16 June 2009

What is Patsy McGarry thinking?

Today's Rite and Reason article in the Irish Times, a regular Tuesday slot edited by that paper's Religious Affairs correspondent, Patsy McGarry, is quite jaw-dropping.

Rite and Reason, 16 June 2009

Some student who lives in Paris in an all-catholic hall of residence (anyone smell the signature aroma of the followers of Escrivá?) confidently tells us that Ireland and not the Catholic Church is responsible for the litany of abuse described in the Ryan Report . His basis for this view is that his breakfast companion at said hall of residence told him that 'I heard about Ireland on the news' referring to the publication of the report (presumably as opposed to 'I heard about the Catholic Church on the news").

This we are apparently to regard as proof that the French see the whole foul business as a peculiarly Irish rather than a Catholic problem.

Such incisive analysis is immediately succeeded by the sort of self-pitying craw thumping we have become used to from conservative catholic circles, which in turn is followed with a short recruitment advertisement for the priesthood ("In this climate, one wonders could God be calling some out there to serve in an experience of the church that has utterly failed to live the Gospel? Yes, God is calling and now more than ever we need young men to say 'Yes'" etc. etc.). I wonder if the repeated "Yes" is a reference to Bloomsday, the day on which day this excuse for a newspaper article was published. If so, then there we have the piece's only merit.

Eventually the writer reaches a conclusion. His formula for a better catholic church in the light of Ryan:
A simple return to Holiness
And his fervent hope:
we will have the courage to change
Are we to imagine that this the best that the collected imaginations of conservative Irish catholicism can come up with to respond to the report (I'm intentionally avoiding adjectives like "shocking" and nouns like "enormity" in relation to said report)? There is not a word about how a simple return to holiness is going to be of help to victims of abuse. Nor is there anything on what "we" need to have the courage to change into.

How in the name of all that's rational, reasonable, responsible and compassionate was this pap accepted for publication in the pages of the Irish national paper of record? It would (or, at least, should) have difficulty being printed in the Irish Catholic. After all, it's in the same category of unimaginative flailing about as the Mass Father Ted and his pals said when Dougal was trapped on a milkfloat with a bomb under it.

Patsy is a man who has done been good to me in his time and, more importantly, is an honourable and responsible journalist who has done more than most to help the victims of the abuse that Ryan reports on. But there's a series of related questions I'd like to ask him (apart from "What the hell were your thinking?"):

Would it be right for columns like Rite and Reason to retain their current format, style and content unaltered in the aftermath of Ryan? Was the publication of this article good for the column in the light of its revelations? Was it good for the Irish Times? Was it good for healthy, open discussion of religious matters in Ireland?

Lastly, was it good for the victims and for the healing of wounds among the innocent?


Puck Murph said...


Victims of clerical abuse not only have you been the

victims of ignomy and degredation at the hands of

homosexual clergy but now you are the unwitting

pawns in a sinister and dangerous game being played

out by a group of secularists and heretical priests

whose only interest is the destruction of the Holy

Mother Church.

The public clamour (and rightly so) which followed

the Ryan Report has only made them more determined

in their misguided attempts to seek sympathy for their


I would appeal to all who have suffered abuse to think

again about the consequences of the continued seeking

of reparation far exceeding that of letting go and

forgiving the perpetrators of the great sins committed.

What is needed now as a radical means of reform in

the Church is not a bitter and blinkered way forward

which is recommended by
those who seek its destruction but the way of fervent

prayer, charity, forgiveness and obedience to the

Magisterium of the Church.

Finally I would urge all who have been victims of

abuse to reject these insignifcant and worldy awards

from the Humbert summer school and to offer your

pain up for the victims of the most abominable abuse,

the unborn (torn apart in the womb, aborted partially

born, and the greatest sin of all for them to be denied

last rites or the salvation of baptism.) Yours faithfully

John Murphy (myself a victim of a homosexual assault

in 1968)

God bless you all.

Puck Murph said...

Oh! Patsy please try and tone down your vicious attacks on the Catholic Church. I don't think you're the one God has in mind for whatever reforms are needed at this time. Try throwing your shoes under the bed tonight and see the result in the morning. Oh! and while you're down there pray hard for the priests involved in the clerical abuse and also that you may glimpse the truth. .