I think it remarkable how Dr. Willie or Won’t He Walsh, Bishop of Killaloe has gone public about his innermost thoughts and reflections and praised the 50% of the Church’s congregation who have been wilfully ignored for the last 1500 years.
Willie who is within a hair’s breadth of retirement has admitted that on one or two occasions during his 50 year priesthood he had been tempted to relinquish his vows in favour of a relationship with one or two of this 50%. He also stresses the indelicacy of the Church in not allowing women the same share of responsibility as men and how womens’ natural humanistic approach to problems would have stopped the rot that is now threatening the Church and probably their presence would not have allowed this canker to develop in the first place.
If this attitude by the church had been shown in any other walk of life, the Pope and the curia would have been up before the Industrial Relations Courts for sexual discrimination. Willie Walsh was a brave man to come out and say all this but you can say anything you like on your last day at work. You can call your bosses all the names you want on retirement but he would have been a lot braver if he had come out with these gems of sense and sagacity ten or more years ago, when the Church really needed to give women the push forward.
I really do think that this promotion of women is the only thing that can save the Church in its travails over the next 10 or 20 years. Where is the argument of these old befuddled men, what is it that makes them think that women have not got the same gravity has men? What women certainly do not have and what religious men seem to have is a surfeit, an absolute abundance of testosterone allied with an unwavering selfrighteousness. Take the case this week of the priest Maeliosa O’Hauallachain, who having allegedly persuaded this young girl to masturbate him in the confessional box then told her to say ten Hail Marys as penance. He certainly could not have been the full shilling but with a name like that how else was he going to get gratification.
So the sooner our German Pope gets his head round what seems to me to be such a simple problem and sees all the absolute treasures that the Church has, which are going to waste , the sooner his problem will be solved. However every time I think of this simple answer I am reminded of the historian Dermot Ferriter, on the Pat Kenny Monday night debacle on RTE 1 in December, who came out with the stark reminder that you can talk of change and hope for change but do not expect change from the Vatican. It is not in their business plan.
On another point let me congratulate Kevin Myers for the brave point he highlighted in his Indo piece yesterday about Gerry Adams and his woeful behaviour in protecting his brother in the wake of the allegations of rape and sexual abuse of his daughter. How long will it take for these so-called politicians and bishops to understand that it is society generally not just the family and the institution that need protecting from these horrible deeds.
It is easy to kick a rapist priest but you do not shin a Shinner. As he points out Suzanne Breen, a very gutsy lady, who writes in The Sunday Tribune and Ruth Dudley Edwards in the Sunday Independant are the only voices shouting out and wondering why the silence. The rest of the media marvels including the television toppers at RTE should take their blinkers off and start shouting, but of course as Myers said “bashing beaten bishops is far less risky”. If poor old Mr Robinson has to go down for his wife’s sins. Why should Gerry not go, for his brother’s sins and his own act of omission?