal and family denigration was widespread.” Witnesses not only described being hit and beaten, but being flogged, kicked and otherwise physically assaulted, scalded, burned, and held under water. They described being beaten in private, as well as in front of other staff, residents, patients and pupils. One man described everyday humiliations he had suffered as a boy in “Christian Brothers” institutions, such as being forced to wrap his urine-stained sheets around his neck and parade in front of other children when he had wet his bed.
Proper spanking, of course, has been used since the beginning of the world and is a very biblical form of chastisement (Prov. 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13,14; 29:15); and unfortunately in today’s world, psychologists and others have convinced many that any form of corporal punishment is wrong, which is nonsense. But flogging, kicking, scalding, burning, and being held under water! – such things can rightly be classified as nothing less than methods of torture. The report said the overwhelming, consistent testimony from the victims had demonstrated beyond a doubt that the entire system treated children like prison inmates and slaves. It stated: “It was systemic and not the result of individual breaches by persons who operated outside lawful and acceptable boundaries.”
It also said that sexual abuse was reported by approximately half of all those who testified before a confidential committee of the commission. And sexual abusers were often repeat offenders. Furthermore, it was clear from the documented cases that monks and priests were aware of the propensity for abusers to continue to abuse – despite the religious orders’ claims that the recidivist nature of sexual offenders was not understood. The report uncovered previously secret Vatican records which showed that “Church” leaders knew of the child sex abusers in their ranks, going as far back as the 1930s. And not only did “Church” officials do nothing about it, but they deliberately and knowingly shielded such sex abusers from arrest! They simply shunted the offenders off to new parishes or locations where they continued the abuse.
Feigned Sorrow and Hollow “Apologies” from Irish Roman Catholic Leaders
Officials of the Roman Catholic institution in Ireland claimed to welcome the report, and to express sorrow about the incidents it documented. And yet as always, the sincerity of those high-ranking ecclesiastical officials had to be seriously doubted, especially when the president of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Sean Brady, the Romish cardinal of Armagh, Northern Ireland, said that “the report throws light on a dark period of the past”. The past? What a lie! This was not a dark period of the past, for it was still going on in the present! Thus, even while professing sorrow over these shocking crimes, he chose his words carefully so as to give the impression that it was all over, it was in the past, it was not happening anymore, and it would not happen again. He did his best to cover up the truth, and to push it all into some “dark period of the past”.
A.W. Richard Sipe, an ex-Benedictine monk and priest, was involved in full-time research into the sexual and celibate practices of the priests and bishops of Rome. Not a Christian and moreover sadly a psychotherapist, so that he saw the problem and the solution in terms of the unbiblical muddy waters of psychotherapy, which can never help anyone, Sipe nevertheless ripped the veil off much of the goings-on of priests, caused by the doctrine of priestly celibacy. Commenting on the claim that these sins had been committed only “in the past”, he wrote (italics added): “Apologies from the hierarchy continue to be offered as if the problem of sex abuse is ‘now behind them.’ News Flash! The problem of sex by Catholic clergy and religious is very much alive and well within the clerical system. Sexual distortion… is endemic to the clerical culture….Most are not actually interested in understanding or practicing celibacy…. The system of authoritarian ecclesiastical control fosters and protects secret sexual expression – homosexuality and a double life. The power structure colludes to cover up the facts about clergy sexual activity. Sexual failings by bishops and priests are relegated to the confessional wastebasket where all is forgiven and forgotten…” He went on: “The problem is over? Is there anyone who thinks that Irish and American bishops and priests have lost their sexual drive – or their orientation, or their habits and relationships? In what ways has the clerical system of education or culture changed?” As a psychotherapist and not a Christian, Sipe spoke of “sexual orientation”, and this of course is nonsense; but nevertheless he was absolutely correct in stating categorically that the abuse of children continues. It is most certainly not “in the past”. These men have not suddenly all undergone a moral change. They are evil men, with evil desires.
Getting back to the Romish cardinal, Brady: commenting on the Ryan Report, he said: “The publication of this comprehensive report and analysis is a welcome and important step in establishing the truth, giving justice to victims and ensuring such abuse does not happen again.” Another lie, for the Romish hierarchy certainly did not welcome this report or any other into these crimes. For centuries these things have been going on, and yet they have always been hushed up by the Roman Catholic leadership. The priests, bishops and cardinals of Rome have done their utmost to prevent the truth from ever being known. The only reason they now said such a report was “welcome” was because they had no choice, it had come to light and been exposed and there was nothing they could do about it, so they had to go into damage-control mode and try to make the best of a terrible situation. If it was up to them, they would never, ever have issued such a report, nor done any investigation in the first place. It is as Jesus said: these men “loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (Jn. 3:19,20).
Brady said, “This report makes it clear that great wrong and hurt were caused to some of the most vulnerable children in our society. It documents a shameful catalogue of cruelty – neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse – perpetrated against children.” And: “I am profoundly sorry and deeply ashamed that children suffered in such awful ways in these institutions. Children deserved better, and especially from those caring for them in the name of Jesus Christ.” It all sounded good, and contrite – but it was all a sham. For decades now, it has been solidly documented from all over the world that Roman Catholic bishops and cardinals knew about the abuse going on right under their noses – and did nothing. They simply shunted the guilty priest off to another parish where he could continue to abuse children; they turned a blind eye. And this is what Rome has always done, when its priests have been caught out in any crime, as ex-priest Charles Chiniquy shows in his classic work, 50 Years in the “Church” of Rome.
That the hierarchy deliberately shielded these predator priests was even admitted in an editorial of the Roman Catholic southern African weekly, The Southern Cross, which said (italics added): “The culpability, however, does not reside only with those who committed these abuses… but also with those who could have taken action to prevent these, but failed to do so. Witnesses before the commission testified that they were intimidated and silenced when they sought to bring these abuses to the attention of Church leaders. This suggests very strongly that the cover-up went to the top of the Irish Church, to superiors and bishops.” Of course it did, as indeed it did all over the world, not just in Ireland. This has ever been Rome’s way. Perhaps the fact that this particular editor, although a Papist, was not a priest, made him more forthright than many. He added that the betrayal was “in the interest of an institution that clearly was inebriated with the hubris of its unchallenged power.” Strong words from a Roman Catholic editor, and true ones. Yet this man remained a Roman Catholic all the same.
Brady also said that the Papal institution “remains determined to do all that is necessary to make the Church a safe, life-giving and joyful place for children.” The “Church” of Rome has never been safe for children, as history testifies. Its priests have abused children, and its abominable confessional has been the means of corrupting youth through the centuries.
Another high-ranking Irish ecclesiastic, the Romish archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said that the victims’ “stories of horrible abuse are, in many cases, stomach-turning; their courage in telling their stories [is] admirable.” Hollow words, once again. This is a religious system that has condoned this kind of abuse for much of its history. By the time a man reaches the position of archbishop, if he has not personally been involved in such abuse himself he is well aware of the fact that a great many priests, bishops, archbishops and others have been. But it only becomes “stomach-turning” once it is made public.
He went on to say that all “Church” organisations involved in the report should seriously examine “how their ideals became debased by systematic abuse.” The answer is as plain as can be, but sadly these organisations would not, and will not, admit to it. This is a religious system which forbids its priests, monks and nuns from marrying, which is called a doctrine of devils in 1 Tim. 4:1-3. It is a system that, by its very nature, encourages a huge percentage of sodomites to enter the priesthood, for priests, not allowed to marry, spend large amounts of time in very intimate all-male company, and then through the confessionals are given access to young children in a secretive, private setting. It is a system which is so concerned with appearing outwardly holy to the world, that it covers up any scandals emanating from its priesthood, pushing them under the carpet and glossing them over. It is a system of diabolical evil.
He then said: “We must find ways of ensuring that the cries and anxieties of children are heard and listened to. This is not a report to be put on a shelf – it’s a real cry for a new look at the way we care for our children. If we truly regret what happened in the past, we must commit ourselves to a very different future.” The cries and anxieties of Roman Catholic children stem from the fact that they are forced into intimate, private proximity with sodomite priests who can get away with almost anything because of the high regard in which the children’ parents hold priests of Rome. And as for not putting this report on a shelf, that is precisely where most predator priests would put it. This Romish archbishop could prattle on about regretting the past and committing to a different future, but in practical terms, what was actually going to change? Nothing. The system is an abomination, and that was not going to change.
The Feigned Sorrow of the Roman Pope
Both Brady and Martin met with the then pope of Rome, Benedict XVI, to brief him on the findings of the commission; this after a series of meetings to discuss the report with Vatican officials, including cardinals. They claimed that Benedict was “visibly upset” to hear of the abuse suffered by the thousands of Irish children in the care of religious orders. Martin said Benedict was saddened to hear “how the children had suffered from the very opposite of an expression of the love of God”, while Brady said, “The Holy Father listened very carefully, very attentively and very sympathetically to what we had to say”. He added, “He said in reply that this was a time for a deep examination of life here in Ireland in the Church.”
A Roman Catholic man in Ireland, writing in a Roman Catholic newspaper, summed up Benedict’s crocodile tears perfectly when he wrote: “The media in Ireland have said much about Pope Benedict’s ‘sadness’ about the abuse when he was briefed about that, but the pope’s sadness means nothing without action. The pope granted exile in Rome to Cardinal Bernard Law, who was the archbishop of Boston when he was implicated in moving rapist priests from parish to parish where they continued their abuse of children. Why is Cardinal Bernard Law not being handed over to the authorities in the United States so that he can answer for his involvement in the abuse of children in Boston? Why does the pope not call for the criminal prosecution of bishops and heads of religious orders who knowingly put children at risk of predators?” He hit the nail right on the head. It is a conspiracy to cover up the truth which goes right up to the pope of Rome himself. Benedict’s “sorrow” was a sham, and worthless, just as the “sorrow” of the present pope of Rome is as well. As I have shown elsewhere, he was guilty, at the very least, of deliberately protecting guilty priests.
What must always be borne in mind is that the pope of Rome has risen through the ranks to get to where he is now. He was once a priest, then a bishop, then a cardinal, and finally pope of Rome. Thus there is simply no way that any pope of Rome is ignorant of these goings-on. Until recent times they may have been hidden from the general public, but they have always been well known within the fraternity of the Romish priesthood. There, behind closed doors, sexual abuse of children, as well as of women and men, was never a secret. The history of the Papal system is full of these wicked goings-on. The pope of Rome, then, may express “sorrow” over the suffering of thousands of children; but the abominations committed by so many members of the priesthood, and which have always been so well known within the system, did not deter him from his ambitious rise to power within the system, just as it did not deter any of his predecessors, nor will it deter any of his successors. They are perfectly content to stay within it, to turn a blind eye to what goes on, and to rise up through the ranks so as to eventually become pope of Rome. Papal expressions of sorrow, then, can never be accepted as genuine.
Only “Some” Priests Guilty?
Eight chapters of the Ryan Report were devoted to institutions run by the “Christian Brothers” order, whose schools cared for more boys than all the other Roman Catholic-run institutions put together. A spokesman for the order, known to Papists as “Brother” Edmund Garvey, said: “We apologise openly and unreservedly to all those who have been hurt – either directly or indirectly – as a result of the deplorable actions of some brothers or by the inaction or inappropriate action of the congregation as a whole. We are deeply sorry for the hurt caused. We are ashamed and saddened that many who complained of abuse were not listened to. We acknowledge and regret that our responses to physical and sexual abuse failed to consider the long-term psychological effects on children.”
Note the attempt, even while issuing the “apology”, to give the impression that only “some brothers” were guilty of this abuse. Some? The report showed that the abuse was committed by hundreds and hundreds of priests and monks! Yet over and over again, these wicked institutions tried to make the public believe that there were just a few “rotten apples” in the basket. What a lie.
And this man admitted that many who complained of abuse were not listened to. This then shows that there was a deliberate conspiracy to keep the truth hidden, and that it must have been known by many more men in these orders than even the many who actually committed the abuse!
The “apology”, then, was meaningless, as all such “apologies” are.
The editor of The Southern Cross, despite voicing his disgust at the priestly child abusers, still wrote that “the dignity of the priesthood has been diminished by the crimes of a small number of priests, and by bishops who covered up for them.” A small number? The number of those who have been exposed runs into tens of thousands – is this a small number? About a decade before this report was released, Roman Catholic priest Andrew Greeley estimated that priests in the United States had abused at least 120 000 minors. This was a conservative estimate – the true number was far, far higher. And by the time the report was released another decade had passed, so the true number was higher still.
The Roman pope, Benedict XVI, made the same claim – that although “some” priests had done great harm, the majority were exemplary. After praising priests who work under the threat of persecution and endure much suffering, Benedict added, “there are also, sad to say, situations which can never be sufficiently deplored where the Church herself suffers as a consequence of infidelity on the part of some of her ministers.” There was that word, “some”, again. It is only some priests who do these things – this is the continual message we hear. But it’s a lie.
This is Rome’s subtle way of covering up the full truth of the matter. As they say, tell a lie, tell it often enough, and the people will believe it. For example, a Brazilian cardinal, Cláudio Hummes, said that people must recognise that the vast majority of the world’s priests have never been involved in any kind of abuse. But how could he be so sure? How could he possibly know? As many tens of thousands of priests worldwide have thus far been exposed as child abusers, who can say how many more will be exposed in the future? The system itself is wicked, and makes it easy for such abusers to find a home within the priesthood. Rome’s priesthood has always been stuffed full of such men, and there is absolutely nothing to indicate it is suddenly going to change.
And Then There Were the Papists who Dismissed the Findings and Defended Rome…
Although some priests and bishops issued “apologies” and expressed shock and dismay at the revelations of the Ryan Report, others dismissed it and rallied to the defence of Rome; and the real attitude of Rome to such reports and revelations was revealed by these priests, not by those who sanctimoniously issued “apologies” and wrung their hands. When William Donohue of the Catholic League called the reaction to the Ryan Report “hysteria”, ex-priest Richard Sipe came out with guns blazing and wrote, “Donohue is a Bozo. I don’t know any other appellation that can adequately describe the uninformed, unintelligent, and frankly stupid reaction of a man who responds thus to the facts of abuse by supposedly responsible and trusted religious”. He went on: “As one reviews the list of clerics who support Donohue and the League – Egan, Mahony, Chaput, O’Brien, O’Malley and others – with encomiums for ‘the protection of the faith, the defense of victims, courage to speak up candidly, teaching the hard truths of the Gospel’ – one is struck by the oppositional, obstructionistic, and arrogant way all of the clerical Donohue supporters still operate…. Those like Donohue who minimize and distort the real picture of clergy abuse of sex and power continue to do a huge disservice to the Catholic Church. Every U.S. Grand Jury investigation into clergy sexual abuse of minors came to exactly the same conclusion: the church has colluded to cover up facts, protect offenders and preferred institutional image and the avoidance of scandal above the safety of children. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics know the truth even if many are too intimidated or tired to say so aloud. There is nothing hysterical – over emotional or attention seeking – in the Irish Report or in reactions to it. Only a Bozo would think so. Facts, even painful facts, are still facts – the truth remains solid even after attacks or dismissals from powerful coalitions. Truth silently prevails, Bozos don’t.”
Just how “sorry” the priests and monks really were was shown by the reaction of many to the anger displayed by Diarmuid Martin, the Romish archbishop of Dublin, when the details of the Ryan Report became known. Martin claimed that he was so angry over the documents in his archives that he threw them to the ground. Perhaps he did, perhaps not. But the Irish religious orders accused him of “throwing us to the wolves” (their phrase) after the revelations came out – and they were furious with him. A Redemptorist priest named Tony Flannery revealed that many members of religious orders felt “terrified”, “ashamed”, “hurt” and “betrayed” by the actions and public statements of Martin and other members of the hierarchy who led the public criticism of members of the religious orders of Ireland. He said “there is enormous anger among religious [members of religious orders]. They feel that they have been scapegoated, particularly by one member of the hierarchy, the Archbishop of Dublin.”
This just shows that many of the men in these orders were more concerned with their own reputations than with the abuse that had been committed against thousands of children. At the same time, of course, one can understand their anger over the fact that high-ranking ecclesiastical leaders put on pious faces and expressed shock and horror, when there is simply no way they did not know that these things were going on right under their noses, and no doubt many of them were guilty of abuse as well. They were indeed making scapegoats of those under them, when they were just as guilty and utterly hypocritical to express sorrow and dismay over the report. As journalist Damiean Thompson correctly observed: “underneath all his [Martin’s] public soul-searching and the sound of documents hitting the archiepiscopal floor, I think we can hear the sound of nifty footwork.”
Is There Any Future for Roman Catholicism in Ireland?
As a result of the priestly sex scandals in Ireland and the devastating Ryan Report, the crisis for Rome in that once-so-Romanist country was truly immense, and many wondered then, as they wonder now, if there is any future for the Roman Catholic institution in Ireland. Romish archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, publicly conceded at the time that the scandals had seriously damaged the image and credibility of the Roman Catholic institution in Ireland. And writing in The Irish Times, historian and journalist Brendan Ó Cathaoir described the Irish Republic as a state of “unbridled clerical power”, where the Romish “Church” possessed “unrivalled authority”, but stated that the Ryan Report had consigned the triumphalist Roman Catholic “Church” in Ireland to the dustbin of history. The latest vote in Ireland, in which the majority voted overwhelmingly in favour of abortion, would indicate that he may have been right.
The following from the editorial in the southern African Roman Catholic weekly, The Southern Cross, for June 3 to 9, 2009, is worth quoting, as it was (for once) extremely honest about what had happened in Ireland: “After a series of abuse scandals and the rise of secularism in Ireland – which in part is a reaction to inordinate ecclesial power in secular affairs – the Irish Church is at a nadir. For all the good it has done among the bad, the Church in Ireland as we know it is broken. Where its vocations were once so rich that Ireland lavishly sent priests and religious to the missions, today few men and women enter the consecrated life. Where its priests once were honoured, they are often publicly disrespected, to the point that some don’t even wear their clerical garb in public so as to avoid being maligned. And where once trust in the Church was implicit, it is now lost.”
The numbers of men and women joining Roman Catholic religious orders in Ireland are in serious decline. Michael Kelly, editor of the Irish Catholic newspaper in Dublin, said: “Most of these orders will literally die out in Ireland within the next generation or so. Many of them are already in wind-up mode. They lack the confidence even to seek new vocations (recruits), due to the stigma associated with their members’ shocking, scandalous behaviour.”
Large numbers of Irish Roman Catholics were shocked, hurt, disillusioned, and very angry with their priests, and with their “Church” in general. One, writing from Dublin to The Southern Cross, said: “Archbishop Martin has not acknowledged in full the conspiracy of the hierarchy in covering up the abuses…. Until all victims are properly compensated and all the perpetrators are prosecuted, his fine words amount to very little. The Catholic hierarchy and orders have failed to show that they are really serious about this. It seems rather that they want to pay out as little compensation as possible, and to keep the abusers out of jail. It is insulting of the Catholic leadership to pretend that they never knew about the physical and sexual violence. When individuals complained, they were intimidated into silence, and seldom was any action taken…. What the Church doesn’t understand, it seems, is that people are not angry only with the abusers but also with the whole Catholic Church that tolerated and covered up the violence against children, and now refuses to pay proper compensation. In my opinion, the whole hierarchy of Ireland should resign in shame. That includes Archbishop Martin. What a statement of solidarity with the victims that would be!”
He went on: “You [the editor of the Romanist newspaper] say that the Catholic Church in Ireland must now rebuild itself. This ignores the anger among Ireland’s people. Most want nothing to do with the Catholic Church after years of collusion with the government and the abuse scandal…. Many Irish people, probably the majority, have had enough, and the Catholic Church will never recover from this. It has forfeited its moral authority…. Many Catholics in Ireland have lost their faith not in salvation, but in the Church which claims to represent our Saviour, but then allowed evil men and women to commit evil acts against defenceless children.”
An article in the Irish Post was entitled “Where to now for Catholicism in Ireland?” The author, Joe Horgan, voiced precisely the sentiments of so many shocked and disillusioned Irish Roman Catholics when he wrote: “It is hard to know what to do now with all of that residual Catholicism. What to do with that reflex that wants to make the sign of the cross on passing a grotto. What to do when a priest passes by in the street. Still catch the eye and say hello, Father? What to do when a nun passes by in the street. Still catch the eye and say hello, Sister? Still? Now? After the Ryan Report? After being given full knowledge of what the institutions of that Church did? What to do with it now?” We have seen what the Irish people have done with it.
He went on: “If you were writing a short history of the Catholic Church in Ireland now how would you assess it? Would you say it supported and helped the people through an often grim, difficult history? Or would you say it oppressed and manipulated the people?…. Or would you say that, on the shocking, overwhelming evidence of the Ryan Report that the Catholic Church has been a malign, divisive force in Irish life? Has been the one consistently proven force for evil?”
But perhaps the most damning indictment of all, at the time of the report, came from an Irish American Jesuit priest, known online simply as “Father Tim”. He saw the handwriting on the wall as far as the Roman Catholic institution in Ireland was concerned, and he saw no future for Rome in that once staunchly Papist country after the Ryan Report revelations. Astoundingly, this is what he wrote, entitled “Memo to: Catholic Church/ From: Irish people/Re: Your services are no longer needed”:
“For the Catholic Church in Ireland, the game is over.
“The Irish people, and I am convinced it is the majority, no longer wish to have the Catholic Church in their country, or in their lives, and possibly not in their faith.
“I cannot blame them. The Church is solely to blame for this, from front to back, start to finish. It is reaping what it sowed. Although running away from a fire rather than toward it is not the example many of us in the Church believe should be our service to God and His Children, it may be best for all that we settle up our debts, hand over our criminals, and catch the next plane out of Dublin. I am sure that, after a transition period, many of the services the Church provides in Ireland can be contracted to others, and I would hope whatever damage settlements we must and should pay will smooth that changeover.
“Ireland is strong, and it will live on, and heal. Yes, it can and will do this without us. And, assuming it has learned anything, the threads that were once the garment of the Irish Church will heal too, and not repeat the horrible mistakes and misdeeds that have doomed its work in ‘the land of scholars and saints.’ Perhaps, in some tomorrow, the Church and Ireland will again be together. That is a prayer worth saying and a dream worth having – but not a reality worth expecting, not now or anytime soon.
“There is simply no way that an institution so horribly tainted and so utterly mistrusted can or should speak in the name of Jesus Christ in Ireland, nor attempt to project spiritual and moral leadership. So many of my dear online friends have written me with the same question, which I cannot answer: ‘How can we ever trust the Church again?’ While the Church can and must surrender its criminals and the highly placed conspirators who made the crimes possible and policy, it will never be enough in Ireland. The rage is too strong, a dam has burst. No matter what it does or says, the Church cannot and will not be believed anymore. Without that, its ministry is finished, at least for now.”
As this was written by a Jesuit priest, one must always be very cautious and seek to discern any ulterior motive behind it, for the Jesuits are always wily, subtle, and seeking to promote Romanism in whatever way they can, by fair means or foul. But in this case, it is difficult to believe there was any ulterior motive behind this man’s article. It was a brutally frank acknowledgment of the Roman “Church’s” sins, and one would struggle to find any good coming to Rome through it. It would appear that this man was genuinely convinced that Roman Catholicism in Ireland was finished as a result of the priestly sex scandals. And as we consider the direction in which Ireland has moved, he may indeed be right. Perhaps he was simply (despite being a Jesuit) a decent man, committed to his “Church” but aware that the damage done in Ireland seemed to be irreparable, and was deeply sorrowful over it. There are a few such priests within the Roman religion. Not many, but a few. True Christians should pray much for such men, that they may have their eyes opened by the Lord to see the Papal system for the demonic institution it is, and “come out of her”, coming to the Lord Jesus Christ, repenting of their sins and believing on Him alone for everlasting salvation!
This man had even more to say, however. “There never was much reason to expect that Benedict XVI or his legion of Roman red hats would rise to this or any occasion requiring Divinely-inspired leadership. They are better examples of the problem than the solution. Of course, the sorrow from Rome IS genuine, the contrition IS real. But it doesn’t really matter. Many readers have rightly said that, if the Church was a corporation (and it is), all those responsible would have been locked up in prisons or hospitals by now, and the company would have been driven out of Ireland on a rail. The best the Irish Church can do now is to buy its one-way tickets. All the Faithful, or what’s left of them, can only pray that Our Loving Father will find a way to restore a pure Church to Ireland, and that Ireland will want it back.”
It is evident that this Jesuit priest was still a faithful son of Rome, who believed there was genuine sorrow and contrition in the Vatican over what had occurred. In this he was very sadly deceived. But even so, to write this way about his pope and his cardinals was extraordinary, and certainly we can be sure that if one priest felt this way, many others did as well. And this is a good thing. Let the disillusionment continue!
He ended his article forcefully, by pointing out that “few churches ever exerted such domineering social power as the Irish Catholic Church”, and that it was a religion of hate and fear, in which Irish priests supported fanatical Irish Roman Catholic murderers (without naming them, he meant the IRA); and he said: “They helped teach Ireland to hate, to never forgive, to fear, to be suspicious. Now, they are the hated, and the ones who can never be forgiven, not even by their own people and not even in spite of many, many, many good and Godly works they have done for them. It is the life they made for Ireland, and ultimately, for themselves.” Again, an extraordinary confession, and 100% accurate, as the massive change in Irish society since he wrote these words so amply demonstrates.
Truly, a profound and rapid change has been occurring in Ireland, the likes of which has never been seen there before. A once-staunchly Papist country has become a very different place from what it was. Perhaps Ireland will not cease to be Papist after all, despite what has occurred. Rome has an amazing ability to bounce back from the brink of disaster. And Ireland has always had fanatical Papists, including fanatical terrorist madmen in the form of the IRA, who were supported fully by their priests in their murderous deeds.
But perhaps after all, the game really is over for Roman Catholicism in Ireland. Perhaps the enormous power that Rome has always exerted in that country really is now finished. It has happened to nations before. In Roman Catholic France, once known as “the elder daughter of the Vatican”, the priests ruled with an iron fist for centuries; but finally it all became too much for the French people, and, spurred on by anti-clerical revolutionaries, they erupted in an orgy of horrific violence against the “Church” of Rome during the French Revolution. Centuries of cruel oppression at the hands of their priests led to the destruction of Roman Catholic power and influence in France.
But even there it was only for a time. Rome again made strides there, and regained much of its old power. Still, France is not what it was prior to the French Revolution. Rome was never again as all-powerful there as it had once been.
Perhaps in truth, in once-fanatically Papist Ireland, the once all-powerful “Church” will never fully recover from these blows. Perhaps Joe Horgan, quoted above, was correct when he wrote, “In many ways I suppose, we are living in a post-Catholic Ireland. Coming generations are hardly likely to show the mass devotion that existed in the past. The power of the Church, the ideological power, has diminished enormously. The Church still has huge power in education and health but it is hard to see how that can survive. How can the Church be allowed to wield such power in a society that no longer shares its prayers? Quite simply, it can’t.”
If this is indeed so, due to the disgust of the Irish Roman Catholic people themselves, then we are witnessing something extraordinary. And it certainly appears to be the case.
Rome May Have Lost Ireland, But It is Winning Elsewhere
But even though Rome no longer rules Ireland completely, and although a majority of the Irish people have now rejected Rome’s priests, teachings, and massive influence, it would be a grave mistake for anyone to assume that the worldwide sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Papal institution for years now signals the beginning of the end of this giant religio-political institution around the world. If only it were so! But no – Rome will survive it. It has been, and continues to be, a major blow, one of the greatest blows Rome has suffered since the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century. Millions of Roman Catholics have left their “Church” in disgust; perhaps millions more will follow. But this is an institution of over one billion members. Even if Rome shed a hundred million followers as a result of these revelations (and it won’t), it would still survive and prosper in the long run. Bible prophecy does not indicate that the Great Whore that sits on the seven hills will be destroyed by a scandal like this. Prophecy tells us that it will continue to exist, and work its evil, until the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The vast majority of the millions of Papists are simply too enslaved to their “Church” to ever even consider leaving, much less to actually do so. As far as they are concerned, their eternal salvation depends upon their membership in it – and they are not going to risk losing that for anything. Even the terrible abuse of thousands of children by thousands of priests and monks the world over is not enough to make them forsake it. When it comes down to it, for them it’s a matter of “My eternal salvation, or the good of untold thousands of children”. The children come off second best, no matter what evils have been perpetrated against them. It has always been so, throughout Rome’s long history. The attitude is, “Turn a blind eye – my priest holds my salvation in his hand, and at the end of the day that’s all that really matters.”
Throughout its long history, Rome has suffered setbacks at times, in all kinds of countries. France has been mentioned, but it is not the only one. Rome’s fortunes ebb and flow with the centuries. And at the very same time that its power is now so weakened in Ireland, it is being greatly strengthened elsewhere. Governments and ideologies and so on – these come and go. But Rome marches ever onwards.
Rejection of Romanism is Not Conversion to Christ!
And for the true Christian, it must always be remembered that even if millions of Roman Catholics ultimately rejected their religion, this is not the same as conversion to Christ! They are disillusioned, shocked, disgusted – and so they leave Rome. But unless they turn by faith to Christ, they remain as lost, as dead in their sins, as ever. And this is the greatest tragedy of all. Their experience of Roman Catholicism may make them leave Rome, but their eyes remain blinded, their hearts remain hard. To them, all religion is now suspect – including, tragically, the truth as it is in Jesus.
This is the great challenge for true Christians! – to seek to show these poor disillusioned people that the “Church” of Rome is not the Church of Christ! It is a false religion, no different from Hinduism, Islam, or Buddhism. Its “christ” is not the Christ of God, its priests are not the ministers of the Lord, its way of salvation is not the biblical way of salvation. The differences between Romanism and Christianity are as between night and day. And Christians must show Roman Catholics that although their false “Church” is a work of darkness, the Lord Jesus Christ is the light of the world! Although their pope is a deceiver, Christ is the way, the truth, and the life! Their false “Church” has failed them, but if they come to Christ, He will never fail them!
Their Romish priests may have abused them, but the Lord Jesus Christ is the one true great High Priest (Heb. 3:1), who is holy, harmless, and undefiled (Heb. 7:26). The priests of Rome claim to possess the power to forgive sin, but only Christ truly has such power. Neither priests of Rome, nor psychological “counselling”, can help them; but if they come to Christ the Lord, He will save them to the uttermost! Here is good news indeed, the very best of news, glad tidings of a true Saviour and Friend!
Rejecting Anti-Christian Priestcraft, but Embracing Anti-Christian Liberalism
Of course, the vote to legalise abortion is an absolute tragedy for Ireland. The liberal/feminist supporters of this move think it is wonderful, a vote for “women’s rights” and sexual freedom and all the rest of their hogwash, but abortion is murder and there is no getting away from that. A liberal, secularised Ireland, in step now with the secular humanist West, is no more a country to be celebrated than a Roman Catholic, priest-ridden, superstitious Ireland. Therefore, although Rome’s power is now so greatly weakened in Ireland that it may never recover, what is taking its place is a great evil as well.
Yet all this is the bitter fruit of Rome’s domination of Ireland for centuries, just as the French Revolution was the bitter fruit of Rome’s domination of France for centuries. Priestcraft always provokes a radical reaction, and what rises from the ashes of priestcraft is something horrible; something evil.
Shaun Willcock is a minister, author and researcher. He runs Bible Based Ministries. For other articles (which may be downloaded and printed), as well as details about his books, audio messages, pamphlets, etc., please visit the Bible Based Ministries website; or write to the address below. If you would like to be on Bible Based Ministries’ email list, to receive all future articles, please send your details.
For Further Reading:
The information about the Ryan Report, and the reaction of Rome’s priests to it, etc., was taken mainly from an earlier article by the author, The Massive Scale of Child Abuse by Priests in Ireland. Further articles on related topics by Shaun Willcock, available free from Bible Based Ministries (see website):
Child Sexual Abuse by Priests: Revelations of Shocking Crimes and Sinful Cover-Ups
Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic Priesthood
A Mass Grave of Babies and the Lie of “Limbo”
The Massive Scale of Child Abuse by Priests in Ireland
Is the Pope of Rome Guilty?
Another Mass Grave of Babies who Dies Under the “Tender” Care of Nuns
The Leaked Story of a Sodomite Orgy in the Vatican
. Washington Post, May 26, 2018. www.washingtonpost.com.
. New York Times, May 27, 2018. www.nytimes.com.
. The Guardian, 26 May 2018. www.theguardian.com.
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. New York Times, May 26, 2018.
. Child Sexual Abuse by Priests: Revelations of Shocking Crimes and Sinful Cover-Ups (2004), and The Massive Scale of Child Abuse by Priests in Ireland (2009), both by Shaun Willcock. Bible Based Ministries. Available free on our website.
. Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic Priesthood, by Shaun Willcock. Bible Based Ministries, 2006. Available free on our website.
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. Another Mass Grave of Babies Who Died Under the “Tender” Care of Nuns, by Shaun Willcock. Bible Based Ministries, 2017. See also A Mass Grave of Babies and the Lie of “Limbo”, by Shaun Willcock. Bible Based Ministries, 2009. Both available free on our website.
. New York Times, May 26, 2018.
. Associated Press, 20 May 2009. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090520/
.. The Southern Cross, May 27 to June 2, 2009.
.. Irish Report on Sex Abuse, May 21, 2009. www.richardsipe.com.
.. 50 Years in the “Church” of Rome, by Charles Chiniquy. The Protestant Literature Depository, London, 1886; reprinted 1981 by Chick Publications, Chino, California.
.. The Southern Cross, June 3 to 9, 2009.
.. The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional, by Charles Chiniquy. Chick Publications, Chino, California, USA.
.. The Southern Cross, May 27 to June 2, 2009.
.. The Southern Cross, June 17 to 23, 2009.
.. The Southern Cross, June 24 to 30, 2009.
. Is the Pope of Rome Guilty? by Shaun Willcock. Bible Based Ministries, 2010. Available free on our website.
.. The Southern Cross, May 27 to June 2, 2009.
.. The Southern Cross, June 24 to 30, 2009.
.. Irish Report on Sex Abuse, May 21, 2009.
.. The Southern Cross, July 1 to 7, 2009.
.. The Southern Cross, June 24 to 30, 2009.
.. Irish Report on Sex Abuse, May 21, 2009.
.. The Telegraph, July 1, 2009. http://blogs.telegraph.uk.
.. The Telegraph, July 1, 2009.
.. The Independent, June 29, 2009. http://www.independent.ie.
.. The Irish Times, June 30, 2009.
.. The Southern Cross, June 3 to 9, 2009.
.. Associated Press, 20 May 2009.
.. The Southern Cross, June 24 to 30, 2009.
.. Irish Post online, undated, http://www.irishpost.co.uk/tabId/321/itemId/4219/Where-to-now-for-Catholicism-in-Ireland.aspx.
.. Irish Central, 4 July 2009. http://www.irishcentral.com.
.. Irish Post online.
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