How the Clergy De-Christianized Ireland

In his latest essay, Emmet Scott wades into the Culture Wars, discussing the way in which the Christian faith has been largely abandoned by the clergy of Ireland, and by the Catholic Church in general.

How the Clergy De-Christianized Ireland

by Emmet Scott

The recent spectacle of Franciscan priests and brothers marching with the anti-Trump and pro-abortion, pro-LGBT protesters in Chicago brings forcefully to our attention how far great numbers of the Catholic clergy have moved from Christian orthodoxy.

Recent developments also call to mind the notorious decision of the Irish people, in May 2015, to legalize homosexual “marriage”. At the time, there was considerable shock at the result, though more perceptive observers were not in the least surprised by it.

As usual, the media on both sides of the Atlantic offered their penny’s worth of interpretation — and as usual they got it wrong. Almost all mainstream media outlets declared the result to be a formal rejection of Catholicism by an Irish public disgusted by the clerical abuse scandals. No doubt this was true for small numbers of people, but I would contend that it was a small number. The truth is that the Irish people did not reject Catholicism; it is that Catholicism itself has changed almost beyond recognition.

Contrary to what the mainstream media declared, the Irish are still a church-going people. Indeed, they remain by far the most religious nation in Western Europe. In terms of actual church-attendance, the Irish are only beaten in Catholic Europe by the Poles. In excess of 50% of the Irish still attend weekly mass — a colossal figure compared that of to neighboring peoples such as the English, French or Germans.

So, the vote for “gay marriage” did not represent a rejection of Catholicism. Many, perhaps even the great majority, of those who voted “yes” considered themselves Catholics; some even considered themselves committed and devout Catholics. Indeed, several leading members of the clergy came out in support of a “yes” vote. Such was the case, for example, with Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry, who, in a radio interview immediately prior to the vote expressed his hope that no one would vote against the proposed law for any “bigoted” reason, and held that one could vote either yes or no with a good conscience. Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin and one of Ireland’s most senior clerics, expressed a similar sentiment.

Indeed, only one Irish bishop, the Bishop of the diocese of Elphin, came out clearly and unequivocally against the proposed law; and strange to relate, the voting constituency corresponding to his diocese was the only one in Ireland that voted “no”.

This circumstance might lead us to suspect that it was the cowardice and treachery of the leading clergy in the immediate run-up to the election that led to Ireland’s historic and disgraceful rejection of Christian marriage. And this would be partly true — but only partly. For the fact is that over the past forty to fifty years the Catholic faith has not been taught in Ireland. It has not been taught from the pulpit and it has not been taught in schools. What has been taught in both places is a heretical and frankly repulsive caricature of the faith.

It is now at least forty years since any Catholic priest in Ireland has mentioned sexual morality from the pulpit; and in that time the country has been overwhelmed by the sexual revolution. Sex outside of marriage and cohabitation has become the norm; the majority of children in many parts of the country are now illegitimate; divorce and marital breakdown are rampant; pornography and sexual imagery are everywhere, in advertising, on the television, on the internet; sexually transmitted diseases are a massive and increasing problem, and so too is abortion (the latter usually performed in England).

In the face of this tidal wave of degradation, the church and the priests have said precisely nothing. Just when a voice for Christian morality and decency was needed most, they chose to be quiet.

Together with the refusal to teach the rules of the faith on sexual morality, there has been a parallel abandonment of the very concept of personal responsibility. So, just as the priests stopped talking about the former issue, they also ceased to mention things like Hell, Purgatory, penance, and confession. Instead, sermons (or ‘homilies’ as they are now known) became multiple variations on a single theme: God loves us all unconditionally, warts and all, whatever we have done. To be a Christian, all one need do is accept God’s love for us. Many priests indeed took this theme even further, claiming that our first (and only real) duty was to love ourselves, and that the only sin we could actually commit was to feel guilty about our actions (thereby apparently showing that we don’t trust in God’s forgiveness).

This “new” theology, which began to be foisted on the Irish people in the early 1970s, was what might be described as a mish-mash of liberal Protestantism combined with elements of Freud with a bit of Karl Marx thrown in. Priests began to use classically liberal Protestant theology in the rejection of Purgatory and the claim that Christ’s sacrifice and it alone was sufficient for our salvation. Our works and disciplines and sacrifices were useless. And, in keeping with this, virtually all the traditional disciplines were abandoned. No more fasting on Friday; no more fasting before Communion; no more fasting during Lent, etc.

And so, from the early 1970s, the “Catholicism” that has been preached to the Irish people from the pulpits has been (with virtually no exceptions) a veritable caricature of the faith. And the problem reaches far beyond Ireland. Almost all the Catholic churches of the developed world are involved. In other countries, however, the people were far less devout and influenced by their priests: the Irish, by an ironic twist of fate, were far more willing to place their faith in their clergy — and that faith has been cruelly betrayed.

Emmet Scott is the author of Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy and The Impact of Islam.

Previous posts:

2016   Jul   13   The Myth of the Primeval Matriarchy
    Aug   1   The Sunni-Shia Divide and Islam’s Puzzling Origins
    Sep   16   The Decline and Fall of the Catholic West
    Oct   8   The African Slave Trade: The Islamic Connection
    Nov   30   The Barbarians Who Sacked Rome Came Into the Empire as Refugees
    Dec   20   The Moral Depravity of the Obama Administration

38 thoughts on “How the Clergy De-Christianized Ireland

  1. My great uncle, some of whose letters I still have, possessed some renown in Dublin for his First Friday sermons on Ireland’s devotion to the Sacred Heart – i.e., to Christ. It was this devotion (rather than reverence for Patrick) that sent pre-WWII Irish men and women flocking to hear him on their lunch hour once a month.

    There were great iniquities in Ireland at the time and scandals aplenty in the powerful church (as there were in the Anglican Church). The sad reality is that organized religion gives tremendous opportunities to abuse power; so does “organized” anything – politics is the supreme example and ideologies of all sorts are the great killers from the French Revolution onward.

    Marxism invaded Ireland’s corpus just as it has all of Western civilization. Before Marxism, there were the deforming Jansenists, imported from France…

    This current great Undermining of Sanity, promising freedom while it creates intellectual chains, sees the unforgivable Mortal Sin of the age to be any whiff of “bigotry”. You may fornicate with a duck on St Stephen’s Green as long as you’re not a bigot.

    This anti-whatever, in its myriad mutating forms, is based on the slightest whisper of disagreement with the whole alphabet of LBGQTXYZZZ boutique “identity” allegiances. Yes, it *is* tedious and tendentious beyond words for normal people who don’t live and breathe in those rainbow ghettoes where unicorns dwell.

    This pervasive insanity is a spirochete. It has burrowed into our government-funded “education” system and is deeply deforming our children’s character. They are forced to seek social safety by aligning with some tiny depraved group who can prove it is outside any mainstream value system. “Belonging” as a basic need hasn’t disappeared; it’s part of the fabric of what makes us human. Kids are forced to pay an increasingly high price and parents have no idea.

    Teachers (women as well as men) are soliciting their students. The overt sexualization of the school curriculum from first grade onwards was a stated goal in 2008. It has now been achieved. In case you forgot how truly awful Obama’s appointments were, visit yesteryear:

    Scroll down for Arne Duncan…

    Ireland is a shambles. There is little room to move among the ruins. But whatever you do, don’t look back. Sorrow for what was will turn you into a pillar of salt…

    [please spare me the horror stories of the cruelties of those “asylums” like Magdalene for wayward girls. Jansenism did much harm to Irish sexuality. Extreme poverty, partly caused by English policies, made marriage beyond the reach of many. The whole thing was sad and complicated beyond belief.

    But the current culture, including the Islamic toilets in Irish hospitals, is worse.]

  2. The Catholic hierarchy allowed sexual abuse and terrible mistreatment of orphans and unwed mothers during the 1940’s-60’s. Is it any wonder that the terrible corruption and lack of repentance and/or punishment of those who covered up the problems has resulted in spiritual emptiness? Traditional morality and spiritual ideas in Ireland are tied up with confidence in priests and bishops. People need to see churches run by the people in which immoral behavior is not tolerated and genuine Christian doctrine is taught.

    • The Church, Catholic and otherwise, has been acting like the sinners we all are, ever since Peter in Jerusalem and Paul in Corinth began arguing over the details…

      The cultural evil in Ireland is complicated by centuries of abuse and murder. The Irish Diaspora was the largest in history…so far. It’s a long way to Tipperary…

      The empty churches in all the former Catholic Christian countries didn’t empty out for the reasons ascribed to the Irish leaving. But in the end they’re all still empty. As Jesus said, “old wineskins”…

    • Such abuse was low in protestant churches because the opportunity for such was not there.
      Traditional protestant churches today though are in a worse state than the Catholic church. The Anglicans in the UK muster a little more than 10% and that’s the church the Royal Family belong to. No great sex scandals but hardly anyone born from the 60s onwards wants to go.
      Sex abuse didn’t keep the people away, the Church became soft on morality and failed to counter the arguments of the sexual revolution.
      The traditional churches today are more like secular charities than religious institutes. You’re more likely to see a church supporting LGBQ or moslems than you are their own parishioners or dogma. There’ve even been stories of small town priests in Italy pushing political correctness such as replacing Mary with a moslem in a nativity scene or telling parishioners they’re not welcome at church if they don’t support the moslems who’ve just arrived.
      That’s all to do with church and therefore moral leadership. If the only morality they’re preaching is charity to all and sundry regardless of cost to the local people and providing no other moral backbone, then what really are they offering to people these days?

      • >> The traditional churches today are more like secular charities than religious institutes.

        They are not charities, unless you mean being charitable with other peoples’ property. “Traditional” protestant congregations have become hotbeds of fashionable social justice activism. They are the churches that no longer believe in God – or anything of lasting virtue – lest they offend someone other than Christians.

    • I enjoyed a TV series about a former police officer in Ireland. I didn’t care for the man’s slovenly appearance and, iirc, drinking but it was interesting.

      One two-part episode dealt with a crime in which mistreatment of female orphans was part of the story. The film portrayed the Church in a very negative light and at the time I thought it a leftist hit piece on it.

      Now it appears there was a lot of truth to it.

  3. You want to hear my friend Bishop Guy (GLT) has to say about all this. people think him mad simply for doing and standing by traditional Catholicism. It is a pity he has retired from what he now regards as a pointless battle. He is old time clergy and quite fearless but all too human. people regard him as “Too extreme”, “Bigot”, “Nazi” etcetera. Nothing could be farther from the truth. He refused to “marry” two men and was arrested.

    • I’ve been a non-believer all my life, but I really miss Bishop Guy, and usually agreed with his outspoken comments.

  4. I’ve been undercover. Just became uncovered. Blockchain stuff. I attended a Franciscan private school in Ireland which included some luminaries. Too tired to comment further tonight. I will tomorrow.

  5. This may be true to a degree. However, it was decades of institutionalized sexual abuse on an industrial scale and the complicit cover up that destroyed the CC in Ireland.

  6. Thank you for this lucid article. Most regretfully, the modern Roman Catholic Church has been going through the same process as mainstream Protestant and Anglican (Episcopal) denominations in the Western world. It has lagged behind them, thus creating an illusion of being true to traditional Christian spirituality and morality.

    But, in reality, it is turning into a secular humanitarian organisation which, for reasons no one really understands, retains some quaint customs and obsolete hierarchical structure. The current Pope is the most obvious incarnation of this new spirit.

    This modern ‘Christianity’ is, in fact, a post-Christian phenomenon. It has transformed Christian love into secular humanism, it has replaced the thirst for eternal life with God with utopian projects of turning this fallen world into an earthly paradise, it has abandoned God-given commandments with a new perfectly materialist morality adapted to the ideology of politically correct. In any case, it has gradually lost its raison d’être. It is that salt that has lost its savour and become useless.

    Of all the major Christian confessions nowadays, it is only the Orthodox Christianity which seems to have retained the authentic Christian faith and worldview. It still teaches its flock that no earthly utopias are possible, that human happiness consists not in getting as much pleasures pleasures and entertainment as possible but in humbly serving God, that no one can be happy living in mortal sin, e.g., a homosexual relationship, etc. Of course, attempts are being made to dilute and pollute Orthodox Christianity with a view to making it ‘modern’ and ‘civilised’ – i.e. as stupid and degraded as modern Lutheranism or Catholicism. But the majority of Orthodox clergy and laity have so far rejected these attempts.

    • I am an American Christian of the Anglican persuasion. Our church is more orthodox than most of the Roman churches I’ve been in in the last MANY years. I hope our Roman brothers and sisters will find a bit of hope in what we have.

      Our diocese, Quincy, left The Episcopal Church ten years ago, as TEC had gone too far left in an attempt to be relevant and popular. They turned their back on two thousand years of scriptural authority and several hundred years of Anglican tradition.

      TEC, for whatever reasons, sued our diocese as a diocese and all the parishes in it for all the funds and all the facilities in our possession or under our control. It didnt work out well for them.

      The courts consistently ruled in favor of the departing churches and the diocese. They continued trying to sue until their attorneys were threatened with sanctions for barratry.

      The Diocese of Quincy is known as one of the more orthodox dioceses in ACNA, the Anglican Church in North America, and our parish, Trinity, in Rock Island, is known as one of the traditionally orthodox churches in our diocese.

      Please join us online (, your convenience and feel free to visit us if you find yourself in our area. We’d love to have you join us for worship.

      Tuesdays and Thursday’s, we have Mass at 0930. Wednesday and Friday, at 1730, and Sunday at 0800 and 1000. Sunday at 1000 is a sung Mass, with a choir. For as small a group as we are, I’m told we sound pretty good.

      There also is a podcast which is building some interest,

      Our priest and a priest from another parish do one or two shows a week, and it’s an interesting listen, so I’ve heard. I know both these men and I respect and like them both. I hope you will check them out.

  7. Its a tough and complex topic to discuss, but the catholics who knows the history of the catholic church, see that all this mess begins with the Council Vatican II.

    There is a lot of conspiracy theories about that too: freemasonry, USSR, etc,

    But the Vatican II being the cause of all these problems is out of question nowadays .

  8. Not surprising. Personally know a Church-goibg Catholuc who has no interest in reading, only reads newspapers, is liberally brainwashed. Faith rests on us also reading and knowing the Bible or scriptures.

    I would personally add the majority of organised Christianity preached nowadays is SO FAR away from the truth in scriptures it is horrifying. What is preached and what is in the Bible for real are two different things. Be aware tge devil deceives the ENTIRE world. The Church is also compromised. It is true that once you know the truth, it sets you free. And knowing it, you can never go back. I pray the Lord will wake as many people as possible in our lifetime and beyond.

  9. I once thought that the decline in our religions–not just Catholicism but ALL Christian denominations–was a result of the draft here during the Vietnam war. That is–go into the ‘clergy’, into ‘teaching’ and be deferred indefinitely. (Check into that there ‘teaching’ thing for results in ‘education’.)
    An student’s “easy out” as it were from danger (AND obligation).
    Now it is becoming obvious that Cultural Marxism has gone a lot deeper and farther than that , and on an international scale.
    Could it actually be that Christians are right in essence, and that Evil and its personification here on earth is REAL AFTER ALL?? And doing quite well indeed–thank you very much. It’s Not just Marx, Lenin, Stalin, etc………..


    • You’re right. The Marxist religion became culture-wide and teaching was transformed into indoctrination. The dumbing down of large swathes of young people deteriorated into depravity.

      That’s why the election of Trump seems like a miracle to many who are paying attention. The damage done in eight years by Obama can and will be partially undone, but the Leftist destroyers won’t go quietly. Bill Whittle outlined the work we have to do in four years to begin to push back the evil. It won’t be easy, though the places like Hungary, which experienced the evil up close and personal, have a better chance at pushing back.

    • I had a roommate in 1966 who was, shall we say, energized on the issue of avoiding the draft. Going to divinity school was one of the options he was considering. Which is even more funny now.

      I doubt, however, that had he gone that route he would have entered any priesthood let alone remained in it to participate in or push some doctrinal revolution. If one is not genuinely interested in scripture and saving souls the life of a priest would surely drive one crazy. It would me.

  10. It may be time to consider joining the Russian, Greek, Antioh or other Orthodox Christian Churches which have a legitimate claim to Apostolic succession ; but are less sullied by the Vatican { which is a shell of what it used to be } Malachi Martin called the Vatican a ” Potemkin Village “. Putin…with the help of Patriarch Aleksy 2nd. has re invigorated Christianity in Russia. If you can stand the climate….GO TO RUSSIA.

      • After Prince Potemkin, who allegedly had cardboard villages erected for Catherine II’s visit to Crimea and Ukraine in 1787. In other words, a show put on to hide what’s really happening.

        On the broader issue, as a non-believer, I’m in favour of churches preaching the truth as they see it (provided they don’t advocate hatred for “sinners”),but they should be kept out of schools along with all other faiths.

        • I have led a sheltered life but I’ve never heard of any Christian church that teaches hatred of sinners.

          The Muslims, now, encourage the murder of sinners (apostates). It’s a wonderful faith.

    • That Russian Orthodox church which has just lobbied in Russia to allow domestic violence again, you mean?

      Theocracies *SUCK*.

  11. Somehow I find the attitudes of several often commenters here are confusing. On one hand, Christianity is praised, and its fall lamented. On the other hand, perceiving gays or atheists as bad persons is deemed bad, judgemental. Is this a cognitive dissonance ? What is the resolution ?

    • There are atheists and [rational] gays who lament the fall of Christianity, because they can see what will fill the void; and it will not be nearly as tolerant as Christianity. Better the “devil” you know …

  12. Good!! My Irish ancestors were desperate from Irish overpopulation, and they had no birth control. Girls with out-of-wedlock pregnancies were basically imprisoned in horrible institutions.

    Catholicism has a lot to answer for.

    No religion, islam or christian or any other should treat women as second class citizens or deny them contraception.

  13. Living in Ireland in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, we saw all this happening before our very eyes as droves of evil secularists and Marxists pushed their ideas across the airwaves. We tried to warn people, but they (in the typical Irish way) invariably laughed and said, “Well, sure, we are too cute for those people.” Now we know how wrong they were, as Ireland is as depraved as any other nation of Europe. In fact, Emmet Scott’s analysis of the Vatican hierarchy’s total embrace of the world is strangely silent about the current head of the Vatican, who is a totally trendy Marxist liberal himself. The only solution has always been to cry out to Jesus Christ personally for your sins and ask Him to give you new life. Then leave those tradition- and ritual-bound organisations, whether Anglican, Vatican, or Orthodox, and lead your family out of secular pursuits to live a life separated unto God. The Mennonite church in Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, was full last time we visited. Menno Simons (1496-1561) was a priest and saw the truth 500 years ago.

  14. In Vatican 2 (1965) the Catholic Church vows to forget all past wrongs by Islam. That is, the whole loss of Christendom was not to be lamented, not just forgiven, but actually forgotten. We can conclude that from 1965 the Catholic Church has submitted to islam. This chimes with Maxime Rodinson’s observations on this by the early 1970s. “Why?” is another discussion.

    My late father used to doorstep his Catholic priest, asking him “why do you have all these sermons railing against gay marriage, when our town is being torn apart by Islam and you never have a word to say about this”. If I’d known of Vatican 2 at the time, I’d have told my father that the explanation he sought lay therein.

    Vatican 2 also explains why Benedict had to resign, an act no Pope had done for nearly 1000 years. He had stepped out of line, and made a mention of Islam’s past. That was enough to set the world ablaze. No apology was sufficient. He had to go, to prove that the Catholic Church truly had surrendered to Islam. The next Pope set about kissing the feet of Muslims to prove his abasement.

    The crisis brought about by Islam these past 50 years is on a scale not seen for centuries. That’s why we are seeing such strange events as there being two Popes.

    • >> In Vatican 2 (1965) the Catholic Church vows to forget all past wrongs by Islam. That is, the whole loss of Christendom was not to be lamented, not just forgiven, but actually forgotten.

      How presumptuous and authoritarian of them to prescribe what may be remembered … a diktat straight from St. Karl Marx. History be damned. Away with inconvenient truth.

  15. It is easy to find and recognize in the article above paralels with the development in Holland some decades earlier .
    An excellent book on the matter is “60 years katholicisme” by Fr J. Bots sJ , philosopher and historian not unfamiliar with sociology.
    An summary of this book in English and French was spread among the journalists present at the visit of JPII to Holland in ’85.
    If findable , it would provide precious data and lessons .

    A difference with Holland is weekly Mass-attencence , in the 60ies still 67%.
    As for today , I could not find exact data , but by heart I know “regular” attendence , i.e. at least once a month, including visiting socalled word- and communion services , os between 3 and 5 % average , in villages somewhat higher .

    In 1915 there was a big survey , carried ou every 10 years , now published as “God in Nederland , 1966-2015″ .

    A positive note out of the review:

    Young catholics till the age of 40 in many aspects are more strict (recht, ~”right, straight”) in doctrine and practice than older members of church. This young orthodoxy is a young phenomenon and indicates the fact that youngsters only feel attracted to church if thy are really convinced in faith.'god-verdwijnt-uit-nederland'/ (review God in nederland 1966-2015 , byTon Bernts of Radboud Universiteit and Joantine Berghuijs of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. )
    (82 % of all Dutch never or neearly ever visits a church
    14 % does not believe in a personal God.
    Personally I esteem that figure higher, even not taken in account the official 5% official and unofficial 5%, 8% ? muslim residents .

    source:'god-verdwijnt-uit-nederland'/ (review God in nederland 1966-2015 , byTon Bernts of Radboud Universiteit and Joantine Berghuijs of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. ) ( researcher Ton Bernts) (Radboud Un., formerly Catholic Univ. Nijmegen
    Enquete by Kaski Instituut, T. Bernts. )

  16. If Vatican 2 has the Catholic world submitting to Islam then a recent encyclical by the current pope where he states that there is no violence to be found in Islam just reinforces and hardens the submission. These actions by the Catholic “leadership” fall within the Islamic plan for global jihad and dominance of the world. First, Islam partners with the religious leaders, then corrupts them (popes become friends with Islam and supports their evil concepts). This demoralizes the flock and the will of the flock (and western civilization) spirals downward. Eventually, Islam, having won the mind game, starts the kinetic jihad (war) and since we are too beaten down to fight, we become dhimmis and Islam has won the day.

    The battle for our worldview continues apace and the above is just recognition of part of the threat-doctrine we need apply when we analyze our enemy to enable our battle planning. The liberal “elite leadership” wilfully or not does not see this or we would be rejecting Islam with gusto.

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