Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, gave an interview to the BBC in which he expressed the opinion that the Irish Catholic church had lost all credibility.
I can see you shaking your head in bewilderment.
What’s your point? I hear you saying. Isn’t he right?
Well, that’s what I was thinking too. After all this is an organisation that first of all denies it’s an organisation and pretends instead to be a bunch of independent bishops. And this non-organisation is responsible for hiding the worst sort of crimes against children and for protecting the criminals.
We know this because of properly-constituted investigations whose findings are documented for everyone to see.
We know that these people for generations have imposed their will on the Irish people while simultaneously raping their children.
This is a thing that would undermine the credibility any organisation. After all, if Anglo-Irish Bank executives had been raping children, it wouldn’t be getting government billions today. Its executives would all be in jail, and yet, Anglo which was involved in financial criminality and not in child abuse, has no credibility at all. None.
So why would you be surprised that an organisation hiding child rape might have no credibility?
Here we go, then.
Archbishop Rowan Williams says as follows, in the course of an interview:
I was speaking to an Irish friend recently who was saying that it’s quite difficult in some parts of Ireland to go down the street wearing a clerical collar now. And an institution so deeply bound into the life of a society, suddenly becoming, suddenly losing all credibility — that’s not just a problem for the church, it is a problem for everybody in Ireland, I think.
Well, he’s right and he’s wrong.
The wrong bit is that it’s a problem for the people of Ireland. It isn’t. It’s a problem for the people who imposed their will on us for all these years. A big, big problem that will result in their destruction as a force in Ireland.
The correct bit is that they have lost all credibility. Despite the efforts of Diarmuid Martin, this organisation has no moral authority whatever left. It doesn’t matter that individuals, no matter how many in the clergy, are trying to salvage something from the disaster. They are sunk. Nobody believes anything they say.
And therefore, Rowan Martin is correct.
The Catholic church in Ireland has no credibility, just as the Pope suggested in his recent letter to his bishops.
Why are Irish people so upset about an English cleric saying this when a German bishop has said more or less the same thing, even if this German cleric happens to be the pope?
More to the point, why are senior clerics in the Church of Ireland so upset at a fellow member of the Anglican Communion speaking the truth? Isn’t that the job of a man in Rowan Williams’s position?