To Benedict, we Irish liberals are not going away you know…

Father Kevin Hegarty in the Irish Times fights back against Benedict’s contemporary, counter Reformation:

There is a tendency of conservative church commentators to argue that liberal clerics are an ageing, disgruntled minority who have turned their misinterpretations of the Second Vatican Council into a kind of holy writ.

To them we are castaways on a remote island, brazenly holding aloft the tattered banners of the 1960s. They won’t like this but I have to disillusion them.

Anecdotal evidence, coupled with the results of a number of professional surveys, indicate that the majority of Irish Catholics support radical change in the church’s ministry and moral teaching.

To paraphrase Gerry Adams in a different context, we are not going away. The Vatican has been a “cold house” for liberal Catholics in recent years. The least we expect is respect for our freedom of speech and conscience.

A reform of the church which excludes these rights is a form of repression. It seems that Pope Benedict thinks “a creative minority” of Catholic conservatives will transform the church in Europe. To me that sounds like a polite euphemism for an assembly of Rick Santorum lookalikes.

Fighting talk, certainly. But as mentioned over the weekend, Benedict’s concern is not with democracy, but with the failing health of his western church… I suspect Father Hegarty has a different remedy in mind from the one favoured by the head of his church…

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