How Catholic is Ireland?
Pope Francis will travel to Ireland on the weekend. Against the backdrop of a new scandal over years of hushed-up cases of sexual abuse in the US state of Pennsylvania and an open letter in which the pope asks for forgiveness for the errors of the Church, this will not be an easy visit. While some journalists hear the death knell for Irish Catholicism, others are irritated by the anti-Church discourse in Ireland.
No resurrection of the ruined Irish Church
The Catholic Church in its current form has no future in Ireland, columnist Fintan O'Toole concludes in The Guardian:
“Francis seems a fine person, and most Irish people will be glad to see him. For the remaining faithful his presence will bring pleasure and comfort. But the model Catholic state that Ireland once was is in the tomb, and there will be no resurrection. Perhaps something else will emerge in time, some radically different version of Catholicism, stripped of patriarchy, authoritarianism and institutional self-regard. In the meantime, there is only one sermon that can be truthfully preached in the ruined Irish church: absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
In the anti-Catholic echo chamber
It's a pity that Catholicism is now frowned upon in Irish media, columnist David Thunder comments in The Irish Times:
“Ireland's print, radio and television media, instead of offering a vibrant forum of national debate, have become an echo chamber of a certain segment of Irish opinion. Namely a hodgepodge of 'progressive' or 'liberal' positions on hot-button issues and a thinly veiled if not outright hostility toward traditional Catholicism. With a few rare exceptions, whatever television or radio station you tune into, whatever newspaper you pick up in this country, you are met with a deafening consensus on a host of social and moral questions, from abortion and same-sex marriage to education, transgender ideology, and the value of religion.”