Wednesday, March 15, 2017

IRL : Bishop Eamonn Casey - A Different Perspective

Image result for eamon casey bishopThis little piece was brought to our attention and it deserves to be published as another voice and view in relation to the late Bishop Eamon Casey....

I have tired today of all the 'don't judge Bishop Casey by his human frailty' shite. 

The Catholic Church in Ireland was constructed on calling out human frailty

Indeed, not just calling it out, but pointing it out. 

Preaching it from the pulpit. 

Foghorning it.

There was a man on the Late Late Show last Friday who told of his unmarried, pregnant mother. 

A priest called to her house at midnight, told her father she had brought scandal on the village, said she had to be removed, and then gave her a crossbar on his pushbike for 20 miles, when she was seven months pregnant, to a Mother and Baby home. 

Imagine that journey. Imagine her physical discomfort, for starters, but then imagine her sense of abandonment by those supposed to love her unconditionally. 

Imagine her terror, a woman in her late teens. 

Just fucking imagine it. 

It turns my stomach to think of that loneliness. 

Then imagine how, having given birth, her son was taken from her without her consent.

The family acquiesced to avoid the shame that would have been rained down on them - by the very same priest and his judgmental, unforgiving, anti-Christian Church, and neighbours who looked from behind twitching, nicotine-stained net curtains, sucking up their own smugness with their forty Woodbines a day. 

Thank God it wasn’t our Margaret…

Today, we were asked to forgive a man who succumbed to his sexuality. 

Sure he was only human, and wasn’t he great fun, and didn’t he do a lot for emigrants, and the marginalised in Africa, and the poor in South America?

Perhaps, but good works start at home, in my book. So, let’s look back. 

After a difficult divorce, Annie Murphy was entrusted to the care of Bishop Casey, a man 21 years older than her, by her father. 

I'm not going to speak for her - in her book, Forbidden Fruit, she said the sexual chemistry was instant - but if he truly believed what he signed up for, he would have maintained his vow of celibacy. 

 When he didn't, couldn't (and I don’t judge him for that much, at least, because celibacy is a big and unnecessary ask), he hadn't got the balls to account for his own actions, even as his own Church brutally punished women who, by choice or violence, ended up pregnant. 

“Have the baby adopted”, he commanded - the main option available to all women in the same situation. 

Not because he was thinking of her, but because he was thinking of himself. Protecting himself. 

Thankfully, she ignored him. 

Back then, men got a pass (still do, to be honest). 

The women who embraced and explored their sexuality and who, like the men they were with, wanted to experience the physical expression of love, were perpetrators. 

They were sirens, seductresses, the rock on which good Catholic men were destined to perish. 

So the women were imprisoned and turned into slaves if they became pregnant. 

And the men? Did any priest ever call to Seán or Micheál's father at midnight to say “your son has brought scandal on the village”? 

Of course not. Sure Seán and Micheál had a hurling match on Sunday and the fucking pride of the parish was at stake. 

Mary could make it to the county home but Seán, well, Seán was such a great hurler, he could make county.

As for the poor women who were raped - by boyfriends, strangers, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, and, yes, priests – well, that was their own fault, wasn’t it? 

So here we are today. 

Adopted children looking for parents and stonewalled. Mothers looking for sons and daughters and stonewalled. 

“The records were destroyed in a fire…” Yeah – the records of how much money the nuns got for every baby sold to the United States. 

Eamonn Casey and Father Michael Cleary stood on an altar in Galway in 1979, the jokers, the hipsters, the warm-up men for Pope John Paul II, and exhorted the young people of Ireland to be good Catholics. 

God knows they knew a lot about young people, because between them, they fathered three of them. 

Fucking hypocrites, the pair of them.

On Thursday, Eamonn Casey will be interred in the crypt in Galway Cathedral. The Church that banished him – on a 747 to South America, and not on a priest’s crossbar to Loughrea – will welcome him home. 

Thirty-four kilometres away, in Tuam, babies who died of malnutrition, or of perfectly curable diseases, ended up in a crypt of sorts too, if you call a sewage tank a crypt.

Eamonn Casey will be sent to wherever he’s going with a concelebrated Mass, and hymns, and incense. 

 The faithful will turn out in their droves and forgive him, in a way their parents and grandparents never could forgive a woman, a teenage woman, who brought shame on the village.

There are many things I love about Ireland, but many things also that make me want to vomit.

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