This article originally appeared in the New York ‘Irish Examiner USA’ for14th May, 2013
Tell Them to Put Those Rattles Down: They’re Upsetting the Other Children in the Kindergarten
I do love it when all of my favourite types of people are at each other’s throats. I don’t know, it just kind of cheers me up to see the clergy and the politicians not even pretending to tolerate each other anymore. And in this case the politicians are represented by our beloved Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who is visiting your shores this week in order to get his clammy, sweaty little hands on an honorary award being presented to him in Boston College; and the Holy Men of God are being represented (in opposition) by the Cappuccino Bishop himself, Cardinal Sean O’Malley.
The ‘Cappuccino Priest’…this apparently is not a reference to his favourite beverage but in fact is a ‘witty play’ on the Order—Capuchin—to which he belongs. Ah, the knee-slapping, gut-busting humour of Christians. It never ceases to make me laugh until I stop.
So: in the Blueshirt Corner we have Enda Kenny, maintaining a reasonable silence, as he tends to do when he gets confused and realises that some people just don’t like him. And in the Red Prada Shoes Corner we have Cardinal O’Malley, a man who never came across a list of alleged paedophile priests that he didn’t try to keep the plebeian hordes in the dark about.
Now let me tell you, Cardinal Sean O’Malley does not have Enda at the top of his list of ‘Statesmen I’d like to Hang Out With’ at all, at all. In fact that good man is just downright peeved altogether. Like a bould child at school he has thrown a bit of a hissy fit and decided that he doesn’t want to play with any of his friends who are playing with Kenny. He has stamped his foot and said that if they talk to Kenny then they can’t talk to him.
I think, from what I recall of school, that this is what they call a ‘rational Church debate’.
Kenny will be addressing the Boston College graduates and receiving, as I said, an honorary degree. But O’Malley says:
“I am sure that the invitation was made in good faith, long before it came to the attention of the leadership of Boston College that Mr. Kenny is aggressively promoting abortion legislation.”
Such a short paragraph to have so much wrong with it. Look at that condescending ‘sure the invitation was made in good faith’. Could you be more obvious when it comes to subtle threatening?
‘Long before it came to the attention of the leadership…”? Oh, Cardinal; I am quite sure that you were in touch with them as soon as some of our own extreme anti-abortion lobby were in touch with you.
Don’t be telling those little white lies now; you know that’s a venial sin and you could get a few Hail Marys for that bit of slipperiness.
As for poor auld Enda ‘aggressively promoting abortion legislation…’? Are you sure we have the same Dame Edna Kenny? This would be the ‘special relationship with farm animals’ Kenny? The one who is afraid to engage with tough journalist Vincent Browne in case he gets a pasting? That Kenny?
Ach here, now: you can say a lot of things about our Enda (and some of them might not even be libellous) but to say that he is a fella who has ‘aggressively promoted’ abortion is just not true. Jeez, Enda would have been happy if circumstances hadn’t thrust this on him at all. It’s less than a year since he was stating categorically that it was an issue that did not need to be addressed at this time. He had forgotten of course that a year is a long time in politics.
Cardinal, Cardinal, Cardinal… (If I said that two more times would O’Malley appear in the mirror behind me, threatening Hellfire?) What the hell, here goes: “Cardinal, Cardinal”.
Nope. Nothing so far. Does this mean that Santa Clause doesn’t exist either?
In fact, Cardinal, since Enda has gotten into power on the back of a trolley load of lies and reneged-on promises, he has done his best just to stay quiet and let his pet flunkey, the well-and-truly-housebroken Tánaiste Eamon (‘Tiny’) Gilmore take the flak on his behalf.
It seems that the bishops of America have asked (asked?) Catholic institutions not to confer any honours on politicians who aren’t playing for the team. In any case, Cardinal O’Malley went on to say:
“Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation. [It is my] ardent hope that [Boston College] will work to redress the confusion, disappointment and harm caused by not adhering to the Bishops’ directives”.
Directives: were they supposed to read that as being ‘orders’? ‘Orders that must be obeyed at all times?’
Seriously, who the hell does this guy think he is? I mean, it makes no difference to me except to give me a good laugh, but are Catholic Americans actually still listening to the dictates of these self-righteous chancers? Over here the reaction was pretty much along the lines of: “What? He’s boycotting Kenny? He’s probably just pissed off because so many are boycotting his churches since they found out that their collection money went to moving paedophile priests around the country.”
As to ‘because the Taoiseach has not seen fit to decline…’ WHAT? I know I’m not his biggest fan but tell me just why the hell should he? He has been invited in good faith and he has accepted in good faith. And if O’Malley spent more time studying his enemies than he supposedly does in speaking to his Big Invisible Bearded Friend in the Sky then he would know that Enda would turn up at the opening of an envelope if he thought that it was a photo opportunity. I swear that man hasn’t been the same since he got his mug on the cover of Time magazine. But leaving that aside why should he listen to some Cardinal anyway, when Boston College obviously aren’t paying him any heed?
Actually, come to think of it, is this the same Cardinal O’Malley who has spent most of the last few years in cleaning up for the Vatican following their many abuse scandals? And not in a way that seems to have sat well with a lot of people. It took him long enough to provide a list of accused priests in the first place, despite the fact that a lot of his colleagues were complying. Indeed he held out until August 2011 and only showed one because the names by that stage were in the public domain. And when he did finally come up with a list that most observers found unexpectedly short he then had almost half of them cleared, something that flew in the face of what was happening in other parts of the country.
On another occasion, when he finally produced a list of 21 priests before he left Fall River, Massachusetts, the Bristol County District Attorney Paul Walsh asked:
“Why didn’t he release these names to us ten years ago?”
Why indeed? But what do you expect? These guys have always looked after their own. It’s this kind of behaviour that has led many former Church members to now (perhaps going over the top) see the Church as the world’s biggest and best organised paedophile ring.
In the interests of fairness I will say that Cardinal O’Malley did probably have to focus himself, whilst in Fall River, on the notorious Father James Porter, who was accused of raping children in five different States. He finally pleaded guilty to 41 counts of molestation in 1993.
With so much Church skullduggery going on in Ireland, however, I have no great desire to find out what is happening in the States. Indeed, I’m still a little flabbergasted to find Cardinal Sean Brady of these here parts testing the waters when he mouths out of him in regards to the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill. He had the good sense to keep it pretty much zipped last year during the Eucharistic Congress. But now he has come out swinging a little too prematurely, I would have thought. We haven’t yet forgotten his despicable and bullying behaviour back when he was a simple priest and Canon Lawyer who terrorised two victims of the ghastly Brendan Smyth into swearing themselves to secrecy. And who then conferred with neither the parents of the two boys or the appropriate authorities.
It was a case of ‘boys’ mouths closed; matter hushed up; Vatican orders obeyed’.
But you know that this one really isn’t going to go away.[I’ve just read over the previous paragraphs. I would like to say in regard to the ‘kept it zipped’ line: that was referring to the fact that Cardinal Brady did not open his mouth during that period to regale us with his many pearls of wisdom. It is in no way meant to be construed as a dig at the perceived inability of certain priests to keep their trousers zipped. Heh.]
Ming the Merciless of Mongo does Marrakech of Morocco
Ah, the world would indeed be a duller (though possibly saner) place without that loveable, in his own eyes, rogue Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan– our dope-smoking, tale-telling, all-around hypocritical Independent TD and advocate for the ‘Do as I say, not as I Do’ Party.
You may recall Ming from a previous article where he kept us on tenterhooks as to whether he did indeed get penalty points for driving whilst on the phone. Did he or did he not? He loves me, he loves me not. It all got very confused and I have no intention of re-hashing (geddit?) the sad saga of how—according to Ming—he set out to entrap a cop and found himself a bit of a laughing stock instead. If you check up on it I would, however, find out what Ming smokes and light up some of it first. I’m not saying that it will make his story any more coherent but it will probably lighten the pain of following it to the end. I checked it out and wrote it substance-free and I’m not the better for it yet, I can tell you.
Ming and a few of his buddies from the Dail Hall of Chancers were in the news again this week when it turned out that a few months back they had clocked themselves in as ‘present’ in Leinster House despite being on a freebie—sorry, junket—sorry, fact-finding mission of the utmost importance to…uh…Marrakech, Morocco. Wait a moment, just let me check that. That can’t be right.[DEAD AIR FOR A MINUTE.]
Yes, that seems to be right. Let’s see: Ming and Fine Gael Senator Imelda Henry were ‘present’ in the Dail or Seanad at the same time that they were flying from Paris to Rabat Airport. Light me up there, baby, because this is a new one on me!
It turns out that it is perfectly legal through a ‘little known law’ (read: one which they’ve kept damned quiet) for a politician to clock in—or even to have someone clock him/her in, an act that warrants dismissal in any place that I’ve ever worked—if he/she is away on government business. And I can’t keep it in any longer: in the main we poor saps now see that as a euphemism for—yes, you guessed it—‘freebie’ or ‘junket’.
Look, there’s more than Flanagan doing this, but he’s the one that I’m focussing on because he is one of the creeps who told us that when he was voted in everything would be shiny and new.
I find myself reminded of a section in the great Gore Vidal’s autobiography “Palimpsest” where he talks about what happens when you get into power. He said that you honestly think that you can change things when you’re in there but what you find out is that everything is so hermetically sealed that nothing CAN be changed.
I gave up on believing in the Church as soon as I could reason things out for myself. But, idiot that I am, I didn’t give up on politicians until I was into my thirties. That’s more than two decades ago.
These days, if a politician tells me that Hell is black at midnight I will not believe it. If they tell me that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west I will be checking it out for myself.
As I write this today (Monday afternoon) Fianna Fail actually had the pure brass neck, balls as hard as a jockeys, to be hustling for money in collection boxes outside of churches yesterday in Galway.
Yes, you read that right: Outside of churches where people had already been hit with a guilt trip (hey, we’re Catholics, we love guilt) a bunch of saps were being hit by these scumbags trying to line their coffers for the big come-back.
On a purely pragmatic level I am so bloody glad that I don’t ever visit Holy Mother Church.
Between giving hand-outs to the Vatican in order for them to pay off child abuse victims and look after all of the children that our oh-so-holy priests have fathered; AND feeding the unholy coffers of the Fianna Fail Party…well, I don’t think that I could afford it.