Ireland’s 40-Percent Solution

You have to hand it to the Irish bishops, priests, and religious. It’s not easy to de-Christianize a whole people. Yet they managed, in about a generation, to help detach an almost entirely Catholic population from its 1500-year-old religious and social roots. Social “scientists” are going to have to closely study this phenomenon, which far exceeds what has happened even in what used to be thought of as bellwether secularizing states like Germany and France.

The media have been touting the massive popular support, over 60 percent, for gay marriage in Ireland’s referendum last Friday. It’s clear that they regard it as a harbinger of things to come: if that can happen in Ireland, what’s next? And at the superficial, incurious level of media-driven discourse, it is remarkable. But more remarkable by far – and something to consider for the future – is the 40 percent who did not go along, which is, at the very least, a minor miracle in our day.

It’s all too easy – and misleading – to list the usual “secular” reasons for “secularization.” Yes, there were sexual and financial scandals in the hierarchy and several religious orders. Yes, the “Celtic Tiger” experienced rapid economic growth and social change. Yes, some think science eliminates the need for religion. Yes, the political leadership in Ireland caved in to gay propaganda and intimidation – not a single political party or major public figure urged “No.”

But to think that these things explain the outcome is not to think like a Christian. A Christian starts from a different place. How is it that the Irish, like others who have left the Catholic Church, have not, in large numbers, become atheists – which is to say outright non-believers – but in their spirituality and religiosity have turned to something other than classic Christianity? And where did many get the idea that they’re Christian, and even that their “openness” and “tolerance” are more Christian than Catholicism? (Look carefully at all those faces in the photos.)

Here’s part of an answer. Over the past few years, I’ve been tangentially involved through the Catholic Distance University (an orthodox, online institution) with setting up a formation program for catechists in Ireland. Nota bene, this is not an effort to teach the Irish directly, but to form teachers who would have to convey the faith to them.

Why was such a program necessary – and why is it that it took an American woman, living in Ireland, to come up with the idea and promote it to various dioceses? Simply put, in the past few decades there was no longer anything reliably Catholic in education programs on the Emerald Isle. It was easier to bring something from outside, from the fabled shores of America.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, a decent man but not a very vigorous leader, noted as the vote approached how odd it was that many young people supported gay marriage, even though they had attended Catholic schools for twelve years or more. Many people, including perhaps the archbishop himself, regard this as a “rejection” of Catholic moral teaching. But that assumes teachers in those schools were strongly presenting that teaching. As we know, from San Francisco to Dublin, that is not necessarily the case.


In fact, the archbishop himself, perhaps thinking it would avoid a political backlash, said last week that he personally was voting “No,” but would not tell anyone else how to vote. (Some commentators have claimed he was following Pope Francis, who was silent about the Irish vote and recently told the Italian bishops that they should trust their own people to do the right thing, not try to tell them what to do.)

People will choose different approaches to hard questions, and we owe some deference to an archbishop in such a situation. But people notice when a Church leader is triangulating for support like a politician, rather than boldly preaching the Gospel, like a follower of Jesus.

I myself would have risked the backlash and would even have preferred sounding like a fundamentalist preaching fire and brimstone – which, after all, Jesus Himself did quite often. All that stuff about unquenched fire and Gehenna, and the salt losing its savor.

The longer game now, however, must be to renew real Christian teaching and to woo people back to the love of Christ’s Church. The two, as Pope Francis has emphasized, must go together. It’s a sound Thomistic insight that most people are not and cannot become philosophers and theologians. Most people who want to think themselves Christian have to be confident that there are people they trust – and revere – who have Christian answers to difficult moral and spiritual questions, even if most Christians don’t know the arguments themselves.

That connection and confidence have been lacking in Ireland – and many other places – for a generation or two now.

In the wake of the Irish vote, a priest sent me a passage from St. Augustine’s Enchiridion, which describes how “crimes were not only not punished, but were openly committed, as if under the protection of the law. And so in our own times: many forms of sin, though not just the same as those of Sodom and Gomorrah, are now so openly and habitually practiced, that not only dare we not excommunicate a layman, we dare not even degrade a clergyman, for the commission of them.”

After decades of dithering, it will be a long way back from where we are now. Despite everything, let’s take heart from the almost 40 percent who did right in Ireland, under heavy pressure and facing long odds. As Chesterton’s Virgin puts it to King Alfred, facing a barbarian horde, in The Ballad of the White Horse:

I tell you naught for your comfort,

Yea, naught for your desire,

Save that the sky grows darker yet

And the sea rises higher.


Night shall be thrice night over you,

And heaven an iron cope.

Do you have joy without a cause,

Yea, faith without a hope?

Robert Royal

Robert Royal

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

  • Manfred

    This was a major defeat, Robert. Neither the Pope nor any in the Irish hierarchy stumped up and down a country of 3.5 million people to warn of this disaster and how it would affect the Irish people and their children for decades to come. A major loss will be to its tourist industry.
    I think you ascribe too much to the 40% as Ireland does have Muslims and Africans in its population who would vote against the rule. The bulk of the NOs I am sure were the older Irish who responded to the vote with inertia, i.e., voting against a change which they had been taught was a MORTAL SIN when the church had sins. These Irish (and their American cousins!) will be passing away in the near future and resistance will eventually cease.
    I am also certain that many NOs voted out of disgust for the sodomite acts themselves with religion playing no role in their voting.
    This must be regarded as one of the fruiits of Vatican II and its aftermath. What a bouquet the Pope, the Vatican, the Irish (and the world!) hierarchies gave to Mary and Jesus for the month of May-comprised of poison oak, poison sumac and dollops of depravity.

    • RainingAgain

      At the Mass I attended on Sunday, the result of the vote wasn’t even mentioned. It was as if nothing had happened. For decades now it has been the Church of Nice with no mention of sin or Hell. To be a Catholic in Ireland you must make it one’s own business to become one.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Bear in mind that only 60% of those eligible bothered to vote. Compare that with Scotland’s Independence Referendum last year which had a turnout of 84.59%

  • Francis Miller

    I think your article is summed up in the following paragraph.
    “Archbishop (your bishop), a decent man but not a very vigorous leader, noted as the vote approached how odd it was that many young people supported gay marriage, even though they had attended Catholic schools for twelve years or more. Many people, including perhaps the archbishop himself, regard this as a “rejection” of Catholic moral teaching. But that assumes teachers in those schools were strongly presenting that teaching. As we know, from San Francisco to Dublin, that is not necessarily the case.”
    Ireland can do such votes as it is small and to a degree homogeneous. The popular approach didn’t go well here in California and need the courts to fix us. The Irish primate like many of our bishops is dealing with a phenomenon they cannot comprehend nor deal with. They reap the harvest of Catholic education goals set post Vatican II; make Catholics like every other Christian. This meant unlearning the reverse. The problem is that nothing but secular humanism was taught with any consistency. I am a product of it. It took a great deal of inspiration from the Holy Spirit for me to learn about Catholicism. I have been an RCIA catechist for over 20 years. During that time, I have had the privilege of walking with well over a hundred Catechumens and Candidates toward the Sacramental life. In that time, I have witnessed many converts, lapsed Catholics and nones but those who approach the entire journey with the most confusion, naivete, lack of understanding and incredulous disbelief are the Catholic sponsors who accompany the neophytes. Generalization, yes I know and not true in all cases but clearly the majority. They ‘those occasionally in the pews’ make up a large percentage of the faithful and unfortunately experienced a de-Catholicized education.
    What bishop can turn this tide? Only those who preach the gospel and get to know their sheep. I believe there is a great desire to know the Gospel but there are just greater competitions for time and attention than every before (mindless activity for its own sake is a form of evil that is now pervasive). The added detraction is that many have experienced Catholic education earlier in their lives on a level that would leave a saint dispassionate.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      “What bishop can turn this tide? Only those who preach the gospel and get to know their sheep.”

      Alas, in Ireland, the clerical profession has long been a moyen de parvenir for those of limited talents and few other opportunities for advancement. Too many are pedestrian in point of learning, utterly lacking in the social graces and their fable “Irish eloquence” deserts them in the pulpit.

  • Michael Dowd

    “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • Andy

    I really don’t think you can lay this at the door of Vatican II an its aftermath. There are two things I would urge you to ponder and pray on here. First, why has The Church in Ireland lost its moral authority? The view of many in Ireland is that the Irish people entrusted their orphaned and vulnerable children to the care of The Church. All to often instead of providing love and care, at best it neglected them, at worse the children in a state of mortal sin through unspeakable acts of abuse. Worse this abuse was well known about by the Church hierarchy, but instead of protecting children suffering abuse, the offered absolution to the priests committing unspeakable acts and allowed them to carry on as before. In the light of this, claims that allowing homosexual marriage will endanger children and the family ring very hollow in the ears of many Irish people. If the Church in Ireland is ever to regain its lost moral authority, there needs to be some serious penance. The Church in Ireland has barely begun this journey. Second, why did younger people schooled in the faith reject the teachings of the Church on this issue? One answer is that they were taught about the faith inadequately. Another is that the message of love at the heart of the gospels shone through and was more powerful than some of the rules laid on top of it. Perhaps when young people in Ireland looked at the homosexual community, they had in mind Matthew 25:40 and saw what was until very recently one of the most marginalised and discriminated against groups in their society, and seeing Christ in their faces decided to send a message of love and equality to them. There is much depravity in the world. Perhaps those who find the strength to leave it behind do so through the love of Christ, not because there is a rule or law telling them not to do something?

    • RobertRoyal

      Andy: some very smart and holy people – popes, saints, doctors, patriarchs – have “prayerfully considered” this case since the time of Moses. Their conclusion was not yours. Have you received some new revelation that supersedes the Biblical tradition?

      • Andy

        Robert, for the first 1000 years of Christianity, very smart and holy people weren’t keen on marriage at all, they preferred and recommended celibacy. Marriage played very little role in the life of the church. Sacramental marriage is a relatively recent innovation. You will also note I came to no conclusions, just asked questions.

    • Athelstane

      …why did younger people schooled in the faith reject the teachings of the Church on this issue?

      But that was one of Robert Royal’s points: they were schooled in something very different from the Catholic faith in those schools.

    • Chris in Maryland


      If the abuse in Ireland was similar to the abuse in the USA, then >80% of these crimes were committed by homosexuals. Those are the facts in the report by the American laity on the sexual abuse crisis in the American Church.

      The Church in Ireland lost its moral authority for many reasons – one reason is because of depraved predators in high places – like Michael Ledwith – and ranks of charlatan Bishops, priests and laity in the Church. We can certainly lay this problem at the door of the “progressive Church establishment,” of which men like Ledwith were star players. Ledwith was in charge of all priestly formation in Ireland for 17 years. These are exemplified also by the poisonous mentality of the English Bishop Kieran Conroy – who defended his adultery with a married woman by asserting that he was not a hypocrite – because he never taught the Church’s truth on sexual morality.

      Since you quoted St. Matthew – I would heartily agree with you that the children of Ireland – just like most Catholic children around the world – are taught inadequately – for instance – its doubtful that they were taught Matt. 19: 3-9. They certainly weren’t thinking about this teaching when they pulled the lever for same sex arrangements as “marriage.”

      Marriage is not a right – it is a vocation from God – to the ministry of life. The attempt to redefine marriage is depravity – and is clearly a rejection of Jesus. People who show true love to people with SSA don’t encourage them to give in to homosexual behavior – or same-sex arrangements pretending to be marriage.

      • SykesFive


        The abuse in Ireland was ultimately not similar to the abuse in the United States.

        When Irish people speak of the abuse crisis they are really speaking of two different issues.

        The first issue is instances of sexual abuse of mostly male minors by male priests and religious, which the hierarchy did not take seriously, hushed up, and effectively facilitated for decades. This is essentially the same crisis we’ve seen in the United States and elsewhere.

        The second issue is more profound and more unique to Ireland. The Irish Republic turned over just about the entirety of what me might call “social welfare” to the Church. Here I mean things like caring for orphans, unwed mothers, mentally and physically disabled persons, and the insane. In most cases, female religious orders directly administered the relevant institutions. The last decade or so has seen revelations about the truly horrible conditions in these institutions: prison-like orphanages and asylums, “fallen girls” consigned to a lifetime of effective slavery in convent laundries, etc. Take every bitter American Catholic’s jokes about mean nuns and multiply them by about a million. What the Church did to the least of these was grim indeed.

        Now arguably the second crisis is really an indictment of Irish society generally: undesirables were basically dumped on the Church and forgotten about, with few resources given. But that is not how the crisis has played out: it has resulted in a great loss of confidence in the Church. And while here the in the United States, people can say things like, “Well, the Church does help a lot of people even if I don’t agree with everything,” in Ireland it’s very hard to say that without being shouted down.

        • Chris in Maryland


          The 1st issue is the profound one. The 2nd issue is the superficial narrative so that no one thinks about the 1st.

          That a homo-sexual predator named Michael Ledwith was in charge of priestly formation in Ireland for 17 years tells us all we need to know. This man sky-rocketed up the ladder of the Irish Church establishment. As the story goes from WikiP links, he was reported to be a progressive rising-star…Bishop-material in the progressive Irish Church…the same Church that victimized a generation of Catholic boys, teens and young men…and, btw, presided over whatever transpired in issue #2 (the scale and depth of the matter in issue #2 is very unclear and seems to go unreported – i.e., no hard facts are relayed, just narrative).

          I have seen no reports showing numbers on sex abuse in the Irish Church, but I have read the American Report on sex abuse from cover-to-cover, and it was >80% homo-sexual predation. In the absence of any report on Ireland akin to what was done in America, I am reasonably certain that what happened in Ireland is exactly what happened in America. “Change-agents” in AMCHURCH like retired Cardinal McCarrick (a very big agent in the “Pope Francis = change-the-church” movement) made a campaign to squash the report on sex abuse in the US Church – and spin it away from the conclusion indicated by the overwhelming evidence of homo-sexual predation.

          Following the money – the clincher that the real issue is issue #1, and the cover-up narrative is issue #2, is the fact that the political arm of the USA homo-sexual lobby is what paid for and fueled the propaganda for the Irish referendum on “same sex arrangements = marriage.”

  • Manfred

    You and your readership would do well to Google -Atlantic Philanthropies. It was begun by an Irish American named Chuck Feeney who has become a person of enormous wealth.
    It is being reported that this “charity” as well as many others, including major corporations, were responsible for pouring millions of dollars into buying “YES” votes on this issue.
    It seems the real surprise was that 40% of the voters had the courage to walk away from this freshet of money and to vote NO correctly.

    • RobertRoyal

      We already did. Check “Ireland follow the Money ” in our News links in the left column today. But a properly formed laity would not have fallen for a PR campaign, however massively funded.

      • RainingAgain

        In fact, in my area, admittedly a rural one, the No side ran a much better and more prominent campaign than the Yes side. All the local politicians kept a low profile, although nearly all were members of parties pledged to vote “yes”. Many voters seemed to be hoodwinked by what was presented as an equality issue. The debates on the airways were conducted on such an emotional level that nothing could be learned from them.

  • Marie Therese

    “…renew real Cristian teaching… woo people back to love of Christ’s church.” This is the game-plan, people! Let’s get into training. It starts with each of us – that means YOU and ME – today.

  • RufusChoate

    Come now, One has to be amazed at the diabolic genius of the homosexual movement that can only demonstrate its origins from the pit. They and their dissident supporter create a crisis by their extraordinary sexual abuse in the Clergy and Religious of the West that they never have any responsibility for, which they superabundantly rewarded for in financial terms by lawsuits. They manage to divert billions from meaningful medical research to fight a venereal disease that afflicts them while portraying themselves as victims of an inexplicable plague. Simultaneously the movement erodes the rational coherence of human sexuality to the point that none of their diseases, dysfunctions and crimes are never considered only their right to be overvalued, celebrated and granted the right to counterfeit marriage. I have been uncharitable in the past but completely accurate from my exposure to them in my personal life in describing Homosexuality as being a profound expression of a completely morally depraved personality type with a will to wickedness.

    What does the Church have to stop them in the earthly realm?

    A garrulous ninny who utters such banalities as “Who am I to judge?”

    The 11th Century was worse but not by much…

    • SanSan

      good post…..when my cousin died of AIDS in 1993….a horrible death….he wondered if God would forgive him……He knew his disordered desires were wrong…..he was looking for love and acceptance from men….not sex…..he had to do that to gain acceptance……he said the whole lifestyle was like swirling with vultures……my answer to his question was repent, go to confession and sin no more……I pray for his gentle soul everyday. Shame on our clergy for not making “saving souls” their number one effort.d

      • RufusChoate

        Thank you, I will remember you cousin in my prayers.

  • MercyMe

    Who among the hierarchy will stand up for the traditional teaching of the church? Cardinal Burke – who no longer, if I understand correctly, can participate in the upcoming synod unless he is invited by the pope? Can we be surprised when we see that the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America has apparently lost their moral compass – or, as Chesterton would have put it, their common sense?

  • Sandy O’Seay

    If the polls are correct, a referendum in the United States would produce about the same result. I am a Catholic convert of some 7 or 8 years and I see the beauty, majesty and truth of the Catholic Church. What I do not see is evangelization and teaching. I wonder what would happen if we actually told people about the truth of the Catholic Church and if we actually taught our own Catholics?

    • Diane

      Sandy, we did, back in the 40’s, 50’s and most of the 60’s when we had Nuns to teach the Catechism to all the children all through grade school. What wonderful knowledge of the Catholic Church was learned by those good women. Everything was so very clear about what Jesus taught and what the Catholic Church was all about. They put the fear of the Lord in us and we accepted it, even at seven years old. At seven they told us that some day you may need to die in the name of Jesus as a martyr. It didn’t scare us, it made us proud to believe! That is what is so badly missing. They also taught, if I heard it once I probably heard it a million times, that our bodies were the Temple of the Holy Spirit, because we received the Eucharist, therefore we were not to defile our bodies in any way. This helped us to understand that only sex after marriage was how God wanted us to be. People always say that it was better back then, but they don’t believe it. It wasn’t perfect, but believe me, it was definitely much, much better then. I am aware that the homosexual priest abuse was rampant then, and that was sad, but most children were not abused.

  • Gail Finke

    Excellent piece, thank you… especially for the Chesterton quote at the end. We need that.

  • Timothy O’Donnell

    Robert, God bless you! Your analysis is right on. Having taken over study abroad groups for years, participating in the Eucharistic Congress, and most recently establishing the St. Columcille Institute (in Donegal, Ireland) to form leaders in the New Evangelization from both Ireland and the U.S., I have found the ignorance of Catholic teaching and their own history among the Irish people truly appalling. The greatest tragedy is that these poor human beings who suffer from same sex attraction will be encouraged by this vote to abandon reality, to live a lie, and to move further away from the happiness they ardently seek. But, here’s to the 40%! As Jesus said to St. Paul in Corinth, “Be not silent – speak out! There are many in this city who are My friends.”

    • RobertRoyal

      Timothy: Thanks for this, which is the real news that the newspapers never see. Human life is not all economics, politics, and gender identity. If we believe in a spirit at all, perhaps it should enter into our thoughts and deeds.

  • Dan

    What is happening is deeply disturbing. The
    Church is rapidly being hollowed out from the inside while a diffident hierarchy
    watches from the sidelines. Judging from the articles selected by Sismografo,
    the planning for Italy’s
    surrender based on the Irish model is well advanced. Pope Francis told the Italian bishops that they
    should defend the people of God from ideological colonialization but to leave
    the political battle to the laity. God
    forbid that the Church should speak out about the legal embracement of evil if
    it were to upset the media and certain sectors of “the people.” No media applause
    to be won in that sort of political involvement. The environment and
    immigration? That’s a different story. Soon Pope Francis will soon be off to the
    United Nations to win more applause by lecturing the politicians about global

    The issue is not whether the Church’s leadership on the marriage issue would change result. The issue is the Church’s duty to speak the truth. A silent Church is a complicit Church.

  • RobertRoyal

    Paul, I agree with you and said as much in my closing paragraphs. But I’d add -and did in the column – even more. Loving Jesus is crucial, but loving and trusting real pastors is the following step, because there are many false teachers in the world perverting the record of who Jesus is and what he requires.

  • Rich in MN

    “After decades of dithering, it will be a long way back from where we are
    now. Despite everything, let’s take heart from the almost 40 percent
    who did right in Ireland, under heavy pressure and facing long odds.”

    And let us commit ourselves to personal repentance as well as prayer and fasting. Let us ask God for the wisdom to be guided into effective courses of action and ask the Mother of God to pray for us.

    I am no scholar but even I can steer a conversation about “marriage rights” by commenting, “I wonder what the purpose of marriage is?” And, if my co-ignoramuses say that Adam and Steve’s wedding has nothing to do with me, I can add, “Hey, we all understand that smoking is not just a personal matter affecting smokers, but that we breathe second-hand smoke and touch “third-hand” smoke carcinogens on furniture and clothing. Has anyone read that new book by that Providence “Dante” guy, Anthony Esolen? The book is called “Defending Marriage,” and did anyone read where he talks about how sexual choices by one group do not stay in the bathhouse, but filter out into the broader culture, affecting the moral center of balance for our entire little boat we call society, carried on the winds of the Internet and other media? And didn’t we see that sort of thing happen with pornography, where now our kids just assume people should ‘sleep together’ before marriage because the images are so ubiquitous in our media and wider culture? And Esolen shows how so many changes in sexual mores have already damaged relationships a great deal by changing the common language that we use. And he shows how really incoherent and destructive a lot of modern notions or marriage are, including gay marriage. I don’t want Adam and Steve persecuted for their concessions to human weakness but, I’m sorry, I cannot support public recognition of Adam and Steve’s sexualized relationship. It will become a legal battering ram that will knock down the walls of the Catholic Church and all others who cannot agree with them.”

    (Btw: wouldn’t Tony’s book be a great one as required reading and discussion at all seminaries (major and minor) around the country? And maybe all Catholic colleges as well? And, who knows, maybe it could even be sneaked into the curricula of GLAAD colleges like Georgetown and Notre Dame?)

  • SanSan

    Thank you Robert Royal…….next Austrialia will take the fall and America in June……btw, heard nothing about Ireland, etc from our pastors…..I agree with you…..we need someone to stand up and preach the Truth or many indeed are dammed. God Save Us.

  • Chris in Maryland

    To understand the “progressive establishment” of the Church in Ireland, and their detachment from both the Faith and reality in general, and the resultant destruction they caused to the Faith, it behooves us to know the bizarre and sordid story of Micheál Ledwith. For 17 years – this man was in charge of the theological formation of priests in Ireland. As you can see in paragraph 2, this man is a professional charlatan.

    Ledwith (laicized in 2005) now travels the world lecturing with a New Age cult (I believe it is
    in Arizona) called Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment. The school was established in 1988 by a woman named JZ Knight, who claims to channel a 35,000-year-old being called Ramtha
    the Enlightened One. Knight proclaims that in 1977, an entity named Ramtha began channelling through her. Ramtha, it is claimed, is an ascended entity from an ancient civilization who has been
    teaching through Knight about how reality is created and how human beings can
    create their own personal reality.

    Ledwith was a Catholic priest in Ireland, beginning in 1967. After a “promising” academic
    start he was promoted rapidly and served for a time as Dean of St Peter’s Diocescan College in Wexford. In 1977 he began a 17-year stint in leadership of the main Catholic seminary in Ireland at Maynooth. In 1977 he was appointed to a post in Dogmatic Theology at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He advanced quickly up the ladder, serving a term as Dean of the Faculty of Theology, and quickly assumed the Chair of Systematic theology and later a College Vice-President. In 1985,
    at age 44, he was appointed to the post of President of Maynooth, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Ireland and member of the Conference of the Heads of Irish Universities. The Presidency of Maynooth, at that time, was a senior position within the Catholic Church and considered the gateway to “big career” in the Church. Described on Wikipedia as “Intelligent, urbane and charming he was regarded within the church as a progressive and it was expected that he would soon be appointed to a prominent Bishopric.”

    In 1994 Ledwith suddenly resigned from his post, arousing much controversy in Ireland, involving suspicions of sex abuse with seminarians. The matter festered unresolved due in part to
    one or more confidentiality agreements involving Ledwith and others.

    For 17 years – Micheál Ledwith was in charge of the theological formation of priests in Ireland. He, and men like him, and people who prefer men like him, are the reason why the Church in Ireland collapsed. To them – the Catholic Church is just the parasitic host that they consume, and then move on. They are in the “religion business.” It offers them a very comfortable living.

    In 2010 Benedict XVI appointed an Apostolic Visitation from the Holy See to the Irish Church was
    charged, amongst other things, with investigating all Irish seminaries, and Maynooth in particular. In addition, Benedict demanded the resignation of several Irish Bishops for culpability in covering up sex abuse by clergy and Bishops in Ireland.

    • monica

      Thank you. This is the first I have heard of this man. This gives flesh to the argument that the problem is/was in the seminaries.

  • Dave

    The 40% is significant, and it will fall lower as older people age out, stop voting, stop living…What we are facing is not just a catechetical disaster: it shows a collapse of the practical authority of the Church to guide people’s lives with clear, convincing teaching. Here’s the thing: it starts with relationship first. When people know you love them, they listen to you; if they know you don’t, it doesn’t matter that you tell the truth. That goes for institutions as well as for individuals.

    Ours is a Dionysian age. At this point the fires will rage until they burn out, and then, exhausted, people will once again listen to the Church present the Gospel. Unfortunately — and the pages of Sacred Scripture and of Church history are replete with these stories — people don’t generally listen to God until they’re at the end of their ropes (and even then it is not guaranteed).

    So in addition to living our own lives coherently, we have to pray that we be men and women who radiate the love of Christ and his peace. When people see they are not judged, they will open their hearts, and then the Holy Spirit can get in. Society itself will not be transformed until a critical mass of individuals has been transformed, and what that number is, is anyone’s guess. We have to live the life of grace as never before: Mass, Communion, Confession, devotion to the Sacred Heart, the Immaculate Heart, the Saints, lectio divina, the whole nine yards. Remember our Lord wondering whether, when the Son of Man returns to earth, would he find faith. Let us pray the answer is yes.

    There’s much to be done but we will have to be patient, very patient: and faithful, no matter how hard it gets. And it’s going to get harder. Don’t doubt that tax-exempt statuses will be called into question for those organizations that do not kowtow. Obama and Hillary have been speaking not of freedom of religion but of freedom of worship (only) since January 2009. We should have known better the second time around — but we didn’t care.

    • veritasetgratia

      You make some very good points about relationship – people sensing you love them, and they listen because of that. The world is a hard place, and people who love others and make time for others are in short supply so I believe you are right about future prospects. I agree too about “the fires”. Pope Benedict wrote about people having done their best to trample the Church and then suddenly finding themselves terribly alone.

  • James

    Defining, apocalyptic or merely ironic that such tragedy could come to pass
    in Ireland at Pentecost. The Adversary is surely dancing his jig as this
    daughter of the Church finds its embrace in the arms of a hellish protestant-like
    revolt. Perhaps we can be thankful that it took almost 500 years to come to
    pass, that the Irish would collapse, cowardly, rebuked now before the face of
    the martyrs who walked before them. Take comfort while you can on the cold
    shoulder of the Adversary. The price to be paid will come.

    Shame on the Irish hierarchy who allowed this to come to pass. It was a
    fifty-year trek you made since the Council, and it seems you never took a
    moment to reconnoiter the land into which you were leading your flock. Shame on
    you, and the Pope too.

  • Mary C-J

    May I ask, why is it that less than let’s say for arguments sake 10% of the population is dictating their morality to the rest? The actual percentage of “gay’s” in the U.S. Is under 5%, yet the public BELIEVES that it is 30-40%. Great marketing by Satan.
    We in this country talk about the “war on women” well by equal acceptance of gay marriage, society has destroyed the importance of WOMEN and the next generation, CHILDREN. Any woman that does not make the connection is a fool. Perhaps our globalists and environmentalists have gotten what they want – mass genocide (abortion), and now the intellectual elimination of those Christians who stand in the way of the plan of reducing World population by 2/3 rds, to keep the Earth sustainable! All their models of sustainability are based on massive reduction in population.
    As Catholics we are in a very bad place right now – the word is that Justice Ginsberg tipped her hand – we know what’s coming. How is the Church going to react? We will be taxed on Church assets for non compliance. Schools possibly shut down for hate speech/thought. The parishioners just go with the flow….. Why are there so few who object openly? Why do we accept the lies? We are not yet the USSA, and we act like it, timid and afraid. Of who? Satan? God isn’t going to help us unless WE stand with Him. One must also stand up against the lies of our fellow men.

    • Diane

      You are so right. So, why are we allowing the minority to have their way. Your right, Satan is winning. So, why don’t the leaders of all the Churches who believe in Religious liberty stand up and fight. Some do, but not all. There Is strength in numbers. If this continues, the catacombs will certainly come back because we will no be able to worship openly and freely.

      • Mary C-J

        Just read -Gallup poll, homosexual population is LESS than 2.5% in U.S. REALY folks, we allow this! Sorry, I can forgive, I can pray. I can also SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER.
        Also let’s stop castrating our men from the get go. Ladies you were fooled and taken for a ride as far as the”feminist movement” goes. The feminist movement had nothing to do with women’s rights, only easy access into your pants without responsibility of parties concerned. Your Hollywood, elite acedemics and politicos were much too eager to comply. We failed our RESPONSIBILITY as women.
        We NEED to fix this – men can’t do it alone. It must be driven by US.
        I am a fine example of the uber elite educated “class”. I have been fighting this fight since college and I am 57 now. I have been very alone in this fight for a long time.
        LADIES this effects you big time. WE are responsible for the next generation our CHILDREN. Yes our husbands are too…. But for many to few and far between.
        I just lost my husband to cancer, funeral mass on our 20th wedding anniversary, two boys, and I CANNOT be AFRAID. I have everything to loose and nothing to loose.
        I will fight this and any of Satan’s minions. I suggest we all prepare.

        • kathleen

          Mary C-J, my condolences at the recent loss of your husband. I will keep him and your family in my prayers. I, too, am praying for holy perseverance. God is in charge. We must keep that in mind always and not give in to discouragement. Our late wonderful pope, St. John Paul II, told us – Be not Afraid. Jesus tells us that too. God works all things for good. This diabolical inspired vote in Ireland to change the Irish Constitution that is dedicated to The Holy Trinity, to allow homosexual “marriage” will not stand. God will have the last word! Maybe the bishops and priests in Ireland will get the message before it is too late. This is a wake-up call for them.

        • veritasetgratia

          Mary you are an inspiration. I am with you.

    • Thomas J. Hennigan

      Where did you get the idea that 10% of the population is homosexual? From Kinsey and his bogus “research”, who seems to have brainwahsed you also. The real figure is about 1.5% according to recent and reliable estimates.

      • Mary C-J

        Thomas you are correct and I originally used the numbers to make a point – even if numbers were that high the capitulation to immorality is ludicrous at best. As I later responded to Diane, even Gallup claims less than 2.5% more likely 1.5% as you say.
        What of it? The left has bamboozled the public who have grave issues with any moral compass. Living a lie, no matter how small, leads us to accepting lies in others. The lies are no longer small and “insignificant” they continue to get larger – Hitleresque in their proportions but not a peep from us. After all ” what difference does it make?”
        Satan can’t win if we are with Christ Jesus. So where is everyone?
        Where is the Church? Silent for the most part and complacent. Mustn’t offend.
        You don’t let a dog run into a busy street, let alone a child, without stopping them and admonishing the behavior by both explanation ( in the child’s case) and punishment ( in both the child and the animals case). Can’t hurt anyone’s feelings anymore.
        So for all, what do WE do? Wait to be martyrs ourselves? I’ll make one last point.
        God gave us life. It is precious. If you do not know for what reason you would willingly die for, you truly don’t know what you are living for.
        There is more of God’s purpose in living the life He ascribes to us than in whining.
        Best to make plans as to what each of us is prepared to do and hope our Church actually does the same.

      • veritasetgratia

        She didnt say that!

  • RufusChoate

    The problem might be that we and the 21st century over emphasizes an emotion that we call “Love” that is merely narcissism and feeling good about yourself and ignore real Love that is duty and rational outcome of faith.

    Almost every Catholics received entirely too much Love as an emotion and God as a lover who is really doesn’t care what you do just as along as you think your happy.

  • Diane

    I attended a graduation party over the weekend and the local parish priest was there. If this is an example of where the priest, in general are, we are in big trouble. I asked him why the priests do not talk or preach against sin any longer. His answer was. We need more people under the roof of the Church. The 20 to 40 age group are lost to the Church. He said that back when, the priest was the smartest person in the Church, but now this group is so smart that they can’t get themselves to believe in religion or Jesus. In other words, the rest of us are dumb because we were gullible enough to believe. He said, when was the last time we have forgiven anyone? He said they need to know about forgiveness before they can be taught about sin. I GUESS I AM DUMB, BECAUSE I DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHERE HE WAS COMING FROM. He said that they need to be involved in service. This goes back to helping the poor and needy. I believe that the Church does and will continue to do so. But, if you are taught the love of Jesus and not to hurt anyone by sinning aren’t you in a better position to serve. He said that conservatives always talk about secularism and that is a cop-out. I asked, is murder still a mortal sin. He said yes. Then, I said that the liberals (Democrats) promote abortion, so wasn’t that wrong. He said that was politicizing Jesus and that diminishes Jesus. So, here we are with liberal priests who do not want you to connect Jesus with the beliefs of abortion and same sex marriage and how the left pushes this on society. SO, THIS IS WHERE WE ARE FOLKS! No wonder why the silence is so deafening. God help our beautiful Catholic Church!

  • SJM

    There is a lovely Catholic church in Dublin – St. Kevin’s on Harrington Street – that has Latin Masses. We visited last year and it was a wonderful experience of a sacred and reverential liturgy.

    There were lots of people going to confession to, I think, four Priests, prior to Mass. It was hopeful to see so many young people – and men. The music was so beautiful. And the homily was a soul-searching experience that really helped.

    The church was packed. There is hope in pockets here and there.

    • kathleen

      That is good to know. And hopeful too. Maybe some talented person out there could list all the faithful parishes/churches in Ireland, England and the United States. That would be a wonderful gift, especially for those of us who travel a little from time to time.

  • bernie

    Can there be any substitute for strong leadership? Every so often we Catholics benefit from some great leader who comes along to straighten us out. Where is he now? As an American of Irish descent, I am ashamed of what has happened. As a people, they/we have failed to live our Faith. We have forgotten who we are, why we are here, what we should do. All through the buildup to the vote, I kept wondering why no one was speaking up. The leadership should hang their heads in disgrace. Where o’ where was a modern-day John Hughes, (1st Abp pf NY)? Under him, the Irish in America changed society, beginning with themselves. You have to be a cockeyed optimist to see a way back without an honest leader. Oh, Dagger John, where are you? The Irish are a queer lot. Even in NY they can no longer even manage a proper parade on the Feast of St. Patrick.

    • Marguerite

      I would love to hear what Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen would say about all of this.

  • LAM

    In addition to praying to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and fortitude for the heirarchy, priests and Catholic spouses, consideration should be given to the development and distribution of shirts that read – WHO AM I TO TEACH THE TRUTH!

  • Thomas J. Hennigan

    Francis “told the Italian bishops that they should trust their own people to do the right thing, not try to tell them what to do”. Where in the gospel did Francis find that? I guess Jesus trusted the Pharisees who were the revered teachers of the day. If he had thought that this was his mission, he would have continued to be a carpenter in Nazareth. Pope Francis is promoting confession, so one wonders why anyone who thinks he or she is “doing the right thing” would waste their time going to confession, as they are obviously nice people? Where in the Gospel are we told that we are to be “nice”? Was Jesus nice, or St. Paul or any saint worth his salt? Were those who heard Jesus’s sermon on the bread of life at the synagogue of Caphernaum “doing the right thing”, when many of them no longer followed him and he even asked the apostles if they wanted to go also? Peter gave a resounding answer. In the times of Pope St. Leo the Great (440-461), at the Council of Chalcedon (451) when Leo’s dogmatic letter, called the Tome, affirming the doctrine the two natures and one person of Christ, the bishops stood up and gave a staning ovation stating “Peter has spoken through Leo”. Is this still the case?

  • Grump

    Cross another destination off my vacation list. Is there any sanity left in the Western World?

    • No, there isn’t any sanity left anywhere. Perhaps it will one day be reborn from the monasteries in Africa.

  • Password9

    Is it a crisis of catechesis or courage? It is no act of faith to see the natural make of marriage.
    Perhaps the Church has become so ‘patriotic’ and conformed to our national creeds
    that when the culture goes astray many too easily capitulate and comply with the crowd.

  • kathleen

    The Irish martyrs and patriots are weeping now. for the Faith and Ireland they fought so gallantly for, and gladly gave their lives. Pray for us oh saints of Ireland. Our Lady of Knock pray for Ireland.

    • auto1004

      They’re part of the problem as murder was part of their repertoire.
      How the church got mixed up with terrorism is a mystery.
      Every year that abomination that takes place @Arbour Hill re 1916…
      God knows what’ll it be like next year – assuming the republic is still around.
      Romans 13 – please read it folks

  • Godfrey Buillon

    75 years ago, the Irish priests were evangelizing our shores, in the last 20 years, Filipino priests were being sent to Ireland to try and reclaim it as it had once again become mission territory. This had been festering in Ireland for a long-time. In addition to the tarnishing of the church’s reputation because of clergy homosexual abuse in Ireland (which was more spectacular than outside), nothing was done to rectify and bring back the hearts of the Irish, hence, we have this.

    • Marguerite

      Great name! Wasn’t Godfrey de Bouillon a Count who fought in the First Crusade to relinquish possession of Jerusalem from the Turks?

  • walt

    Paul, I believe that all Catholics have encountered Jesus in the most profound way by virtue of their Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. It is His plan for a most intimate relationship with us. The fact that they are “looking for love in all the wrong places” is a failure of Catechesis.

  • Gamaliel spoke in Acts 5 “if this enterprise, this movement of theirs is of human origin it will break up of its own accord. But if it does in fact come from God you will not only be unable to destroy them, but you might find yourselves fighting against God.”
    What do we as Catholics believe? Are the various agendas of our modern culture about to destroy the Church? I doubt it.
    In Canada last week the people of Alberta voted in a majority New Democrat provincial government after 40 years of Conservative rule and prosperity. Ireland votes to allow same sex marriage. Perhaps peace and harmony in Palestine will be the next shocking world event. The world continues to change.
    Whatever takes place it is a time for Catholics to have a Pentecost moment and trust in the Holy Spiirt to lead us in spreading the good news of Christ. How many times did Christ tell his followers to not be afraid? So what are we afraid of? Isn’t this why we follow Christ?
    It takes courage to be a Christian especially when we are probably going to be quite uncomfortable in this world for years to come.
    God bless.

    • The church will survive. It just won’t have any stupid white people like me left in it.

      • ColdStanding

        Theodore: There is not such thing as a white person. It is a completely made up term. Nor are you stupid. No need to beat yourself up.

        • stupid northern Europeans then, who like me, waited too long to get married and have children, or worse, used contraception. My biggest regret in life is that I have been unable to give my son a sibling, despite 12 years of using NFP in reverse.

        • Bryan Hann

          I am stupid. Seriously. It’s the opposite of intelligent–just as short is the opposite of tall and light is the opposite of heavy and a person can be any combination of the three. There is no shame on where you lie on the bell curve.

          But if you don’t like ‘stupid’ because it feels icky, do you have an appropriate antonym? (And ‘unintelligent’ hardly counts. I am looking for something for more than a morphemic difference.)

  • Athelstane

    We are dealing here with a Christianity of unmitigated inclusiveness…

    It’s really not Christianity. It’s Moral Therapeutic Deism.

  • abu assim golor

    I think too much importance has been given to the Catholic(and religious) aspect of this issue and not enough importance on the absurdity of it regardless of religious affiliation. Yes, Ireland was prototypically Catholic and the Catholic Church had enormous influence on society and that influence has waned due to scandal and secularization, however, this tragic legalization of so called homosexual marriage,” (which will unfortunately occur in the U.S next month) is not really a Catholic problem or even a secular problem, it is a distortion of the mindset, a rejection of nature, logic, reason and common sense and being so it is really a reflection of a new DARK AGE we have entered. It is as though a tidal wave of insanity has swept reason aside and replaced it with, well, insanity. The so called progressives who reject Catholicism or religion in general and pride themselves on embracing science reveal their outright hypocrisy in celebrating an obscenity whose very nature rejects nature and science, but of course that doesn’t matter since it suits their destructive agenda. By the same token people who have denigrated and ridiculed marriage for decades as being “outmoded” and “repressive” all of a sudden find merit in an institution that will serve their diabolical purpose in legitimizing and legalizing homosexual behavior and “marriage.” Another example of utter hypocrisy. Since the degenerate agenda has swept into power one can only hope for a messianic revival of morality and common sense. For that to happen a spiritual reawakening must occur that will sweep aside the aberrancy of the present age. Let us hope that in the not too distant future, when reason will once again rule, people will look back at this DARK AGE and wonder how such a technologically advanced society could morally collapse and crumble into such an abyss of depravity and irrationally.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Living systems are by definition chemical data-processing systems that self-perpetuate (those that do not self-perpetuate, cease to exist).

      Processes that are “adaptive” are those whose output does not inhibit self-perpetuation. It’s not so much that we “must” perpetuate (no choice exists); it’s simply that our system is built upon that principle.

    • qbitman

      Abu, nice article. I very much agree that the problem of legalized garriage is primarily a natural one that should be addressed on natural grounds.
      We are seeing play out a problem that goes back 500 years with the Age of Enlightenment. There was a shift in the way people thought. Truth was reduced to scientific fact. The question of ‘why’ nature is the way it is was replaced with ‘how’ nature is the way it is. Theology then took a second seat to physics.
      We are only just starting to see in theoretical physics and cosmology a shift in epistemology. These sciences have pretty much exhausted the ‘how’ questions about nature. They are starting to return to the philosophical underpinnings.
      Here is a great area where a rebirth in the Islamic philosophers of old and the Western world of science could help each other a great deal. The result, hopefully, will bear a reunification of faith and reason where the ‘why’ questions about nature will lead academia back toward a realization of family and religion.
      The big problem with legalized garriage, however, is the shift in the mindset of the youth toward the purpose of sexuality. No longer will the young folks think marriage to be natural. Worse still, too many will start to believe marriage as irrelevant. The big losers will be the children and society at large.
      Many of my friends are asking Mary, the mother of Jesus, to help us to pray for the divine help we will need to stem the tide and change the course of these errors.

    • kilbirt42

      Excellent commentary. The “science-minded,” also do not know when human life begins.

  • Elijah fan

    I see it as a problem of herd thinking once the herd is separated from the Church. But prior to that, they were not reliable either. Then after separation caused by scandal, social concerns like inviting a gay relative and partner to a secular Christmas dinner becomes the primary tense social decision of the year….that is solved by a new position on gay acts to resolve the tension and fraternal correction ( one of the hardest acts on earth ) becomes unnecessary if you see evil as good.
    But similar herd thinking within the Church is stunning also…ie a virtual unanimous following of an erroneous turn in the death penalty theory orchestrated by one Pope and some Cardinals in the CDF ( a dissenting Cardinal can be seen in ccc 2260 ). This is a new bizarre idea being called “Church teaching” just as outside the Church the new idea is yes to gay acts orchestrated by few also. In both cases, the size of the herd stuns me. In both cases, the idea is bizarre. Catholic Honduras has the worst murder rate on earth and no death penalty since 1956…90 per 100,000 ( Japan is .3 per 100,000). Two bizarre ideas…two herds following each.
    One herd outside the Church; one inside.

  • Diane

    Unfortunately, I think too many priests are just too liberal and don’t believe all that much in some sins anymore. That Is what is frightening to me. If you start preaching to children, about sin, as we were taught in grade school, they understand in the evil of it. Adults are too into themselves to think anything is a sin.

  • I certainly have no hope left that we can “trust the people to do the right thing”

  • Fulton J. Waterloo

    Why is it that the Archbishop is weak for “not telling people what to do,” but Pope Francis gets a “pass” for “not telling people what to do?” Am I confused?

  • BXVI

    We’ve lost the debate. The same-sex marriage advocates have won in Ireland and have won throughout the West. A majority of Catholics in every Western nation supports same-sex marriage. So, where does this leave us? There are two things to consider:

    1. Both Western states and Western society at large will seek to “punish” opponents of same-sex marriage through social ostracism and legal penaltes. We need to be realistic and admit that very few Christians are up for this. Almost all will abandon the Truth in order to avoid the negative consequences. Most of the protestant denominations moved quickly to abandon the Biblical understanding of marriage and the sinfulness of homosexual conduct when they saw the writing on the wall, but of course that has not worked for them, as they are hemhorraging even worse than the Catholic church. The question is, who be willing to remain associated with an institution that they have been convinced promotes hatred and discrimination? Answer: almost no-one. Maybe 10% will stick it out. And I am sorry, but “changing the subject” so as to try to ignore it or not talk about it too much, per Pope Francis’ strategy, is not going to work. I think he may have figured that out by now.

    2. The next big issue, which is already in full motion, will be the massive push to get the Church to change its teaching. This movement will come from within the Church, not from external forces. Again, we need to be realistic and admit that these forces are very strong. First, they have the vast majority of Catholic people in the West on their side. Just look what unholines is coming out of Germany and Switzerland and Belgium, etc. They are highly motivated, and they are not going to take “no” for an answer this time. Second, it is important to realize that they have a very large number of cardinals, bishops and priests in their camp, and they are much less hesitant to push their agenda under Pope Francis than they were under Pope Benedict or St. John Paul. This is the infamous “gay lobby.” I believe that this battle will rend the Church in two; there’s just no avoiding it. I wish my faith were strong enough that I were confident the Truth will prevail, but I must admit, I am not that confident. And, even if the Truth does prevail, it make me sad to think that the future of Catholcism in the West will most likely involve abandonment of the Faith by the vast majority of self-identified Catholics, either by formal church schism or by individuals simply walking away.

  • LoloJim

    Pope Francis should learn from his predecessors for being extremely quiet when truth is being attacked.

    Pope St. Felix III:
    “Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress
    it; and indeed to neglect to confound evil men, when we can do it, is no less a sin than to encourage them.”

    Pope St. Gregory the Great
    “It is better that scandals arise than the truth be suppressed.”

  • BXVI

    Our cultural elites have driven this debate, and they have succeeded spectacularly in brainwashing the public. Here is something that shocks me:

    1. Recent polling shows that Americans think 23% of the population is gay. That’s almost 1 in 4!
    2. The most reliable and recent study shows the actual percentage to be 1.6%, with and additional 0.7% identifying as bisexual.

    How is it possible that the Amercian people can be so befuddled or just plain stupid? This is a powerful testament to the power of cultural propaganda. It shakes one’s faith in democracy to realize that the vast majority of people are a) incredibly intellectually shallow and b) have no concept of reality.

  • Diane

    Read what has happened in Canada over the same sex marriage approval. People can lose their jobs or go to jail just by speaking up against it. Is this what we are to look forward to in the USA? I am ashamed of our Church leaders who are so silent. They are literally allowing Satan to take over. So, are we just to sit back and let this happen? If we become two Churches because of this, the Government will get involved and we won’t be able to have the truth. Hillary actually said that Religions must change their beliefs. How does one change their beliefs? If you believe that it is the truth, how do you change that? Unfortunately, uninformed Catholics will vote for that woman and things will never, ever, be the same. Only God can bring sanity to our existence.

    • asmondius

      Also in Canada, the accreditation of religious schools is under threat and certain corporate industry groups have announced plans to boycott businesses whose owners adhere to certain religious standards.

  • barthomew

    Sociologist, columnist, and novelist Father Andrew Greeley (R.I.P.) is the only person I know who had the courage to publicly describe how homosexuals had come to dominate the staff of a number of American seminaries; he referred to them as the lavender corps. Starting about 50 years ago, there was a tendency in the US and in other nations–out of desperation and because of the cultural laxity of the time–to lower and alter standards for the priesthood, including accepting those with homosexual proclivities. And then, according to Greeley, those homosexual priests got jobs running seminaries and also got one another appointed to those jobs. One heard of heterosexual would-be celibate seminarians leaving the seminary because of their not feeling welcome, or even being the object of attempted homosexual seduction by priests. There was even a room at a Midwestern Benedictine institution where some of the clergy went to engage in homosexual sex acts.
    So there ended up being a significant number of practicing pedophile, endophile, and homosexual priests. And the public and legal scandals ensued. Naturally, this lowered the prestige and authority of the Catholic Church.
    Note how media accounts of the Irish approval of putative homosexual marriage mention how the Catholic Church had lost its moral leadership standing because of the sex scandals.
    One does still see some attempts by the Catholic Church to oppose homosexual sex acts and homosexual marriage. It sounds as if Australia will continue to reject those items into the foreseeable future.
    Note how Scotland even tried to ban speaking for Catholic marriage doctrine in a sermon, let alone in public discourse. Retired Archbishop Jerome Hanus, OSB, then-Chancellor of Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, spoke against a proposed college policy banning discrimination against homosexuals; he said it would mean that priests would be banned from preaching that homosexual acts are immoral.

    Moreover, the fact that 28% of male homosexuals have more than a thousand partners apiece and that virtually no male homosexual partnerships last more than five years, underlines how unnatural and immortal homosexual acts are.

    One can add that the fact that heterosexuals have moved towards divorce and marrying another and also childless marriage certainly did and does undermine the moral standard of traditional heterosexual marriage.

  • So, again the heirarchy, from Francis on down, have failed the Church. They should resign in disgrace and take the tonsure.

  • Elizabeth Duran Gessner

    Federale, I entirely agree. Neither the Pope nor anybody under him did anything to either prevent or discourage this. However, I think it’s actually too late at this point. in June, SCOTUS will make “gay marriage” a Constitutional right here in the US, and in Ireland they have already announced they’re going to fast track this and all schools will have to include “gay marriage” in their curricula by fall.
    Some Catholic writers think that by September, there will have to be an Avignon papacy. I’m afraid that I have to side with them. And who woulda thunk it, that we humble grunts would suddenly have to live through something similar to times of Athanasius? And for such a weird issue, yet?

  • bernie

    I very much share the thoughts of your
    respondent “BXVI”. It does not take a futurist to see what
    is coming, just consistency. My reflection sees many nefarious
    things coming together which will bring about great turmoil. The
    anti-people movements (divorce, contraception, abortion), same sex
    approbations of one sort or another, lack of generous child bearing,
    Pornographic self absorption, the inability of society to assist the
    elderly with no or few children, desperate governments trying to
    stave off chaos, unsustainable social programs, a breakdown of Western culture, euthanasia on demand – all hastened by a population collapse that is now virtually
    certain. The beginning of the population collapse provides us with
    as critical a date as any – 2050 – but the problems will surely begin
    before that date. Pessimistic? Perhaps, but it all sounds like the
    great disruptions during the period when the Gospel made its
    breakthrough in Rome, only on a bigger scale by far. And yet, who knows?
    Perhaps with a true leader, we might mull our way back. Clare Booth
    Luce once said, “The world is divided into two groups – the
    optimists and the pessimists. The pessimists are better informed.”

    • Marc Williams

      To your catalogue of ills must be added relentless, emboldened and aggressive Islam.

  • KilkennyKid

    Gentlemen of the Church hierarchy have checked their spines at the door. This is so sad.

  • Diane

    So, Bill Donahue of the Catholic League said that Rubio was talking to Pat Robertson and he said that the next to happen will be that the Catechism of the Catholic Church will be considered hate speech. Will the Bishops speak out, or will they just burn our book and agree?

  • Elleblue Jones

    Excellent article where you hit various nails right on the head.

  • Ohso

    Ireland is not alone in being targeted by the Gaystapo – as my old home town of Sodom by the Sea (formerly the City of Saint Francis) is chock full of Pederasts, Ephebophiles and ‘Twysted Systers of Indulgence’ – all of whom provide examples of the ‘new tolerance’ headed to the Auld Sod.
    SF government again rocked by child porn scandal
    Mayor’s campaign manager parallels Larry Brinkin case (Cal-Catholic)
    barbwire. com/2014/11/20/homosexual-hrc-founder-arrested-raping-15-year-old-boy/
    Yet another high profile “gay” activist has been arrested for homosexual assault on a child.
    This time authorities caught one of the big fish (a rainbow trout?). Terrance Patrick Bean founded the “Human Rights Campaign” (HRC), which is one of the world’s largest, wealthiest and most powerful anti-Christian organizations. To this day he remains on the board of directors.
    HRC was developed for the sole purpose of pushing the extremist homosexual political agenda. Bean is also a major player for the DNC and a big Obama supporter.
    The Oregonian reports:
    Bean has been one of the state’s biggest Democratic donors and an influential figure in gay rights circles in the state. He helped found two major national political groups, the Human Rights Campaign
    and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund,
    and has been a major contributor for several Democratic presidential candidates, including Barack Obama.
    Bean’s Flickr account shows him talking with Obama at several events… Terry Bean’s ride on Air Force One with Obama…
    Just two years ago 68 year old Larry Brinkin, another high profile and similarly respected (at least among Democrats) homosexual activist, was arrested in San Francisco for possessing and distributing reams of child pornography.
    CNS News Reported at the time:
    Police said that Brinkin, a former city employee, apparently had photos of children, as young as 1- or 2-years-old, performing sexual acts and being sodomized by adult men in attachments linked to the email address, reported The Chronicle. The email account was also linked to Yahoo discussion groups involving sexual exploitation of young people.
    Concerning Brinkin, Theresa Sparks, director of the Human Rights Commission, told the Huffington Post,
    “He’s always been one of my heroes, and he’s the epitome of human rights activist,” she said. “This is [the] man who coined phrases we use in our daily language. I support Larry 100 percent; hopefully it will all come out in the investigation.”
    Brinkin later plead guilty to the charges.
    SEE San Francisco’s Gay Icon Larry Brinkin Guilty of Felony Child Porn Possession: cnsnews. com/node/757449
    Yep – These monsters are “heroes” to the HRC and the larger “gay” activist community.
    Ever wonder why?

  • Dhaniele

    If you read the second chapter of 2 Thessalonians, St. Paul looks to the
    future and sees a “mass apostasy” (apostasia in Greek). What is
    happening in Ireland is part of something much bigger that has been predicted, but St. Paul sees
    it as just a phase, not the end, and ends up agreeing with what was said by Our Lady of
    Fatima: “a time of peace will be granted to the world.” However, as consoling as the message is to believers, it can only be achieved with our cooperation of prayer (especially the rosary) and penance. Finger pointing and criticism fails to recognize our collective failure to ever take Fatima really seriously. Just was World War II could have been avoided with some minor changes in history, e.g. Hitler not being released from jail, etc., there is still time to avoid further catastrophes if we just listen to Mary.

    • kathleen

      Thank you. I couldn’t agree more! Yes, this loss of Faith in Ireland is a harbinger of things to come in the Church universal.
      We should all meditate on St. Paul’s writings – all of them – and especially now 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 2. And, The Message of Fatima. Let us read Sr. Lucia’s book – Calls from Fatima. It’s all there. Keep on praying for the New Pentecost that our wonderful pope, St. John Paul II prayed for. Pray for his intercession now for the Church so much in need. Pray to the Holy Spirit for all His gifts and especially for holy perseverance. God will have the last word. This we know. Be not afraid…

  • veritasetgratia

    “….they should trust their own people to do the right thing, not try to tell them what to do…..” I dont agree with this idea. I experienced in local Parishes when we pushed a mailathon to politicians asking them to NOT VOTE for adoption rights by same sex couples (for example), in those Parishes where the Parish Priest actually supported writing against this “right”, he helped Parishioners understand what to do and those who said they “wanted” parishioners to join in our mailathon, made a HUGE difference in the numbers of people who joined in with us. The trouble is most people through the demands of their family life, generally dont spend hours reading through on the big issues such as the effects on society of same sex marriage getting up. Many people genuinely believe it wont affect them at all and they dont believe it will affect their families adversely. They dont think about how the short term project will be to officially re-educate people about marriage; that means, asap it goes into schools. Actually teaching kids that any group of people can ‘marry’ blurs the understanding of what is a girl and what is a boy and suggests it has no relevance. How do these children then understand their own gifts, and limitations based on their God-given gender; oh, and the understanding of gender being God-given needs to go as well in the new paradigm.

    • Hi veritasetgratia,

      I’m very happy to see you speaking clearly about these issue(s) from your first-hand experience. The need for those Parish Priest to communicate to their parishioners from the time (what a valuable unrenewable resource) they have to study and pray on these issue. From what I hear you saying here:

      “…for adoption rights by same sex couples (for example), in those Parishes where the Parish Priest actually supported writing against this “right”, he helped Parishioners understand what to do and those who said they “wanted” parishioners to join in our mailathon, made a HUGE difference in the numbers of people who joined in with us. The trouble is most people through the demands of their family life, generally dont spend hours reading through on the big issues such as the effects on society of same sex marriage getting up”

      It sounds to me that you are saying that the faithful really do look to a Priest for his convictions to be strong, and well-informed. God can certainly use a parish that genuinely desires leadership with a strong Christian stance, rather than a Priest/Pastor who doesn’t want to seem pushy with his parishioners.

      How do you think we can get this message to the decision-makers? I’m on the other side of this- I’m on the side with the training and the convictions but need those willing to be led. Those who trust the decisions of the teachers and shepherds. I think your situation is very hopeful and I’ll be praying the right leadership get placed where the needs are.
      Et Carter

      • veritasetgratia

        Well we are just about to see because Down Under, this week some Pollies including a “Catholic high profiler” has just rolled over based on what happened in Ireland. And he made some very dumb public statements just out of panic (looks like). This morning the internet is alive with strong Catholics networking and swapping responses from some of our great Life Apostolates. The big discussion in the Political Party room will take place day after tomorrow. Please pray for us. Untie marfiage from one man one woman, and we have no way of arguing the case against polygamy and also marriage with under-age girls right on our own doorstep – we already have young teens running off to join Is as brides. We wont be able to protect our own children! What a horrible world for kids! If they survive the womb, they enter an uncertain threatening world.

      • veritasetgratia

        Et Carter – forgot to affirm that you DID understand me correctly. The vast majority of parishioners look to their Pastor for guidance especially in big issues. People are generally down to earth and want to live in peace with one another. People look up to their Priests and want to look up to them. If you want your Parishioners to do something for you – e.g. join in a movement to speak to Politicians, it has to be made easy to do, so having people able to set things up to make it easy is a good thing. Then, whilst Parishioners are feeling strongly about an issue, they are ready to act and it is all there for them to do. What I have encountered is that many people view moral issues as political issues! So for some, people think ‘my party thinks ……’ so I want to go with my party. But really, every decision we make in our lives and on behalf of our communities, is a moral issue. We just have not bee taught to think that way, and now in many places we are paying the penalty for that.

  • Sceptic

    Forty percent of the three million voters in Ireland abstained from voting. Sixty two percent of sixty percent is thirty eight percent of the three million who voted yes. Sixty two percent did not vote yes. So why the big celebration by the media.

    • SykesFive

      “Yes, we lost, but our best player couldn’t even take the field, and it was an away game, and the referee was blind, and the weather was bad–so why is the other side celebrating?” Because they won the game.

  • Fiona

    We can’t really completely blame the young people in Ireland. Good catholic parents often disapprove of their children marrying young and instead expect them to go to university where they are meant to hold up against temptation at a time when they may be at their most hormonal and fertile but never give them the tools to do so.
    Then if they finally manage to find someone who will eventually marry them (quite a difficult feat in this society) they may also have problems trying to persuade their other half to actually have children. If they have too many children the catholic parents often look very worried because it means that maybe they have to stay at home raising their own children and that would be discouraged….more grandchildren might mean they have to babysit more and financially help stopping them going away on holiday.
    As it is so hard to actually find someone of the same faith many marry someone who is of a different faith or who doesn’t believe in anything. They may find themselves in the horrible situation of being coerced into having an abortion as ‘this is better for everyone’ sort of reasoning and ‘they are being selfish by having another’.
    God forbid that anyone would ever consider having a child in their late 40s and if they have too many…well they might end up on the front cover of the daily mail and that would shame the family.
    Good catholic parents seem to expect their children to absorb the teachings of the church without ever hearing them even at mass (often too busy at work – TV and the internet now instruct the children) and whenever they fall down they decide that maybe the church doctrine is wrong rather than examining their own role. The change happened many generations ago.

  • Darryl Harb

    The floor of Hell, the skulls of bishops . . .

  • AllanBerlin

    You just don’t seem to get it. This is the new Age of Enlightenment. As an Irish person in his mid twenties let me give you some perspective. An inherently intolerant institution such as the Catholic Church has no authoritative right to teach tolerance. We are not will not be preached to anymore. I know you won’t believe me. It is only a natural that some may convince yourself that I am lying or some may even consider me to be a troll, a heretic or damned. If that is the case then I will leave you with this twitter hashtag #hometovote. My generation spent what little money we had to fly home to vote in favour of the same-sex referendum. To vote against the position of the Catholic church.

    • Darryl Harb

      I wouldn’t live there, either. Ireland has joined the rest of the eurotrash circling the drain, the self-hating Irish having fulfilled the desperate desire to be accepted by people they instinctively regard as their betters. Embracing the sad burlesque that is “gay marriage” is a symptom.

      To paraphrase Jesuit philosopher Bernard Lonergan:
      “A civilization in decline can’t be talked out of its destructive practices because any arguments that might be employed to put an end to those destructive practices were already rejected in order to start those practices in the first place.”

      There’s your “New Age of Enlightenment” for you.

      • Romulus

        Everybody knows drunks have to hit rock bottom before you can begin to reason with them.

    • Romulus

      Two things:

      First, there is no such thing as tolerance. There are merely differing standards of what will not be tolerated. The Catholic faith, as well as universal, age-old human consensus have not tolerated the notion that two men can be married to one another. The Irish have agreed to hold as intolerable the notion that they cannot.

      Second, the Catholic Church is not in the tolerance business. The Church is in the truth business. By their temper-tantrum vote, the Irish — a national case of arrested development — are making plain that they are not much interested in truth. They are interested in bogus sentiment and preening self-congratulation.

      • AllanBerlin

        Whoa, there is so many fallacies in this argument that it makes my brain hurt. Lets try and break this down premise by premise.

        Lets begin with your declaration, “there is no such thing as tolerance”. Ok, lets run with that logic throughout the remainder of your argument.

        “There are merely differing standards of what will not be tolerated.” Nope, this will not work, because how can there be differing standards of what will not be tolerated when tolerance does not exist in the first place like you say in your declaration?

        I could go on but in fact it would be a waste of time. Basically, you have declared that there is no such thing as tolerance, which means that there is no such thing as intolerance, because one cannot logically exist without the other. So every time you use the words tolerated, tolerance and intolerance your argument becomes invalid because you have already declared that tolerance does not exist. Do you understand?

        “Second, the Catholic Church is not in the tolerance business.” I think we can both agree on that. “The Church is in the truth business.” Nope, it is in the belief business. Truth and belief are not the same thing. For your argument to be true that the Church is in the truth business you are going to have to define at least one ‘absolute truth’ that the Church has provided which cannot be disputed. Good luck with that…

    • veritasetgratia

      Well you also voted against the position of a good number of vocal gays in relationships who are not so blind that they deny the benefits of their growing up in a family with a mother and a father. What about you AllanBerlin? Did you grow up in a same sex ‘family’? There are a number of young people who have, and they too are vocal. This is not about accepting people and showing people respect. But it is about acknowledging that natural structures in society are good and provide basic certainties about what works best – not perfect – life is never perfect – but what society has affirmed works best. Go check!

      • AllanBerlin

        No I did not grow up in a same sex family. I love your use of quotation marks around the word ‘family’ when referring to same sex families. Shows a massive amount of disrespect towards them. Now that I have answered your question I have a few for you as well.

        What benefits are being denied to a children who have same sex parents?

        Name for me five vocal gays who were against the position?

        Define for me what the basic certainties about what works best are?

        Which society? I can’t go check until you elaborate on that one.

        • TheVIYOHD


        • veritasetgratia

          Men and women in a marriage with children each contribute something distinct and different in their child raising, in what they see as priorities – the mother being more focussed on a child’s feelings (I am speaking in a general way to be brief) whereas the father is generally more focussed on his child’s social interaction. I am not denying how particular mothers do this varies, and how particular fathers model their priorities varies with individuals.
          Dolce, Gabbana, Masha Gessen that’s 3 — sorry I will need to be searching in France for the others – I dont suspect you are up for waiting!
          Millennia of heterosexual marriage stands for something – multiple civlisations cant all be wrong. Mental health professionals write that a child living with its biological parents is much safer than with a defacto (not saying there are not great non-biologically connected stepparents around) but in a stressful environment which today is for most people, then blood ties generate closer bonding in general.
          Human society. Human beings as a group of created beings.

    • asmondius

      I’m very sorry, I must have missed the headline on the day you were declared to be a spokesperson for your generation.
      If sodomy is your version of Enlightenment, there must have been a problem somewhere along the line.

      • AllanBerlin

        Well Catholics believe that the Pope is a spokesperson for a God, is it really that hard to imagine my declaration, as you put it, to be true also 😉

        Seriously though, your use of the word sodomy is laughable. I have no doubt that you are using it selectively in order to refer to homosexual acts. Why not enlighten yourself by reading up the meaning of the words that you use?

        • asmondius

          Catholics do not believe that the Pope is a spokesperson for God. Get your facts straight.
          I correctly use ‘sodomy’ to refer to homosexual acts because that is the only physical activity homosexuals are capable of. Participating exclusively in sodomy makes one a sodomite.
          I humbly suggest you ‘enlighten’ yourself before giving advice to others.

  • Jose Rizal

    Congratulations to the bishops, priests, and religious of Ireland for their amazing accomplishment. However, the bishops, priests, and religious of the Philippines (yes, Catholic Philippines) are not to be outdone, and will soon show that they are the equal of their Irish confreres. Draw the curtains and light the candles boys.

  • Don Antonio

    Before you start trying to interfere in the Russian Orthodox countries I suggest you take care of the apostasy in your own Western Catholic lands. It seems like Russia is dealing with the attempt to legalize the practice of homosexuality.
    So, DJR, was Ireland consecrated to Our Lady? What good would that do if those who were “Confirmed” were never “converted’? This is the problem with established Churches. We think that people will simply absorb things by osmosis. No! We must convert every generation…and we have failed to do that.

  • AllanBerlin

    Druid roots, seriously have you ever read a single thing on Druidism? Do you even know what it is or what it’s belief system is? It is far easier to compare Catholicism to Druidism than to compare it to modern Irish people.

    Well there you have it, like you say the Irish have had 700 years of persecution & slavery under authoritarian English Anglicanism. Now we want something better than that and why is that a bad thing? Why is being secular, liberal and tolerant a bad thing? Why are you praying against that? Please answer that.

    “The people here are overwhelmingly against it” Can you back that up with some facts please? 37 states recognise it. That is a majority, no?

    So homosexual marriage is going to deny your first right somehow? How has the right to bear arms related in any way to marriage laws?

    • TheVIYOHD

      Because I am in the world, not of it as your father, the father of lies is