27 Nov 2009

Irish Greens and Catholic Church

Just had this from Joseph Healy, dare say the Gombeen men and women will soon be on.
This follows on from a major report into abuse of children in church run reform schools in the Irish Republic. The Irish state established tribunal to investigate such cases to award compensation – some of it money from the state and the rest from the Church. Thousands of people have lodged cases and won awards. So far Ireland has been the only country to do so. In other countries, victims still have to pursue cases through the courts.

At the recent Green Left general meeting we agreed to take part in any protests about the Pope’s state visit to the UK. The points made in this interview re the global role of the Catholic Church are important. The Irish Greens at all the conferences of the European Green Party have opposed any social policy decisions which are opposed to those of the Catholic Church. They refused to support policies on abortion and sex education which they regarded as too progressive – abortion is totally illegal in the Republic and only allowed if the woman’s life is in danger.Furthermore, when we passed a motion extending abortion rights to Northern Ireland at the last London conference, the party in Northern Ireland told me that whereas they were supportive, they could not support it publicly because of the conservative society they operated in!

At an extended campaign meeting in Luxembourg, when I was still International Coordinator, there was a policy statement for the EGP on the European elections, which included references to breaking the links between Church and State in accordance with the ideas of the French Revolution. This was opposed by several Green parties from Catholic states such as Malta, and the Irish Senator (Deirdre de Burca) argued that “we cannot be seen to be supporting something which is opposed to the ethos of the Catholic Church”. Needless to say, I argued vehemently for the opposite case. This is not the case for the Spanish or Italian parties but does represent the position in Ireland, Malta and one or two others.

I would suggest that the Irish Greens, as with many other points, have completely missed the Zeitgeist in Ireland which is now deeply ambivalent and antipathetic towards the Catholic Church and its role in Irish society. As the great Irish Republican Wolfe Tone once commented:“Ireland’s two greatest enemies are the British Crown and the Catholic Church.”

The removal of one in 1921 from most of the country only resulted in the strengthening of the other. And don’t get me started on the Church’s connections with Fascism throughout Europe.

http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/uk/irish+catholic+church+8216hid+abuse+for+decades8217/3439507 Joseph Healy


Anonymous said...

Quite right too. Well said..and I'm Irish from a catholic background.

Anonymous said...

“At the recent Green Left general meeting we agreed to take part in any protests about the Pope’s state visit to the UK” – any protest, the Orange Order? Climate Deniers? Extreme Protestant Creationists?

“Ireland’s two greatest enemies are the British Crown and the Catholic Church” not sure Oliver Cromwell – both anti Catholic and anti monarchist is about to be created a national hero in Ireland. Irish Catholism has been corrupted and conscripted to the nationalist myth; RTE still broadcast the Angelus Bell.

There are plenty of unpleasant people in the church, sadly they are currently in the ascendancy; but this is also the church of Óscar Romero and Rutilio Grande, and countless ordinary priests and people who fight for social justice.

‘When the church hears the cry of the oppressed it cannot but denounce the social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises’ Romero.

Derek Wall said...

I think in the context of Joseph's report fair point but yes liberation theology flows from Catholicism!

And anti-catholicism was used to bolster British rule.

present Pope is well dodgy though!

When Keir Starmer was a Marxist.

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