By Howard Crane
Published May 28, 2018
Filed under Ireland Society & Culture Spirit & Religion
Reported on Dublin’s 98 FM this Monday morning after the historic referendum, in Dublin a Priest said something a Catholic Priest should say during Mass. The Bishop of Elphin also said something similar… for some reason they angered people.
During Mass on Sunday an unidentified Priest in an unidentified parish said to his congregation: “If you are a practicing Catholic and you voted YES in the referendum, you have no business coming up to the Altar for Holy Communion”
Today on RTÉ 1’s “Today with Sean O’Rourke”, Bishop Kevin Doran said that “[if a practicing Catholic] voted Yes, knowing and intending that abortion would be the outcome, then you should consider coming to confession, where you would be received with the same compassion that is shown to any other penitent”
The amount of outrage in response to these declarations from Catholic clergy should prompt us to worry about the average IQ of the country possibly having sunk to prehistoric levels. It seems we’ve forgotten what the definition of a religion is. The definition most useful to this situation is “a set of doctrinal beliefs.” A religion, whether Catholicism, Islam, or a Hindu sect, is a “take it or leave it” kinda proposition. The doctrines therein are ordained by God and not the result of Democratic opinion.
The only instance where upset might make some sense is if the Clergy were to declare “If you didn’t vote No last Friday, you can go fuck yourself” as that would be an actual instance of unfair discrimination. It’s also not in Catholic doctrine that the faithful must take part in politics and fight for the corner of the Church – at the very least, the Church prohibits an act that would result in a Mortal Sin being committed, as that would be as if one had committed the sin themselves. By Catholic definition, the termination of an unborn life is murder. A grave sin indeed to inherit – 10,000s of times over.
Alarmingly, many of those who objected to this Priest’s and Bishop’s words were, themselves, practicing Catholics. A typical response from somebody who did wrong (whether objectively or subjectively), but doesn’t want to confront the wrongdoing – they shoot the messenger. In this case, the people whose fulltime job it is to study the religion the person ostensibly practice.
One caller into Today with Sean O’Rourke said:
I was a silent Yes, I’m a Catholic mother, grandmother, regular Mass-goer, minister of the Eucharist and above all, a compassionate person… I do hope that it will only be in extreme cases that abortion will be allowed.
The teachings of Catholicism (and any other religion worth their salt) teaches that being a “good person” or a “compassionate person” isn’t something that one subjectively decides for themselves. As Humans we have a tendency to attempt at being a good person, make some headway in one department, but get blindsided to the other aspects of our behaviours and attitudes. This is why religions hold a model of perfection up for us, to compare our current condition to and always strive improve. Any good religion recognises that perfection is impossible, but is the noble virtue of a person to pursue – so imperfection is compassionately accepted and we are taught to be compassionate with ourselves. If you merely tell yourself you are “a good person” you run the risk of believing yourself and thinking of yourself as perfect. Whatever your opinion of religion, it’s undeniable that this is a feature of Human psychology.
Another caller said:
I cannot believe my ears, Bishop Doran saying go to confession if you’ve voted Yes, is it any wonder that the number of people going to Mass is dropping.
Again, this backlash should have us questioning the average IQ of the country if the definition of “religion” is lost on us. I, as a Pagan, along with many Catholics collectively say: No, it isn’t any wonder Mass attendance is dropping – but not for the reason you think. Less people are attending Mass because they can’t commit fulltime to living Righteously, or at least attempting to live Righteously.
Many in Ireland have complained “OMG the Priest lectured us today about Abortion. WTF?” Of course he lectured you about abortion – that’s the idea of a sermon. Abortion is a Mortal Sin in Catholicism, and by definition everyone who helped lift the Constitutional restriction on it and everyone who partakes of it is damned.