Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Catholic church and justice

You may have read today that a Priest in Northern Ireland in 1972 might have been actively involved in mass murder and that the police, the Catholic Church and the state conspired to cover up a priest's suspected role in one of the worst atrocities of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Nine people died in bombings in Claudy, County Londonderry in July 1972 and high-level talks led to the Priest, James Chesney, being moved to the Irish Republic.

In December 1972 Willie Whitelaw met Cardinal Conway to discuss the issue. According to one report, 'the cardinal said he knew the priest was a very bad man and would see what could be done'. The church leader mentioned 'the possibility of transferring him to Donegal...'

Doesn't this sound a little too similar to the church moving suspected pedophiles to another parish? Cover ups will always come to light and for me, all this bad press takes the church a long way from a loving and peaceful organisation. I appreciate that a minority of Priests are bad people, but the way the church deals with it's problems is foolish.

In 2005 the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for the leaders of Uganda’s brutal Lords Resistance Army and local Catholic clergy were quick to denounce the move as a threat to peace. Since then, the Archbishop of Gulu, Jean-Baptist Odama, has led a campaign against the indictment of LRA leader Joseph Kony, whose crimes include the large-scale sexual enslavement of children.

The power of many churches is worrying, but it seems that the Catholic church makes a habit of covering up crimes. Some representatives, who today have rightly condemned the decision made in Northern Ireland in 1972, must wonder about the love and understanding within their church.

It makes you wonder has complicit the Catholic church was in the Northern Ireland troubles. Did they harbour mass murderers? Did they allow hundreds of people to die by turning a blind eye?

The troubles are a complex historical mess and the church's involvement is likely to be very small. On a very very basic level, it seems to me that the many good people in Ulster have been tainted by the psychopathic murderers.  These people have used their undemocratic and foul ideals, linked to religion and arguments that go back centuries, to carry out acts that are pure evil. Violence can't win this one I am sure, but perhaps many of them are not that bothered and just enjoy their violent ways.

The Catholic church needs an amazing PR guru to sort this one out.


  1. They have an amazing PR guru. He just chooses to sit by and ignore the problems.

    All Ratzinger has to do, at a stroke, is excommunicate every last priest and num who has broken the law in this or any serious manner and offer them all up for prosecution. He must also take personal responsibility for any and all of his own actions that have an unpleasant smell about them.

  2. When I think about the Northern Irish, all I think about is angry petty people concerned about events HUNDREDS of years ago.

  3. Only one word to follow your post and the above comments - AMEN!

  4. I would suggest, Mr Anonymous, that the majority of the people of Ulster are against this mindless violence. The big difference between NI and England is that religion appears to be a clear dividing line - over here I couldn't tell you the % of people in a religion in my town. I remember a colleague from Glasgow saying that he lived in a Catholic area when growing up and was amazed when he left Glasgow that every town in the UK didn't divide into religious areas.