Friday, June 9, 2017

Dominican offers advice to Irish Sisters of Charity

The current issue of The Irish Catholic carries an article titled "Nuns should stand up for life and pull out of deal" written by Fr Kevin O'Reilly OP.

It certainly doesn't read as if the author is trying to win friends. 

For Kevin to say that there are few people "able" to speak up in defence of the Religious Sisters of Charity sounds a tad arrogant and most likely inaccurate.

Kevin refers to "natural reason" without explaining what it is. Nor does he tell the reader what "supernatural faith" is.

He writes: "The Catholic Church is to my knowledge the only major institution that defends the inviolability of all human life". Is that not far too general a statement, misleading too? 

There are many people and groups of people who defend the "Inviolability of human life".

There is not one reference in the piece to capital punishment, not a reference to the number of executions performed by states around the world.

Not a word about the billion people who have not enough to eat, the homeless, the marginallised. Nor a word on the €1.75 trillion spent on weaponry in 2016. And guns, tanks, rockets kill people. It is a 'culture of death'.

Kevin states: "In a period of history that has come to recognise itself as post-truth, the Catholic Church is also the only institution to espouse truth."

Clearly that is not accurate nor is it factual. Who is doing the "recognising"? To say that the Catholic Church is the only institution to espouse truth is palpably folly and arrogant.

Can you mention that the church espouses truth without acknowledging that the church is also a church of sinners?

Kevin points out how Pope Benedict's plea to put us in touch with truth "has largely been ignored". Ignored by whom?

Is it appropriate or wise for Kevin to offer advice to the Irish Sisters of Charity?

It can be grating on one's ear to listen to priests tell people that "commitment to the truth will of course bring suffering in its wake".

I have been a Dominican priest for over 40 years and I have seldom been made aware of priests suffering as a result of their commitment to the truth.

The author writes: "In an increasingly secular society that is hostile to Catholicism above all other religions on account of its esteem for reason and its love of human life it has become more and more difficult for Catholics to escape the pervasive influence of the culture of death."

Surely that is not true. Is Kevin suggesting that it's because of the church's "esteem for reason" that society is hostile towards it?

Does the institutional church not live off the back of "secular society"?

And who are the Catholics who find it more difficult "to escape the pervasive influence of the culture of death"?

I work in a hospital where I see day-in-day-day out staff work tirelessly to save life and improve the quality of life for all its patients.

This is an article that will probably help no one and most likely alienate many.

1 comment:

Francis Hunt said...

On reading this unbelievable piece when it was published, it struck me that the author actually provided the perfect justification for all those who argued against the Sisters of Charity having any connection whatsoever with the future National Maternity Hospital. Not that I think that the sisters themselves would have wanted to interfere in medical ethics issues in the hospital, but - as a Catholic congregation - they would have come under enormous pressure from the alt-right traditionalist tendency within the Catholic church, so obviously represented by people such as the author of this piece. There is much that is offensive in the article, above all the arrogance, the sense of blanket infallibility, and the appropriation of the term "reason". (Also, of course, the knee-jerk demonisation of "secularism", a shifting, self-defined strawman ubiquitously trotted out by Catholic traditionalists, whenever they want to attack anyone they don't like.) Life must be so easy for people with such an ineluctable sense of their own rectitude and superiority!