October 09, 2014

Fintan O'Toole - Ireland's parallel monarchy

Fintan O’Toole wrote in ‘Enough is Enough: How to Build A New Republic’ (page 28) about Ireland's 'parallel monarchy’ of the Church:
"Having shrugged off one culture of deference to titled nobles, the new state embraced another. The elected representatives of the people always kneeled before a bishop and kissed his ring. The fact that the bishop was addressed as ‘My Lord’ and lived in a house that was always called a ‘palace’ did not seem to cause any great discomfort to Irish people who would have been enraged by any sugges- tion that Ireland should honour an aristocracy. Indeed, Mary Kenny has argued persuasively that the Church occupied the place where the monarchy had been: ‘even the ardent Republicans would find a vehicle for the pomp and ceremony that every society either derives from tradition or reinvents – the Holy Roman Catholic Church would soon fill the vacuum left by the departed pageantry of His Majesty.’7 She points out that the Eucharistic Congress of 1932, which was the Irish state’s first great public ceremonial, ‘followed in almost every detail the format used for royal visits and royal events in Ireland… Not coincidentally, words and phrases previously applied to the monarchy were at- tached to the papacy: “allegiance”, “loyalty”, and “kingship” (of Christ).’ The ‘parallel monarchy’ of the Church preserved all the habits of awe, obedience and humility that might have been thrown off in a genuinely democratic revolution."
In an article in the Irish Times, 'Why do we allow a foreign state to appoint the patrons of our primary schools?' Fintan O’Toole wrote:
"Why do we allow a foreign state to appoint the patrons of our primary schools? If some weird vestige of colonial times decreed that the British monarch would appoint the ultimate legal controllers of almost 3,200 primary schools in our so-called republic, we would be literally up in arms. Why should we tolerate the weird vestige of an equally colonial mentality that allows a monarch in Rome to do just that?"

And also said:
"Even if the bishops were not collectively and institutionally incapable of putting the welfare of children first, the idea that the primary school system of a 21st century democracy should be ultimately controlled by the appointees of a foreign dictatorship would be shameful."
Fintan O'Toole also wrote that, though it can't sack Irish teachers, the Catholic church has huge control over who is employed.

Michael Longley called schooling in Northern Ireland "a kind of apartheid operating."
Speaking with Mark Carruthers, the poet said:
"It was an important part of my education getting to know Catholics because when I went to school, the Catholic Church made sure that Catholics didn’t go to Inst. When I went to Trinity, McQuaid and the Irish bishops made sure that Catholics didn’t go to Trinity. You might call it a kind of apartheid operating, invisibly. I don’t know. I wasn’t aware of the fact until I came back to Belfast and Seamus Heaney and his wife to be, Marie Devlin, were the first Catholics who became close friends."
Oxford historian Roy Foster said that, "The Irish Free State was a notably clerical institution and became more so all the time."
Donald T. Torchiana said:
"The Ireland that rid herself of British despotism possessed a peasantry, as Swift had predicted, ready to inflict an even more despotic rule of a zealously Gaelic and catholic majority."
The Official Statement made by Irish Bishops to the New Ireland Forum in 1983 went like this:
"A Catholic country and its government where there is a very considerable Catholic ethos and consensus shouldn’t feel it necessary to apologise that its legal system may sometimes be represented as offensive to minorities, but the rights of a minority are not more sacred that the rights of a majority."
Joseph MacRory, Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh
and Primate of All Ireland, earlier said in 1932:
"The Protestant Church in Ireland – and the same is true of the Protestant Church anywhere – is not only not the rightful representative of the early Irish Church, but it is not even a part of the Church of Christ."
Of course, the plain, obvious and encompassing Roman Catholic veneer of Irish public life was that as proclaimed in the mamoth Eucharistic congress of 1932. We should also note that the 1937 constitution accorded special position to Catholic Church; then only removed in 1972.
Ivan Walker, a Protestant from Dunkineely, Donegal said:
"When I was a young fella, every way you turned you had to go the Catholic way and if you had a mixed marriage you had to say you would bring up the children as Roman Catholics and you had to put that in writing. How can you mix if the Roman Catholics won’t mix with you?"
In 1951 Taoiseach John A. Costello spoke about his "complete obedience and allegiance" to the Catholic Church. He said:
"I have no hesitation in saying that we, as a Government, representing a people, the overwhelming majority of whom are of the one faith, who have a special position in the Constitution, when we are given advice or warnings by the authoritative people in the Catholic Church, on matters strictly confined to faith and morals, so long as I am here—and I am sure I speak for my colleagues—will give to their directions, given within that scope—and I have no doubt that they do not desire in the slightest to go one fraction of an inch outside the sphere of faith and morals—our complete obedience and allegiance."
Éamon de Valera also said in 1951:
"I am an Irishman second: I am a Catholic first and I accept without qualification in all respects the teaching of the hierarchy and the church to which I belong."
Though, Enda Kenny said in 2013:
"I am proud to stand here as a public representative, as a Taoiseach who happens to be a Catholic, but not a Catholic Taoiseach."
But in 2014 the grip of the Catholic Church endures. Fintan O'Toole wrote that the Catholic Church controls 90% of primary schools in Ireland, of which and more than half of those (1,700 out of 3,200) are in areas where there is no alternative school. He continued: "Behind the nice words there is a threat: non-Catholic teachers should leave Catholic-controlled schools and try to find work in the tiny part of the system that is not church-managed. Despite the diversity-speak, the church maintains an iron grip on the system."

Of important note, before Ne Temere was enacted, 30% of Presbyterian ministers in Ireland had favoured Home Rule, after it only 4% did so.

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