Enda Kenny’s Speech Criticising Vatican

Unprecedented challenge to Holy See by Irish leader

Toiseach Enda Kenny today delivered a speech in the Dáil, in which he accused the Vatican of attempting to frustrate an Inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic, of dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and narcissism, of downplaying the rape and torture of children  to uphold the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and ‘reputation.

Last week, we heard a son of Papal Knight, Oliver J Flanagan, calling for the expulsion of the  Apostolic Nuncio, and now Kenny’s speech.  This is  extraordinary stuff to hear expressed by an Irish prime minister in the Irish national parliament.

Far from listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal with St Benedict’s ‘ear of the heart‘, said Kenny, the Vatican’s reaction was to parse and analyse it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer.

… this is not Rome, Kenny says.  Nor is it industrial-school or Magdalene Ireland, where the swish of a soutane smothered conscience and humanity and the swing of a thurible ruled the Irish-Catholic world.  This is the ‘Republic’ of Ireland 2011, a Republic of laws, of rights and responsibilities, of proper civic order where the delinquency and arrogance of a particular version of a particular kind of ‘morality’ will no longer be tolerated or ignored.

And again :

through our legislation, through our Government’s action to put Children First., those who have been abused can take some small comfort in knowing that they belong to a nation, to a democracy where humanity, power, rights, responsibility are enshrined and enacted, always….always…. for their good.

Where the law – their law – as citizens of this country, will always supercede canon laws that have neither legitimacy nor place in the affairs of this country.

And finally : the standards of conduct which the Church deems appropriate to itself, cannot and will not, be applied to the workings of democracy and civil society in this republic.

I have to tell you, I never truly believed I’d live to see this day.  I begin to hope that, through its arrogance, the Vatican has finally overplayed its hand and the power of Rome in Ireland may finally be broken.

Could it be true that these unhappy, sexually repressed old men will at long last be challenged properly in this democracy?

For generations, this country has been dictated to by a cadre of depressive geriatric alcoholics who sought to lay down the law on everything from women’s health and people’s private marital arrangements even to the point of telling us what books we may read.  Imagine a small bunch of dysfunctional, celibate men who have never in their entire lives experienced human warmth dictating to an entire nation of grown men and women. The agents of this foreign state, the Vatican, downplayed the rape of children, and yet its agents stil control more than nine in ten of our schools.

If the State has finally escaped from its Catholic Year Zero, the time has come to remove these people from control of our children.

Don’t ask them to go.  Tell them they’re gone.

Do it now.  Cut them out and let Ireland begin to recover from 150 years of clericalism.

Let’s get it over with.



This is the full text of the speech:

I move the motion.

The revelations of the Cloyne report have brought the Government, Irish  Catholics and the Vatican to an unprecedented juncture.

It’s fair to say that after the Ryan and Murphy Reports Ireland is, perhaps, unshockable when it comes to the abuse of children.

But Cloyne has proved to be of a different order.

Because for the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual-abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See, to frustrate an Inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic…as little as three years ago, not three decades ago.

And in doing so, the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism….the narcissism …….that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.

The rape and torture of children were downplayed or ‘managed’ to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and ‘reputation’.

Far from listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal with St Benedict’s “ear of the heart”……the Vatican’s reaction was to parse and analyse it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer.

This calculated, withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded.

The radicalism, humility and compassion which are the very essence of its foundation and purpose.

The behaviour being a case of Roma locuta est: causa finita est.

Except in this instance, nothing could be further from the truth.

Cloyne’s revelations are heart-breaking. It describes how many victims continued to live in the small towns and parishes in which they were reared and in which they were abused… Their abuser often still in the area and still held in high regard by their families and the community. The abusers continued to officiate at family weddings and funerals… In one case, the abuser even officiated at the victim’s own wedding…

There is little I or anyone else in this House can say to comfort that victim or others, however much we want to. But we can and do recognise the bravery of all of the victims who told their stories to the Commission.

While it will take a long time for Cloyne to recover from the horrors uncovered, it could take the victims and their families a lifetime to pick up the pieces of their shattered existence.

Papal Nuncio
A day post-publication, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade met with the Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza.

The Tánaiste left the Archbishop clear on two things: The gravity of the actions and attitude of the Holy See. And Ireland’s complete rejection and abhorrence of same.

The Papal Nuncio undertook to present the Cloyne Report to the Vatican.

The Government awaits the considered response of the Holy See.

I believe that the Irish people, including the very many faithful Catholics who – like me – have been shocked and dismayed by the repeated failings of Church authorities to face up to what is required, deserve and require confirmation from the Vatican that they do accept, endorse and require compliance by all Church authorities here with, the obligations to report all cases of suspected abuse, whether current or historical, to the
State’s authorities in line with the Children First National Guidance which will have the force of law.

Clericalism has rendered some of Ireland’s brightest, most privileged and powerful men, either unwilling or unable to address the horrors cited in the Ryan and Murphy Reports. This Roman Clericalism must be devastating for good priests…. some of them old… others struggling to keep their humanity….even their sanity……..as they work so hard…..to be the keepers of the Church’s light and goodness within their parishes…… communities… the human

Church & State
But thankfully for them, and for us, this is not Rome. Nor is it industrial-school or Magdalene Ireland, where the swish of a soutane smothered conscience and humanity and the swing of a thurible ruled the Irish-Catholic world.
This is the ‘Republic’ of Ireland 2011.

A Republic of laws…..of rights and responsibilities….of proper civic order….. where the delinquency and arrogance of a particular version….. of a particular kind of ‘morality’….. will no longer be tolerated or ignored.

As a practising Catholic, I don’t say any of this easily. Growing up, many of us in here learned we were part of a pilgrim Church.

Today, that Church needs to be a penitent Church. A church, truly and deeply penitent for the horrors it perpetrated, hid and denied.

In the name of God. But for the good of the institution.

When I say that through our legislation….. through our Government’s action to put Children First…….those who have been abused can take some small comfort in knowing that they belong to a nation…..to a democracy where humanity, power, rights, responsibility, are enshrined and enacted …..always….always…. for their good.

Where the law – their law – as citizens of this country, will always supercede canon laws that have neither legitimacy nor place in the affairs of this country.

This report tells us a tale of a frankly brazen disregard for protecting children. If we do not respond swiftly and appropriately as a State, we will have to prepare ourselves for more reports like this.

I agree with Archbishop Martin that the Church needs to publish any other and all other reports like this as soon as possible.

I must note the Commission is very positive about the work of the National Board for Safeguarding Children, established by the Church to oversee the operation by Dioceses and religious orders. The Commission notes that
all Church authorities were required to sign a contract with the National Board agreeing to implement the relevant standards and that those refusing to sign would be named in the Board’s Annual Report. Progress has been in no small measure to the commitment of Ian Elliott and others.

There is some small comfort to be drawn by the people of Cloyne from the fact that the Commission is complimentary of the efforts made by the Diocese since 2008, in training, in vetting personnel and in the risk
management of Priests against whom allegations have been made. Nevertheless, the behaviour of Bishop Magee and Monsignor O’Callaghan show how fragile even good standards and policies are to the weakness and willful disregard of those who fail to give the right priority to safeguarding our children.

But if the Vatican needs to get its house in order, so does this State.

The Report of the Commission is rightly critical of the entirely unsatisfactory position which the last Government allowed to persist over many years. The unseemly bickering between the Minister for Children and the HSE over the statutory powers to deal with extra-familial abuse, the failure to produce legislation to enable the exchange of soft information as promised after the Ferns Enquiry, and the long period of confusion and disjointed responsibility for child protection within the HSE, as reported by the Commission, are simply not acceptable in a society which values
children and their safety.

For too long Ireland has neglected its children.

Just last week we saw a case of the torture of children, within the family, come before the courts. Just two days ago, we were repulsed by the case of a Donegal registered sex offender…and school caretaker…

Children and young adults reduced to human wreckage. Raising questions and issues of serious import for State agencies.

We are set to embark on a course of action to ensure the State is doing all it can to safeguard our children.

Minister Shatter is bringing forward two pieces of legislation – firstly, to make it an offence to withhold information relating to crimes against children and vulnerable adults; and secondly, at long last, to allow for the exchange of ‘soft information’ on abusers.

As Taoiseach, I want to do all I can to protect the sacred space of childhood and to restore its innocence.

Especially our young teenagers, whom I believe to be children. Because regardless of our current economic crisis, the children of this country are, and always will be, our most precious possession of all.

Safeguarding their integrity and innocence must be a national priority. This is why I undertook to create a Cabinet ministry for Children and Youth Affairs.

The legislation ‘Children First’ proposes to give our children maximum protection and security without intruding on the hectic, magical business of being a child.

Cardinal Josef Ratzinger said “Standards of conduct appropriate to civil society or the workings of a democracy cannot be purely and simply applied to the Church.”

As the Holy See prepares its considered response to the Cloyne Report, I want to make it clear as Taoiseach that when it comes to the protection of the children of this State, the standards of conduct which the Church deems appropriate to itself, cannot and will not, be applied to the workings of democracy and civil society in this republic.

Not purely, or simply or otherwise, because children have to be and will be put first.



44 thoughts on “Enda Kenny’s Speech Criticising Vatican

  1. I congradulate you Toiseach on your truthful and bold speach. The Catholic Church is the way it is because the Irish Government has never stood up to it until today, Dev fostered them to the exclusion of other religions in this country and this was reflected in the teaching’s in the Schools where children were taught that Priests had supernatural powers see (The baltimore cathecism online) the one we were taught in ireland up until the 70s. I take courage from your to the point discource and hope the papal Nuncip and every bishop and priest in Ireland will take note the game is up.

  2. A true sea-change in Irish church state relations. Credit where credit is due. I’m delighted with this speech, even though there has been little much else to like about this government to date.

    And the real kicker? See down there near the end, where he refers to the august person of the Head of the Catholic Church as follows: “Cardinal Josef Ratzinger?” Ouch!

    Sizzling stuff!

  3. “Cardinal Josef Ratzinger said “Standards of conduct appropriate to civil society or the workings of a democracy cannot be purely and simply applied to the Church.”

    Ah, we don’t think so. On yer bike Ratzy.
    Well said Enda.

  4. And who said Enda had no cojones. As direct and cutting a rebuke as parlimentary language would allow. A watershed for Ireland, perhaps we can now become the republic we should always have been. One where its citezens come first not the clergy. Well done Enda.

  5. Great to hear a politician prioritize the welfare of the citizens over those of vested interests.

    Well done Enda indeed.

  6. Some people are saying it’s only words, but these are words rarely heard in any parliament, let alone that of once-atholic Ireland.

  7. As extraordinary and unheard of this speech by an Irish leader was (even German media, at least the Spiegel so far, are reporting it), it still remains to be seen if he can put his words into action.

    It might have been just a speech during the politically low summer break or some well-timed populism distracting from the financial crisis. But if action follows I might gain back some of the respect for the Irish society/establishment which I’ve lost in recent years.

    But still, when I read his speech in the news today I was pleasantly stunned. Surprisingly strongly worded for an Irish teflon politician or any politician at home and abroad.

    If I could witness the downfall of the Vatican it would not only make my day but my life.

  8. i would be one of those who would say its only words. to be of any real significance, some kind of action needs to be taken.expel the nuncio, introduce a tax on them to pay future and past compensation claims, ban the eucharistic games, deny the pope an entry visa. unless some type of action is taken, it will only be a good speech.

  9. Everything starts with words. After all, our constitution is only words. Our laws are only words.

    We have never heard such words before.

  10. I’m trying to find some dignified words to match this solemn occasion but words fail me . So I’l just say “That was one hell of a speech ” He is wellcome to my mountain cabin to dink tea . Thanks Bock for putting this speech up on your excellent site . Even if it is words they have been said by a prime minister to a population from within the parliament who have never heard these words before . It will never be the same again . The Vatican knows this .

  11. Disgraceful comments from a man desparately trying to move on from Roscommon debacle. For God’s sake people, go read what the Vatican actually said and ask yourself if the Taoiseach is being ridiculous or not.

    Vatican’s measured response is here – http://www.zenit.org/article-33112?l=english

  12. Criostoir quotes Vatican’s measured response:
    “A New Stage on the Long and Arduous Journey in Search of Truth”

    Right: Long and Arduous. A Journey. Search of Truth.
    Means: We sit it out. Let them search. We let them search for 2000 years. We decided all along what the truth is anyway.

    Gosh, sometimes I’m just speechless not only about the ignorance of that criminal organisation called the roman church but their supporters as well.

  13. Enda the Sunday churchgoer has reminded the Vatican of the separation of responsibilities implied in that utterance of Jesus: Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.
    I too hope that the Taoiseach will translate his words into state deeds. It is time for the leaders of the Irish state to initiate formal negotiations leading to a Church-State concordat. A concordat would need to outline clearly the competences of the Vatican and the competences of the lawfully established state. The primacy of state law over Canon Law would need to be asserted without ambiguity. Clear structures of consultation between the Vatican and the Irish state, and between the Irish Bishops and the State would need to be delineated and maintained.

  14. Excellent. Finally a man with ba**s taking on the boys in dresses.

    Now it is up to the sovereign citizens of Eire to stop attending ceremonies conducted by the men of God- their God Molach.

    1172 Eire and her people were given to King Henry 11 of England by Pope Adrian 1V at Cashel.

    Now we the people take Eire back and nourish her as we did under our old ways.

    Ir eland = a finished land- so we must stop using that word too – as those who know the occult know every word has a particular energy and meaning.

    We Irish are not a finished land- we are the people of Danu- The Shining Ones- always shining through even in the darkest of moments.

  15. The energy of Enda’s words blow the winds of change.

    The energy speaks- No more rape and torture of children and sacrifice to their God Molach.

    Sure it is hard for the sheeple to wake up and realise that they have been in a cult since birth- not by their own choice either.

    The members are totally brainwashed into beliving about sin=£££.

    Guilt = the gift that keeps on giving.

    Eve- ill womb men .

    Women not allowed on the pyramid of power- because they are complete- fe+male.

    Women supposed to suffer for the sins of men.?

    Children to suffer so the men of Molach can feed off their innocent LIGHT ENERGY.

    Children born in sin because of Eve.

    Men in dresses hearing the word of “god”- anyone else gets locked away for hearing voices.

    Etc, etc, etc

  16. Let me get this clear now. You want us to get rid of one crowd of superstitious witch-doctors and take on a different set of superstitious occult bullshit. Is that it?

  17. I would also like to point out that the Family Courts are run and dictated to by the men of Roma- secret courts that order abused adults and their children home to obey the man of the house because this is a Catholic country and the females and children are possessions with men being used to do the work of the Vatican.

    This is the usual divide and conquer tactic- pit the men against the women and sit back and watch.

    In Eire men and women were always equal under Brehon law.

    These church run Inquisitional courts even order children to be abused, mentally tortured, use ECT- on recommendation of the HSE – for victims of abuse in the family home.

    Then the ECT burns out all memories of the abuse and the children can be placed back with their rapists and abusers.

    The citizens of Eire are mostly clueless, because once again secrecy is the order of the day- supposedly to protect the identity of the children.!

    Again the SECRECY.

    Solicitors advise protective parents NOT TO MENTION CHILD RAPE OR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN COURT or they will loose custody to the abuser.

    The judges are – to quote 2 solicitors ” sick to fu**ing death of hearing about child rape and all women make up domestic violence anyway- as all women are FEEBLE MINDED IN THE EYES OF THE CHURCH AND LAW.

    And in 2011 we irish use the catch phrase- “Best Interests of the Child” without knowing the energy of its past- It was used by SS- Hitler Germany- and we all know what happened there in their best interests. Hitler being the puppet of the Vatican of course.

    “Sedes Sacrorum (Latin Sedes for seat/see, Sacrorum for holy) otherwise known as Santa Sede and the “SS” also known in English as “Holy See” refers to the legal apparatus as a whole by which the Roman Catholic Pope and its Curia of Bishops claim historical recognition as a sovereign entity with superior legal rights. ”

    I just felt like sharing from ground level.

  18. Hi all you pathetic moaners.

    Guess what:

    Abortion is wrong.
    Gay sex is wrong.
    Contraception is wrong.
    Divorce is wrong.
    Cohabitation is wrong.

    Enjoy the lie you want to live and sort out your lives.

    The Catholic Church is and will always be here. Tough. You will be long long gone and it will still be here.

    The Catholic Church will continue to be present in Schools, Hospitals, Hospices et al. Try not to cringe too much but we are here to stay.

    “work out your salvation in fear and trembling.” Phil: 2,12

  19. Fucking hell back-at-ya, do you want us all to be child rapists and serial abusers?

    Wonderful quote from that fairytail called the bible, hope that those who do believe take note, as they seem to be ignoring all the other stuff from that fairytail.

    The church of rome is shrinking in proportion to its hypocracy, to an awful lot of human beings it is becoming more insignificant day by day. the influence it once held in this country is about to be shattered and scattered. Nevermore to be given even a smidgen of power. Gone from our schools in time, gone from our hospitals in time, they will be no longer in the hospices soon. Good riddance from all our lives.

  20. Backatya
    Abortion is wrong.
    Gay sex is wrong.
    Contraception is wrong.
    Divorce is wrong.
    Cohabitation is wrong.
    Says who??
    These are all legal activities in this republic and if they are forbidden by church rules let the Catholics heed it. The club rules of any religious group, whether they be Catholic, Buddhist, Jew or Muslim, should have no bearing on the laws of the land.
    You will have to live with the fact that the people and I’m glad to say the government of Ireland have moved on from the reverence once bestowed on the clergy.
    What a pity the government hadn’t the balls to stand up to the hierarchy back in the 1950s when Noel Browne tried to reform the health system.
    Long live our new independent republic !!

  21. Hi Bacteria, pathetic moaner here.

    Guess what:

    Abortion is a personal difficult choice.
    Gay sex is legal.
    Contraception is a responsible act.
    Divorce is something you’ll never have to worry about.
    Cohabitation is common sense.

    guess what you left out of list…

    Paedophila is wrong.
    Rape is wrong.
    Torture is wrong.
    Destroying the innocence of children is wrong.
    Celibacy is wrong (….actually it’s weird!)
    Lying is wrong.
    Defending the indefensibile is wrong.
    Youth Defence is wrong.
    Playing the “angelus bell” on a European Broadcasting station is wrong.

    and, though the list could go on, I have to say

    You “is” wrong.

    Up the Second Republic, and let’s get it right this time around!

  22. Hey Backatya!

    Feel that little draught?

    You know the one I’m taking about.

    It’s tickling the antennae right now I’d say.

    There’s a crack in the armour today letting it in and for the first time in the history of this state there is the chilling realisation that you might actually lose.

    It’s going to get a lot colder in the grave of your faith.

  23. Like almost every statement made by the current government, this speech while impressive in its striking condemnation of the Church(if not typical Kenny linguistic flair), rang completely hollow in the light of the continuing scandal of the banks.

    It is not credible for the Taoiseach to be making such strong statements about applying the law of the land when the banks, developers and landowning classes are stilling running rings around his own Government at the debilitating expense of the country. In this context, all this speech says to me is that the Government is not going to bring charges against any bishop, and will allow most of the senior clergy responsible for these outrages to flee the country, along with a substantial number of “minor” abusers. Moreover, it says to me that the Government will act lethargically and indeed allow abuses to continue for some years yet.

    When I see the Government standing up to the corrupt interests destroying this country, I’ll think differently.

  24. @ Benno #15

    A concordat would need to outline clearly the competences of the Vatican and the competences of the lawfully established state.

    And what possible competences could the Vatican have here, Benno?


  26. Please don’t type in capitals. And while you’re at it, would you be kind enough not to talk demented fucking nonsense? Thanks.

  27. As I am an enderly lady in my 70’s, I find it easier to read capitals. You will find in the not too distant future that it is not I talking nonsense but you. You are obviously still locked into Vatican thinking, it’s time to think for yourself, take time to research it, its all there at your fingertips, or do you have to get permission from the priest.??? It takes an enquiring mind to find the truth. You have not learned to step outside the sheep mentality as yet, you still need to stay with the herd……. They have certainly done a good job on you.

  28. @ scotlyn #26 The competences of church and the competences of state would be delineated, after serious negotiations, in the text of a Church-State concordat.

    If Enda wants to give real meaning to his recent speech he could initiate church-state negotiations in the near future. The coalition has an unaffrontable parliamentary majority; FF is licking its wounds and can’t be troublesome on the back benches; SF and several of the independents are minded to back a major state initiative.

  29. Sorry, Benno, but you are assuming what I have asked you to demonstrate.

    What possible competences could the Church have in what Kenny has named a “Republic of laws”? Or are you simply hoping for a return to the common but unstated assumption that the Church has competences here because no one can be bothered to point out that it hasn’t?

    Has Kenny not already declared what has been waiting a long time to be said by the leaders of this nation:

    1) This is the Republic of Ireland

    (as Susan O’keeffe wrote yesterday, these may possibly be the most important six words in his speech, and I am inclined to agree)

    2) canon laws … have neither legitimacy nor place in the affairs of this country

    (ellipsis mine).

    Here is the “real meaning” of the Taoiseach’s speech. He has unambiguously stated – and the nation has been roaring its approval in print, on airwaves, blogs and twitter ever since – the Church HAS NO COMPETENCE in this civil society!

    Your concordat proposal? Utterly redundant and wholly unnecessary! There is absolutely nothing to negotiate.

    I propose instead that we call this speech a Declaration of Independence.

  30. The Republic of Ireland has a civil society and a big part of the civil society (too big and too dominant hitherto) is the Catholic Church. Freedom of opinion and association implies the emergence of economic, social, political, cultural and religious groups. Thus religious groups are part of civil society and part of a Republic. Res publica actually means matters pertaining to the life of the public. If you exclude organised religious associations from your Republic you are diminishing much that is implied in the concept. A Church-State concordat, after serious and protracted negotiation, could set out boundaries, rights, responsibilities and processes of accountability that would make everything open and remove the fog that has existed since the founding of our state in times of anticolonial war, civil war and widespread poverty.

  31. Benno, in your first comment you implied you think the Vatican might have some competence in Ireland. It doesn’t. Irish citizens who are Catholics certainly do have a say, just as non-Catholic Irish citizens do – but that is a matter of individual conscience and belief – not of institutional competence.

    Irish citizens who are Catholic may choose voluntarily to give the Vatican “competence” in their individual lives, whether to a greater or lesser degree – and they do, to a greater or lesser degree. But that does not give the institution, or “state,” known as the Vatican ANY competence in Irish national governance. None.

    What Irish citizens individually bring to the democratic process of governance – values, beliefs, passions, community, religious and tribal loyalties, etc, wherever and however they are shaped – is a totally different matter. Certainly, I expect the Catholic faith of a diminishing, but still dominant, majority of citizens to play a role in our society and politics for a long time to come.

    But I object strongly to the idea that the Irish government has ANYTHING to negotiate with the Vatican, as an institution, or as a state. The Vatican, whether as an institution or as a state, has just been invited to butt out of our Republic and that is only proper order.

  32. The Vatican has no competence in Irish governance, but I suppose it has competence to be a religious organisation within society at large. If I were in government, these are the delineations I’d want to lay down. We’ll govern the country and you can say your prayers.

  33. The ‘institution’ of the Roman Catholic Church is represented diplomatically around the world by that tiny state called the Vatican. That state makes representations to governments, at fora such as UN conferences on human rights, education, demography etc. So the Irish state can insist on formalising its engagement with the papal legate, and on making its views on diocesan policies relating to education, child protection, medical care, charity organisations and other matters sponsored and directed by dioceses known to the papal legate. At top diplomatic level the Irish state can ask the papal legate to pass on to the Irish hierarchy its views on urgent and ongoing matters, for example. (De Valera did this during an atrocious community boycott in Co. Wexford). Such matters I would include under the heading of ‘competences’ as used in my first post above. In this way the Irish state can actively encourage tough talking between the Vatican state and the Irish hierarchy – talking that would go far beyond symbolical celebrations of Mass such as occurred a couple of years ago when the pope sent a top bod to see the Irish hierarchy over reports about clerical child abuses. The competences hitherto exercised by the Irish bishops are obvious and need to be clearly spelled out and limited in a negotiated Church-State concordat.

    Talk about Enda Kenny’s recent Dail statement amounting to a Declaration of Independence is probably hyperbolic. Mr. Kenny and the majority of FG supporters are not secularist republicans of the French vintage. They are individually conservative in economic, social and religious outlook. I have no expectation of seeing an Irish Thermidor in the near future. (A lot of French radicals killed one another in that historical episode.) The journo commentators currently praising the Taoiseach’s landmark speech are injecting an excess of their own advanced thinking into the interpretation of that speech. Besides, it’s only a speech, so far. But it is an important speech as it has been made in the Dail by a currently popular Taoiseach. It is what the French would call an ‘ouverture’.

  34. @ Bock – I read “competence” as another word for “authority” or even “sovereignty” – we have unfortunately granted the EU far too much “competence” in our affairs, for eg. So, I respectfully disagree that the Vatican has any competence, shared or otherwise, in the Irish state. But I think your last sentence IS implicit in what Kenny said.

    @ Benno –

    At top diplomatic level the Irish state can ask the papal legate to pass on to the Irish hierarchy its views on urgent and ongoing matters, for example.

    Yeah… it could. But why would it? Until and unless all members of the Irish hierarchy give up their Irish citizenship and become naturalised as Vatican citizens upon ordination (hmmm…could we make them do that? and then make them apply for visas before they can take up their parish duties in Ireland?), then Ireland – the state – may certainly pass its views on legal and other matters directly to any Irish citizen, or group of citizens, it sees fit to – absolutely no requirement for any intermediary. The Irish state is the sole (apart from the EU) competent authority in Ireland. The diplomatic role of the papal legate is to carry Irish messages to the Pope, not to the Irish hierarchy.

    The Vatican has been playing an “Emperor’s new clothes” game for all these years…hoping we wouldn’t spot that the only authority they actually have is whatever room we grant them in our own heads. Kenny has just said, “for the record, the Vatican has no legal or political authority or sovereignty here. They’re wearing no clothes. See?”

    And we do see.

  35. I agree. The Catholic church has no competence in Irish state functions, but it does have competence within its own sphere, which is in being a religion. That’s why I suggested the simple division above. Let them stick to saying their prayers, and let us get on with running our country.

  36. “Until and unless all members of the Irish hierarchy give up their Irish citizenship and become naturalised as Vatican citizens upon ordination (hmmm…could we make them do that? ”

    No, you couldn’t.

  37. This is a truly beautiful speech, that should be preserved through the ages. It is the expression of a highly moral leader who speaks on behalf of all the people. I envy Ireland for having such a leader, one who is willing to defend the weakest and most helpless in the face of the most traditionally powerful RCC. The truth has been spoken and it should be on behalf not only of the children of Ireland, but of the children of all the world. Vatican, take note. You must, must abide by the common laws of decency that all humanity acknowledges. No more exceptions for your privileged criminals! What mystifies me is the continued existence of this church, without any noticeable or real reform. Short of complete divestment, female and/or married priests would be a step in the right direction.

  38. At last I am proud of my country, its time we get out of the dark age ignorance the Vatican have shadowed us in. Well done you have spoken justly for us all.

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