Whether some people choose to like it or not, it is a fact that this is a Catholic country and the clergy are the moral and ethical guides for the people. It is they who lay down what is acceptable and what is not, and the people have a duty and responsibility to obey their guidance.
If a simple priest such as myself can be imbued with such wisdom through the Divine intervention of the Holy Spirit, how much more we should respect the authority of a Prince such as the Archbishop of Dublin, a man who has rubbed shoulders with Popes and Cardinals!
I was gratified to see a statement by my old pal Brendan Kelly, Bishop of Achonry, a man never known for pulling his punches. I could tell you a story or two about the things we got up to in the seminary.
Brendan was incensed at the suggestion that religious instruction should be downgraded in our Primary schools and asked publicly the following question:
“Are we to exclude the things that move our hearts most deeply and form the pillars of our Irish character and culture and conscience from our schools?”
Good man yourself, Brendan! Well said! I could not agree more wholeheartedly. Without the Holy, Roman, Catholic and Apostolic church, a man cannot have an Irish character. Nor can he claim to have a culture and he is undoubtedly without a conscience, since he has no True Light to guide him.
It was therefore with some dismay that I noted coverage of that crippled man, Doyle, showing such disrespect to Archbishop Diarmuid and to his exalted Guest from Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley as they prostrated themselves in a sign of repentance for the administrative errors of a small number of clergy.
Much though I feel for Mr Doyle, the fact that he is a cripple cannot excuse his brazen effrontery in demanding to speak with two Princes of the Church.
Demanded, mind you! As if he had some right to speak with a man who is in every way above him.
Fortunately for the dignity of the occasion, a sharp-eyed steward intervened and quite properly ordered a Garda to block Mr Doyle’s access to the Pro-Cathedral. This is just as well, and the Garda may even have done Mr Doyle a favour, by preventing him from making an ugly scene inside the church, which would not only be unseemly, but also a grave sin in the eyes of God, for it is not permissible to question the word of a Bishop (let alone a Cardinal!) before the eyes of the people.
Thus we have the unlikely outcome that, far from acting as a policeman, the kindly Garda undertook the role of moral guide, and saved Mr Doyle from gaining a stain on his immortal soul.
Ha ha. If we priests are not careful, we might find ourselves out of a job.