Taoiseach should clarify comments

Dear Editor, Recent events in the North of our country have reminded us of the ongoing need for clarification and reconciliation in all areas of social life. In that context it is not perhaps inappropriate to recall the infamous speech to the Dáil of Mr Enda Kenny in July 2011 on foot of the Cloyne Report? 

While that speech was welcomed with enthusiasm by some it is certainly true that it was incredibly hurtful to very great numbers of Catholics, including foreign missionaries like myself.

At the close of his speech the Taoiseach quoted a sentence of then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger: “Standards of conduct, appropriate to civil society or the workings of a democracy, cannot be purely and simply applied to the Church.” This sentence occurs in a 1990 document, Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian.  

It scarcely needs to be pointed out that the sentence, and indeed the whole document of which it forms part, have nothing whatsoever to do with the approach of the Church or its members to civil law of any kind.

It was pointed out long ago that Mr Kenny was badly served by his speech writers in the matter of this citation.

I would therefore appeal to the Taoiseach even at this late stage to withdraw the imputation that Pope Emeritus Benedict ever instructed Catholic citizens not to fulfil their obligations in democratic society with regard to child abuse or any other matter.

Yours etc.,

Fr Liam Hayes, SVD,

Oberá, Misiones,