According to reports today in the Irish edition of the British newspaper The Sunday Times, Ireland’s Catholic Bishops might have finally awoken to the fact that their government neither respects nor likes them. In fact, the government might well want them all in prison.
The article states that the bishops have accused Social Democrats founder and self avowed ‘male feminist’ Stephen Donnelly of ‘clandestinely’ inserting a vicious clause to the statutes which made it a criminal offence to attend religious services that were not arbitrarily approved by the government.
Why clandestine? Firstly, no noticeable announcement was made regarding this assertion. It was signed on Monday, put into the statutes on Tuesday. This was so that the State could go into court on Wednesday against Declan Ganley claiming that it had not been lying weeks earlier when it said that attendance at Mass was a criminal offence, even though it was not at the time that they made the claim. On Thursday, Taoiseach Micheal Martin held a meeting with the bishops and refused to inform them of this fact. It was not spotted until Friday, when a Trinity College Law Professor posted it on Twitter.
Irate at this clearly deliberate snub and humiliation, not just to them but to every Catholic in Ireland, the bishops are quoted in the article as saying, ‘We will seek an immediate meeting with Minister Donnelly and we request the suspension of this harsh and unclear statutory instrument’.
Donnelly, the Minister for Health, is one of the founding members of the Social Democrats, whom he left to join Fianna Fail.
The interactions between the Social Democrats and Catholicism are well known. They have engaged in many Twitter spats with Catholic Arena and with other people of faith. One Social Democrats TD said that she would abort a child for every minute devoted to the papal enclave. She also boasted of cyber bullying the pope online. Although these were prior to her election, she did recently ask in December why Mass was an exception when it was kept opened for a time. Another Social Democrat has threatened to make the Sacrament of Confession illegal. Another TD was involved in a campaign to undermine the pope’s visit in 2018. Another elected former member was filmed intimidating Catholics who were praying in public outside just 3 weeks ago.
Say what you want about his responsibility for actions that he is not involved in, but this is the party that Stephen Donnelly founded. That is a mere fact.
As for Fianna Fail, there are many Catholics who still retain some loyalty this party. The party is gone, there is no hope for them. They are just a vehicle for those impatient with left wing parties that do not yet have potential to get into government.
The bishops meanwhile have taken a year to accept that the government does not have any respect for their faith and it is up to them to prove that they really love Our Lord, the Mass and their people, because they’re not getting them back without a struggle.