Land Of Sinners And Scholars

Anthony McIntyre finds little of merit in recent comments by Bishop Kevin Doran

Some of them simply don’t get it. No sooner had the referendum result booted them square up the jacksy than one fool of a bishop was back at it full throttle.

His Haughtiness, Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin, has forgotten nothing and learned less. On Monday he took to the airwaves to label Catholic Yes voters sinners for having the temerity to do what they, not he, felt was right. They cast their vote to assert that the constitutional right for a 31 year old woman should not be on a par with a zygote. 

As for the rest of us who are not Catholics, we must be sinners as well. The Devil and Hell is hardly something we can avoid on the mere ground of not being Catholic. Maybe not being Catholic is enough for the bishop to secure us a hot spot in hell. But like the miracle, sin is a religious invention and should be of as much relevance as the dodo to all but those still bewitched by the magic of it all.  

Doran, in venting his bishopric ire at Yes voters, seems wholly incapable of comprehending just how he and his ilk are viewed, their influence on a sharp downward spiral since, to use Gramscian terms,  the secular war of position eventually led to wars of manoeuvre in key referenda where secularism began an unchecked advance in seizing solid ground. The Doran factor helps explain why the "Catholic Church is a religious rust belt of half empty churches."

With disdainful indifference to how modern society approaches problems, the bishops often appear indistinguishable from the sandwich board men who are sometimes to be found walking up and down city centre streets fulminating that nobody is panic stricken when they roar that the end of the world is nigh. A decreasing gaggle of priests in tow, attired in their dark garb that goes with those about whom there is something of the night, they inhabit the Ireland that time forgot. 

His Haughtiness has called on Catholics who voted Yes to shuffle off to confession so that somebody lower than his elevated self can receive them "with the same compassion as any other penitent", forgive them their sin through intercession with god. If the same compassion is shown to them as was shown to child raping priests, they will be told to say three Hail Marys before being sent off to another polling station to vote Yes again.  

Bishop Doran is far removed from the late Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Dom Helder Camara. For Camara it was about the poor. The impoverished spiritual aridity of Irish Catholicism compared to its immeasurably more fertile counterpart in regions of South America can be grasped in the title of a book by Camara, The Desert is Fertile. 

Hard to imagine Camara not seeing the evil in calling a halt to clinical tests on the development of drugs to be used in the treatment of lung cancer that could prolong life, on the grounds that it might contravene Catholic ethos because female patients might have to take a contraceptive as part of the treatment programme. Claims to be pro-life in that setting are bishopric hot air. 

Bishop Doran, like those who like to wrap themselves in a garment of piety solely for the purpose of hectoring everybody else, is largely irrelevant to people's daily lives and should stay clear of them altogether. He is one more in a long line of silly, celibate men who believe in a ghost, out of touch with the real needs of those in their diocese, whom they view as subjects. Those who voted Yes or women who decide to terminate their pregnancies, don’t need his forgiveness, don’t need his compassion, don’t need his approval for any choice they make. They are choosing and he is losing. 

Helder Camara had people like Doran in mind when he wrote:

In the Father's house we shall meet Buddhists and Jews, Muslims and Protestants – even a few Catholics too, I dare say.

Rather than accusing people of being sinners who should go to confession he should have the humility to apologise to the women and children of Ireland for being a member of a hierarchy that historically has visited horrendous crimes upon them.

Anthony McIntyre blogs @ The Pensive Quill.

Follow Anthony McIntyre on Twitter @AnthonyMcIntyre      

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

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