“The cardinal has not made clear why religion should get a free pass..”

In the Irish Times there’s a fairly comprehensive rebuttal of Cardinal Séan Brady’s “criticisms of the European Union’s approach to religion” – as previously noted here. Another blow in the Church v State [Lisbon] clash?

A democracy has a duty to make laws in the interests of all. As an entity whose population is religiously diverse, the EU cannot legislate purely on the basis of the theological convictions of a single faith without violating this duty. Furthermore, in democratic public life, individuals must account for their beliefs and will inevitably be criticised for them.

The Cardinal has effectively characterised the imposition on religious bodies of the duties to accept criticism and provide justifications for their political demands as tantamount to excluding religion from public life. Such a resistance to playing by the rules that govern the behaviour of all other organisations in political life would seem to indicate that the Catholic Church still has some way to go in reconciling itself with pluralist democracy.

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  • Ulsters my homeland

    Looks like Rome will have to introduce the Jedi Jesuits, (militia for St. Peter’s pence).

  • Ulsters my homeland

    It would seem the Pope’s global Jesuits are in force in Mexico. Imagine if oul Papa Benedick fulfills his namesake and becomes Roman Catholic Patron ST of Europe?

    “Local authorities in three small towns in different Mexican states have told evangelical Christians to change their religion to traditional Catholicism or suffer the consequences — threatening them with jail, expulsion, the removal of public services such as water and drainage, and even death.”


  • KieranJ

    “A democracy has a duty to make laws in the interests of all.”

    No it doesn’t.

  • joeCanuck

    Care to expand on that, Kieran, and give us a clue to your thinking?

  • KieranJ

    Well, I live in the US and while it is not a Democracy, it’s the nearest thing to it we have in this world today. In our Democratic Republic, the majority rules and so, not everyone’s interest is served. Nor should it be.

    And by the way, since when has the Roman Catholic Church had anything to do with democracy?

  • Mr E. Mann

    Kieran, as someone living under the tyranny of St. George Bush, surely you don’t think that the RC church is a worse threat to democracy than Protestant churches?

  • Dave

    I agree to a point, Keiran: the majority is divided from the minority by differing polices, so by default all interests cannot be served in a democracy. A right-winger will seek to reduce the role of the Nannystate, and those whose needs are met by that state will suffer due to the policies of the majority. Pluralism liberal-left is gibberish that is devoid of any legal meaning or standing. The only thing the majority cannot do in a democracy is violate rights that are protected by a constitution – other than that, the majority does not – and cannot – rule in the interests of all.

  • Dave

    Typo: “Pluralism [b]is[/b] liberal-left is gibberish that is devoid of any legal meaning or standing.”

  • Pete Baker

    I knew I should have only have posted the final paragraph..

    Arguably, of course, the majority of representatives have already won the argument that they have the policies which best serve the interests of all.


    You’ve probably got him on a charge of over-simplifying in the penultimate paragraph of his article.

    But if you could read the whole thing.

    And then comment on the relative positions in this particular argument between church and state.

  • L Dallas

    “…it’s the nearest thing to it [a democracy] we have in this world today.”

    This, about America, always cracks me up.

    A place where you have to sell your ass to billionaires and zillionaires and their corporations, to be able to afford to stand for election as the local dog-catcher.

    A place where capital punishment, especially for the poor and the non-white, in on an industrial scale.

    A place where a presidential candidate can be blatantly robbed of the White House, and nobody gave a damn.

    Yes, the good old US of A is certainly an example to us all – though not of a vibrant democracy.


    Well, I live in the US and while it is not a Democracy, it’s the nearest thing to it we have in this world today.

    What self absorbed bollox. democracies come in all shapes and sizes, personally I prefer the democratic secular republic of France.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    I always thought America was a Democracy, until I meet the ‘elitist’ on slugger. Strange bu intersting people!

  • Harry Flashman

    I have often heard strict constitutionalists refer to the United States as a “Republic” not a “Democracy”, they are not necessarily the same thing at all.

  • susan

    I think Ronan McCrea’s argument is commendable and cogent, and refreshingly adult. It isn’t based on insinuations and conjectures of conspiracy, it is argued on the rule of law and precedence of decisions by the EU Court of Justice.

    I think this is the way forward in a pluralist democracy. Overlooked in heated arguments between religious fundamentalists and atheists is the simple fact that there actually is enormous — and enormously valuable, given the times we live in — common ground between many people of all faiths and none on the need for a separation of church and state, for human rights and civil liberties protected both by the state and from the state.

    Religious leaders are not entitled to more respect than anyone else, but also no less. In an educated, pluralist society, religious leaders need to come to terms with the fact that their authority should be in essence an existential authority — to the extent that the members of their religion or sect believe that they offer sustaining truths and inspiration, leaders will have influence over their followers’ lives, by the free choice of their followers.

  • Tazia Doll

    “A democracy has a duty to make laws in the interests of all.”

    It makes laws, that often apply to the ‘all’ part, but may not benefit the ‘all’ folks.

  • Tazia Doll


    The Vatican, isn’t like that, it can’t really separate church from state.

    Religious pluralism, well, what do you want me to tell you? We don’t really do that, not yesterday, not today and not tomorrow.

    The people, generally, through the ages, they don’t have an actionable will, they just don’t.