Remonstrating with Rome
There is good precedent for remonstrating with the Pope. The precedent goes back to “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:23) and to St Paul (Galatians 2:11 – Paul uses Peter’s Hebrew language name Cephas). It’s only right that we should follow these examples.
Speaking the truth with love is commended by Lumen Gentium 37: Let it always be done in truth, in courage and in prudence, with reverence and charity toward those who by reason of their sacred office represent the person of Christ. This is confirmed in the Code of Canon Law, 212, #2.
Our Taoiseach is not the trailblazer from Ireland. In the Irish Remonstrance of 1317, Domhnall Ó Néill, writing for the Irish leaders, took issue with Pope John XXII at the injustices perpetrated by the English crown on the people and church in Ireland, which they said went far beyond any authority given by Pope Adrian IV (Nicholas Breakspear) in the Bull Laudabiliter. This protest was not to the Vatican, but to Pope John living in Avignon. Before Avignon, popes lived at the Lateran in Rome; only some time after the return from
Avignon did they move to the Vatican.
Just 344 years later, the Irish Remonstrance of 1661, promoted by a pro-crown Franciscan priest, Peter Walsh, protested that Pope Alexander VII did not have authority to interfere in the governance of Ireland. If Enda Kenny had spoken in 2005, we would have had another jump of 344 years. However, he would need something to distract the nation from the problem of election promises about Roscommon hospital. While the Taoiseach reflected a deep frustration of many with the Vatican, it’s a pity that he chose the wrong grounds for his complaint, and that it has been acted out in the closure of the Embassy in Rome.
President Michael D Higgins spoke at his inauguration about working for a “Real Republic”. Remonstrating with Rome is just as necessary as Rome remonstrating with the church around the world, as we learn to become the Real Church, a Real People of God where every member of the Body of Christ is valued.