Thursday, July 21, 2011

Let's see how long it takes, shall we?

Until the Catholic bishops of Ireland say something, anything at all, about the attempt by the government to shut down the practice of the Catholic Faith in Ireland.

A friend commented this evening:

"Well, why don't they just bring their enormous moral authority to bear ...

Oh, wait..."



Daniel A. said...

Would the law actually compel priests to break the Seal? In the news I see about it, I see that a lot of the politicians in the new government are quite insistant that it would, but there is nothing in the wording of it that specifically mentions privileged communication like that between a priest and penitent.

I'm not certain how the law works in Ireland, but since there is prior legal precedent that priest-penitent privilege is respected, can that be overturned with a law like this one?

What's more, this law is entirely counter-productive. Bishops and priests who covered up sex abuse, for the most part, didn't hear about it in the confessional. I wonder if whoever proposed the law has ever gone to confession. If he did, he'd see that confessions are a) usually anonymous, b) often extremely vague, and c)usually made by LAY people. Thus, if the law were followed (which I suspect it won't be, at least in the case of the confessional) it would result in a) guess work by the priest as to who confessed the crime, b) extrapolation by the priest as to what a penitent exactly means by what he says, and c) it would uncover far more cases of abuse by lay people than by clergy, despite the fact that the law is clearly aimed at the perception that the church is a haven for abusers.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

All Catholics, lay or clerical, are required to confess their sins.

Having read a little of the Irish situation, it is clear that their political class are as ignorant of...well...nearly everything, as all the other politicians currently holding office in the western world. They think that a sentence like, "canon law can't trump civil law" makes some kind of sense.

These politicians are utterly unconscious of their ignorance and how laughable they are when they try to talk about confession or anything at all to do with the Catholic religion. Everything they've said so far betrays heads utterly empty of any knowledge of legal precedent and the history of the relationship between the Church and the state.

I've been meeting and talking to and reading the pronouncements of modern politicians in recent years and one thing has come clear: their incredible cultural ignorance. They know less about their culture, history, law and religious background than a baseball cap wearing, baggy-pants'd chav and are about as savvy.

States realised, all the way back to the early centuries of the Christian era, that priests simply will not break the seal. Good priests, bad priests, "liberal" priests, "conservative" priests...whatever. It's the one thing that unites them. Priests don't break the seal and there isn't anything anyone can do to make them.

The real reason states, including insane murderous regimes like Revolutionary France, don't pass laws trying to make them is that they know there's nothing to be gained.

I started following the political classes very closely, reading hansard etc, when they were debating the reproductive technologies bill in Canada and what came home to me then was that these are people utterly divorced from reality and are flatly incapable of rational thought.

For them, a mindless, irrational slogan like "a woman has a right to choose" has the force of a mathematical axiom. They are incapable of reason or even simple progressions of logic.

These people are the creators of modernity, this weird fantasyland parody of The Real that would give Lewis Carroll pause before inventing it.

What 2 years of direct lobbying on the Reprotech bill was that, in Canada at any rate, and likely in Britain, Ireland and the rest of the EU, political lobbying is a muggs game. You can't talk to them at all since you will be working from a rational framework, and the people you're talking to are living in their own private little universe of schizoland.

It's how anti-Real things like legalised abortion, euthanasia and "gay marriage" have been brought about.

And the current crop of modern Catholic bishops, for the most part, and especially in Europe, don't have very much more contact with external reality than their political playfellows. Novusordoism, the horrid parody of Catholicism that has taken over the Church in the last 50 years, cannot produce churchmen capable of defending the Faith.

Daniel A. said...

Just to clear it up, I realize everyone must confess. The only reason I say that the law is more likely to produce accusations against laity than against clergy is that the vast majority of people are laity, and thus the majority of those that go to confession are lay people.

I haven't had the chance to talk to anyone I know in Ireland about this yet...I look forward to doing so. When I (briefly) lived there I was friends with some people who were involved with Youth Defence, promoting the TLM, etc.. I am very interested to hear what they think of the law. I found there was often a huge disconnect between what the government and the media were saying, and what regular people I knew were thinking.

If I were the Irish bishops (among the many, MANY other things I would do) I would make sure to lay out EXACTLY why no priest will break the Seal. In much of the coverage I'm seeing, the government and the media are trying to imply that the Seal of the Confessional is much more exhaustive than it is. They seem to want people to think that a priest respecting the Seal would refuse to reveal any information that he has about any sin, even if he found out about it outside the confessional. That's not how it works, and I'm sure they realize that, which is what makes me think that this is just a ploy for Fine Gael and Labour to make themselves look "tough on child abuse" and win voter approval.

Since priests could easily install a screen, not hear confessions face to face, etc., I think this law is unenforceable. However, I do worry about the possibility of entrappment: someone goes into the confessional with a recorder and identifies himself and falsely confesses to sexual abuse, then takes the tape to the garda and gets the priest arrested for failure to come forward. I wonder if the government would want to take it that far.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Re: entrappment,

I spoke to someone in the Vatican and it is precisely this that they are worried about in Rome. As he put it, if the government isn't up for it, the tabloid press certainly will be.