Fresh from monumental defeat our old friends turn their attention to dissident clergy. Why lick wounds when the dwindling Irish anti-choice can eat itself? Oireachtas Retort investigates.
The spectre of Vatican espionage was a persistent bogeyman in the fledgling Irish state. While events like the 1932 Eucharistic Congress and wider state policy did much to cement Roman hegemony, the eyes and ears of il Papa remained necessary in urban legend at least. John B Keane recalls one encounter
I took a closer look at the man. He had dark eyes, a sallow complexion and greasy black hair. He looked like an Italian but how could he be an Italian, I asked myself? What would an Italian and his wife and child be doing in a Listowel backway? Then a thought struck me. Some months before while having a drink after a football match in one of Moyvane’s livelier hostelries, I was informed by Batty Stacpoole that he suspected the presence of a papal spy in the area. At the time I tended to disbelieve Batty on the grounds that there were no heresies or schisms in the Moyvane district but now I wasn’t so sure.
Fortunately for Keane the mystery visitor proved benign and North Kerry free of heresy.
No such luck in Drogheda however where Fr. Iggy O’Donovan has left on sabbatical. The Augustinian priest has long been outside the party line on several issues, notably contraception on the Late Late Show.
A complaint about baptism emerged last weekend and appears to be the excuse for his departure. The Mayor of Drogheda has claimed that “ultra-conservative” elements have connived to “push” Fr Iggy out while the priest himself remarked on the similar ‘silencing’ of Fr Tony Flannery
If I had not been made aware first hand of the details of his case, I could not have given it credence. Even hardened veterans are shaken by the murkiness of the devious world of ecclesiastical politics.
How has it come to this, that a great and good priest like Tony, who has dedicated his life to the preaching of the Gospel, is persecuted with a zeal that is as pathological as the paranoia that feeds it?
Wednesday’s Drogheda Leader reports
The man who made the complaint, Charles Byrne, has come forward to state that he is shocked at the media attention over this and said he was purely concerned that the rite of baptism had not been done property. He is a relation of the baby that was baptised and said he wanted to make sure the ritual had been completed.
“This is nothing personal against Fr Iggy. It is purely about the ritual not being performed properly as I feel that it is very important. I was videoing the event for a family member and I knew something was wrong. I showed the video to some priests I know and they said the ritual had not been done properly.”
Curiously, a comment recently left on bigginsblog by a poster named Cathal O’Broin stated
That’s some good info a whole three weeks before Justine McCarthy broke the story nationally but Life House hubris is truly the gift that keeps giving.
The now defunct Hibernian Magazine was edited by former Provisional IRA commander & Justin Barrett affiliate Gerry McGeough and one Charles Byrne or rather Cathal O’Broin, native of Drogheda. Under the tagline “Faith, Family and Country” it contained a charming mix of conspiracy, sentimentalism and catholicism only as hardline as the nationalism. Scott Millar has already penned the comprehensive account of their neo-fascist adventures. Think Alive! in uniform.
In the final editorial they proclaimed
The tyranny of Political Correctness prevents people from speaking out against the evils of feminism, the promotion of homosexuality, abortion, contraception and divorce lest they be attacked by the liberal/masonic media, et al.
At The Hibernian we have shown only contempt for political correctness and have never shied away from the promotion of Catholic Order in society. Time and again we have slammed the modern culture which demands that men should behave like sissies while women strive to act like men. If there is to be stability in society then fathers must return to their proper role as head of the family; leaders, providers and protectors of the women and children. Likewise, married women need to be in the home bearing and rearing children and not wasting their lives in the corporate work place.
Such a return to Catholic Order would have an immediate effect in both the spiritual and temporal realms and a drastic decrease in the likes of teenage drug abuse and suicide levels would soon become evident.
Bearing all this in mind we have consistently and ardently advocated a return to traditional Catholicism in society, with the Latin Mass and Family Rosary at the centre of any revival. In addition we have highlighted the roles our great national heroes of the past have played in defending the right of an independent Irish Catholic Nation to exist and thrive.
The tension between the progressive-by-Irish-clergy-standards Association of Catholic Priests and some of the more traditional elements reaches levels of loathing well beyond the kind of venom witnessed at Rally for Life counter demonstrations. Indeed before leaving Fr Iggy commented
How has it come to this, that intolerant and extreme right-wingers — encouraged, apparently, by certain authorities and career-oriented priests — can meet in solemn conclave to determine who is guilty of what these people label heresy?
Animosity has only escalated over the last year given ACPI’s close links to Fine Gael and Herod himself. Perhaps the would-be papal spies are looking for the wrong schism but the question remains.
Do we believe Charles Byrne’s claim of nothing personal against Fr Iggy or Cathal O’Broin’s claim of Youth Defence having him sacked?