Much Too Late and Not Soon Enough

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?

2 thoughts on “Much Too Late and Not Soon Enough

  1. There is very little courage required nowadays to criticise the Church in relation to its policy on women – or any other topic for that matter. Bishop Walsh has failed on a far more important issue.

    Willie Walsh has been a great media favourite since he became Bishop of Killaloe in 1995. He has frequently denounced the failures of the institutional Church in dealing with child abuse, apologised to victims, gone on pilgrimages of repentence etc.

    However Bishop Willie was patron of a school where dozens of teachers were FALSELY accused of child abuse and for 13 years the Bishop did – and said – nothing.

    Briefly Patrick McGlinchey was teaching in a school for mentally handicapped children when one mother accused him of child abuse in March 1997. (That was 2 years after Walsh became Bishop). There was an immediate outbreak of hysteria and practically every male teacher in the school was accused. One pupil accused 17 teachers, another accused 31 and McGlinchey himself was accused by 45 pupils. He was physically assaulted by parents and his solicitor was also accused of child abuse. After a 19 day trial in 2002, the jury acquitted him in less than 2 hours. However the school refused to take him back and he had to get an order in the High Court in May 2009 quashing his suspension. The High Court had to order the school to hold an inquiry.

    About 40 people took CIVIL proceedings against Mr. McGlinchey. Half of them were struck out in 2000, several more after his acquital and the last ones in January 2010 i.e. 13 years after the initial allegations.

    For all these 13 years Bishop Willlie sat on his backside, saying and doing nothing. He is great at taking part in campaigns that the liberal media approve of, but condemning false allegations of child abuse does not come into that categary. After all the school was founded by nuns and one of the originally accused was also a nun. That’s not something that Bishop Willie wanted to get involved in! It remains to be seen if his successor will do any better.

    I have dealt with this issue on my website The link is

  2. I just completed my article on Bishop Willie. Well I thought I had it finished a couple of weeks ago but when the Irish Times published a series of articles notably “Life of Pain Laid at Door of Three Clerics” – one of them from Bishop Willie’s diocese – I just had to continue.

    Willie Walsh is the story/Bishop who just keeps on giving. Anyway he finally retires at the end of this month so hopefully the following is the final version:

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