Spare Ireland Vatican's misguided strategy

If John Cooney's report in The Irish Independent is correct,the Vatican's intent in sending foreign prelates to help the Irish will result in another practical and public relations train wreck.

"The nine-member team led by two cardinals will be instructed by the Vatican to restore a traditional sense of reverence among ordinary Catholics for their priests, the Irish Independent has learned," Cooney writes in the June 7 issue.

He said that priests will be instructed to end their public questioning of church policy on such issues as the church ban on artifical birth control or the banning from communion of divorced Catholics who have remarried without obtaining a church annulment.

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"A major thrust of the Vatican investigation will be to counteract materialistic and secularist attitudes, which Pope Benedict believes have led many Irish Catholics to ignore church disciplines and become lax in following devotional practices such as going on pilgrimages and doing penance."

Respect and reverence can't be imposed or instructed from on high, they have to be earned. And if anyone needs instruction on ignoring church teachings and being lax in Christian practice, it is hardly the laity. It is the members of the clerical culture and the hierarchy who both perpetrated the crimes against children and hid them who need serious instruction in basic Christianity.

Reasserting someone's idea of traditionalism and blaming forces outside the clerical culture for its problems is only deflecting attention from what needs to be done.

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