What will the Catholic Church do now?
By Paul Kestell
The Catholic church has taken some beating in the last ten years with news of scandal after scandal. Even the most fervent of believers are struggling to explain the disgrace of their church. Often it is like what happens when one meets a Fianna Fail supporter they just go quiet and sit in the corner muttering to themselves. Its a harsh world we live in full of people who will not only throw stones but might run you down with a steam roller whilst their at it. I wonder does the comparison to Fianna Fail really stand up?
Well at least Fianna Fail have mentioned somewhat unconvincingly mind you but they have said it you know the word 'radical'. That dangerous word that can mean just about anything and in Fianna Fail's case it could be anything from Marx-to Hitler but let us leave them alone. Now the idea I now have of the Catholic church is simple. There has been a change like a small change in the way they do business. The practise of moving serial child rapists from one parish to another is now gone. These offenders will now be handed over to the civil power for trial and punishment if convicted.
Very good and what else is new? Well priests are very thin on the ground and in rural areas one priest may have to serve two or three parishes and a couple of off-shore Islands to boot. Good people empathise with may good hard working priest's because by association they are tarred with the stigma of child abuse and cover ups etc. The Vatican who oversee our clergy have been strangely silent about the demise of our once flourishing national religion. I suspect we are but a drop in the ocean and they have bigger fish to fry in far off third world countries. In these places the church is still flourishing due to low standards of education and indeed deep poverty. So little fat recession plagued Ireland will be allowed to plod along with its ageing clergy.
Perhaps as they die off they will be replaced by foreign priests who will eventually customise themselves to this society a bad plan maybe but this must be the Vatican's plan as they have not offered anything else. What do you suggest I hear you ask; I mean the church is doomed and many would say good riddance. What could someone with freedom to reform the Irish Catholic church do? My proposals as follows:
Right let us address the issues in order with simple ones first, on the issue of ageing priests etc one has to come up with the obvious. Priests must be allowed to marry. Also we will welcome applications from women with open arms as you will see this is a total radical manifesto. Now I would hope that the inclusion of women and married clergy would openly invite some lapsed Catholics back into the fold.
There is more, my new church would take up a position like a political position. No more will the emphasis be on liturgy and doctrine but on the political welfare of the flock. I explain one of the main duties of my new Catholicism will be to educate people on the effects that politics has on their daily lives. It goes without saying of course that my churches new found radical politics would put Karl Marx to shame. We will insist that our flock should understand this.
Well you see they need to understand what kind of battle is raging now. It is not like in the past when it concerned people's souls and hell and brimstone an all of that. Today the problems are different entirely people need to know that they are living in a capitalistic fantasy. This world in which inequality thrives the battle is for your heart more so than your soul. People are born into a consumer spending stupor- that is fed by media and business interests. This stupor convinces us individuals that there is no place for equality.
That the state and society is without responsibility to its citizen's, never mind it having a moral duty to its weakest. There could be a few votes in this if the church was willing to grab this radical approach. After all for once the church would be teaching the true message of the greatest socialist of all Jesus Christ. Perhaps if they adopted his radical plan the true message of Catholicism might live on.