Repentance in Ireland

Just posted to our home page: this video commentary from Fr. Jim Martin on the symbolic acts of repentance by two church leaders in Ireland.


Tim Reidy


Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
david power
7 years 10 months ago
Fr Martin,

I think what you say is true about gestures being important.The catholic mind is analogical and we know the depth that it conveys. However, in Ireland the gestures will seem to many to represent what we have understood for some time.  The IRA had a saying which they gave to the young addicts who were arrested by the RUC hoping that they would give details of the paramilitary activity. The IRA philosophy was "You can say anything you want,but make sure you say nothing". The Irish bishops have been talking so much in the hope that they wont have to say anything. Instead of frankness and being candid they are playing a power game, damage limitation with a pious turn.
Like many a fart, everyone smells it but nobody mentions it. Both Cardinal O MALLEY and Archbishop Martin know that this is in many ways a charade , every act involves a large degree of false consciousness and playacting. Of all the Irish bishops only Willie Walsh is capable of calling a spade a shovel. So these gestures may be edifying to the ultra-catholic world that exists around the world  but until the beans are spilled it will only elecit an arched eyebrow from the Irish  .  All repentance now is only oldschool guilt oozing. The "true" Saints teach us that  life can be painful and even if it does not happen on tv it still happens.  I hope that the Apostolic Visitors to Ireland bring this to the current Pope.
Juan Lino
7 years 10 months ago
Good comments Fr. Jim.

David - with all due respect, unless you have some psychic ability that I am not aware of there's no way that you can affirm with certainty the following statement: "Both Cardinal O MALLEY and Archbishop Martin know that this is in many ways a charade , every act involves a large degree of false consciousness and playacting."  I don't know Archbishop Maritn but I do know Cardinal O'Malley and he is not a charlatan.
ed gleason
7 years 10 months ago
Using a video comment is great and 5x better than the written word.  We, Catholics, have some of the best with the SPOKEN  word, we need to use them more.
david power
7 years 10 months ago

I think you may have misread my message. I did not mean to say that either of them was a charlatan,I have met both of them in person. I meant that they have both spent time in Ireland and know the situation.I take it that you have not .If you had you would understand the meaning of my words a little more. As we search for a way to express the presence that is Christ, in our own grasping gestures we become involved in certain acts that fail to correspond to the full drama of what is involved. The "I" seeks the You but is lost in certain circumstances. Think of Leopardi Juan!Archbishop Martin would most likely prefer a more "concrete" gesture but is limited because he is a pariah there ,but he still understands or intuits the why of the Church. Put simply in terms that you will understand these gestures are of little value when the origin of the Christian claim is no longer proposed.

Juan Lino
7 years 10 months ago
David - reading your new comment it's clear that I did misread your message - mea culpa and thank you for pointing out my oversight in such a gracious way.  No I have not been to Ireland and have limited experience with the situation there as well as the Irish live their adherence to Christ (although from the little I have seen it appears to manifest itself differently than what I am used to in the Hispanic culture.) 

I also appreciate the nod to the writings of Don Gius (especially to the titles of the trilogy) but you are using them in a very interesting way.

Peace to you also. 
Juan Lino
7 years 10 months ago
oops - typo: as well as the way the Irish live their adherence to Christ...
7 years 10 months ago
Fr. Martin, I think it's important to distinguish the impacts of this gestrure on :
Ireland itself. Last tuesday, Archbishop Martim spoke at Magdellan Colege and stated the Church in Ireland was in crisis and needed reform of better collaboration  between laity and clergy.
The impact there certainly drew press but how much of an impact beyond  a short time is hard to tell.
Across much of Europe and in Australia there is much disaffection (see yesterday's Sydney Herald for example) and I'm not sure reports there will move many who see crying need for reform.
Here in the US, some will be deeply touched, I've already heard from those who are cynical( a friend in Boston who attended one of Cardinal O'Malley's reconciliation services at one of the five deaneries reported he was less than forthcoming to questions from people in the pews), and what effect will this have on people like those in the exit interview article here who say "they are "barely hanging on?"
Finally, the week of this action, John Allen published a piece that said a number of Church leaders, including Abp. Dolan, thought the Church had "done too much." I hope this gesture does not turn into a further cause of cynicism.


The latest from america

In cities across the country, local activists marched in support of a progressive agenda centered on economic justice, racial justice and immigrant rights.
Brandon SanchezJanuary 20, 2019
Screengrab from a viral video showcasing a confrontation between a Native American drummer and a group of Catholic high school students in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 18, 2019. Screenshot via YouTube.
Several clips of the encounter circulating on social media show a small group of Native American drummers, who were in Washington for the Indigenous People’s March, being surrounded by a much larger band of teenagers.
Pope Francis has suppressed the Ecclesia Dei Commission, a significant decision with consequences for the Holy See’s relations with the priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 19, 2019
Photo: IMDB
A new Netflix miniseries brings out the story’s aspects of adventure and conflict, with occasionally pulse-pounding results.
Rob Weinert-KendtJanuary 19, 2019