Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Athy debacle is everything wrong with Irish Church

In November 2015, a symbolic event occurred in the life of the Irish Church. After 800 years in Athy, the Dominicans sold the land upon which their Church had been based and left the town. Behind them was not merely the faith that comes with such commitment, but also the dubious honour of having built Ireland's first 'modern' Church. A haughty vanity project of a building that looked like something that would have crash landed at Roswell, the order were willing victims of the slow suicide of the Second Vatican Council and its deformation. Even more symbolically, this idle novelty was built in the year of 1965, a foreshadowing of the malaise that was soon to define the Church on this island as a whole. A County Council run library has since made itself home in what was once a sacred dwelling.

Remaining in the town however, were members of the Lay Dominican community. A group containing musicians Jacinta O'Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan. These two women are a lesbian couple who, in conjunction with Canon Frank McEvoy distributed invitations to their same-sex marriage within the Church in recent times. What has happened since has been a damning indictment of the isolation and nastiness that must be faced by any who decide to stand up for the Catholic faith with the spirit of charity and concern for truth which Our Lord expects from us.

Jacinta and Geraldine run the local choir in Athy. They are quite accomplished musicians by all accounts and obviously they at some point desired to apply their talents to glorifying God through music. They were not mere choir leaders however, they were heads of the Dominican Lay Chapters in Athy and Ireland respectively. As women with enough interaction with Church life to be aware of the concepts of mortal sin, state of grace and sacramental marriage, there exists no excuse which rationalises their decision to hand out invitations to their state sanctioned same-sex 'marriage' on the grounds of the Church after choir practice. This form of 'marriage' is a mockery of God's sacramental love to be found in true marriage. Rightly taking exception to this, editor of Catholic Voice, Anthony Murphy decided to speak to the priest, Canon Frank McEvoy about his concerns. Instead of being met with sympathy, Murphy was threatened with legal action by the priest for 'homophobia' (are phobias a crime?). Mr. Murphy contacted Jacinta personally to suggest that it was honourable in the eyes of the Church for a woman who was such a public figure to resign rather than bring dishonour or confusion upon the faithful, especially young children present in the choir.

What followed was as an unChristian, even anti-Christian dogpile organised by the local media, politicians and aggressive public mob against Anthony Murphy for daring to follow Church teaching. To summarise events, taking for granted that Canon McEvoy, Jacinta and Geraldine actually believe the faith they profess to hold, here are the talking points.
1) Jacinta and Geraldine are Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. As women living in a same-sex relationship together, they are not entitled to receive let alone distribute the Eucharist. This is a very grave sin. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.  

2) Jacinta and Geraldine distributed, with the support of Canon McEvoy, invitations to their 'same-sex marriage' within the Church building to choir members. This is essentially promoting a counter-marriage to Our Lord's sacrament.

3) Anthony Murphy approached both McEvoy and Jacinta and appealed to them to follow Church teaching on the centrality of the Eucharist and uphold its sacredness. Not only did the priest reject this, he affirmed his support for state sanctioned same-sex counter-marriage and said he approves of the women's relationship. Further from that, he also threatened to sue Murphy. Jacinta initially agreed to step down after receiving a message from Anthony Murphy . Murphy followed the advice of Matthew 18:15 which states But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican. McEvoy completely failed his duty as a priest by threatening to act against the words of St. Paul with regards to not suing one another. Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? 

4) O'Donnell ran to local media and politicians, which led to threats of serious violence against Murphy. KFM Radio used round the clock coverage to whip up moral panic against Murphy. Sinn Fein were mentioned in relation to death threats towards him. National and international media picked up a story deliberately distorted by O'Donnell whereby they were simply asked to 'leave the choir' because they were 'LGBT', when in fact their responsibilities in Lay Dominicans and as Eucharistic Ministers were as much the crux of the issue for two individuals who were using their lives to challenge God's definition of marriage.

5) In a bizarre, rambling preview to Jacinta O'Donnell's statement that she would be returning to the choir, the CEO of KFM, DJ Clem Ryan enlisted failed Fine Gael politician Richard Daly and local historian Frank Taafe to mock Murphy's Catholicism and display their complete ignorance of any aspect of the faith.
Daly was presented as an impartial community representative when he was anything but. The interview went something like this:
- Daly fondly recalled how he and Jacinta went back years and played music together and of how he even read at Jacinta's same-sex marriage.
- Mentioned that there are 'God fanatics' in all walks of life and sometimes this leads to 'loss of life'.
- Clem made Richard audibly blush when he gushed 'You are a Principal with a great reputation'
- Mumbled something about Opus Dei
- 'Right wing fanatical' 'Zealots' 'Fanatacism' 'Right wing view of Church Doctrine'
- 'If we go by the Bible we should go back to stoning people'
- 'Second Vatican Council did away with all this'
- 'Sure next we'll be saying it's a sin to be an adulterer! Or have kids outside of marriage!'
Following this eh, conversation, Frank Taafe huffed and puffed his opinion that Murphy was a 'disruptive influence' and that he held (yep) 'extreme Catholic right wing views'. His interview comically asserted that a person can not be forced to leave the Church because of someone else, before suggesting that Murphy should leave the Parish if he does not like their love of homosexuality.
Jacinta O'Donnell then read from her statement announcing the time of her return to that weekend's Mass.

6) The congregation applauded Jacinta and Geraldine, focusing on them instead of God at Mass. Both then turned their backs to the tabernacle and soaked up the applause. Because that's what Our Lord's Sacrifice at Calvary was about apparently.

Truly stimulating and original contributions from the anti-Catholic pseudo intelligentsia as always. Very illustrative towards showing Mr. Murphy the kindness that liberal society embodies also.

Go 'Biggot' or go home
After the recent sex scandal in Maynooth, here we have another instance whereby ordinary parishioners are mocked and vilified by the silence of their leaders and the complicit antagonism towards Church teaching by men who dare to call themselves priests. The Bishops have not spoken on the matter and on Sunday's Religion Matters show on KFM, Bishop Nulty was not asked about this issue by Brenda Drumm nor did he himself bring it up. As Catholics, we must face the reality that there are those in positions of serious power who have no interest in the day to day struggles of an aggressive secular agenda. Likewise, some appear to not subscribe to any Catholic belief in the Eucharist. We must face the reality that we will be mocked by a poorly educated culturally Protestant collaborative effort from media, politicians and those in our Church seeking to adapt Church practice to suit their moral failings. The same ones who pat each other on the back for their great reputations.

No politician, no media outlet or legal outfit should interfere in how the Catholic Church administers its sacraments. Only the most despotic nations of the world would permit such interference. We would not permit this in a Mosque or Synagogue in Ireland, so why with Catholicism? Canon McEvoy and Jacinta O'Donnell should have had the dignity to sort this issue as Our Lord instructed. But theirs was a reaction of fear and of desperation. St. Therese of Lisieux said 'A soul in a state of grace has nothing to fear of demons who are cowards'. But how fearful their own failings have made them? When Canon McEvoy very publicly and pointedly administered the Blessed Sacrament to both O' Donnell and Flanagan at that evening's Mass, he was daring, goading God to forbid him to. But God is not mocked.

What became of the Dominicans in Athy will eventually become of the entire post Vatican II novelty brigade. Roger Scruton once said that When truth is confiscated by power, we are helpless. But in the long run, truth wins out because only truth sets people free and because it is eternal. No political connections, no misguided priests and no underhanded media frenzies can change that.

For some background on Ireland's growing anti-Catholicism

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