Wednesday, March 22, 2017

IRL : Pat Flanagan: Bonking Bishop scandal exposed the hypocrisy of Church which hated women

Bishop Casey’s sexual escapades “profoundly upset the Church”, his funeral Mass was told on Thursday.

It’s just a pity the organisation to which he belonged was less upset by decades of clerical sex abuse and the horrors of the mother and baby homes and Magdalene Laundries.

Rampant sex abuse had been covered up since the foundation of the State but a bonking bishop who fathered a son was a step too far for the Church.

Whereas the paedophile priests could be moved on to another parish Eamon Casey had to be sent to the ends of the earth and he ended up in darkest Ecuador via the US and Mexico.

What would the unfortunates in the mother and baby home up the road in Tuam have made of the news that a Prince of the Church no less had got a young woman pregnant in the Bishop’s palace.

It should also be remembered that when Eamon Casey was having sex with Annie Murphy some of the mother and baby homes were still in existence and young women were being sent there for the same “crimes” committed by an Irish bishop.

Sure enough his sexual adventures are insignificant compared to the child abuse horrors that were to come but they exposed the glaring hypocrisy of the Irish Church and State.
If a young man stole money from his employer to cover the costs incurred by his pregnant girlfriend he would end up in Mountjoy.

When Bishop Casey plundered Church funds to pay off Annie Murphy this larceny was overlooked and the cash was paid back by anonymous donors.

Be it crooked bankers or randy bishops, there’s a light-touch law for the rich and powerful in this country.

The sight of Eamon Casey, who had one son, and Fr Michael Cleary, who had two, on the podium with Pope John Paul II in Galway in 1979 for many people summed up the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church.

It’s not that these men were bad people, it’s just they were telling other people they would go to hell if they had sex and had children outside marriage.

It was such a sin that the produce of these shameful pairings were not seen as legitimate children and so didn’t deserve a burial that might be afforded a beloved family pet.

No, for these little ones conceived in sin it was the old septic tank in Tuam or an anonymous grave in unconsecrated ground.

Bishop Casey’s lover Annie Murphy also found out fairly quickly that Ireland was, and to a certain extent still is, a dreadful place for women who have children outside marriage. 

That latent resentment was on show when she got a frosty reception from Gay Byrne when she appeared on The Late Late Show.

The faithful refused to believe they had a bonking bishop and if it was true it must have been an American divorcee who led him astray. Don’t they always?

At his funeral on Thursday, the Bishop of Achonry Brendan Kelly told mourners Bishop Casey “did much good” during his life and ministry and he’s not wrong there.
Bishop Kelly spoke of Bishop Casey’s courage in looking after dozens of stricken people when up to 50 were massacred at the funeral of his murdered friend Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador in 1980.

There is little doubt Bishop Casey was a good man, who like most other blokes liked women, cars and a few drinks.

But he was the leader of an organisation that controlled peoples’ lives and made life miserable for women who found themselves in the same position as Annie Murphy.

Bishop Casey wanted the best of both worlds but when it came to the crunch he chose the Church that sent him into exile instead of standing by his son and his mother.
While it was totally unintentional, the scandal he created marked the beginning of the end for the Catholic Church’s grip on Ireland.

On the lighter side there would be no Bishop Brennan without Bishop Casey or money resting in Father Ted’s account.