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Catholic Bishops and the New McQuaidism

What’s the New McQuaidism?

Well actually, it’s the old McQuaidism, dressed up in the clothes of tolerance, but it still hides a lead-filled crozier beneath its humble cassock.

Today on RTE, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh gave a bravura performance of New McQuaidism when he came on radio to defend the comments of his colleague, Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin.

bishop kevin doran

Kevin, you might recall, stated that  gay people who have children are not necessarily parents, and that the jury is out on whether people are born gay.  It was an unedifying spectacle, to see a 61-year-old celibate virgin pontificating on civil unions between people who have actual real-world experience of raising children, and it ran him into a storm of criticism, including a rebuke from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, whose keenly-attuned political antennae are always twitching, especially when his fellow princes of the church blurt out ill-considered statements without first engaging their brains.  Diarmuid went so far as to avoid expressing confidence in his colleague, so we can only imagine what kind of imbecile he called Doran in private.

Archbishop Eamon Martin (not to be confused with Diarmuid), popped up on radio today and treated us to the entire gamut of episcopal nonsense, including their beloved conditional apology, which normally runs something like I’m sorry if I caused any hurt.  But Eamon added a nice twist to it by creating the Vicarious Episcopal Conditional Apology, since Bishop Kevin himself didn’t have the balls to come forward and defend his position.   If Bishop Doran’s remarks caused offence, I’m sure he didn’t intend it, said Archbishop Eamon, or words to that effect.

It was a nice try by Eamon, close but unfortunately no cigar, since nobody cares what offence Kevin might have given. People were far more worried about the homophobic hatred he might have helped to stir up, resulting in assaults, attacks and physical harm.  What people heard was a cleric demeaning his fellow citizens in a question that doesn’t affect him personally and has nothing to do with his day-job since it isn’t a church matter.  Here he was, avoiding apology by employing the thoroughly-discredited clerical device of the conditional apology, while at the same time apologising for the wrong thing, in order to distract attention from the kernel of the issue, which is equality.

Martin then went on to compound the foolishness of his position by insisting that marriage (even civil marriage, over which he has no authority) must be open to procreation.   Therefore, we must presume that the bishop is opposed to marriage for post-menopausal women or those who have had hysterectomies, and to men who have had vasectomies.

This prelate seems to believe that Canon Law is also the law of the land.  They really must think we’re completely dense, and who could blame them considering the supine response of the RTE interviewer who failed to challenge the bishop’s ludicrous assertions?

Should his opinions on civil marriage equality be respected because they’re based on faith?


They should be respected if they’re based on facts, logic and common sense.   Otherwise, they should be dismissed as the bigoted tosh they are, dressed up in the false clothing of clericalism.  Our laws are not based on faith.  As far as possible, we hope they’d be based on logic, on rational thinking and on justice, not on the irrational religious beliefs of some cleric who has never known marriage or parenthood.

Why didn’t the RTE journalist put it to the bishop that this is a Republic where laws are not based on religion?

Why wasn’t the bishop challenged to explain why his belief in the supernatural makes his views on marriage equality worthy of respect?

I think it’s because he didn’t approach it as John Charles McQuaid would have done, with pomp and arrogance, but instead tried to insinuate his nasty little prejudices into the public space in a fake-humble sub-Daniel O’Donnell monotone, repeating empty platitudes about equality while at the same time working actively to deny his fellow citizens the sort of respect he demands for himself and his fellow celibate virgins.

The bishops seem to want it every way.  They can’t demand a change in civil law, based on their belief in the supernatural, any more than they’d tolerate civil powers interfering in the rites of their church, but that’s the New McQuaidism for you.  The same as the old McQuaidism but without the purple robes.

They haven’t moved on at all since Cardinal Paul Cullen planted his magnificent episcopal foot in Ireland 160 years ago.

Was Bishop Doran right?  Is it possible to have children and yet not necessarily be a parent?  I suppose it is,  in the same way that it’s possible for a man to be a Catholic bishop, but not necessarily a Christian.



Positions held by  Kevin Doran prior to his appointment as bishop.

1977 – 1980, Catechist/Chaplain, Ringsend Technical Institute, Dublin City VEC

1980 – 1983; Diocesan Education Secretariat (Advisor VEC Schools)

1980 – 1990; Occasional Teacher of Midwifery Ethics, Coombe Women’s Hospital

1983 – 1990 Chaplain, University College Dublin,

1990 – 1995 Spiritual Director, Pontifical Irish College, Rome, Irish Episcopal Conference

1995 – 1998 Curate, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock (Dublin)

1995 – 2001 Lecturer (Philosophy & Catholic Social Teaching) Mater Dei Institute of Education

1995 – 2003, Occasional Teacher of Midwifery Ethics, National Maternity Hospital

1996 – 2011 Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Bioethics, (Secretary) Irish Episcopal Conference

1997 – 2012 Member, Ethics Committee Saint Vincent’s Psychiatric Hospital

1998 – 2006 Diocesan Director of Vocations

1998 – 2005 Parish Chaplain, Saint Anthony’s, Clontarf

2000 – 2006 National Co-ordinator for Diocesan Vocations , Irish Episcopal Conference

2001 – 2007 Lecturer (Philosophy, & Catholic Social Teaching) Milltown Institute of Theology & Philosophy

2001 – 2013 Member, Board of Governors Mater Misericordiae and Childrens’ University Hospital

2001- 2013 Member, Board of Directors Mater Misericordiae University Hospital

2003 – 2006 Coordinator, European Vocations Service (EVS) Elected (approved CCEE)

2005 – 2013 Consultor, Congregation for Catholic Education

2005 – 2009 Parish Priest (Saint Kevin’s, Glendalough)

2009 – 2012 Parish Chaplain (Saint Vincent de Paul, Marino)

2008 – 2012 Secretary General, 50th International. Eucharistic Congress

2008, Diocesan Director for the Permanent Diaconate

2013, Administrator, Sacred Heart Parish, Donnybrook;
Midwifery ethics.  Let’s just ponder that for a moment.

Religion Sexuality

It’s Official. Alabama is More Tolerant Than the Iona Institute

SSM Alabama


The headline, I’ll concede, is a cheap shot, but when you’re dealing with people who’ll stop at nothing to score a cheap point, all bets are off.

The ridiculous, and rather sinister  Iona Institute, after all, are the people who falsely claimed to the Constitutional Convention that research  showed children had better outcomes when raised by heterosexual couples.

This was nonsense, and it prompted a response from the authors of the research, Child Trends, as follows

no conclusions can be drawn from this research about the well-being of children raised by same-sex partners

That’s Iona for you.  Not too scrupulous about checking the facts.  Next time you hear some Iona hack talking about studies, it would be no harm to remind them of their disgraceful record when it comes to quoting research.

This crowd are not all that impressive when you peel back the layers of PR.  All we’re talking about is a bunch of religious ideologues with disproportionate access to the TV and radio.  Their talking heads aren’t even all that impressive, as Breda O’Brien illustrated recently on Morning Ireland.  Even I cringed for her, and that’s saying quite a lot.

For the moment, Alabama has no choice but to accept same-sex marriage, but of course they’ll fight it.

Remember, this is what Iona are fighting to align us  with.  Alabama of all things.

Just peel back the scab of prejudice and you’ll see what we’re really dealing with.


All posts on the Iona “Institute”



Religion Sexuality

Father Fitz on Same-Sex Marriage

It is many years since I was a young seminarian and an even longer time since I was a little boy, but I will never forget the happy times I spent with Father Pat Farce and Father Maurice Crumb.  (I have changed their names to protect the innocent ha ha).

Father Pat and his curate Father Maurice shared the parochial house, and they got by very well thank you without the help of a housekeeper, for both were excellent cooks and very tidy about the place.

I do not know if I ever mentioned this, but I was born in unfortunate circumstances, and in those days the priests were in charge of deciding what became of such children.  Sadly, that is no longer the case, but back then they sent many a lucky infant to a happy new home in America or Australia and they always found a job for the fallen young women, working in the laundry under the kindly eye of the holy sisters.

For some reason, Father Pat and Father Maurice chose to take me under their wing.  They brought me away from the hospital the day I was born, and took me to live with them in the priest’s house, where I grew up in a happy and prayerful atmosphere.  I could say, in many ways, that I had two Fathers (though of course I also had Our Blessed Mother in Heaven).  You might even say that I became a Father myself under the influence of my two Fathers, though of course none of us was really a father, if you see what I mean ha ha ha.

What is my reason for bringing this up?

Well, you see I was listening to the wireless this morning and I happened to hear that excellent public representative from Galway.  Roman Mullet, I think is his name.  A fine strong Catholic.

It was about that silly proposal to let two men be married and raise children.  He correctly pointed out that two men cannot possibly raise a child because it is against the natural way of things.  He also said that if we allow men to marry, they will deprive children of their natural parents, which is also true and not something I could ever condone.  Besides, they would be drunk all the time.

There is no suggestion of allowing women to marry so I could not follow what he was saying about that, but I am not so sure I agree with him about two women raising children.  Women are natural cleaners and would keep a house nice and tidy for a baby to grow up in.  I remember many of my school friends growing up with their grandmothers and their aunts and it did not seem to do them any harm, so I will have to differ with Mr Mullet on that point, I hope he will forgive me ha ha ha.  Besides, women would never wish to marry each other, since they could never be married in the fullest sense, if you’ll forgive my indelicacy.  Being women.

All in all, I am glad that Father Pat and Father Maurice are no longer alive to see what Ireland has come to.  They would be very shocked at the idea of men living together and taking children away from their mother and father.


Anti-Equality Lobby Opts For Old Scare Tactic

When all else fails, use the children.  That was always the way of the religious Right, not just in Ireland, but worldwide, and so it remains today.

Clearly aware that blatant opposition to same-sex relationships will be counter-productive, the likes of the Iona “Institute” have changed tack, attempting to focus instead on the rights of children.  But in doing that, ironically, the Iona “Institute” does exactly what it accuses its opponents of — trying to redefine marriage.  By insisting that procreation is an integral element of marriage, the Ionanists exclude all post-menopausal women, all men who, for one reason or another, cannot father children, and everyone who feels disinclined to have offspring.

In other words, marriage is what the Ionanists decide it ought to be, not what it actually is in the wide, non-specific world where there are no certainties and where people muddle through as best they can.  In the eyes of the religious Right, there is no room for nuance, no room for anything other than certainty, prescribed ways of being and approved forms of family.  Iona’s eyes are fixed firmly on the region between the belly-button and the knees, as usual with religious obsessives.

One of the silliest fallacies they continue to parrot is the deeply dishonest position of the Irish Catholic bishops, that marriage equality will deprive children of the right to a mother and a father.  You would think, to listen to David Quinn and Breda O’Brien, that there was some proposal to knock down doors, kidnap children and hand them over to the ravening gays.

Here’s a nasty distortion that we hear from them lately: if gays are allowed to marry, it won’t be possible to give preference to a heterosexual couple over a same-sex couple in an adoption.

Firstly, that statement is filled with contempt for the adoptive children they claim to have so much concern for.  They make the child sound like a prize in a cheap TV contest.  I didn’t get the baby but I won the electric kettle.

There are no bidding wars for children, except in the fevered imaginations of the Ionanists.  This sort of nonsense is the modern equivalent of the despicable Hello Divorce, Bye Bye Daddy nonsense of the 90s and it plays to the silliest fears of Middle Ireland, which of course is the constituency identified by Iona as the one most likely to deliver a result.

hello divorce bye bye daddy

Secondly, the decision on who gets custody of a child will be made on the basis not of sexual orientation but on who is more suitable to adopt.  It might be the heterosexual couple, it might be the same-sex couple and it might be a single person, depending on the individual circumstances.  To suggest otherwise is both a cynical attempt to stir up fear, and also a vote of contempt for the professionalism of the Adoption Board.

Iona worries

I don’t know why Breda O’Brien or David Quinn are so obsessed with what goes on in families, given the near-certainty that they have never personally experienced any sort of dysfunctionality or abuse, but they certainly seem to have an inordinate mistrust of normal decent people, a mistrust so strong that families need to be regulated by law.

This morning on RTE, Breda had her wife-swapping sodomites moment, when Audrey Carville pressed her on a fact of Irish life.  I’ll paraphrase for brevity.   Parroting the usual Iona line about the need for a mother and a father, Breda found herself stuck for words when confronted with a hard question.  Being asked hard questions is not a common experience for either of the Iona spokespeople on Irish media.

Isn’t it a fact, said Carville, that grandmothers have, for generations, raised their daughters’ children where the father was absent?

Breda tried to spin it as a tragedy that fathers were missing, but Carville pressed her.

What’s the difference to the child? What difference is there between being raised by a grandmother and mother, and being raised by two other women?

Despite Breda’s evasions, Audrey Carville stuck to the question.  What is the difference? until eventually Breda’s mask slipped and she spat back an acid rejoinder: Should we allow mothers to marry their daughters?

It was a comment as remarkable for its nastiness as it was for its sheer stupidity, but it also revealed an interesting fact.   The anti-equality lobby are on a script, and it doesn’t take much to knock them off it.  They’re not actually that impressive, despite calling themselves an Institute, which would be illegal in most European countries.

Nevertheless, Breda had a minor victory, even if it was at the cost of looking like a complete fool.  She succeeded in making the debate about children, even though marriage equality has absolutely nothing to do with that.

Yesterday on TodayFM, David Quinn produced a bizarre moment when he seemed to suggest that there would be competition for IVF between straight and gay couples in a weird Battle of the Ovaries, and when he detected the nation laughing at him, went on to quote German law, appearing to forget that the discussion is about the Irish constitution.

As I said, they’re not that impressive when you get behind the bluster.

Here’s their problem.  Iona have been outflanked by the bug-eyed bigots, like Catholic Voice.  They can’t afford to be seen as outright homophobic, drooling fundamentalists, and therefore their options are limited.   It seems they’ve staked out the ground they intend to fight this battle on and that ground is adoption.

Well and good.

Every time you hear Dave and Breda talking about children, remind them that the dreaded gays can already adopt, and that the referendum is about marriage.

This anti-equality lobby isn’t all that impressive when you get behind the memorised script.


All articles on the Iona Institute



Religion Sexuality

Same-Sex Marriage — Anti-Equality Lobby Recruit The Brady Bunch

Get used to the phrase Mum and Dad. You’re going to be hearing it a lot in coming months from the likes of the Iona non-Institute.

Every child has a right to a Mum and Dad.  Not a Ma and Da, mind you, or a Mammy and Daddy.  No.  Every child has the right to a nice, middle-class, Iona-approved Mum and Dad with a Qashqai for Mum and a Range Rover for Dad, a full orthodontics plan, an architect-designed town-house in Dalkey, three holidays a year and a place booked in the Rock.  Just like this Brady Bunch on the Iona website, the Ionanist genetically-approved überfamilie.

iona family

The Ionanists will be misquoting research, as they did at the Constitutional Convention.   They’ll be talking about children.  You’ll hear Iona shills on tv talk-shows insisting that marriage is all about the children, which is very bad news for post-menopausal women and men with vasectomies.  Obviously, to be consistent, the Ionanists should really be opposing such marriages too.  No wedding day for you, lads and lassies.

But of course, it’s all a distraction, since this new strategy by the anti-equality lobby is completely irrelevant.


Because right now today, single people can adopt children.  No Mammy and Daddy there.  Oops, sorry.  No Mum and Dad.

That’s the law today.  Right now.

And same-sex couples right now today can legally have IVF.

Let’s assume that the Ionanists already know this.  After all, they’re not fools, or at least, not in the conventional sense.

That forces us to the inescapable conclusion that they’re liars, trying to stir up hysteria against same-sex marriages because the very idea scares the emotionally-impaired daylights out of them.

Conclusion: next time you hear some anti-equality fundamentalist talking about children, tell them it’s too late.  Tell them the dreaded  queers can already adopt and they can already conceive.  That’s done.  That’s dusted.

Tell them this: You have a dog in the wrong fight, fool.



Action needed from government



What exactly is the Iona Institute?

Same-Sex Marriage, Iona Nonsense and the Constitutional Convention

Iona Institute Does Not Qualify as A Tax-Exempt Charity

Iona Institute and Miss Panti — Analysing the Anatomy of Defamation

Same-Sex Marriage: Rónán Mullen Accidentally States The Case Against Adoption

Official: John Waters Is Not Osama Bin Laden

Same-Sex Marriage

Misinformation Techniques