Separate Church and State

As Mick noted, Fionnuala O’Connor’s contrasting of the reaction, north and south, to the findings of the Ferns Inquiry was less than favourable to northern Catholics. That contrast was reinforced today when Progressive Democrat TD Liz O’Donnell, speaking in the Dáil[updated direct link to Liz O’Donnell’s speech], called for an end to the special relationship between Church and State – RTÉ report – accusing the Irish State of having “tip-toed around the Irish [Catholic] hierachy” and that, although that hierarchy was “remorseful after the event”, their “instinct for self-preservation” along with the deference shown by the State’s “reluctance to follow up on accusations” and a “reluctance to prosecute” contributed to the failure to address the problem. Liz O’Donnell expands on her comments here [RealPlayer audio file] Update Link to speech addedAdditionally, from the RTÉ report –

Ms O’Donnell also told the Dáil that there should also be an official audit of the Church’s wealth, using legal discovery orders if necessary.

She said that given the extent of its wrongdoing against citizens the Catholic Church should be obliged to open up its books.

  • Henry94

    I have often wondered what the Income Tax situation is for clerics. As a practising (albeit technically excommunicated) Catholic I can see no other way of holding the Church in Ireland to account other than state intervention. The more the merrier. A lot of parishes seem to exist as a way for a gay men to take money from old people.

    This month for example many people will have handed in offerings to have Masses said for their dead. No receipt given. Where is this money declared?

    Once the freedom to worship and preach is unquestioned the Church should operate on the same basis of legal and financial accountability as any other organisation in the state.

  • harpo

    ‘As a practising (albeit technically excommunicated) Catholic I can see no other way of holding the Church in Ireland to account other than state intervention’

    Why not try to bomb them into submission, just as ther IRs bombed the British to the negotiating table? It takes a while but it works well.

    You can claim that you are living under oppression and that then gives you the right to do whatever you want, so long as you phone in warnings first before letting off your bombs. Some parishoners will die, but it will all their fault for not heeding your warnings. And then you can come out with glib statements like ‘civilians die in all wars’ and ‘war is ugly but the things that make war necessary are worse’.

    After about 30 years of this you will force them to the negotiating table, and they will give in to your demand that they give you what they were offering 30 years ago. You get no more than you would have got in the first place, but you can call yourself an undefeated army and have lots of commemoration parades and dinners with nice plaques dedicated to yourself.

  • D’Holbach

    That special relationship must end and, she said, that meant there must be no more consultation on issues like abortion services, stem cell research and adoption and homosexuality.

    Good on you, Liz. Any Northern politicians like to follow suit?

  • Brian Boru

    The Brits should also separate Church and State by disestablishing the Church of England and ending the ban on Catholics ascending the throne.

  • smcgiff

    I wonder which change will happen first, Brian? My guess is on holy catholic Ireland! 😉

  • Conor

    Here here Brian Boru.