Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Farewell to a shitten shepherd

fee, fie, foe, fum!Meet Willie Walsh, the smiling, welcoming, thoughtful, paternal and ever-so-inclusive bishop of Killaloe.

He is your friend—unless, of course, you happen to be an orthodox Catholic (or, for that matter, one of his priests). But if you’re a just an ordinary “I’m ok, you’re ok” kind of Joe, with no fixed opinions about anything and a relaxed laissez faire attitude to Church doctrine, he’ll like you. If you’re an ethnic or sexual minority, he’ll positively gush over you. Just as long as you’re not one of those rigid, hidebound types that like services in Latin and think that good clean gay love is an evil thing, you should get along with him just fine.

It is less than a month since Melancholicus announced an end to blogging on Infelix Ego, but whenever a member of the Irish hierarchy opens his mouth in order to spew forth drivel, nonsense and general heretical ordure, the occasion just cries out for comment.

Mercifully, this barley-water prelate turns 75 in January and will tender his resignation to the Holy See. Doubtless his resignation will be accepted at once, since bishop Walsh has so far shown himself to be rather less than indispensable as a pastor of souls. By his retirement, bishop Walsh will have been steward of the diocese of Killaloe for fifteen years. Fifteen very long years. Let us take stock of his tenure and examine how he has arrested the decline in the fortunes of his diocese, how he has encouraged vocations, how he has revitalized catechetics in the schools, how he has restored the sacred liturgy, how he has injected a renewed vigour to the Catholic religion by expelling the secular ideological cockle that had been sown therein by enemies of the faith, and how he has reversed the stagnation and apathy brought on by three decades of gross mismanagement at the hands of the conciliar church.

Oh, wait.

He did none of those things, did he?

Bishop Walsh is the very type of the conciliar prelate. His words reveal him as that lamentable sort who yearns to turn the holy Catholic Church—of which he is a bishop—into a carbon copy of the Episcopal Church, replete with clerical divorce, lesbian priestesses, theological lassitude, blessing of same-sex unions, and a focus on the temporal which excludes any consideration of the hereafter—in other words, a sort of pseudo-religious social club in which the spirit of contemporary political correctness can flourish, where preaching the Truth is replaced by a convivial consensus-finding chat over tea and biscuits and in which nothing really matters at all so long as no-one ever says anything that might be construed as offensive.

Will the good bishop leave the diocese of Killaloe in better shape than he found it? That may be doubted. There were no “priestless parishes” in Killaloe when he took office in 1995. By 2004, there were five such parishes. God knows how many there are today, but Melancholicus would be surprised indeed if there were fewer than that. There are actually sufficient priests, between secular and religious, to staff the Killaloe diocese adequately, but bishop Walsh does not want the trouble of them. Priests, you see, get in the way of “lay ministry”, which is the current fad of the hour; apparently, the laity are unable to realize their “true vocation” or their “potential” with all those priests about. Sunday Mass: who needs it? Much better to have Sister Julia from the local Mercy convent or Mrs. Moriarty from down the road kit themselves out in quasi-sacerdotal attire and concelebrate a priestless communion service in lieu of the Holy Sacrifice—at least this sort of thing is what the empurpled princes of the conciliar church are anxious to promote.

What of vocations? Here Melancholicus cannot speak with authority since despite extensive trawling he has been unable to locate any statistical source on the number or quality of students for the Killaloe diocese in 1995 vis-à-vis 2009, but given that episcopal orthodoxy equals plentiful vocations whereas episcopal heterodoxy equals few or no vocations (which state has been observed so often as to require neither proof nor demonstration), he would be surprised in the extreme to discover that Killaloe is not one of the most consistently under-performing dioceses in the whole of Ireland. If any of his Irish readers is able to furnish him with the relevant facts and figures, by all means please comment!

What of the liturgy? Melancholicus is perhaps fortunate at never having attended a Mass celebrated within the borders of bishop Walsh’s diocese, save for a single offering of the Traditional Latin rite at Kilbaha in 2001. But the fact that, in a recent interview with the Irish Independent, the good bishop dismissed the entire liturgical heritage of the Church before 1969 with the remark that he had ever received “only one request” for the liturgy in Latin (whether traditional or novel was not specified) surely suggests he is unconcerned with theological precision, with beauty in worship, and with the shockingly irreverent manner in which the vernacular liturgy is so often handled; and that, Summorum Pontificum notwithstanding, he just can’t bother his arse.

Finally, has he brought an end to the apathy, the stagnation and the decline that has bedevilled Catholic dioceses generally since the revolution of the ’sixties? Has he taken pains to shake off the aura of the high-powered company director which has unaccountably attached itself to the modern episcopate, and begun to adopt the attitude of a genuine pastor of souls? Alas, not a bit of it. This scandalous newsletter, in which the new executive style is talked up in management-speak replete with countless buzzwords, says all that needs to be said on this score. All the clichéd bromides are there; all the tired formulae of yesterday, rehearsed as though this were something new and exciting. Melancholicus is already bored, so he shall not attempt to make a list. Souls eager for spiritual torment can follow the link if they have a mind to.

But don’t take my word for it, gentle reader; let Google assemble a litany of the fellow’s crimes and posturings and show us—via the Indo alone!—how far astray this successor of the Apostles has actually gone. True, there is wheat mixed in with the chaff. But the discerning reader will surely agree that there is an awful lot of chaff.

It is hardly necessary to add that, so far, none of his brother bishops have taken the trouble—publicly, at least—to encourage the faithful by explaining how their colleague’s secular liberal wish-list is at odds not only with the Tradition of the Church, but with the integrity of the faith itself. There is not a peep of a correction to be found on the website of the Irish Bishops’ Conference. Suppose that bishop Walsh had uttered something egregious from the liberal point of view; suppose that—mirabile dictu—he were to denounce homosexuals as “notorious sinners” and to describe their bedroom antics as “grotesque”. Need we rehearse what would happen then? His brother bishops would be falling over themselves in their haste to distance themselves from his remarks and to smother them with the face of welcoming, inclusive tolerance that the conciliar church considers the supreme virtue. Not hard to be politically correct, is it? Much harder to be a Christian. There is still time for one or more of the Irish bishops to practice a little discreet fraternal correction. But Melancholicus won’t be holding his breath.

The patron of the Killaloe diocese is St. Flannán, who (I am confident) would not see eye-to-eye with his Wishy-Washy successor on multiple matters. That being so, it behooves us (and especially the unfortunate Catholics of that wretched diocese) to pray fervently that when Wishy Washy’s vacant seat is filled again, the new incumbent will be an appointment worthy of such high office, that he will, and that he will not sow confusion and indifference among the flock or court the admiration of the media like his predecessor. The first task of the new bishop will be to begin repairing the damage wrought by this shitten shepherd.

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