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Irish government and the Vatican: columnists' perspectives

July 25, 2011

  • Father Vincent Twomey, a prominent Irish theologian and former student of Pope Benedict XVI, writes that Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny was “badly served by his speechwriters” in his outburst against the Vatican last week. The speech contained clear and demonstrable errors, which could be characterized as “defamation of character,” he says. Still, Father Twomey points that the Taoiseach made an important admission “that the the State too had to put its own house in order”—acknowledging that the government had not handled sex-abuse allegations much better than the Church.
  • Columnist Maureen Dowd, on the other hand, can barely contain her delight with the Kenny speech, reporting that the “devoutly Catholic” Taoiseach hurled “Zeus-style thunderbolts” at the Vatican. Dowd finds it “stirring to watch people who have long been cowed finally speaking up, shedding their fear of the authoritarian men at the top.” She blithely overlooks the fact that in Ireland, Kenny is the man at the top, and there is little evidence to support the contention that Irish political leaders of recent years have been “cowed” by the Vatican.
  • David Quinn writes in the Irish Catholic that the Vatican’s response “should concede what has to be conceded without conceding what does not have to be conceded.” The public reaction will be hostile in any case, he predicts. “But a nuanced response will provoke less hostility.” Quinn, adds: “However, the immediate response to Cloyne is not the most important thing the Vatican has to do in the next few months. Much more important is its response to the Apostolic Visitation and how it will reorganise the Church in Ireland as a result.”


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