I heard Cardinal Seán Brady today on RTÉ talking about abortion and gay marriage, and I wondered why this man was getting public air time. After all, considering its involvement in abuse at every level of society, the Irish Catholic church has no standing when it comes to ethics or morals, so why does RTÉ consider it appropriate to interview Seán Brady, of all people, on these matters?
Brady, in case anyone needs reminding, was the man who intimidated children who were clerical rape victims into staying silent instead of alerting the police to the crimes that had been committed by his fellow priests.
Who in RTÉ decided that Seán Brady had any moral standing whatever and who decided to interview him?
Whatever your view on abortion, and every citizen is entitled to hold an opinion, Brady was not interviewed as a private citizen. He was interviewed as the head of an organisation in Ireland, arbitrarily and without any particular assessment of that organisation’s authority. After his recent behaviour, my view is that neither Brady nor the outfit he represents have any authority at all, and yet our national broadcaster gave him prime-time space on the national airwaves to repeat long-discredited lies, including the lie that there is never a threat to a mother’s life from pregnancy.
It’s amazing. What is going on inside RTÉ that they think the Catholic church has any more right to be interviewed than anyone else? It seems old habits die hard, or more to the point, it seems that lazy thinking is hard to eradicate. These guys seem to be operating on auto-pilot, rooted in the Sixties when a priest had an automatic right to rant on the radio.
These days, the Catholic church in Ireland has considerably less moral authority than a GAA club, or a concrete-block manufacturer, and yet, our national broadcaster continues to seek their opinion on everything below the waist. I didn’t notice RTÉ asking economists for their view on gay marriage, or taxi drivers or bricklayers.
The only reason they asked Seán Brady is because he and the organisation he represents claim an entitlement to be heard on these matters, despite the fact that they represented and defended the abusers for decades. Despite the fact, in other words, that they have no moral authority at all.
Does this reflect worse on the bishops or RTÉ? Well, clearly, the clerics will take whatever they can get, as they always did, though not always legitimately. RTÉ, on the other hand, is supposed to be a professional organisation. Nepotistic and corrupt, but professional, in its own way.
So why did they turn to Seán Brady for comment on gay marriage today? After all, this is none of his business. They might as well have asked the chief executive of the ESB or the head of the GAA what they thought about gay marriage. Civil marriage is a function of the State, not the private club Brady represents — a club which has failed the children of this country in every way possible. Brady has no competence to comment on private legal arrangements between people who are not members of his club.
Who does Seán Brady think he is — someone relevant? Wouldn’t it be far more beneficial if he reflected on the damage he caused by suppressing the pleas of abused children instead of trying to inflict his opinions on people he has nothing to do with and over whom he exerts no authority?
Is this a republic or is it a theocracy? Now is the time to tell Seán Brady and his kind where exactly their influence ends.
Previously: Open letter to Seán Brady.