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One Irish Priest

In response to the inquiries about the routine cover-ups of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, one Irish priest had this to say:

There is no good in saying other than the truth. The church at this state has no credibility, no standing and no moral authority. The issue is now one of trust, and that is why it will take the rest of my lifetime as a priest to build up that trust again, because the trust and confidence in the church has been broken on a fundamental level.

Truth-telling always deserves promotion. I will pray for Fr Michael Canny, of the Derry Diocese of Ireland that he will not grow wearing in speaking the truth and trying to do what is right on behalf of those who have suffered.

He is certainly right that there is no good in saying anything other than the truth. Ecclesial faithfulness can mean nothing less than this.


  1. Nathan wrote:

    I think there is an uncomfortable truth to be told with respect to ecclesiology in all of this. According to a Roman Catholic priest, the Church as an institution can be “broken on a fundamental level.” Have apostolic succession, will travel.

    Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 10:18 pm | Permalink
  2. Auggie Webster wrote:


    Could you please elaborate on “have apostolic succession, will travel.” I am familiar with the phrase “have ______ will travel” and the 50s/60s tv show, but what exactly are you saying here?

    Monday, December 7, 2009 at 5:40 pm | Permalink
  3. Peregrinus wrote:

    Actually he doesn’t say taht “the church as an institution” can be “broken on a fundamental level”. He says that trust and confidence in the church can be (and in fact is) so broken. We can debate whether such trust and confidence is an essential aspect of the communion which makes the church, such that a breach of trust and confidence is a breach of the church, but that doesn’t seem to be something we should gloss over.

    He doesn’t say “the church as an institution” either. Just “the church”.

    Monday, December 7, 2009 at 6:51 pm | Permalink
  4. Nathan wrote:

    I was not making any reference to the TV show (or Heinlein story), just borrowing the turn of phrase. And Peregrinus has it spot-on: trustworthiness as an essential aspect of communion should be discussed, especially for those for whom “the church” most nearly equals “the institution.”

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 11:58 am | Permalink
  5. Auggie Webster wrote:

    Sorry about the confusion, just wasn’t sure how the phrase applied. I agree 100%. Of course, one way an institution can be restore trust is through exercise of its own prerogatives. Off with their souls! Excommunications all around! Excommunicating a few bishops and archbishops would let folks know you’re serious and go a tiny way toward restoring the faithful’s trust.

    Of course, never gonna happen. They might reveal some family secrets or write their own Dan Brownesque novel and say “based on a true story.” Oh well, “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord.” Let’s hope so.

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

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