Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Expect further growth in the Church of Ireland

Melancholicus is sure that their Graces Harper and Neill (Church of Ireland archbishops of Armagh and Dublin respectively) are not given to schadenfreude, nor are they—however privately—enjoying the current discomfiture of their Roman Catholic opposite numbers in the wake of the horrors revealed by the Murphy Report. Both worthy prelates are undoubtedly saddened and ashamed that so many persons in sacred orders, consecrated to the service of the Lord, have stooped to such incomprehensible wickedness and that their overseers in the faith have conspired to keep such wickedness hidden from the light, with the result that its perpetrators remained at large to prey upon the innocent again and again and again.

The evil of sexual abuse is as old as humanity itself. As reprehensible as such evil is, what exercises the dismayed, disgusted and betrayed faithful most of all is not the abuse itself, but the conspiracy of silence wherein our fathers in God sought to conceal and enable it.

Melancholicus guesses that defections to the Church of Ireland—already at a level high enough to have attracted the attention of the secular press—will increase still further in this season, the Catholic hierarchy having nothing to offer their demoralized flock but politically-calculated apologies and a never-ending stream of horrendous revelations.

One might almost conclude the bishops think themselves the victims in the midst of this horror!

One wonders how Anita Henderson, wife of the Anglican bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, whose 2007 conversion to the Roman faith was treated as a cause célèbre by the media, is taking these ongoing storms. She must feel that she has been shat upon by our shepherds, and in that she would not be wrong.

This disillusioned report comes from Ireland online. Melancholicus has added a few half-hearted comments in red.

Mass-goers in the heart of the Dublin Archdiocese today claimed that the devastating clerical abuse scandals were wiping out trust in the Catholic Church [unsurprising. The hierarchy seems to have learned nothing since the first spate of scandals in the early 1990s].

As the daily afternoon service began at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral – the capital’s main parish – many people said the shocking revelations were turning away a once deeply devout nation.

Vincent McGuinness, 60, from Whitehall, said the hierarchy had been deliberately covering up the truth [this, sadly, is nothing less than the truth].

“Money won’t compensate them (the victims). What do you give someone who has been raped?” he asked.

“They’re hiding an awful lot.

“Where did they send the priests? Off to America, get them off-side.

“They’re not all bad. But... they’ve left a stain now that will never be lifted.” [Another incontrovertible truth. There are so many good priests, and a great many more mediocre ones, who are not guilty of these crimes. But the stain caused by the inaction of the bishops will not easily be erased]

Mr McGuinness said his own grown-up children refused to go to Mass because they did not trust priests [it is easy not to trust priests; Melancholicus does not trust too many of them himself. But there are probably a good many other reasons why Mr. McGuinness’ children do not practice the Catholic religion in which they were reared. At the same time as our fathers in God were enabling the deviants in their parishes, they themselves were busy destroying the faith of their flocks by implementing the conciliar revolution and then refusing to take action when it inevitably ran out of control].

“Half of this is not going to come out. What they’re doing is they’re actually censoring the damn thing before we see it,” he said [one wonders how much more there is to come... and how much more will never see the light].

A website – – has been set up for disaffected Catholics who have left the church.

To date 3,365 people have completed a Declaration of Defection [As of this writing, the number has risen to 4,204].

The 19th century cathedral [actually it’s a church, not a cathedral, but we won’t get too pedantic just now], in the heart of the city, was around half full for the service, mostly with elderly women [ah, the conciliar church at prayer! This picture is hardly different from Melancholicus’ memories of youth in the early 1980s. Mind you, half-full is quite impressive, bearing in mind that if this were on a weekday, the 12:45 Mass is unlikely to be full of younger persons since these would likely be engaged in employment].

Many declined to comment, waving off questions before shuffling [?] into the large chapel [we’ve gone from a cathedral to a chapel now].

But some of those at St Mary’s claimed not to be surprised by the scale of the abuse.

Margaret Gavin, from the north inner city, said she knew many people who attended Church-run schools and saw the effect that years of physical abuse had on them.

“Yeah, it was shocking. I don’t really trust them (priests) as much now,” she said.

“In other years we were pushed to go to church, but if my children want to go to church now it’s up to them really.”

The shocking report is the third devastating scandal to rock the Catholic Church in the last four years.

Mark O’Brien, 38, now living in London but born in Dublin, was waiting on the front steps of the church to speak with a priest about a recent death in the family.

He said people were being turned away from the Church because they were not supporting their communities [they’re also overworked, and have to waste a good deal of time on bullshit busywork dreamed up by the conciliar revolutionaries—workshops and that sort of nonsense—in the frenetic and ceaseless quest for ‘renewal’. Also, a lot of priests don’t go visiting any more owing to the hostility and intimidation they often encounter when they knock on people’s doors].

“You looked up to priests for most of your life,” Mr O’Brien said.

“It’s disgusting. It’s just a disaster when you think about it.”

Annette O’Brien, from north Dublin, said only the elderly in her neighbourhood went to Mass regularly [this is true everywhere, but once again the reasons for this are deeper and more far-reaching than the disgust over clerical turpitude].

“They’ve walked away scot-free from this, the majority of them,” she said.

“I only know two priests that have done time for it, and one of them died in prison. They should be treated like everyone else if they’ve done the crime.” [it should be added that a good deal more than two priests were jailed for this crime, but it is also true that many did indeed get away scot-free; their names may be mentioned in the Ryan/Murphy Report, etc., but as they are now deceased, no action can be taken] may be visited here. It makes illuminating if depressing reading. There are of course reasons other than sexual abuse why persons should wish to leave the Church; some of these will be apparent to anyone who takes the trouble to peruse their FAQs page. But the bishops have only themselves to blame that such a website exists.

Merely lapsing from the faith makes the return easy; a good confession and a firm purpose of amendment is all it takes to get back on an even keel again. But formal defection from the Church is quite another matter. Of course returning to the Church after formal defection is not difficult, but as defection is covered by canon law, the repentant defector may encounter certain difficulties as a result of having defected; he may not be permitted to receive sacred orders without a dispensation, for instance. As defection is a formal act, the defector must formally return to the Church before he may again receive the sacraments. While in the state of defection, such a one may be denied ecclesiastical burial, or encounter problems if he wishes to marry in church. At the same time, it is hard to imagine that any such defector would be interested in marrying in church or receiving a Catholic funeral anyway.

Expect the number of defections to rise in the coming weeks. Also expect at least some of the outgoing traffic to find its way into the Church of Ireland.

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