|The Mary McAleese school of Thomistic thought|
Such is the depth of theological perception that is offered several times a year to erstwhile liberal reporters by former Irish President Mary McAleese. The po-faced news reporter turned politician was speaking bluntly and bleakly recently on upcoming liberal dogmatic Woodstock that is the Synod of the Family, as proposed by Pope Francis. McAleese's criticism essentially suggest that a 'male celibate' cannot understand the intricacies and perspectives necessary for discussing family and life in a theological setting. These men lack experience in that regard, their opinions are null and void, if not antagonistic to the objects of their perusal. As to how Mary McAleese can speak on male celibacy, when judged by the same moral standard of materialistic experience being the only prerequisite for expertise, remains to be seen.
Mary McAleese's antagonism towards the Church is nothing new. As President, McAleese repeatedly presented herself as the spokeswoman of an apostate generation who were woefully illiterate in their own faith and in basic logic, so accustomed to parochial busybodies masquerading as men and women of the faith. In post 60s Ireland, as the priest became separated from the beautiful liturgy and teachings of the Church's history, he descended into an authoritarian hypocritical clown typified by Eamon Casey. The same category of philanderer you can see on many an episode of Reeling in the Years organising a sing song at outdoor events while engaging in illicit and irresponsible sex acts with any female who came near them. But hey, such a man is a moral authority in McAleese's version of the Bride of Christ!
It was this generation of clergy to which a poorly catechised Vatican II generation turned their back, just like we are often told that the pre-conciliar priest apparently did to the laity in the revisionist liberal distortion of reverence for God in the Tridentine Mass. In the 90s, Irish people who bore grudges against the Church (some admittedly justified) had two spokeswomen in Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese : the first two women to attain the figurehead position of President of Ireland. Of course, as the first women to be elected, they could not allow themselves to be seen as mere figureheads. No, no, who needs responsibility or dignity when power knocks at the door. Any overtures of power or roaming into debates that were not politically permissible for them to be involved in could easily be waved away with the cry of sexism and fear of a woman expressing herself. This superficiality ran deep into McAleese's understanding of the faith that she claimed to profess. A litany of unCatholic and anti-Catholic acts and statements mark her out as somebody who is not merely unsure of her faith, but is abjectly ambivalent in the manner of someone who was catechised on issues of The Tablet and episodes of Father Ted.
At the back of all of McAleese's deep disdain for the traditions of the Church, lies the fact that she is unremarkably representative of her generation. A bitter nation of neo-Catholics who have no concept of the basics of Apostolic Succession, Papal Infallibility or the exemplary lives of the Saints. It is beyond the capability of both her and those who were born and raised in Vatican II Ireland, to reprogramme themselves with humility to understand the great Doctors of the Church and to accept their writings and teachings with an open mind. For McAleese, the fall away from power of the Irish institutional Church, which they became to know as drunk on its own power, is an opportunity for those with a grudge to attack it while it is weak. Her comments and her behaviour do beg the question of what she actually believes in.
In what ways does McAleese display the hallmarks of a former Catholic? Is she a Nancy Pelosi-esque proto-Auschwitz progressive when it comes to abortion? Far from it, she was a vocal opponent of abortion legislation in the 90s (though noticeably quiet during the Savita debacle). Is she a party animal? Not at all. But where McAleese has displayed a gross sense of disgust towards humility and obedience is in her attitude to the most precious of elements to Catholic life, the sacraments. While Biden et al. have used the body and blood of Our Lord as a tool to fend of criticism about their adulterous dance with the world, McAleese has been even more erratic in her approach to appeasing Ireland's media and electorate who might have been otherwise worried about a woman who might have Catholic sympathies. Below are some of the instances where McAleese raises serious questions about the nature of her adherence to the faith.
The real presence - The first and most serious question that one can ask of the displays of public apostasy by Mary McAleese is that of whether or not she believes that Our Lord is really present in the Eucharist. Also known as 'Page 1 of being a Catholic'. In 1997, McAleese made it clear to all that for her, the sacrifice of Our Lord took second place to the career of a woman with something to prove. For it was in that year that she took it upon herself to receive communion within a Protestant Church. A Catholic receiving communion from a Protestant. As the media reported at the time , 'in Christ Church, one of Dublin's two Protestant cathedrals, when she rose in her pew, looked meaningfully at the watching media, and took Communion from a member of the Church of Ireland.'
|Sure why not|
The only 'meaningful look' that we can surmise is the smug satisfaction of knowing that she had bagged herself a few votes for re-election and some street cred with the Masons, just like Bertie did when he became the first Taoiseach to visit the Masonic Hall (officially).
But why did this supposedly well educated Catholic do such a thing? Does she believe that Christ is actually present in the Eucharist? If so, why accept Communion from somebody not authorised to do so and then look for attention with a 'meaningful look'? It is certainly worrying that someone who prides themselves on being better educated than the rest of us could no fault in a gesture so antagonistic to Our Lord.
Celibacy - McAleese has repeatedly and aggressively stated that the Church needs priests having sex with women* (we assume that they would be women) and needs it now. Or else children will get abused. This claim, which almost sounds like some sort of ransom, is one that is repeatedly flung, ignoring that for 2,000 years the Church had no problem in attracting young men to the faith who would die for it if necessary. It is incredible to think of men and women going to the stake, being hung on the cross or being put to the sword for their faith and yet in McAleese's affluent Church, there is ne'er a day where priests do not regret being unable to wish that they had taken up a job where they could sleep with women. Given that almost 9/10 abuse cases were against boys, it is difficult to imagine exactly how these men would then re-order themselves to caring for a wife if as McAleese and others insist, sexual identity is innate and not the result of mere preference.
Inconsistency on abuse - The previous point brings us to a point where McAleese shows an opportunistic streak that she has in common with most members of the Catholic Church who identify with the quagmire of post-Vatican II ambiguity. Instead of acknowledging that most abuse occurred since the council, there has been a move to associate abuse with traditional forms of Catholic teaching, the implication being that the authorities that taught them were corrupt and hence so were the teachings themselves. There is no issue which cannot be manipulated, even when a liberal acts out and abuses it is only because they were not allowed to be liberal enough. Catholicism when oppressed makes saints, liberalism when oppressed makes criminals. Take the example of Keith O'Brien, the unintellectual purveyor of deflecting attention with excessive homophobia. A man who voluntarily took sacred oaths to serve Our Lord as a Prince of the Church, decided to use his authority to exert authority over younger priests in a sexual manner. In short, he was a sex abuser. Is McAleese offended...a man who said that priestly celibacy should be looked at undermined liberal views by being an abuser? Course not! In fact, she is INSPIRED by his wilful abuse of young men.
"I would have thought Cardinal Keith O'Brien, in telling the story of his life - if he was willing to do that - could have been of great assistance to gay people, not just in the Church but elsewhere, who felt over many, many years constrained to pretend to be heterosexual while at the same time acting a different life."
|One of the most inspirational deviants of all time|
The suffering, the humiliation of others is a mere plaything in the liberal order. It is about ideologies, not about truth. It is about a personal power trip and an exercise in name dropping. Only recently, she bragged about her own privilege in being in the midst of the scandals in the 90s and doing little about it, telling a priest who was worried about the truth coming out that,' 'the Church should open up the diocesan archives tell the people of God what's going on".The churchman laughed at her. "I said, 'if you don't, the State will intervene'," she recalled. "And his last words to me, getting into the car, were, 'the State would never cross that line'."
It is remarkable to think that McAleese takes pride in such a tepid response to a man trying to avoid blame for the abuse of children in God's Church. This and her interpretation of Keith O'Brien's abuse as a form of Saintly virtue is a sign of a woman deeply confused by what morals she truly holds dear.
Christian charity - While this post may have some of points considered harsh by others, most of them are merely statements of fact about a woman who has taken up arms against Mother Church. While she no doubt seems to me conscientious worker and by many accounts a woman with many honest areas of intention, her motivations when it comes to speaking on matters of the faith are more often than not said and written in a manner that takes into account getting her own way rather than the prerequisite necessity of speaking on matters of the faith and other individuals with kindness and honesty.
The first of these examples of a lack of charity is the bullying manner with which she tries to humiliate male members of the clergy with their sex lives. Insisting that a man cannot speak on matters of morality in the home when he has not had sex is ignoring that the teachings of the Church are guided by the Holy Spirit and Our Lord's words. McAleese resembles a child on the playground trying to embarrass and intimidate her opponents, a sad indictment of a woman who otherwise claims her intellectual gravitas to be the real reason that her thoughts and words have not become a part of the Magisterium as yet. She has made the claim even that a very large number of priests are gay, obviously another sign of her incapability to reconcile the liberal Church of today with the apostasy of most in the West.
The second and most prominent does not merely apply to these men's sex lives, but to their gender and to their age. She repeatedly manipulates people's perceptions of traditions of the Church as something of the past by insisting that men (who just happened to make up the 12 apostles and the gender of Our Lord himself) have no place running the Church and that women have been kept in a cage and beaten these past 2,000 years. Far from it, 4 of the last 5 Doctors of the Church have been women, all of whom were in possession of the types of intellect and self-autonomy that most professional feminists can only dream of. And all of whom were fully obedient to the Magisterium, all whilst injecting a lofty and gentle sense of femininity into Catholic thought. Perhaps politicians such as her need to stray from the wealthier parts of Dublin at some point and take a walk through the broken homes of single parents and mothers of children with different fathers, prominent in council estates throughout the country, and ask herself if her interpretation of women's treatment in Catholic history is accurate.
|Did this old male celibate ever change a nappy?|
Does she really understand the basic concepts regarding the Catholic faith never changing? - This of course all goes back to my original point about whether the former President understands what on earth the Catholic Church even is. I won't add any of my commentary here, I think that her words on homosexuality are self-explanatory.
"Things written by Benedict, for example, were completely contradictory to modern science and to modern understanding, and to the understanding of most Catholics nowadays in relation to homosexuality. Nowadays, it is not something that is perceived as something that is intrinsically disordered. Homosexual conduct is not seen as evil. I don't like my Church's attitude to gay people.I don't like 'love the sinner, hate the sin'.If you are the so-called sinner, who likes to be called that?
We also know that within the priesthood a very large number of priests are gay."
After McAleese took research on homosexuality and suicide to the Papal Nuncio he said, "What do you want me to do? Do you want us to turn our back on tradition?"
And she said: "Yes, if it's wrong."
McAleese is, in my opinion, a passionate soul spoiled by her own ill defined liberalism, by her Episcopalian mindframe and by the misfortune of being born nominally Catholic in Northern Ireland, where the bonds of identity towards the faith were often based more on cultural necessity than orthodoxy and obedience. Perhaps she will eventually find a new age faith to help her feign inner peace in the abyss. Perhaps she will be welcomed into Protestantism as a victory against the despised enemy of that faith who lives in Rome. Or maybe, like many other Irish people, she will continue her self-delusion until the day where she meets her maker. Beneath it all, I suspect, is a woman intelligent enough to sense something amiss in the post-conciliar Irish interpretation of the faith. But like many others, humility and honesty are found wanting when it comes to placing trust in God and respect for traditions which many of her ancestors fought and died to protect. God is not majority rule. McAleese has a choice between Barabbas and Our Lord. In the simplicity of those 'old celibates' she hears the jeering of society towards the faith in which she was raised, in the nihilism of the abusers she seems something more terrible still, the moral wasteland of her sawdust liberal reformation.
|John the Baptist learned the hard way that people don't like to be called 'sinners'|
Should McAleese ever decide to take the first step to take up her cross, she should start by reading Dorothy Day, G.K Chesterton and Evelyn Waugh...realising in the process that this is not as she says 'the first time in its history that Church has been faced with an educated laity'. If the laity had been educated as these people were, McAleese would not be given the time of day for her confused pronouncements on the faith. We pray that she may see the errors of her way soon.