‘Ireland’s Troublesome Priests’ feature on BBC Radio 4
In ‘Ireland’s Troublesome Priests’, Ruth McDonald investigates the crisis in the Irish Catholic Church (submitted by Mary Woods, in England, who commented on it:
“The only really jarring note was the way the traddie asserted that the administrative reforms desired by the ACP and many many Irish Catholics were “dogma” like the divinity of Christ ! And therefore unchangeable. Unfortunately the interviewer didn’t pick him up on this.”)
See for yourself: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01mtslz/Irelands_Troublesome_Priests/
As I listened to this programme over lunch yesterday I found it like the curate’s egg (if we had curates or could afford the eggs), covering the field and state of play more or less for a wider ‘Tabletesque’ or ‘NCRish’ audience. But Mick Peelo was there for his two-part RTE programme last December, inspecting the same quivering shoots of new growth and the same muffled moans of frustration: Porterstown women, Fr Seamus Ahearne, the same familiar figures saying the same familiar things from BASIC and We Are Church, and of course tripping over our walking sticks and our grey heads at the Regency in search of an ACP non-silenced interviewee. Will Galway and Cork provide new voices and themes to keep the media mill chugging over happily?
Of course David Quinn is the other constant in a changing Church. I don’t think Mary Woods was very fair to David. Nicknames like ‘traddie’ win no arguments and don’t score very highly on the Christianometer dial. I thought David Quinn was using an analogy and not really asserting that some of the “show-of-hands” admin reforms the ACP seeks are on a par with a dogma such as the divinity of Christ. True, maybe it’s time that folks like Ab Diarmuid Martin and the Iona Islanders (mea culpa) took time and trouble to establish what the ACP stands for. Maybe it’s time all ACP members and their supporters took time and trouble to establish that too! Rather than shorthand nicknames, maybe we should come up with better arguments than the oft rehearsed ones from David, BO’B and others from the islands off Iona. And maybe successive popes should come up with better arguments for what they think should be definitive or infallible or outside the discourse of thinking believers.
A little bit concerned that any Catholic would have a go at David Quinn. David has been fighting the good fight for many years now and, I believe, has done a fantastic job in defending the Church ; while criticising it where necessary. Readers of the Irish Catholic may recall an interview David did with then Cardinal Ratzinger, about 10 years ago. What came accross was the humanity & humility of the Cardinal, nothing like the caricature of the Irish media. In addition, he demolished the bigoted Mr. Dawkins in a debate on RTE radio. Maybe some of us are unfair on the ACP ; speaking personally I feel this stems from a fear that the ACP might be used by certain unscrupuluos elements of the media to attack the Church. But that’s not the ACP’s fault. It’s a tricky balancing act.