Monday, August 01, 2005

From the News - Opinion : "Ironic punchline to historic IRA statement"

Right here!

The Scotsman notes the irony:
Because the Irish constitution of 1937, which enshrined freedom of conscience, also politely recognised "the special position of the Catholic Church" (a statement of historical and cultural fact, but conferring no privileges), Ireland was routinely denounced as a "confessional state" by commentators in Britain, where the anti-Catholic Act of Settlement is the nearest approximation to a written constitution. A referendum in 1972 removed that phrase from the Irish constitution: the Act of Settlement remains on the statute book.

In recent years, so much attention has focused on the North that the dramatic social and moral changes in the Irish Republic have largely gone unremarked. Unionists who fear a clerical, Catholic state are woefully out of touch. Catholicism has imploded in Ireland. Firstly, as in many other countries, the Church deconstructed its own authority during the cultural revolution that followed Vatican II. Then it became mired in sexual scandal so that, since about 1992, its influence has been eradicated, the clergy reviled by their former flocks as they were by Protestants in penal times.

The reality is that scandal has been used as a pretext by a laity that has become materially wealthy and worldly to cast off all the moral restraints that Church teaching would otherwise impose on their conduct. Aggressive feminism and political correctness have filled the vacuum of religious authority. A nation that once looked to Rome now looks to Brussels and the United Nations. What Henry VIII, Oliver Cromwell and William of Orange failed to achieve has now been effected by EU subsidies. Dublin pullulates with materialism.
Ian Paisley fears the ascendancy of an Ireland that no longer exists. The seduction of materialism has lured even the Irish over the cliff. Of course, misinterpretations of the Second Vatican Council and the insidious influence of Foolable political correctness have also weakened the Church's influence in the Emerald Isle. But there is one thing that the column falied to note.

The Republic of Ireland hasn't fought against foreignors to preserve it's national identity since 1922. Catholicism had so become equated with nationalism that any deviation from Catholic norms was unpatriotic. That tendency no longer applied once the Irish secured their freedom.

Sincere concerns for justice have driven the conflict in the North. However, the price all have paid for it has now become too high for too many. The IRA and Sinn Fein recognize this. Therefore, they make history. Perhaps Mr. Paisley would like to make history with them. It would serve the Unionists better than waiting for papists to drop the other shoe on his head.