Archbishop Martin: Catholic Church must tell truth…

As Brian notes of the church abuse cases, the state has as many questions as the church to answer about the ‘strangeness’ of their behaviours towards the church. What’s disturbing about the piecemeal way in which the story has been emerging all week is it’s implications for what’s been going on in Archdioceses outside Dublin. Regardless of where this ends up, the Archbishop of Dublin looks like a moral colossus – not simply for his brave words, but for what he has done on his own patch, even as the Cardinal loses stature day by day… Given the problem of child abuse runs so wide and so deep in Irish society (north as well as south – and as Chris points out perhaps a lot further up than that), this piece meal disclosure of dirty back room deals is the opposite of moral leadership… It requires actions from church leaders to clean out their own stables, and follow Martin’s lead. And that’s not to mention something more than pious and given the recent past, rather insincere words from our political leaders… See Matt Cooper’s column on Martin McGuinness and the throwing of 1970s stones:

McGuinness, who says he’s a Catholic, is entitled to his beliefs and to state them, but if he is judging the cardinal, then perhaps he should consider just how well he and his colleagues, through their actions, lived up to their responsibilities both to the state they profess to love and to their faith.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Justin Case…


    Slugger seems to be lagging in the political comment at the moment.

    Either bring in a couple decent bloggers (more like Turgon/Fair Deal) or at least try to cut down on some of the more pointless threads that are clogging the site like Dewis Rugby matches or Pete Bakers space threads.

    In the run up to a general election this blog is carrying no political comment.

  • dwatch

    [i]In the run up to a general election this blog is carrying no political comment[/i]

    Couldn’t agree more. This debate has run its course now. Anymore threads on this subject will end up like the Iris-gate affair.

  • Marcionite

    Nothing will change. People will say ‘isn’t it terrible about the we’ans’ and they’ll end up filling the very same aisles next Sunday and every other Sunday thereafter. Only a nuke could end THAT church

  • BryanS

    yes mick…. what about the injunctions and super injunctions. I think we should be told!

  • joeCanuck

    Political comment? What is happening politically in N.I. at the moment to warrant comment?
    I’m sure Mick might welcome a thoughtful argument from a guest blogger.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    I have to agree with JustinCase.
    I quite like the rugby column but its relevance is dubious.
    The Space thing is just daft.

    And a bit of manners all round would be nice.

  • joeCanuck

    a bit of manners all round would be nice

    Physician heal thyself. Start with not using words like dubious and, especially, daft.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    If you can point to an instance where Mr Fealty has had to delete anything I posted, or where I have used any swear word, please do so.
    And quite possibly my assertion on “good manners all round” was pretty inclusive.

    Well can you give me another word…that would convey my position on the relevance of a Rugby column?
    Or should I not convey my opinion?
    And the space thing…”an eccentric choice of topic for Notes on Northern Ireland Politics and Culture.” Happy?

  • Nordie Northsider

    I was disappointed with the Matt Cooper article. Are we going to have these cries of ‘hypocrisy!’ any time a SF Minister makes a public statement about any form of injustice or any kind of scandal?

    I’ve no real grá for Sinn Féin but I think Martin McGuiness has a right – even a duty – to say something about an issue that needs to be addressed by politicians as well as by clergy and child-care professionals. His comments on Brady are critical, but not personal and certainly not hysterical. I’m glad someone in public office has called for the leadership of the Catholic Church to (biblical word) atone for their misdeeds. No-one in the South has. Mick’s ‘the opposite of moral leadership’ is a nice summing-up.

  • Im suspicious of this whole ‘lets drop this subject there is a GE coming’ theme.

    It occurs to me there are one or two politicians who would like nothing better than for the subject of child abuse to just ‘disappear’.


    I agree with you we will not, and perhaps should not get rid of these troublesome priests, but if that is the case we must ensure they know who they answer to in this life!

  • Neil

    Right behind you JC. I think the cultural relevance of sporting event containing any team with ‘Ireland’ in it’s name is kind of self explanatory. The fact that there are threads that are not required reading for political anoraks shouldn’t really merit criticism.

    Plus your earlier point Joe that the politicians are doing sweet f.a. is a good one. The only political activity ongoing presently is that our leaders are off on their jollies and the rest of them are only interested in that which is universally popular, like spending approximately the same amount they are going to cut from the health budget on subsidising water for everyone – including those who can afford to pay for their own water – disregarding those people who will die as they can’t afford private treatment.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Neil, this is a good point….Personally Id be happy if Mr Fealty invited me to host an irregular column on “TV”. And Im sure others could host columns on Horse Racing, Gardening, Cookery, Cars, Fashion……the potential is endless.

  • Nordie Northsider

    I thought the MMcG article was intriguing. As for S/F having to take some flak every time they reach for the moral high ground. Some might say that is the least they deserve and hardly unexpected.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Frankly I had to “click” on the link to Matt Coopers column to see who he was. I dont do that very often.
    The point about columnists is that every news story about which they write is re-formed into their view of the World.

    Thats how it works.
    News stories are essentially the same in any newspaper. We buy a paper on the strength of a columnist. Thus in the 1980s, I could pick up The Guardian and turn to Hugo Young or Ian Aiken for assurance that MY world view was right.
    They expressed MY world view much better than I did.
    Thus people turn to Jenkins, Rees-Mogg, Friedland, Richards, Anderson……..and Gaunt and Littlejohn to discover that the World IS as they see it.
    Presumably Matt Cooper says what others think.
    Kevin Myers, Miriam Lord and the rest. Their following would not understand it if they actually said something “different”.
    Likewise the Slugger columnists.

  • TellMeMa

    Nothing will change.
    That’s true. Has any SOT contributor ever changed his or her opinion based on the “discussions” they have had on this site?I doubt it. Has anyone become a Unionist when before s/he was a Republican? (or vice versa)? I do know of people who have left the UUP to become DUPers, but not afaik because of discussing anything on Slugger.

    SOT is an outlet rather than a place of conversion. Topics run their course, the adrenalin is exhausted.

    People will say ‘isn’t it terrible about the we’ans’ and they’ll end up filling the very same aisles next Sunday and every other Sunday thereafter.
    That’s true and it is because the Catholic Church’s teachings are greater than the hunting down of 0.8% of clergy (plus those who hid them away). The paedos are sinners and criminals who should be punished by civil law and, in Buddhist terminology, those who misguidedly moved them elsewhere rather than reporting them are now facing great Suffering (bad press, resignation, etc.) for their actions and inactions. They have also caused suffering to innocent Catholics who do no harm to anyone.

    The secular morality hunters and the Ballymena tent people are not relevant to devout Catholics, who are nonethless *furious* about this, see
    And yes, Catholics do feel great sympathy for the victims of paedos and would help them as much as they can. Bear in mind the ultimate goal of the Catholic Church teachings is attaining one’s own sainthood and that to achieve this one should (amongst other things) focus on one’s own sins, rather than gossiping about those of others. This does not exclude the bringing of justice to the victims and the perpetrators – if it is their job to do so. Toppling the Catholic Church will not bring justice. Remember Christ did say “…and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”.

    Only a nuke could end THAT church
    Surely Hell is more powerful than a nuke? A nuke would end any church, unless THIS church has divine dispensation to resist a law of nature. IMHO that through this paedo crises hell has made some inroads.

    Focus on the good, not the bad.

  • wild turkey

    pippakin @#10

    agree fully…. but Gore Vidal takes a step further.. to its logical conclusion

    from Sex is Politics

    ‘The sexual attitudes of any given society are the result of political decisions.

    Although our notions about what constitutes correct sexual behavior are usually based on religious texts, those texts are invariably interpreted by the rulers in order to keep control over the ruled… Religions are manipulated in order to serve those who govern society and not the other way around.’

  • wildturkey

    It has been ever thus, since they ‘demoted’ Mary Magdalene in fact!

  • wild turkey

    ‘Personally Id be happy if Mr Fealty invited me to host an irregular column on “TV”. And Im sure others could host columns on Horse Racing, Gardening, Cookery, Cars, Fashion……the potential is endless.’


    Go for it, and why not. Culture here for far too long has been confused with and contaminated by ‘politics’. As you say, the potential is limitless. Let a 1000 flowers bloom.

  • Mr Angry
  • joeCanuck


  • DerTer

    FJH – I’m sorry you don’t know who Matt Cooper is. Shows how much you know. (On the other hand, perhaps you were being ironic.)
    What has surprised me on this thread is the intolerance for Dewi’s rugby (& other interesting stuff)and Pete’s science pieces. I know you’ve heard this argument before, but what possible inconvenience does this cause to the complainers? They don’t have to read them – it’s like switching off the TV. only easier.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Im not overly familiar with the Examiner and as Ive said I “quite like” the Rugby Column.

  • joeCanuck

    Some people are just natural born complainers; they can’t help it – it’s their nature after all.

  • DerTer

    Matt Cooper is controversialist and former editor of the Sunday Tribune; and as well as writing for the Irish Examiner he has a daily current affairs programme on Today FM.

  • west belfast

    I posted elsewhere of my dismay at the open sectarianism on slugger this week. It is only rivalled by the so called humour regarding child rape – disgusting.

    As a church going Catholic my faith in the church has been shaken but my faith has not. Like thousands I will be at mass tomorrow with my wife and children and will listen to the guidance and leadership of the Holy Father,

    I truly pray that all this will lead to a more open and pious church.

    For the record I went to Christian Brothers schools, went to mass, was an alter boy and have several priests as friends – all good, holy and honourable men and I have nothing but good memories. Now Im sure some of you anti-catholic types will find a joke in there somewhere.

  • west belfast

    I am happy your experience was so good and sincerely hope you are not including anything I wrote as either sectarian or in poor humour. Actually my findings are the opposite, whilst a very few may have been slightly off the mark none have been either sheer sectarian or in poor humour. I am not particularly anti Catholic, but if I were it would not make me sectarian, one does not have to be a practising Catholic to be Irish.

    You will find both sides of the sectarian divide on this site, and you will find others who like me, dont care which, if any, church you went or go to.

  • west belfast

    Fair enough Pippakin.

    Its a difficult time for church going catholics – both in what our church did (or didnt do) and to see it struggle to come to terms with its action.

    My main point is that I refuse to be lectured to by those who are finding it difficult not to gloat. At the end of this we are talking about the betrayal of wee children and that must never be lost.

    I know some will find it incredulous that I will still be going to mass tomorrow but my faith is a very important part of my life. I was brought up in a strict catholic family. I now have a family of my own and I have no hesitation on keeping that tradition going.

  • west belfast

    Not at all. Your faith is bigger and more important than the present, or any, holder of the titles.

    If that were not the case the entire church would have collapsed with the Borgias!

    Go with God and be sure he hears everyone, whoever they are and wherever they pray.

  • west belfast

    Thanks Pippakin – and you.

    Think Ive spent enough of this lovely saturday at a computer! The garden calleth!