07May Catholic Ethos and other Mysteries

 

Gabriel Daly OSA

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There is much talk today about the Catholic ethos of a hospital or school.  What is it, and how can it be recognised?  ‘Ethos’ is a slippery word at the best of times; but I want to suggest that ‘Catholic’ is even slippier, if it is used carelessly or in a spirit of partisanship.  Reform-minded Catholics are very different from traditionalists – which makes coexistence an uncomfortable problem.  All of this makes it difficult to understand what ‘Catholic ethos’ might mean.

In 1958 the philosopher Michael Polanyi introduced the term ‘tacit knowledge’ into the philosophy of knowledge.  Tacit knowledge is the silent dimension of all that a person knows, and it is usually contrasted with explicit knowledge.  An apprentice learns from his or her mentor by observation, close interaction, trust and a shared understanding as well as by verbal or written instruction.  If you wanted to describe the ‘ethos’ of a school, it is by tacit knowledge rather than by exam results or formal religious practices that you would proceed.  By analogy you might judge a hospital in a similar way; or, unfortunately, you might call a hospital ‘Catholic’ if it banned certain surgical procedures like tubal ligation, and other procedures to do with reproduction.

The last few days have been critically important for women, the Irish State, the medical profession and the Catholic Church.  I will concentrate here on the church, for which it has been a testing and uncomfortable time and an opportunity to behave as adult Christians aware that the Second Vatican Council has altered the parameters under which previous disputes of this kind had been fought.  Here was an opportunity to step away from triumphalist pronouncements and instead to learn humbly how to listen to others before pronouncing the church’s position on reproductive matters. Modern medicine is highly specialised and difficult to understand by those still moralising under the old essentialist moral categories which were thought to be unchanging and were treated as such.  Today we may find that there is a legitimate diversity of views, and thus no univocal doctrinal pronouncement is possible.

In the present crisis the bishops, together with the Sisters of Charity, had little to say on what was happening. Most of them may understandably have felt that the least said the soonest mended. There was, however, a surprisingly belligerent atmosphere among the people interviewed by the media.  The prevailing opinion among those interviewed was that under no circumstances should the new hospital be handed over to a religious body like the Sisters of Charity, because of its alleged failures in the past. Those with more considered reasons feared that there might be interference with medical decisions on religious grounds.  This was a fair point, usually made by professionals like Dr. Peter Boylan, who had the grace to argue temperately and convincingly.  I find myself convinced by his wise and persuasive arguments.

There was some hope that the church might try to pour oil on troubled waters instead of taking sides in an increasingly bitter conflict.  This hope was dashed by the entry of the Bishop of Elphin into the affair.  His words conjured up the age when the Catholic Church ruled with confident doctrinal and moral sovereignty and laid down the law in the full expectation of being obeyed without question.  He said: “A healthcare organisation bearing the name Catholic, while offering care to all who need it, has a special responsibility… to Catholic teachings about the value of human life and the dignity and the ultimate destiny of the human person”.  It was just the sort of remark to confirm the worst fears of those warning about the dangers of religious (especially Roman Catholic) ownership of hospitals.  Unlike other occasions, no bishop came forward to dispute Bishop Doran’s opinion publically.

It is probably too late now to undo the damage done by Bishop Doran’s careless intervention in a delicate national situation, but it may prompt us to reflect on the harm done by an unchecked traditionalism that ignores recent developments in theology and scientific thought.  Kevin Doran has every right to his opinions.  He has no right to identify those opinions with “the teaching of the church” in a pre-Vatican II sense.  The day has gone when the magisterium can teach, in an all-knowing manner, peasants on a large variety of topics.  There is a progressive element in modern theology which sees the need for reform of the pre-Vatican II doctrinaire approach to church teaching. Pope Francis’ example is showing that we are slowly recognising that there are ways of instructing the faithful in Christian morality better than a relentless and heavy-handed creation of laws and the heartless prescriptions for their infringement.

Before the Second Vatican Council, with its extensive reform in attitudes as well as doctrines, Bishop Doran could indeed have spoken of sex and reproduction, but one hoped that he would do so in the knowledge that Scholastic essentialism is no longer the only measure of moral thinking, and that the development of science since the Enlightenment has inevitably changed modern moral perspectives.  Catholic teachers can no longer live and think in the pre-conciliar past; they have to listen to experts in the field of sex and especially reproduction.  Consciences can be formed by influences that did not exist in former ages when essences were the main instruments of Catholic behaviour.

No topic calls for historical awareness more than the ownership of the new Maternity Hospital.  The historical circumstances of why hospitals, like schools, were run by religious congregations were simply because in the 19th century, for political and religious reasons, an urgent social need was not being met by the State.  Religious congregations, including the Sisters of Charity, filled this serious gap.  They were rightly welcomed and praised for the work that they were doing – a point that needs some emphasis today when they are being execrated in such hostile and sometimes vitriolic terms.   Irish ex-Catholic atheists sometimes seem to be as uncritical in their religious unbelief as their forebears were in their religious beliefs.

The trouble was that Catholic theology in former times gave undue emphasis to matters of authority and control, and it displayed a near total lack of ecumenical thinking or concern.  When you were so sure that you were the one true church, you had no need to listen to other churches.  Your only source of moral or theological certainty was your own magisterium, and it was in the hands of Curial traditionalists.  This was the situation that obtained until the work of Vatican II introduced a new attitude to many issues of Catholic theology and life. It is all too clear that not every Catholic took the council with the seriousness it deserved.  Vatican II had enemies from the start, and today they are less fearful of openly opposing papal teaching than would have been tolerable in former times. We now have a situation where condemnation of contraception is presented as official church teaching, while a large number of Catholic laity and clergy are in open disagreement with the teaching of Humanae Vitae.

A broad division of church attitudes to reform has arisen since Vatican II. At the council they were described in the media as ‘conservatives’ and ‘progressives’.  Today they have become ‘traditionalists’ and ‘reformers’.      Compromise between the two is logically impossible.  They are mutually contradictory.  Traditionalists are concerned about law, control, discipline and punishment.  Infringements against marital law, for example, are punished by canon law by forbidding the offenders to receive Holy Communion.   The Gospel is ignored and there is no mention of mercy or forgiveness as a grace.  ‘Reformers’, on the other hand, following Pope Francis, prefer to dwell on God’s mercy.  This distinction is vitally important for attitudes towards the question of ownership and ethos of hospitals and schools.

Who or what still gives the institutional church the authority to speak from a privileged eminence on sex and reproduction?  Not Christian revelation, to be sure.  Revelation has little to say about sex; and nothing at all about reproduction.  It is time for Catholics to think theologically about these matters rather than allowing traditionalists away with imposing their own narrow and authoritarian views in the name of church teaching.  In some parts of the world there are bishops who continue to regard Paul VI’s encyclical, Humanae Vitae, as still binding, and they proclaim it as such at every suitable occasion.  Officially they are, of course, correct in doing this: it is theoretically official church teaching; but it calls for a sharp reminder that this was not how Jesus taught.  Unofficially, they are ignoring the plain fact that Paul VI’s teaching on birth control has not been received by the great body of the Catholic faithful. Rome has no way of dealing with this kind of opposition, so it ignores it.  The result is that a deliberately dishonest tactic is being used to promote adherence to one party in the church.

Paul’s predecessor, John XXIII, had set up a Pontifical Commission on Birth Control, and Paul expanded it.  The Commission reported in favour of change.  Paul did not accept the Commission’s advice and issued the encyclical Humanae Vitae, which proved to be probably the most controversial papal document in modern times.  Cardinal Suenens, the celebrated Belgian archbishop and scholar, spoke of the need to “avoid another Galileo affair. One is enough.”   Paul did not agree.

It was a victory that the traditionalists in the church have exploited ever since, while reformers have sighed over the damage done to the church by this failure to see the need for reform.  Not merely did Humanae Vitae alienate the vast majority of Catholics; it enabled anti-reform traditionalists to claim that it remains church teaching in spite of the sweeping opposition to it.  In the USA it enables traditionalist bishops to protest against any government decree that, for example, prescribes condoms. It is often illogically associated with abortion, which of course would increase its culpability.  I believe that Humanae Vitae lies at the heart of the trouble that is going on in the case of the new maternity hospital in Dublin.  I am aware that this may seem an extravagant claim, but it needs to be considered by those who are involved in today’s hospital crisis.  It may help if we remember a case in the late 1940s.

One thinks with acute distaste about what happened when Dr. Noël Browne as Minister for Health in the Clann na Poblachta party tried to have his Mother and Child Scheme accepted by the Dáil.  Browne was admittedly a difficult man; but history has correctly commended him for his courage in promoting his scheme against widespread opposition.   The Scheme was progressive socialism of the kind that Britain had undertaken after the war by the creation of a comprehensive health service; but in Ireland it was opposed, perhaps understandably, by the medical profession and, unforgivably, by the Catholic Church.

I remember returning to Ireland after five year’s study in Rome to find a political crisis that made no sense to me. Even as an unreformed scholastic conservative, as I still was, I could see no reason for church opposition to what seemed to me to be a model example of social practise which was so clearly just.  I remember it now as the first time I had contentious feelings about what the institutional church was doing, and I was shocked when the Taoiseach virtually handed over political power to the church.   It was the moment when the Irish Catholic Church reached the zenith of its influence and power in Irish social, cultural and political life, and it continued until the meeting of the Second Vatican Council.

It is hard to believe that the Irish bishops, led by John Charles McQuaid, were acting for evangelical reasons by claiming that Browne’s scheme threatened the bishops’ control over teaching about sex and reproduction.  It was so clearly a bid for power that we are left wondering when we will grow up and take our place in the modern world?

During the debate over the new hospital, the phrase “the Catholic Church” was used in a way that suggested that it is a monolithic body made up of people who all think in the same way.  The plain fact is that there are two very different parties whose values seriously conflict in their view of their church. One group claims that the church is charged with legislating for the whole body and is greatly concerned with how these rules are carried out, with suitable punishments for those who offend.  The other, following the example of the present pope, Francis, prefers to emphasise mercy, understanding and forgiveness. It believes in the need for constant reform.  These two views stem from two very different attitudes to God, Jesus, the church and the world.

When we speak of the relationship between church and state, we are not speaking about abstractions.  Whatever about the state, it matters which party in the church is conducting the matter in dispute.  The fear of interference by the church is a live possibility in a maternal hospital – a point that takes us back to Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae and is closely relevant to the present dispute.

 

58 Responses

  1. Gerard Moloney

    Wonderful insight as usual by Gabriel.

  2. Wilfrid Harrington, OP

    Vintage Gabriel Daly — and that is an accolade!

  3. Paddy Ferry

    What an excellent piece. We are still fortunate to have scholars-priests of the calibre of Fr.Gabriel.I have been following this whole saga in the Irish media and it seemed to me it would have made complete sense for the Sisters of Charity to donate the site to the nation. In the process they would have gained our respect and gratitude.
    Perhaps I am being completely naïve.

  4. Kevin Walters

    Paddy Ferry@3
    Taken from the above article

    “A healthcare organisation bearing the name Catholic, while offering care to all who need it, has a special responsibility… to Catholic teachings about the value of human life and the dignity and the ultimate destiny of the human person”. It was just the sort of remark to confirm the worst fears of those warning about the dangers of religious (especially Roman Catholic) ownership of hospitals”———————————–

    Paddy I know nothing about the ongoing saga in the Irish media but perhaps we are been a bit naïve in regards to the Catholic Ethos been dismissed so lightly as can be seen in that the Vatican is investigating the decision of a group of psychiatric care centres run by a Catholic religious order in Belgium to permit doctors to perform euthanasia of “nonterminal” mentally ill patients on its premises, see links

    https://www.ncronline.org/news/world/belgian-brothers-allow-euthanasia-nonterminal-psych-patients
    https://www.ncronline.org/news/world/vatican-launches-belgium-euthanasia-investigation

    From the rejection of the gift of life (Humanae Vitae)
    A downward spiral to euthanasia (culture of death)
    Staff now needed to facilitate the suffering of others
    Christians preferred we want them to join the herd.
    Good salary with special bonus for efficiency
    The undertakers think our work is wham no more queue or jam,
    Quick turn around and your bonus will be found.
    Comprehensive benefits for your whole family
    No need for Medicare as we take every care
    Contraception including the snip if you wish,
    Tubal ligation without hesitation
    Abortion on demand any term you discern
    An abnormality at birth what is their life worth?
    Common sense is our defence the wisdom of man is where I am
    Car accident, we will ease the pain, his life will never be the same again
    Delusional, we will need your approval
    Parents needing long term care, don’t despair we will give them gentle care
    “Pension plan”?
    No need comfort and ease your life will be a breeze
    When it is your turn to go we will let you know.
    Fear and Greed this road will lead
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  5. Sean O'Conaill

    Excellent and in need of keeping to re-read!

    I worry, though, about the labelling dichotomy of ‘traditionalists’ and ‘reformers’. That seems to deprive ‘reformers’ of a claim to ‘tradition’when a key purpose of reform is to seek to restore contact with earlier traditions of Catholicism that were not legalistic and imperialistic.

    Could not a more accurate title than ‘traditionalism’ be found for a reactionary clinging to the rigidities of the 1800s? Might ‘dix-neufism’ do it?

  6. Padraig McCarthy

    I know nothing about the running of a hospital, nor about the complexities of getting two hospitals working in close cooperation. I do know that when I was in that parish (Westland Row) in the 1970s, and we used to be called at any time of day or night to a child whose life was in danger, even then there was talk of the difficulties of the present premises of the National Maternity Hospital.

    I do not understand why the decision was made to give ownership of the new Maternity Hospital to the St Vincent’s Hospital Group, even when the land belongs to them. Perhaps there are practicalities of ensuring smooth administration of the conjoined hospitals, or perhaps, as some suggest, there are some financial considerations which make it necessary.

    In the present dispute, both the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) and the St Vincent’s Hospital Group (SVHG) have given categorical assurances that the new maternity hospital will be clinically independent to perform any procedure which is permitted in law. I do not know whether that has been copper-fastened in law at this stage. It seems clear, however, that if that independence were not respected in any way, there would then be strong grounds for serious action against SVHG.

    In the light of that, it seems to me that the fears of Dr Peter Boylan and others are unfounded. Gabriel finds himself “convinced by his wise and persuasive arguments.” I find myself nowhere near convinced. Dr Boylan seems to speak more from his fears than from clear argument. He clearly cannot bring himself to trust the judgment of the rest of the board of the NMH. I cannot say at this stage whether his fears will turn out to be justified; if that proves to be the case, there will be an almighty row. Gabriel says that “interference by the church is a live possibility in a maternal hospital.” Is it “interference” when the Sisters are faithful to their medical ethics in such matters, but not interference when those same ethics led them and other congregations to fill “this serious gap”, as Gabriel describes it?

    The fears of Dr Boylan and others seem to arise from strong resentment against the Sisters of Charity, as Gabriel says, pointing to how the sisters are being “execrated in such hostile and sometimes vitriolic terms.” I suspect that this is heightened by the proximity of the debate on abortion. As reported in the media, it seems at times almost a frenzy. A petition with 100,000 signatures against ownership of the new NMH by SVHG sound impressive. The population stood at 4,761,865 in April 2016, so that petition represents 2.1% of the population, but they are well organised. If someone versed in these matters were to initiate a petition in support of the present proposals, I wonder could it surpass it?

    There is something seriously contradictory if we are about to invest 1 billion Euro in a new Children’s Hospital, and at the same time to invest €300 million in a hospital which will include in its programme of “services” the termination of the lives of unborn children. There are better ways. The recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly lack rationality and leave serious questions. No person has an abortion just for the sake of having an abortion: there are always other reasons. If those reasons are non-medical, for example “socio-economic”, as is the case in a large majority of abortions elsewhere, then those same reasons need to be addressed, rather than apply a medical “solution” to a non-medical problem. If the reasons are medical, then it is quite clear that the mother may always receive whatever treatment is necessary to save her, even if, sadly, it is not possible to save the child.

    There is an internal anomaly in Gabriel’s essay. He writes of “traditionalists”, with whom “the Gospel is ignored and there is no mention of mercy or forgiveness as a grace.” And yet he writes in relation to the Mother and Child Scheme that it was “opposed, perhaps understandably, by the medical profession, and unforgivably by the Catholic Church.” The church has indeed many failings; but why should any of these be unforgivable?

  7. Joe O'Leary

    I read that 5% of marriages celebrated in our country last year were same-sex — which surely suggests that many peoples lives were ruined by conservative Catholic control over the centuries. Given the terrible stories we have heard about the treatment of women in Irish Catholic hospitals and our hypocritical history of incarcerating or exporting women in difficult situations I can begin to understand the fears expressed by Gabriel Daly and many others, especially the women who may once again end up paying with their bodies and minds the price exacted by the purity of unbroken orthodoxy.

  8. Padraig McCarthy

    Good balanced statement from ACP about National Maternity Hospital (under its own title on the home page).

    But one reservation: “The Association of Catholic Priests fully accepts the principle that a National Maternity Hospital must be in full compliance with the laws of the land.”

    As good citizens, we must be aware that “the laws of the land” may not always embody justice, in our land and elsewhere. Laws of the land may enforce oppression. In Ireland from 1558 to 1759, there were 61 Statutes for the Suppression of Popery. Think of laws of various States controlling immigration, punishment for crime including death penalty, protection of the environment, etc. As citizens we have a responsibility for the laws of the land. There are many examples both today and in the past.

    If laws are effectively unjust, as good citizens we have a responsibility to decide how to respond, and not just with mute compliance. As disciples of Jesus, we have a responsibility and privilege of care for each and every human being.

    Remember Dan Berrigan, who died just over a year ago.

  9. Mary Vallely

    Hear, hear, Joe O’Leary @ 7. To answer Sean O’Conaill’s questioning of the term traditionalists( v progressives or liberals) I think of it more as non – questioners v questioners. I suppose that it is human nature to categorise and to label and perhaps there’s a strange sort of comfort in belonging to a certain pack or group. Surely we need to listen to all voices and to question with respect, to reflect on others’ opinions but to keep questioning. Joe is correct. ‘ Unbroken orthodoxy’ has done huge damage but we need to be careful not to discard much of what was precious and good in our traditional Catholicism.
    It still astounds me that we adults are forbidden to even DISCUSS women’s ordination. Forbidden to discuss! Are we not permitted to be thinking human beings at all?! There is still too much acceptance of that old ” Father knows best” in our DNA.

  10. Kevin Walters

    “Today they have become ‘traditionalists’ and ‘reformers’. Compromise between the two is logically impossible”

    This is not true the church should be seen as a wide spectrum from the arrogant to the permissive, from rigidity of heart to lax behaviour, elasticity is needed to draw back this spectrum to the Singularity (God) who created us

    “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Change direction)”.

    Yes many traditionalists do imposing authoritarian views in the name of church teaching and cannot be faulted for doing this, but sadly many are unaware of their own need of God’s all-embracing Mercy. I can say this with confidence as when His mercy is truly received or when one is continually aware of the need of it within the heart it becomes all-embracing in that what you have been given you would want (Struggle) to give it to your brother. Pride (self-esteem) before God is broken and is replaced by humility (St Bernard Humility a virtue by which a man knowing himself as he truly is, abases himself.

    “The Gospel is ignored and there is no mention of mercy or forgiveness as a grace”.

    The inviolate Word (Will) of God cannot be compromised if one iota is infringed upon relativism ensues. Man’s mercy (Compassion) cannot instil divine grace. The church has the authority to forgive sin but cannot contradict Gods Inviolate Word (Will) for instance the marriage bond cannot be broken.

    “‘Reformers’, on the other hand, following Pope Francis, prefer to dwell on God’s mercy”.

    Many may dwell on God’s mercy but that is not comparable with dwelling in His mercy
    To dwell (Live) on His Mercy is sinful as the relationship with God is sterile (Lifeless)
    To receive His Mercy in humility guarantees spiritual growth
    To dwell (live) in His Mercy is to walk in humility before/with Him and is the greatest gift we can receive as it incorporates Faith Hope and Charity (Love of God) and leads us to eternal life in Him.

    “Not Christian revelation, to be sure. Revelation has little to say about sex; and nothing at all about reproduction”

    Christian revelation has everything to say about sex as it incorporates the whole person which includes reproduction

    “Who or what still gives the institutional church the authority to speak from a privileged eminence on sex and reproduction?”

    Humanae Vitae
    Bears witness to the sanctification of the life creative process, to produce the gift of new life in harmony (Reciprocal love) with our Fathers Will.
    The greatest gift we have received is the gift of life, given by God, through the action of our parents, refusing to fully partake in His creation by deliberately denying (Impeding the life process) another the opportunity of life, is sinful.
    Humanae Vitae
    Has become a stumbling block for the leadership of the Church in that it has been rejected by the majority of the laity through human weakness and for many it has created a self-serving conscience. The Shepherds are unable to confront the flock and have become impotent, moral authority has been compromised and because of this the fabric of the Church is been torn apart. Our Lord Himself has given the Church the means to rectify this and in doing so regain her moral authority.
    See Link Post 7& 9 with link.
    http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2016/11/thinking-for-ourselves/

    “Yes Rome has no way of dealing with this kind of opposition, so it ignores it. The result is that a deliberately dishonest tactic is being used to promote adherence to one party in the church”.

    No the Church remains true to the rigidity of her moral teaching (Thank God) but sadly without the elasticity to draw in the full spectrum of our human hearts to dwell in His Divine Mercy.
    Thankfully our Lord Himself has now given the Church the elasticity to draw back and hold in Unity of Purpose the hearts of all of her children.

    Throughout history God has made His Will know to mankind through his Saints, Spiritual leaders and Prophets. And at crucial times though out history His Will has be revealed in a way that that cannot be misunderstood by His people.
    “I desire that this picture be venerated first in your chapel and then throughout the whole world”
    This is a missionary call instigated by our Lord to the whole Church to Evangelizing through the action of Humility, a disarming action in its honesty, that embrace all in its simplicity, as we encounter our brothers and sisters who stand and seek direction at the crossroads (Difficulties) of life.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  11. Francis

    An excellent, well balanced and comprehensive article. I agree with a lot of the comments that have been offered also.
    I share Mary’s pain @9 of not being able to discuss women’s ordained. I noticed where the once totally forbidden Anglican orders might not be so totally invalid after all…..
    it leaves me with a feeling of hope that the papacy of Pope Francis is one of dialogue, discussion and hope.

  12. Eddie Finnegan

    I agree with Paddy Ferry@3 that “we are still fortunate to have scholar-priests of the calibre of Fr Gabriel” and indeed I would add “of Wilfrid Harrington OP”@2. Augustinians and Dominicans can rejoice that both these men are still well ‘engagé’, if not in harness.

    I hope Paddy agrees with me that we are equally fortunate to have pastor-priests of the calibre of Pádraig McCarthy @6 & 8 who may wear his scholarship lightly but is still thoroughly engagé, ready to ask the searching questions and pose the necessary ‘dubia’ in the spirit of scholarship and truth-seeking: fides quaerens intellectum, perhaps, vel veritatem?

  13. Paddy Ferry

    Eddie@12, you know much as I admire and respect Padraig, he has this unfortunate tendency when issues like this come up to start trying to circle the wagons, when really it is far too late for that and completely futile. I completely agree with Joe@7 and, also, Mary@8, always the essence of good sense.

  14. Anne

    How the Catholic Church of which I am a member are so blind that they continue to exclude the voice of women is beyond belief. In the real world Humanae Vitae is is just a distant memory and anyone who thinks that the majority of Catholic women and men are not using contraceptives to plan their families is living in a parallel universe.
    As for the row about the new National Maternity Hospital, surely there was enough expertise between the Government, the medical profession and the Boards of the two hospitals to see that they were setting themselves up for a major battle over the ownership of the Hospital. The unfortunate nuns unfairly were the target of the worst of it on social media in particular. Also it struck me that 100,000 people signed the petition, who could sign this? Could anyone, from all parts of the world sign it? The power of the internet is limitless. More people should challenge opinions on these forums to create balance. Brainwashing takes many forms.

  15. Padraig McCarthy

    Paddy @13:
    Thanks for the “admire and respect”!
    But there are no wagons here, circled or otherwise. I pointed out that the National Maternity Hospital Board and the St Vincent’s Hospital Group have give clear assurances about the clinical independence of the NMH. In the procedures for the NMH moving, I don’t know how this is written legally into the agreement, but why not take them at their word. If either side does not abide by that, take action.
    The ownership is an issue I know nothing about. We hear of owners, and beneficial owners, and trustees, and the like. The current plan seems odd to me, but I’m in no position to take sides.
    What I find most objectionable is the politicisation of the matter, seemingly by some with axes to grind; and the demonization of the Sisters as referred to in the ACP statement.
    “Unfortunate tendency”?
    Wagons?

  16. Kevin Walters

    Anne @ 14

    “In the real world Humanae Vitae is is just a distant memory and anyone who thinks that the majority of Catholic women and men are not using contraceptives to plan their families is living in a parallel universe”.

    Anne I am the only one bringing Humanae Vitae into focus on this web page so I am assuming the comment is directed at me. Yes I agree with what you say and I believe that my comments confirm this, there has been a down would slide since the sixties contraception is practiced by around 80% of couples this is unlikely to change significantly even if my proposals were accepted. It is fair to say that contraception failure has assisted in an increase in the abortion rate, as it is seen by some as an extension of contraception.

    In my post @ 4 I say that “we are in a downward spiral from the rejection of Humanae Vitae to euthanasia leading to a culture of death” and would add that this spiral cannot be contained, thankfully the church still holds true to a culture of life, from conception to natural death.

    Anne, in regards to Humanae Vitae, would you be prepared to respond to one of the following questions?
    The teaching is good and should be adhered to ?
    I think that it is an ideal to work towards ?
    The teaching is good but unrealistic for most couples ?
    I reject the concept/teaching of Humanae Vitae I will decide what I want to do with my own life ?

    Anne of course you do not have to respond any of them.

    From the link below by Kyle Sammin
    Most people close their eyes to unpleasantness in their past. Political movements do the same thing on a grander scale. Nowhere is this truer than in the willful blindness of twenty-first-century progressives to their early twentieth-century counterparts’ embrace of eugenics
    http://thefederalist.com/2017/04/25/refusing-believe-early-progressives-loved-eugenics-will-not-erase-horrible-truth/
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  17. Adrian Grenham

    Interesting article. In my view, the current issue is about ownership not ethos. I believe the Sisters should sell the land to the state and have done with this matter – and it is reasonable to expect in a pluralist state that the NMH is free from religious interference.

    However, under the proposed structure I can foresee an issue will arise when abortions are carried out in the NMH on land owned by the ‘Church’. Apart from being completely hypocritical and completely opposed to Christian morality (‘traditionalist’ or not), it will also effectively throw any pro-life credentials we have down the sink. ProChoice and the liberal media will have a field day – ‘Church permits abortions on land owned by Sisters of Charity’.

  18. JohnM

    The side representing the Sisters of Charity did themselves few favours by insisting on ownership of a new hospital that is to be funded by the taxpayers. Apologists for the sisters were heard on radio talking about the fine the medical services provided by the sisters at St Vincents. I was treated recently at St Vincents and to my knowledge medical services are provided by the health professionals who work there and that there are no sisters working there. Hospital funds come from the taxpayer and from patients and from private health policies. The sisters may have founded hospitals in the past. The new maternity hospital is a different matter. An asset grab is unseemly and will not work today.

  19. Joe O'Leary

    “The teaching is good and should be adhered to ?
    “I think that it is an ideal to work towards ?
    “The teaching is good but unrealistic for most couples ?
    “I reject the concept/teaching of Humanae Vitae I will decide what I want to do with my own life ?”

    The teaching is good only in a world of Platonic ideals at a tangent to real life.
    In real life the teaching is bad, as we see from its fruits: the spread of Aids in Africa, the massive overpopulation and degrading poverty in the Philippines, the denial of freedom of conscience by interfering prelaties in these and other countries.

  20. Rory Connor

    I find Fr Gabriel Daly’s arguments very strange and I can’t see the relevance of many of them so I will concentrate on one. Fr Daly finds himself convinced by the “wise and persuasive arguments” of Dr. Peter Boylan who feared that there might be interference with medical decisions on religious grounds. In summary I wonder why he is convinced by Dr. Boylan but not by Master of the National Maternity Hospital Dr Rhona Mahony, deputy chairman Nicholas Kearns, or the overwhelming majority of the board members (25 out of 28) who approved the agreement brokered by Kieran Mulvey in November last year?

    I suppose the argument that Fr Daly agrees with is the one contained in the text message sent to Dr Mahony and (former president of the High Court) Mr Kearns on 23 April: [Irish Daily Mail, 26 April]

    I’m sorry it’s come to this but I did try to warn you. The way out for both of you is to make it clear that you were misled by SVHG[St Vincent’s Hospital Group]. You accepted their bona fides and assurances and were effectively lied to. Both you and the minister are inextricable linked in this and you’ll either sink or swim together.

    The way to get the hospital is to insist on CPO of Elm Park golf club land on periphery and establish links to via tunnels/corridors. Minimal design alterations needed.

    Does Fr Daly considrr these to be “wise and persuasive arguments” or “temperate”? Is he really surprised by the immediate response Dr Boylan received from Mr. Kearns that included the following:

    [i]”Both the Master and I have received and read your text sent to us at 13.47 today.

    “We are now asking for your immediate resignation from the Board of Holles St – both because of your public intervention to criticise and oppose the overwhelming majority decision of the Board taken in November last to approve the agreement reached with SVUH for the transfer of Holles St to Elm Park – a vote on which you abstained – and in addition because of the content of your text sent today.

    “It’s intimidatory tone is most regrettable.” ……[/i]

    Would Father Daly consider that an “intemperate” response to a “wise and persuasive argument” from Dr. Boylan?

    The National Maternity Hospital also issued a statement .

    Dr Boylan was a member of the NMH Board at all times during the six month period of mediation which resulted in the agreement of 21 November 2016 to co-locate the National Maternity Hospital with St Vincent’s University Hospital. The Board was kept fully briefed on all developments by the negotiating team during that period,” the hospital said in the statement.

    The decisive final meeting of the board overwhelmingly supported the agreement with 25 in favour, two abstentions (including Dr Boylan) and one vote against. [My emphasis] Thereafter the agreement was approved by government and planning permission was lodged.Last week, some five months after the agreement was approved, Boylan, without warning, consultation with or notification to the Board, its chair or the master of the hospital, went public in attacking the agreement. Board members have a duty of loyalty to the Board on which they serve and for this reason his resignation has been sought.

    I see that Dr.Boylan’s proposed solution is a Compulsory Purchase Order of land belonging to Elm Park golf club. So what’s wrong with a CPO? Well Health Minister Simon Harris has pointed out that using a CPO would not have been “the ideal solution by any means” because it would have meant the project getting “caught up in some potential legal difficulty for a large number of years.” Shane Phelan in the Irish Independent on 25 April gave an illustration of this difficulty. One just has to look at the case of Thomas Reid who resisted efforts by IDA Ireland to compulsorily purchase his land in 2011. The matter went all the way to the Supreme Court where Mr. Reid won his case in 2015. In the scenario suggested by Dr. Boylan, Elm Park Golf Club would be VERY likely to win a legal battle. They could point out that their land is “on the periphery” (as Dr Boylan states) and that for ideological reasons, the National Maternity Hospital had rejected the offer of a more central site from the Sisters of Charity!

    FINALLY I see that Dr Boylan seems to accept that a CPO of the Sisters of Charity land is not possible. Veteran negotiator Kieran Mulvey said (in the Mail on Sunday 30 April) that it was not possible for the nuns to give up ownership of St Vincent’s because of intertwined loans. He said St Vincent’s Healthcare Group had large borrowings connected to the hospital site and ‘the idea that you can just separate a piece of land is just not legally possible at the moment… There are large borrowings by the St Vincent Healthcare Group which will have to be met.’

    Unfortunately Dr. Boylan’s proposed solution appears to involve equal – if not greater – legal difficulties and delays!

  21. Kevin Walters

    Joe O’Leary @18
    Joe I see the problem as one of honesty for Christians, rather than justify/deny the Truths within Humanae Vitae, would it not be better to acknowledge openly that one cannot live to its ideals?
    This humility would create cohesion within the Church based on honesty (Truth) before mankind and God.

    I believe that the true Divine Mercy Image gives the leadership of the Church the means to do this but this will require humility in acknowledging their/our own limitations.
    One of the greatest handicaps for the Church at this moment in time is its own dishonesty in ignoring (Colluding with) the situation in the West while at the same time strongly promoting Humanae Vitae in third world counties. It is most probable that many Catholics in poor third world counties will follow the West as they become better educated (More affluent) by rejecting the Truths/teaching of Humanae Vitae.

    I believe that the tide can be turned in the West by creating a less judgmental more compassionate church, in our accepting openly that we are not perfect and in so doing develop a lively conscience, this will have the effect of an increased birth rate as they/we become more attuned to the reality of our actions.
    In this statement I have to acknowledge the possibility in the short term of fewer births in third world countries. I say short term, as I believe many eventually will use contraception outside of church teaching and in doing so will alienate themselves psychologically or physically, perhaps both, from the church. Others will create a self-serving conscience were the true sensitivity to the value of their participation and wonder in the creation of new life will be lost. The innate knowledge that to deny another the opportunity of life while partaking in our Creators plan is sinful and in time this knowledge will be buried under a self-justifying conscience as right judgement and spiritual growth will now be stifled.

    Can the Church move beyond the carve by making room now for those who will eventual practice contraception and in doing so encouraging spiritual growth in them and their (Any) children by encouraging the laity who practice it, to acknowledge it openly before the Church in accepting their own human frailty.

    The True Image of Divine Mercy an image of broken man offers the Church away forward on Humanae Vitae also for the divorced who have taken a civil partner.
    What I am proposing has many advantages for the Church as the Church will be seen to be honesty with herself and her children before God. The Church cannot sanction sin but it can sanction Divine Mercy and if they do so mankind would see the human face of Jesus Christ a face of compassion emanating from the Church drawing more people to her.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  22. Joe O'Leary

    “rather than justify/deny the Truths within Humanae Vitae, would it not be better to acknowledge openly that one cannot live to its ideals?”

    No one is quarreling particularly with the text of the encyclical, only with its final determination that (artificial) contraception is always objectively immoral. This is not an “ideal” but a moral rule that has not been “received” by the church at large.

    “One of the greatest handicaps for the Church at this moment in time is its own dishonesty in ignoring (Colluding with) the situation in the West while at the same time strongly promoting Humanae Vitae in third world counties.”

    Absolutely. It is placing burdens on others’ shoulders that one would not lift a finger to carry oneself.

    “the tide can be turned in the West by creating a less judgmental more compassionate church, in our accepting openly that we are not perfect and in so doing develop a lively conscience, this will have the effect of an increased birth rate as they/we become more attuned to the reality of our actions.”

    In the western world, the church has bent over backwards to stress compassion and non-judgmentalism in regard to this specific topic of contraception, with Paul VI insisting that the objectively immoral could be “diminished in guilt, inculpable, or subjectively defensible.” But this only accelerated the rejection of his ruling.

    “In this statement I have to acknowledge the possibility in the short term of fewer births in third world countries. I say short term, as I believe many eventually will use contraception outside of church teaching and in doing so will alienate themselves psychologically or physically, perhaps both, from the church.”

    It was precisely to prevent this in the west that Paul VI stressed freedom of conscience and that his ruling need not alienate anyone from the sacraments.

    If Catholics in Africa or the Philippines are alienated from the church when they begin to use contraceptives or condoms in responsible ethical decision, that is because their bishops have made a bogey of this as no western bishops would do.

    “Others will create a self-serving conscience were the true sensitivity to the value of their participation and wonder in the creation of new life will be lost.”

    I don’t think we need to lecture parents on “their participation and wonder in the creation of new life”; least of all if we are unmarried clergy or others. Use of contraceptives is not at all incompatible with responsible parenthood.

    ” The innate knowledge that to deny another the opportunity of life while partaking in our Creators plan is sinful”

    The choice to have two rather than seven children is not a denial of opportunity to the five unconceived children — except in some realm of Platonic possibilities in outer space.

    ” and in time this knowledge will be buried under a self-justifying conscience as right judgement and spiritual growth will now be stifled.”

    Such rhetoric seems to me totally misplaced.

    “making room now for those who will eventual practice contraception and in doing so encouraging spiritual growth in them and their (Any) children by encouraging the laity who practice it, to acknowledge it openly before the Church in accepting their own human frailty.”

    This has been standard for a long time in the West. But it does not intersect with the realities on the ground in the Philippines or Africa, where we have bishops’ conferences shouting “No to condoms!” and bringing pressure on governments to block access to contraception, something no western bishops would get away with.

  23. Kevin Walters

    Joe O’Leary @22

    “No one is quarrelling particularly with the text of the encyclical, only with its final determination that (artificial) contraception is always objectively immoral”.

    We will have to disagree Joe as I believe that The Church has the promise from Jesus Christ that she will bear witness to the Truth until the end of time and she does this by meeting her obligation to teach the Truth and inform the consciences of the faithful and I believe that this is seen by her teachings in Humanae Vitae as it is an extension of

    “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female
    For this reason a man will leave his father and mother (continuing the creative process) and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh”. (The Truth of this statement can be seen in any offspring they may be blessed with) And this visual Truth defines marriage (as been OPEN to the Creative process) sexual union, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh”

    “You shall know them by their fruits”
    We have two realties one of Truth (not one iota) or the reality (World) of relativism
    We all fall short of the Truth we all sin, we can only partake of the Lords table dressed in humility and we do this by bearing witness to the Truth, His inviolate Word (Will) in owning (Acknowledging) our own sin.

    I have been advocating that teaching on birth control in Humanae Vitae should be vigorously strengthened in the West by encouraging the laity who practice it, to acknowledge it openly before the Church in accepting their own human frailty, before partaking of the bread of life in Venerating The True Image of Divine Mercy an image of broken man, a reflection of themselves before God in the Eucharist.
    In acknowledging their dependence on His Mercy before Church/mankind, they give glory to our Father in heaven in bearing witness to the Truth, teaching others by their example to serve the Truth and walk in humility before our Creator.
    See Link
    http://www.acireland.ie/eucharist-and-the-mass-teresa-mee/#comment-9869

    “It was precisely to prevent this in the west that Paul VI stressed freedom of conscience and that his ruling need not alienate anyone from the sacraments”.

    This was rejected as our Christian conscience is defined by our doctrine and we must work within its parameters.
    The fruit of an unbridled conscience that is one without sound moral structure results in relativism
    I believe that my poem above @4 demonstrates the fruits of relativism a downward spiral that cannot be contained, leading us onward to the wide road of spiritual destruction.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  24. Joe O'Leary

    Kevin, “this was rejected” — no, Paul VI’s teaching on freedom of conscience was not rejected. His teaching on the objective immorality of artificial contraception in all circumstances was rejected, and quite firmly, by the majority of Catholics. So taking one’s stand on this as on an article by which the church stands or falls seems rather futile.

  25. Rory Connor

    There seems to be two separate – although related discussions – going on here, one of which is the general issue of a “Catholic Ethos”. I believe that the latter issue is peripheral; it’s being used by anti-clerics as an excuse to launch savage attacks on the Sisters of Charity and I suspect that the rational and respectful discussion between Kevin and Joe etc is beside the point!

    I see the main issue as that stated in the recent statement by the ACP in the article entitled “National Maternity Hospital”
    ..In fact, if some of the things being said publicly about nuns today were being said about any other minority group, they would be clearly seen as highly inflammatory and viewed as being in violation of the laws against discrimination….
    Specifically I suggest that they are in violation of the Prohibition against Incitement to Hatred Act 1989 which makes it an offence to publish or broadcast material that is threatening, abusive or insulting and is intended, or is likely, to stir up hatred. (This includes hatred directed against a group of persons on the basis of their religion.)

    I recall media articles relating to the controversy in which people claimed they were experimented on for vaccine trials while in a Mother and Baby Home, or subjected to “atrocities”. And a letter in which a lady claimed that the words “nuns” and “maternity hospital” in the same sentence are enough to make an Irish female shudder. The latter comment is rather strange because according to a (very hostile article) in the Irish Times last year (28 April 2016)
    http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/catholic-church-s-influence-over-irish-hospital-medicine-persists-1.2626856
    ..The running of the Irish health service was largely undertaken by religious orders in the past. Orders of nuns were responsible for the setting up of many of Ireland’s hospitals in the 19th and 20th centuries…
    Indeed St Vincent’s Hospital was founded by Mother Mary Aikenhead foundress of the Sisters of Charity and established at St Stephen’s Green in 1834 to care for the sick poor. Did the Sisters prevent the State from establishing a secular equivalent in pre-Famine Ireland?

    One extraordinary feature was the repeated claims by politicians and journalists that the Sisters of Charity had failed to pay the balance of €3 million “compensation” that they “owed” the State. Health Minister Simon Harris said that the two matters should be considered separately. What two matters? On 23 April the Mail on Sunday (journalist Valerie Hanley) reported:
    “The Department of Education has confirmed to the MoS that that the nuns’ legal costs for the Ryan Commission will be offset against the €3 million of payments for abuse victims that are outstanding. While these costs have not been finalised, media reports that were based on briefing documents have estimated them at €5 million, a sum that would more than wipe out the outstanding bill that they owe.

    Crucially, the department has confirmed that the reason for the delay in resolving the problem is nothing to do with the nuns, but is down to its own officials figuring out the final costs of the congregation’s legal representation at the Ryan Commission…..”

    Yet, as Ms. Hanley pointed out, the claim that the Sisters owed €3 million, had been repeatedly cited by politicians from Fianna Fail, The Greens, Labour and the Social Democrats and the media as justification for outraged comments about the agreement brokered by Kieran Mulvey. Did the Minister for Health not liaise with his Education colleague? Or did he decide to sidestep the issue – on the basis that discretion is the better part of valour when faced with anti-clerical hysteria?

  26. Paddy Ferry

    Kevin@23 I had thought that Humanae Vitae was no longer even up for discussion. The faithful had rejected it. The last statistics I read–a few years ago –had 92% of practising Catholic couples in the US and Europe rejecting the core teaching of HV. I have read more about HV over the last 30 or 40 years than I have about any other piece of Catholic teaching or doctrine. I think the 1st chap. of Hans Kung’s little masterpiece “Infallible” was what got me started. My most recent read on HV was chap. 10 of Angela Hanley’s excellent “Whose Á La Carte Menu” which is as good as anything I have read about HV and probably better than most. “Infallible” is probably out of print but I am sure you could get Angela Hanley’s book, published by Columba Press. Kevin, I would highly recommend it to you. Thanks, Joe,for your excellent and patient contributions

  27. Kevin Walters

    Rory Connor @25

    Thank you Roy for your comment, the article by Gabriel incorporates an attack on the moral authority of the church’s teachings, especially Humanae Vitae as it is sited six times often disparagingly.
    I realize that you want to focus on injustice in regards to the Nuns but that same injustice is undermining their ethical belief in the Churches teaching in regards to the sacredness of human life, from conception to death, which many have given their lives in service to.
    I believe that there is plenty of space on this web page to search for the Truth of “related discussions”
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  28. Kevin Walters

    Joe O’Leary @ 24
    Thank you Joe for your comment, I had until now never read Paul VI’s teaching on freedom of conscience, my understanding was that Humanae Vitae was issued shortly after wards to give clarity (Which it does)
    Of cause freedom of conscience was not rejected, how could it be?
    The majority of Catholics may use contraception but the Faithful acknowledge it as a sin.
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  29. Kevin Walters

    Paddy Ferry@26

    Paddy in my replies to Joe I stated that I had never read Paul VI’s teaching on freedom of conscience, I have since done so, it had nothing to teach me on Freedom of Conscience as I knew innately to go against your own innate conscience is sinful
    The same applied to HV, I personal may not have always been able to live to this innate knowledge now recently reinforced by HV but to justify oneself would be to set your face (Will) against God and to teach others to do so would condemn you.

    We know that His Will on marriage is for the unimpeded circle of life from the beginning to the present day (See my post @ 23).
    Prior to 1930, all Protestant denominations agreed with the Catholic Church’s teaching condemning contraception as sinful (did they bend with the wind?)
    As contraception was so far outside the biblical mind-set and so obviously wrong that it did not need the frequent condemnations that other sins did, as the gift of new life was seen as a blessing (Approval ) from God.
    Fortunately the (True) Church still holds True to His will on this moral teaching.
    We see this in the statement by Jesus below, as it amplifies the mind-set of some of those who now teach in His name in duplicity “Blessed are the barren” In Approval of those who while partaking with our Creator in His Plan for new life, commit a deliberate act, of denying another the possibility of life.
    Just before His crucifixion Jesus turned to them and said,
    “For, behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts which never gave suck”
    Others proclaiming guidance from the Holy Spirit, teach a doctrine that forms a Self-serving conscience, in doing so they contribute to a culture of death that is now been seen in society at large.
    From HV.20. “The teaching of the Church regarding the proper regulation of birth is a promulgation of the law of God Himself. And yet there is no doubt that to many it will appear not merely difficult but even impossible to observe”.

    If we are to be honest Paddy, is not this the reason why so many justify the use contraception?

    Rather than accept their limitations before God they have created self-serving consciences and in doing so they hide their nakedness (Shame) before Him by hiding in the bushes and covering themselves with leaves (excuses).
    I have proposed a way forward to one based on humility manifest by venerating the Image of Broken Man that will create unity of purpose and encourage spiritual growth within the whole Church, were this to happen it would draw in many Protestant denominations to the Catholic Church’s teaching in HV condemning contraception as sinful, as we would now have the means to create Unity of purpose based on humility rather than self-justification.

    I have made this statement on this site and others, directed at both sexes
    “I wonder if anyone who reads this has the honesty and courage to serve the Truth by acknowledging that at some time in their life they have felt the natural inclination of a tinge of sadness or/and been aware that they have participated in the possible loss of a new life through an act of using a method of contraception”
    No one ever responds I wonder why
    “Hope spring eternal”
    kevin your brother
    In Christ.

  30. Joe O'Leary

    “the biblical mind-set” is a drastic simplification of a vast library of literature spanning a millennium. I recall the men’s Missions at which Redemptorists stormed against coitus interruptus on bibical grounds: the sin of Onan. “The Bible, my dear men, does not mince words; it says he spilled his see on the ground; and that very night, my dear men, — that very night! — the Lord struck him down!”

    But actually the Bible is not the least perturbed about the spilling as such; the issue is Onan’s refusal to impregnate his deceased brother’s wife, as was expected.

    The Bible is a much greater world than the petty prescriptions to which a limited hermeneutics has reduced it.

  31. Phil Greene

    Dear Kevin,

    I begin my stating that I cannot quote bible or verse or refer to the various teachings throughout the ages.. I acknowledge my ignorance in these matters and perhaps that is why I find some of the writings from both clerics and lay alike so fascinating in these pages (or discussion rooms in which sometimes i am just sitting in a chair listening to you all) . I come from a large family, my parents were devout Catholics and so I have many siblings so this is something I do know about. My parents loved us all, even the ones that were never born into this world through nature’s course, and say that they would never be without us.. But my mother is never without pain and I remember the hardships in raising us, both from a physical and mental perspective… My feelings are that God did not mean for women to be just baby-making machines who must spend their entire lives with babies at their feet and then at the end die from both physical and emotional exhaustion.. no amount of teachings or verse will ever change my mind as my God, like yours, is a caring God. I of course , respect your opinions Kevin, but doctrine becomes very superficial when it comes from those that never experience the consequences of their teachings, and those that do experience it will always find ways to give the next generation a better life, leaving the theory where it belongs. I do not mean to upset you Kevin , but I cannot remain silent on this subject any longer, perhaps it is time to agree to disagree. Continued blessings , Phil

  32. Rory Connor

    Kevin @27
    I tend to agree with you regarding Humanae Vitae. Also some anti-clerics who were alienated from the Catholic Church because of the encyclical, probably see it as justification for ANY kind of hate-filled attack on clergy or nuns. “Ecrasez l’infame” and all that.

    However the CURRENT issue is the controversy about the National Maternity Hospital and it is due to come to a head again at the end of this month – after the cooling-off period suggested by the Minister for Health. I suspect the ONLY result of the “cooling-off” is that journalists and politicians will no longer repeat the lie about the Sisters “owing” €3 million to the State. However this won’t be because of a new-found devotion to the truth but because THAT particular lie is no longer sustainable! Otherwise it will be back to business as usual and the Church needs to prepare itself.

    I do indeed want to “focus on injustice in regards to nuns” but as I stated in a previous discussion, this has major implications for the laity – and for teachers most of all. See in particular comment # 4 in “The Oblates, the Minister and the Redress Board”
    http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2017/04/the-oblates-the-minister-and-the-redress-board/
    If the Sisters of Charity manage to handle the present crisis properly, namely by refusing to make concessions in the face of hysterical attacks, then it could discourage such attacks in future. And that will benefit lots of people apart from clergy or religious.

    In that respect I was pleased to read the following in Valerie Hanley’s article in The Mail on Sunday on 23 April:
    A source revealed: ‘The nuns are adamant that they have fulfilled all their obligations under the redress board. When something is repeated enough it becomes fact. There has been an awful lot of vitriol loaded on the nuns. There has been a nonsense argument going on all week and there is no basis for some of what has been said. Some of what has been said is prejudice for things that happened historically. It’s band-wagonism and politicians are running after it. The politicians should be doing better.

    The nuns are annoyed and they consider some of the comments that have been made as being defamatory. I think their attitude now is ‘let the State go off and build their hospital on their own land’. [My Emphasis]

    That’s all very well and I couldn’t agree more BUT the Sister’s comment is being made anonymously. My own fear is that – under pressure – the Sisters of Charity will cave in and authorise an amendment to the National Maternity Hospital Agreement approved in November 2016. In that case, their critics will rejoice and declare themselves victorious and vindicated. In previous comments I have detailed how the Sisters of MERCY were savaged because of their constant attempts to ingratiate themselves with people who hated them. I also have an article on the subject here:
    http://www.irishsalem.com/religious-congregations/sisters-of-mercy/index.php
    I hope that the Sisters of Charity now understand the dangers of Appeasement – defined by one British newspaper in 1939 as “A clever plan of selling off your friends in order to buy off your enemies”.
    (For the Sisters of Mercy, that worked the same way it did for Neville Chamberlain!)

  33. Kevin Walters

    Joe O’Leary @ 30

    “But actually the Bible is not the least perturbed about the spilling as such; the issue is Onan’s refusal to impregnate his deceased brother’s wife, as was expected”

    No he violated his deceased brother’s wife.

    I have read that the biblical penalty for not giving your brothers widow children was public humiliation, not death. Onan could have refused (Been seen not to be capable of fulfilling his duty) Hence humiliation.
    But Onan was capable so he choose instead (To save face) to defiled the lawful sexual union between himself and his dead brother’s wife in the spilling of his own seed on the ground he not only defiled himself he violated his brother’s wife and dishonoured his brother.
    And that is why coitus interruptus and certain forms of contraception have historically been known as “Onanism,”

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  34. Anne

    Kevin@16
    I replied to your post but for some reason it did not appear.
    Phil Greene @31
    I too have a large family and can identify with your mother.
    As you said it’s easy to have an academic discussions about childbearing ,very little attention is paid to the health , well being and personal growth of the mother. Women appear to be silent on this discussion ,is it because no one wants to listen.

  35. Anne

    Kevin@16
    To answer all three of your questions I am of the opinion that the teaching is flawed and should be changed. IN this day and age it is never going to happen that people are going to depend on NFP methods only for a variety of reasons. The ideal that the martial act should always leave open the possiblibity of conception is a nice theory .
    But the whole purpose of family planning is to not fall pregnant,that is why couples strive to find a method that works for them. I am an expert on the subject as I actually never used contraception ,I followed the teaching of the church and for me NFP was a total failure as I ended up falling pregnant 12 times. Believe me the
    Young women today are not going to risk it .
    When the teaching was drawn up was there any consideration given to the effect multiple pregnancies would have on a woman’s health and well being ,the strain on finances, the ability to care for and educate large families . IIdeals and theories are fine on paper , but usually the people writing them won’t ever have to practice what they preached. But then what do we expect in a male dominated , celibate clergy and a Church where the voices of women are not heard.

  36. Editor

    Apologies, Anne, comment went astray. Glad to re-instate

  37. Kevin Walters

    Phil Greene@31 also Anne @ 35

    Thank you Phil and Ann for your comments I feel that the two of you have misunderstood or not read all my Posts and links as you seem to have ignored my proposal, that is, away forward with HV based on humility.
    This proposal also incorporates love and compassion for all those who cannot receive the sacrament of absolution, for whatever reason apart from the sin against the Holy Spirit.

    I am the eldest of six and during my childhood I lived in close proximity to my Fathers parents who had seven children five of them lived within 100 yards of me with their families as the other two had remained in Limerick with their children the total number of siblings of my grandfather’s children was forty-three (An average of six Children per family) I am unsure of the exact number due to early deaths and miscarriages.
    I spent a reasonable part of my childhood in Limerick and I am fully aware of the difficulties especially of poverty and physical health in regards to having many children but we must also look at the positive side, my Grandmother died at our house in the early fifties in terrible pain but she had my mother and two of her daughters surrounding her, giving love and constant care. Shortly afterwards my Grandfather aware of his approaching death returned to live (Spend time) with his beloved daughter Della and her family taking me and my brother with him to Limerick he received loving care.

    Phil to my knowledge and without detracting from what you say none of the mothers within my family structure died from physical and emotional exhaustion due to child bearing it may have contributed to their overall general heath as it also may have on the fathers due to hard labour, poverty and emotional anxiety.
    I am sure many priests and religious are fully aware and have experienced the reality of life as you and I have.

    Ann “the teaching is flawed” the teaching is not flawed but based on truth, admittedly it does not adapt itself to our personal reality.

    “My feelings are that God did not mean for women to be just baby-making machines who must spend their entire lives with babies at their feet and then at the end die from both physical and emotional exhausted”

    Humanae Vitae teaches self-restraint and does not advocate making women into baby-making machines.
    Nevertheless we have to acknowledge the dilemma in HV

    From HV.20. “The teaching of the Church regarding the proper regulation of birth is a promulgation of the law of God Himself. And yet there is no doubt that to many it will appear not merely difficult but even impossible to observe”.

    I have proposed a way to solve this dilemma as the church cannot change her teaching, if my proposal were to be accepted the Church would be able to show the true face of Jesus Christ, a God who is just and merciful at the same time.
    A loving God who holds us accountable to the consequences of our choices encourages us to grow up and inspires our cooperation and as we do so, provide the grace to confirm our efforts.

    My proposal that you both seemed to have ignored, if accepted would create a culture of life, while at the same time permitting the use of contraception, but the price to pay is an act of humility.

    Is this act of humility too much to ask?

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  38. Joe O'Leary

    I did not know that contraception was known as “onanism”; the word usually refers to masturbation (in contradiction to biblical usage, just as “sodomy” refers to sexual acts — in contradiction to biblical usage); a common word for masturbation in Japanese is “onani”! Onan’s motive is clear in Gen 38: it is so that he would not give offspring to his deceased brother Er (already put to death by the Lord, who was rather trigger-happy in those days). In short he is greedy, since “any son born to Tamar would be deemed the heir of the deceased Er, and able to claim the firstborn’s double share of inheritance. However, if Er were childless, Onan would have inherited as the oldest surviving son” (Wiki).

    Twice widowed, the lady in the case, Tamar, seduces her widowed father-in-law Judah, pretending to be a prostitute and becoming pregnant by him. Judah is embarrassed, but admits that Tamar is in the right “since I did not give her to my son Shelah”, the third brother after Er and Onan. It’s an interesting story, but not one I would found a sexual morality on.

    “Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious. Small wonder, therefore, if Holy Writ bears witness that the Divine Majesty regards with greatest detestation this horrible crime and at times has punished it with death. As St. Augustine notes, “Intercourse even with one’s legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of the offspring is prevented. Onan, the son of Juda, did this and the Lord killed him for it.””Pius XI, Casti connubii. This text is on the Vatican website, a reminder how steeped we still are in biblical fundamentalism.

  39. Eddie Finnegan

    The Leadership’s very balanced statement on ‘The National Maternity Hospital’ on 10 May unfortunately diverted any comments to this discussion thread, thereby losing the importance of the points it made in four of its five paragraphs. Only Pádraig McCarthy referred to the statement @8 above, though Rory Connor@32 once again returned to the wider question at greater length.

    The statement’s Paragraphs 2&3 rightly pointed out: “In the current debate . . . . we consider some of the language and expressions being used about the Sisters, and indeed nuns in general, both in the media and by some public representatives, to be both distasteful and unfair.
    “In fact, if some of the things being said publicly about nuns today were being said about any other minority group, they would be clearly seen as highly inflammatory and viewed as being in violation of the laws against discrimination.”

    The excellent letter from Sr Una Agnew SSL in today’s Irish Times [‘Time to reject caricatured view of nuns’] deserves to be reproduced within this discussion on the ACP forum. http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/time-to-reject-caricatured-view-of-nuns-1.3088148
    As Sr Una puts it: “The derision with which the word ‘nun’ has been spoken on Irish television has cut to the heart of many who have put their lives on the line for values that are foundational to human flourishing . . . It is not nun-like to blow one’s own trumpet, yet no one is likely to do it for us, though many in high places have reason to be grateful.”

  40. Seamus Ahearne

    Joe @ 30
    A sentence from Joe O Leary is most impressive and rather essential in any of our present discussions on Church matters.

    “The Bible is a much greater world than the petty prescriptions to which a limited hermeneutics has reduced it.”

    If only that sentence was taken to heart; we would have a very different Church. Gabriel’s article also arises out of an incarnational and organic understanding of how ‘the word of God’, evolves and grows as a living Word.
    Seamus Ahearne OSA

  41. Kevin Walters

    Joe O’Leary @38

    “Onan’s motive is clear in Gen 38”

    Yes I took his motive for granted in our dialogue, nevertheless Onan could have refused (Been seen not to be capable of fulfilling his duty) Hence humiliation.
    The sexual morality is in the fact that that he abused the legitimate marriage to Tamar her morals or lack of them does not mitigate Onan’s actions

    But Onan was capable so he choose instead (To save face) to defiled the lawful sexual union between himself and his dead brother’s wife in the spilling of his own seed on the ground he not only defiled himself he violated his brother’s wife and dishonoured his brother.
    He defiled the marriage bed (coitus interruptus) out of Pride and this Pride was driven by greed.

    We see the beauty of our Christian heritage (teachings) in that the marriage was not consummated he used his wife for his own ends with no intention for the procreation of children what he did, today would be grounds for an annulment.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  42. Paddy Ferry

    Kevin, you said @37 above that “the Church cannot change its teaching ” I thought you might be interested in this piece (below) from this weeks Tablet

    Official teaching has changed throughout the whole history of the Church 18 May 2017 | by Sara Maitland

    I find myself darkly baffled by the – to me bizarre – conviction held by clearly honest and profoundly faithful Catholics – including many theologically well-trained highly placed clerics – that the teaching of the Church cannot change. I am baffled on two levels simultaneously: in the first place it is patently untrue, and more seriously I don’t understand why anyone sane would want it to be true.

    Official teaching – not just on ethics, but on fundamental doctrine – has changed (or “developed” to the point that it might more honestly be called changed) throughout the whole history of the Church. Perhaps the most egregious example was in 1014 when Pope Benedict VIII officially inserted the “filioque” clause into the Nicene Creed, in contradiction of the ecumenical councils and in the knowledge that this would be deeply offensive to the Churches of the East. The “procession of the Holy Spirit”, and therefore the “economy” of the Trinity, is a major, central theological issue, part of our primary orthodox understanding of the person and nature of God – and it changed.

    The Church has changed its teaching on the geocentric universe. In 1615 the Inquisition declared that heliocentrism was “foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture”. In 1992, after “only” nearly 400 years, John Paul II officially announced that Galileo had been wrongly condemned. Do people who believe that the Church’s teaching cannot change hold out for a pre-Copernican universe?

    The Church has changed its teaching on witchcraft more than once. From about the eighth to the tenth centuries it was the belief that witches existed that was wrong, criminal and even heretical. After Malleus Maleficarum was published in 1487, the Church taught that witches did indeed exist, were heretical, could be tortured and should be burned. Not many of even the most conservative Catholics think that now (I hope).

    The Church has changed its teaching on which was the first Gospel to be written, on evolution, on slavery, on the morality of trade unionism, on the status of Judaism, on interest on loans, on whether or not women can vote, on whether Origen is a saint and on how long you should fast before receiving Communion (for example!).

    And on marriage. For more than half its temporal existence the Western Church has not even been sure if marriage was a sacrament at all. The first official declaration that marriage was a sacrament did not occur until 1184 at the Council of Verona. Until as recently as 1907 a marriage did not need a priest or even any witnesses to be valid. No one (except her ex-husband) seems to have had much problem with Radegund leaving her marriage and taking monastic vows instead; the Church made her a deacon in order to protect her from his attempts to get her back. The Byzantine Emperor gave her a relic of the True Cross and she was canonised very promptly after her death in 587.

    But, for me, it is not just that manifestly the Church’s teaching does change (though usually very slowly); I find it delightful, proper and enriching that it changes. This is because both as individuals and particularly as a Church we are in a love-relationship with God; the relationship is – to push language to the deepest level of metaphor and almost to the point of collapse – spousal. And if you talk to two people who have been married, or who have been in love with each other for a long time, they will often speak of “always learning something new about him”, “she can still really surprise me” or “it’s an ongoing conversation – it deepens and deepens”. Such blessed people are talking about a relationship that is dynamic not static, increasing not diminishing, exciting not repressive. It is not that the beloved has “changed” into someone else, it is that our capacity to see, to know, to understand has expanded, refreshed itself.

    As so often, Jesus gives us the best images: “Indeed, the water I give you will become a fount of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:12-14). The water that flows out of a fountain, or natural spring, is never stagnant – the water is fresh and new and yet the fountain is the same fountain each time you drink from it. Or as the Breviary puts it: “You are unchanging, always new” (Prayer during the Day; Friday Week 3). And what is so terrible about that?

  43. Phil Greene

    Kevin @ 37 Phil to my knowledge and without detracting from what you say none of the mothers within my family structure died from physical and emotional exhaustion due to child bearing it may have contributed to their overall general heath as it also may have on the fathers due to hard labour, poverty and emotional anxiety.

    Kevin you are right , amendments are as follows – multiple childbirths are a major contribution to both physical and emotional pain and exhaustion. Fathers also suffer as they try to feed their large families and provide them with a decent standard of living and education.
    To Joe O’Leary @7 and Anne @ 34 and 35 – well said.
    After making the adult decision to use contraceptives throughout my adult life and with no regrets for doing so it appear’s Kevin from your posts that I am damned for doing so ? I think I would have been damned if i had not done so! Paddy Ferry’s post @ 42 is very welcome at this juncture.
    This debate will continue, and adults will continue to make choices that affect both them and their children regardless of this debate; hopefully the choice of family planning methods will be available sooner rather than later to third world countries.. where the problems are so much greater in so many different ways…sin has so many definitions and takes so many forms..

  44. Kevin Walters

    Paddy Ferry @42

    Thank you Paddy for taking the trouble to write such a comprehensive response I will not be able to respond to the totality of all the individual points that you have made so I will respond to what I believe are the key points that I need to convey to justify my stance while endeavouring to keep the dialogue concise.

    “the Church cannot change its teaching ”———-

    The full context of my statement the “Church cannot change her teaching” on HV, the reason for this is it springs from innate knowledge.

    “As so often, Jesus gives us the best images: “Indeed, the water I give you will become a fount of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:12-14).
    The water that flows out of a fountain, or natural spring, is never stagnant – the water is fresh and new and yet the fountain is the same fountain each time you drink from it. Or as the Breviary puts it: “You are unchanging, always new” (Prayer during the Day; Friday Week 3). And what is so terrible about that?”———–

    Yes of course the Church can change her teachings as she grows and develops but she cannot compromise innate knowledge, if she does so it will be rejected by men of good conscience she can only enhance it, this enhancement is seen within HV with the introduction NFP. As we are born with innate knowledge we know right from wrong and this knowledge originates from the unchanging inviolate Word (Will) of God invigorated by His living Word within the Gospels and runs crystal clear, it will never stagnant while ever our hearts remain true (Pure) to it, as the fountain of life wells up into eternal life. We all change and know decay, yes “He is unchanging always new” and especially so to each new generation.

    “and on marriage. For more than half its temporal existence the Western Church has not even been sure if marriage was a sacrament at all”————-

    Sacraments were developed over time and enhance our innate knowledge
    A Priest cannot marry you as the couple marry themselves on consummation, the full mutual freely given open unhindered commitment to the life process. “What God has joined together let no man put asunder” The Sacrament of matrimony cannot be broken.

    The Church has inserted “filioque” clause into the Nicene Creed the trinity understanding of the person and nature of God”———

    But it does not infringe on our conscience this teaching is not know innately we accept it in faith

    “The Church has changed its teaching on the on evolution, geocentric universe etc”————–

    This knowledge is not innate and is changeable it does not Contradict the Word of God within the Gospels
    .
    “The Church has changed its teaching on slavery”———–

    I have taken my cue to respond from this link below and it needs to be read
    http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/common-misconceptions/let-my-people-go-the-catholic-church-and-slavery.html
    From the link
    “Another reason may have been the precarious position of the Catholic Church in America before the twentieth century. Catholics were a small and much-despised minority. They were subject to repeated, sometimes violent attacks by Protestant Nativists. In many ways, the American hierarchy of the day was trying to protect the Catholics immigrating to the U.S. and did not regard itself as in a position to be the leader in a major social crusade”.

    But the credibility of this statement is trounced with this, see link below

    https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/georgetown-liturgy-contrition-honors-enslaved
    From the link
    “In partnership with the Washington Archdiocese and the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, Georgetown University held a public spiritual ceremony and building dedication April 18 to honor the 272 enslaved people that Jesuits in Maryland had sold to Louisiana plantation owners in 1838”.

    The article gives an overall picture of slavery throughout the ages and the Churches response (Teachings) in regards to it. And concludes with this statement
    “The Church’s consistent teaching that all men are made in Gods image and are called to redemption in Christ has helped give rise to the modern notion of human rights and equality ideas diametrically opposed to chattel slavery and that have led to a great diminishment in its practice”.

    I agree with this statement but the article is bias in that it does not go to the heart of the problem that is one of the abuses of power of the elite augmented by unaccountability manifest as a self-serving culture of clericalism. It is defection from the full reality of the leadership of the church in the past in regards to slavery and this points us also to the treatment of indigenous peoples.

    We are made in the image of God we have innate knowledge while ever we have men of good conscience within and outside of the Church this knowledge will reveal it’s self in the serving of the truth.

    The inviolate Word of God which emanates from The mind/heart of Jesus Christ can only be absorbed by serving the Truth within the heart, His direct teaching in the gospels are not open for debate, His expounding of The Ten commandments are inviting — challenging — our sinful hearts into a confrontation with the Truth,

    In regards to HV I have proposed a way to solve this dilemma as the church cannot change her teaching as it emanates from innate knowledge, if my proposal were to be accepted the Church would be able to show the true face of Jesus Christ, a God who is just and merciful at the same time.
    A loving God who holds us accountable to the consequences of our choices encourages us to grow up and inspires our cooperation and as we do so, provide the grace to confirm our efforts.
    My proposal which no one seems to wants to respond to, if accepted would create a culture of life, while at the same time permitting the use of contraception, but the price to pay is an act of humility.

    Is this act of humility too much to ask?

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  45. Paddy Ferry

    “The majority of Catholics may use contraception but the Faithful acknowledge it as a sin.” Kevin, you made this statement @28 above, and perhaps elsewhere as well, and I simply want to assaure you that that is simply not the case. The 92% of practising Catholic couples in the US AND Europe, who do not accept the core teaching of HV are at one with Phil@43

  46. Paddy Ferry

    Kevin, thank you for your detailed response @44. I had submitted my post @45 before your post@44 appeared.

  47. Joe O'Leary

    “The sexual morality is in the fact that that he abused the legitimate marriage to Tamar her morals or lack of them does not mitigate Onan’s actions”

    Actually Genesis does not condemn Tamar for seducing her father-in-law, but sees her as asserting her rights. Judah ruefully admits that she is in the right. Judah had sex with her only once, but this had important consequences: “Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar…” (Matthew 1:3).

  48. Kevin Walters

    Paddy Ferry@ 45

    Paddy you appear to have made this statement at the same time as I responded to you (Only one day later) @ 44 hardly time to let the ink dry.

    “The 92% of practising Catholic couples in the US AND Europe, who do not accept the core teaching of HV” ——–

    That may be the case but that does not necessitate that some do not see it as a sin.

    My proposal offers a way forward and is based on one of humility giving the Church the freedom to show the merciful face of Jesus Christ and in His mercy alleviate some of the suffering (Aids etc) especially in third world counties now in the present moment.
    Perhaps you would consider responding to my overall question

    Is this act of humility too much to ask?

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  49. Lloyd Allan MacPherson

    If economic factors haven’t been considered, any ruling that has been made for Catholics as a tenet of our religion, is completely misplaced in this day and age. Contraception among humans is mostly guided by economics Kevin. If there is a sin, then it is not at the feet of those who plan and create strategy for economic reasons. Humans, when faced with the decision making of supporting their families, usually act intelligently with an eye on the future.

    The female caribou in northern Canada will specifically not eat lichen (high in fructose and the fuel that nourishes a fetus) to reject the formation of the baby if conditions are not favourable for birth. Contraception, as we now understand, is natural process, although we as a creative entity as human beings, have assured the process in ways only our species can. Sadly, if somehow 1.2 billion people decided that contraception was going to be a thing of the past, the planet could not deal with such a population bump at this fragile state in our evolution.

    That, Kevin @ 44, would be the ultimate sin at this stage.

  50. Kevin Walters

    Phil Greene @43
    Thank you Phil for your comment my opening statement to your Post@31

    “Thank you Phil and Ann for your comments I feel that the two of you have misunderstood or not read all my Posts and links as you seem to have ignored my proposal, that is, away forward with HV based on humility.
    This proposal also incorporates love and compassion for all those who cannot receive the sacrament of absolution, for whatever reason apart from the sin against the Holy Spirit”——————-

    To clarify the above statement
    This proposal incorporates compassion for so many Catholics male and female, who in good conscience acknowledged within their own hearts that they could not live to the standards set by HV often dividing partners and in doing so many left the church and are now entangled in sinful situations (Unable to receive absolution). My proposal would enable them to receive the Sacrament of Holy communion and in doing so draw them back into the Church and yes salvation..
    I had assumed that this would have drawn out the compassion within your heart as you appear with Anne to have been able to square you consciences but I am sure you would acknowledge that many over the last fifty years have not been able to do so and that you too would want to ease their burden, as I do.

    I then followed up with an example demonstrating some of the positives within large families I was not trying to diminish the suffering of your mother or of Anne’s difficult pregnancies and I sincerely apologise to the both of you for any misunderstanding.

    My proposal offers a way forward and is based on one of humility giving the Church the freedom to show the merciful face of Jesus Christ and in His mercy alleviate some of the suffering (Aids etc) especially in third world counties now in the present moment.
    Perhaps you and Ann would reconsider responding to my overall question

    Is this act of humility too much to ask?

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  51. Joe O'Leary

    I was reading the ravings of the Flat Earthers in Christ society, and they make one interesting point: if the Bible authors got it wrong about the flatness of the earth why should we believe them on anything else?

    Theologians have long been aware of the need of demythologization, but it is a highly dangerous and difficult strategy. Before long people were targeting “the myth of God incarnate” and the very myth of God as such.

    This is the major issue for theological hermeneutics — holding together clear insight into the human, historical, error-ridden texture of our inherited languages of faith on the one hand and conviction of the ultimate reality of God and Christ as borne in upon our minds and hearts on the other.

  52. Rory Connor

    Eddie @39
    I agree it’s a pity that the ACP Leadership diverted discussion on their National Maternity Hospital (NMH) statement to this thread. The “cooling-off” period called for by Health Minister Simon Harris, will come to an end shortly and we will probably face another barrage of hate-filled rhetoric directed at the Church and the Sisters of Charity. The discussion re Humanae Vitae is of limited relevance in this context.

    Anyway I have just re-located Breda O’Brien’s article in the Irish Times regarding the abuse being hurled at the Sisters of Charity. Dated 6 May, the heading is “Mob Mentality Over Religious Orders Has Gone Too Far”. She quotes Professor Roy Greenslade regarding the way the McCann parents were treated after the disappearance of their daughter Madelaine (and the current hysteria is similar).
    It was like being in front of a mob – and you realized there is no wisdom in the mob. And it’s been terrible since”.

    Ms O’Brien compares the atmosphere to that which led to the false conviction for rape of (former Sister of Mercy) Nora Wall who was accused of holding down a 12 year old girl so that the equally innocent Paul (Pablo) McCabe could rape her. She reminds us that both were convicted in the immediate aftermath of RTE’s broadcast of Mary Raftery’s “States of Fear” programmes in 1999. She could well have added that both were accused shortly after the broadcast by RTE of the “Dear Daughter” programme in 1996.

    Nora Wall was the first woman in the State to be convicted of rape, the first person to receive a life sentence for rape, the first to be convicted of evidence given after “recovered memory”. These are “firsts” but there is also an “only”. There were TWO rape allegations against Wall and McCabe, one supposedly having occurred on the “victim’s” 12th birthday. Pablo McCabe was a homeless man but by an extra-ordinary chance there WAS an official record of where he was on that that particular day – and it was nowhere near the site of the “rape”. No problem for the jury. They acquitted the two defendants of that rape but convicted them of the second one for which no specific date was given! I think I can safely state that this is the ONLY time in the history of the State in which such an event has occurred – or will ever occur. An accused person is supposed to be “innocent until proven guilty” and if an accuser tells an obvious lie, then that should be the end for the prosecution. In fact the Prosecution were able to overcome that obstacle because Nora Wall had been a nun and anti-clerical hysteria trumped every rational consideration!

    Anti-clerical hysteria continues to triumph over reason and morality in “liberal” secular Ireland. Breda O’Brien also refers to RTE’s libelling of Fr Kevin Reynolds in May 2011 by accusing him of impregnating and abandoning a young Kenyan woman. Fr Reynolds offered to take a DNA test but RTE ignored the offer and went ahead with the broadcast anyway – thus exposing themselves to a huge libel payout. Note that a NORMAL conman (i.e. one motivated by the desire for money or fame) would have seen the alarm signals and backed out at that stage but people motivated by ideological hatred (in the form of anti-clericalism) behave differently.

    Am I being too strident? Well an earlier Irish Times article by Breda O’Brien regarding Judge Harding Clark’s report on the Symphysiotomy “scandal” is also relevant here. How many people still recall this fake scandal that occupied media headlines for a mere 17 years – prior to the publication of the judge’s report in November 2016?
    http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/breda-o-brien-why-did-so-many-women-say-they-had-symphysiotomies-1.2882141

    Why Did So Many Women Say They Had Symphysiotomies?
    Sensationalist consensus may overlook one third of applicants who never had procedure.

    ……But medical experts proved that a third of those who made applications, including some very vociferous and active campaigners, had never had the procedure at all.

    Other applicants claimed to have had it in hospitals that were not yet built, or to have had it carried out by doctors who were not there, and “in several statements the applicant claimed being held down by nuns (in hospitals where there were no nuns) while she was being ‘assaulted’.”…..

    Again this has an obvious link to the false allegations against Nora Wall and Pablo McCabe. It also helps to explain the thuggish rhetoric being directed at the Sisters of Charity today.

  53. Phil Greene

    Kevin @51
    It’s been such a strange day Kevin, lives changed forever, and so many dying so young.. there is so little sense to what happened in Manchester today.. and perhaps something similar has happened somewhere else but we will never hear of it..
    I know you meant nothing bad when giving your example, and my life was by no means all doom and gloom , my family of course have had, and will continue to have happy times together ..but my earlier posts regarding the toll it takes on a woman’s health will not change.
    Whatever course I have taken in my life I will also accept the consequences of my actions. The minority of Catholics who have difficulties can talk to their pastors. The Church in general, in our society anyway , has lost credibility in so many ways as an institution that, in my opinion, the general public are waiting for the Church to heal itself first before taking heed of any “new” preaching being foisted upon them, as they would see it.. As the church is in no hurry to heal itself we probably won’t be around to see the next peak in people’s faith.(except in isolated instances where sometimes the priests energy and charisma is the driving force perhaps rather than a deepening of Faith, I am qualifying this by saying sometimes, not always.. and recognising that this is part of our human nature.)
    Humility .. such a big word.. it can make us strong..it can make us so weak.. I feel like saying you can judge me on that Kevin , but I don’t think you will , as you are always very respectful to us and looking at the posts I can see you are respected in return. You seek Truth and you want to heal us all by following this Truth.
    The Church preaches humility but its pride is pulling it apart, we cannot expect priests to tell people what to do as people will no longer listen, it is not fair to ask priests to do this at present, not on their own..
    If these posts were shared emails in work we would by now have been told to sit in a room together and talk face-to-face. This type of communication has its limits as you know and must frustratingly feel on various levels. I am going to end my part of this conversation as I have spoken as much as I can about it. Thank you for replying and clarifying previous posts and ensuring that no perceived upset went unaddressed.

  54. Kevin Walters

    Phil Greene @53

    Thank you Phil for your reconciliatory comments and self-effacing thoughts but in essence I do not believe there is or was a concrete divide between us, just mutual strong feelings of hurt on the ridged teachings of the Church which we both have/are trying to resolve from our own dispositions.

    Yes the church has lost credibility in so many ways as an institution and because of this many cultural Catholics have been drawn into the Mob as they have been unable to stand against the claim of moral hypocrisy and unaccountability and for this reason the record of selfless service of the vast majority of religious men and woman is now in the present moment been expunged from public consciousness.

    I agree with your opinion, “the general public are waiting for the Church to heal itself” and yes “The Church preaches humility but its pride is pulling it apart, we cannot expect priests to tell people what to do as people will no longer listen, it is not fair to ask priests to do this at present, not on their own”

    I agree leadership is so badly needed, many bishops at this moment in time will be going through a traumatic period. I believe this teaching by Jesus provides a way forward for them

    “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”

    Taken from a Post on the net
    “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

    “I don’t doubt that Jesus found His way of compassionate, forgiving and unconditional love “difficult” at times”————————————-

    My reflection on Jesus in His human nature is that He had to struggle with the reality of sin He would have been aware of its corrupting influence on the human heart and would have had to struggle with it; He would know the inner reality of every man in the reality of Himself as a fallen man.
    With this struggle with His own human reality in humility He would see His own human nature and because of this “difficulty” does not come into the equation as it is a known reality in that he sees himself in those who persecute Him he “knows” what they do hence

    “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

    The basis for the journey of unconditional love is one of humility (St Bernard-Humility a virtue by which a man knowing himself as he truly is abases himself).
    We see ourselves in our brother and in doing so see him with a compassionate heart we can do no other as we know his heart as we know our own.

    “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”

    For me this statement by Jesus is saying that He knows the reality of His human nature and because of this he knows ours.

    Can the leadership of the Church accept (Embrace) their own fallen human nature and acknowledge it openly before mankind as He Himself has given them the means to do so and in doing so lead in humility as our Lord and Master Does?

    “The general public are waiting for the Church to heal itself first before taking heed of any “new” preaching being foisted upon them”

    If the Church embraces humility they will be no need to preach as they will be lead.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  55. Anne

    Kevin @ 51
    I do not fully understand what you mean . I changed my views on HV based on 25 years experience of living the reality of multiple pregnancies. Where it may be an ideal method for some people it is not for everybody. I do not judge anyone.
    In case you may have got the wrong impression I adore my large family ,when we are all together ,I feel like I have a little piece of heaven on earth. I know how fortunate I was to to have a comfortable lifestyle and to be in a position to rear and educate them all. I am in the best of health .
    I have great empathy and compassion for those people in the world who through no fault of their own ,live in war torn and poor countries , refugees etc and those who are in desperate situations. To deny these people the means to plan their families is beyond cruel. I have seen clips on TV of thousands of children whose destiny seems to be foraging through rubbish dumps to find items to seek for a few pence to enable them to eat , children who have no prospect of an education.There lies the real sin of mans inhumanity to man.

  56. Kevin Walters

    Anne @ 55

    “I do not fully understand what you mean”

    Anne I apologize for any misunderstanding I believe this has accrued due to my laziness as I incorporated my replies to you and Phil in a single post whereas I should have given you the dignity you most certainly deserve by responding directly to you. I ask myself would I have done that if you had been a man and in this reflection I respond to your previous comment.

    “But then what do we expect in a male dominated celibate clergy and a Church where the voices of women are not heard”.

    Yes women should have a more proactive voice in the Church absolutely.

    Yes there is great suffering in the world and I believe that we both want to help to relieve it but we are coming from opposite directions you believe contraception will alleviate suffering but it also has to be acknowledged it undermines the churches moral teachings which I believe will/does lead us into a downward spiral one of relativism.
    Given that the church has great influence in third world counties and I believe cannot change her teaching is my proposal (that no one seems to want to respond to directly) if it were to be accepted would create a culture of life while at the same time permit the use of contraception, but the price to pay is an act of humility.

    Is this act of humility too much to ask?

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  57. Rory Connor

    I see there are two articles in the Irish Medical Times on the National Maternity Hospital controversy – both significant in their own way and I commented on the one by Doctor Ruairi Hanley “Minister Build That Hospital”. http://www.imt.ie/opinion/minister-build-that-hospital-10-05-2017/#comment-15258

    You have to register (although there is no charge) so I will quote what I see as the most important section:

    ….Regrettably, there is another factor in this dispute that has taken us beyond mere clinical disagreement. Over the past month, a baying liberal cyber mob has entered the fray and all sense of perspective has been lost. Please note, I am not referring here to those colleagues who have genuine concerns about this project. As already stated, I disagree with these people, but I respect their view.

    No, the group that I find beyond parody are the extreme liberal, Catholic-hating online brigade who appear to think that a giant abortion clinic is the most important priority for South Dublin. I suspect some of these people will not be satisfied until a few nuns are imprisoned and the Catholic Church is effectively eradicated from any involvement in Irish society.

    Liberal outrage
    The vicious, obnoxious tone of some members of this new mob is truly appalling. They have turned on Dr Rhona Mahony, an outstanding and dedicated obstetrician who is a role model for Irish women. But, let’s be honest, the cool gang could not care less about the facts. Once they heard mention of nuns the red mist descended and it was then we moved to a classic liberal outrage contest.

    For these individuals, online perception is always more important than clinical outcome. In their world it is apparently acceptable for this project to be sabotaged, with negative consequences for women and children, so long as a few elderly nuns get a good cyber-kicking.

    Naturally, if the mob gets their way the hospital will be delayed at a cost of tens of millions of euro to the taxpayer. In my opinion, this would undoubtedly be the most expensive act of online ‘virtue signalling’ in human history. [My emphasis]

    As an aside, I make no apologies for pointing out that the Catholic Church has done enormous good work in healthcare for the poorest in society over the past century, even if I am one of the only doctors in Ireland willing to say this publicly. …..

  58. Rory Connor

    The second article in the Irish Medical Times “A Complicated Delivery” (by editor Dara Gantly) is equally significant – although for slightly different reasons.
    http://www.imt.ie/opinion/editorial/a-complicated-delivery-10-05-2017/
    In relation to the ownership issue Dara Gantly writes that
    …..Talk is now of a possible long-term lease (999 years anyone?) at a nominal or ‘peppercorn rent’.

    It’s a curious development, given that the terms of agreement between the Holles Street and the St Vincent’s Hospital Group (SVHG) clearly stated that both hospitals realised this mediation process represented “the final opportunity to reach agreement on the project”, and that the Minister previously didn’t want to renegotiate it. …..

    Indeed and if the Sisters of Charity are so foolish as to agree to this further re-negotiation of the Agreement, the “baying mob” referred to by Doctor Ruairi Hanley [comment #56] will declare themselves vindicated and victorious. And let not the Sisters suppose that the mob will be content with their victory!

    Mr Gantly concludes his article with the following:
    …What is of further interest now is that the Minister [for Health] wants to begin a “broader conversation” about the structure of our health service, including the role of voluntary hospitals and the interest religious congregations have in them. This has been happening in education (slowly mind), so we should not be too surprised to see it start in Health.

    “That is a good thing and I want to separately put in place a process to facilitate that broader conversation which is long overdue and which will, rightfully, take some time,” Minister Harris has noted. ..

    And what will be the nature of this conversation IF Minister Harris sees that the Sisters of Charity and the Church will not stand up for themselves but will attempt to conciliate the mob? When politicians and the media claimed that the Sisters owed €3 million in “compensation”, it was not the Minister for Health, but a Daily Mail journalist who queried the Department of Education and discovered that the Sisters owed nothing and in fact had over-paid![See comment # 32]

    If the Sisters of Charity attempt to appease the mob in relation to the National Maternity Hospital, then reason and logic will NOT feature in the future “broader conversation” referred to by Simon Harris!


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