Irish Times: Public decries closure of embassy to the Vatican

IrelandI didn’t expect this.

From the Irish Times:

Public decries closure of embassy to the Vatican

By Paul O’Brien, Political Editor

Monday, January 16, 2012

TÁNAISTE Eamon Gilmore’s decision to close the Irish embassy to the Vatican was met with overwhelming opposition from the public with over 93% criticising the move.

It was in stark contrast to the hugely supportive response to Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s blistering speech on the Cloyne Report. It suggests, while the public thought Mr Kenny’s denunciation of the Vatican in that speech was merited, the decision to close the embassy was not.

Writing on the embassy closure, one member of the public claimed Mr Gilmore had a “raw hatred” of the Catholic Church and compared him to Oliver Cromwell. [Ouch.]

Another claimed the Government was using the clerical child sexual abuse scandals as “cover” to wage a “vendetta” against the Church.

Several citizens questioned the economic rationale that Mr Gilmore put forward for closing the embassy, and said Ireland’s foreign policy efforts would ultimately suffer.

Mr Gilmore, in his role as foreign affairs minister, announced the decision to close the embassy on November 3 last, citing the need to save money. [You might remember my proposal.]

He denied the move had anything to do with the fallout from the Cloyne Report in July, during which Mr Kenny had accused the Vatican of downplaying the rape and torture of children to protect its own primacy.

But whereas Mr Kenny received widespread public support following that speech, Mr Gilmore received mostly criticism following the decision to close the embassy.

The Irish Examiner sought to view, under the Freedom of Information Act, all letters and emails received by Mr Gilmore on the subject in the 12 days after the announcement of the decision.

A total of 102 records were released, 95 of which criticised the decision to close the embassy and just seven of which were supportive. In percentage terms, that meant 93.1% of the responses were critical and 6.9% supportive.

That was in contrast to the reaction Mr Kenny received after his July 20 speech, when 94.3% were supportive and just 5.7% were critical.

Please review Pope Benedict’s Letter to the Irish Catholics.

Please pray for Archbp. Brown, the Nuncio to Ireland.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Supertradmum says:

    One gets what one votes in—There is a schizophrenia here in Ireland regarding politics and religion. In fact, just yesterday, I had a very interesting discussion with two mature gentlemen and two ladies as to the fact that the Irish want liberalism and socialism in the politics, as they consistently vote in radical socialists, and then decry their actions when these politicians act according to their agendas. In a month here, I have met one Catholic Irishman who votes conservative and who is not a socialist. That the poll shows an overwhelming majority of people are against the stupid closure of the Vatican Embassy proves the bi-polar attitude of the Irish Catholic. They want their cake and eat it too….The one man I met yesterday who is conservative and votes such said that he daily has to defend his position to his Catholic peers. Ugh. Also, I was shocked at the number of Irish who like, (even Catholics at the Traditional Latin Mass), and support Obama! I wish I were joking–they are Dems, just like their Stateside cousins, and they cannot break the mold. Last week, I commented on this removal of diplomats in Rome on my blog.

    I spent at least an hour in conversation over coffee trying to explain Obama’s anti-life agenda and his big government bias. People here do not want to admit that a Dem can be “bad news”.

    Maybe when the socialists keep acting silly towards the Church, more Irish will see the light. But, there is a stubbornness concerning the so-called labor/socialist parties here which is abysmal. It is prejudice against the right leaning parties, pure and simple, and if the Church gets bruised, people can’t see it. This poll may indicate a turning point, but I very much doubt it.

  2. Ed the Roman says:

    one member of the public claimed Mr Gilmore had a “raw hatred” of the Catholic Church and compared him to Oliver Cromwell. [Ouch.]

    Ouch indeed. To compare to Cromwell there is about as bad as it gets.

  3. Ceile De says:

    Nobody expects the Irish indecision.

  4. shane says:

    I hate this government and was originally horrified by the decision to close the Vatican embassy but now I think it is probably for the best. For the Irish State to maintain diplomatic relations with the Vatican no doubt benefits the Irish State, but I fail to see how it benefits the Irish Church, which is my main concern. In fact I would prefer for Ireland to sever relations with the Vatican completely. Why? Because I do not want our politicians to have any influence in the appointment of bishops to Irish sees.

    Keep the embassy closed!

  5. James Joseph says:

    Crom, in the Irish tongue, means the Devil…. look it up.

  6. Y2Y says:

    In spite of this finding – which I suspect is motivated more by some Irish people’s perception of a loss of “status” resulting from the embassy closure – it seems that Ireland is well on the way to overtaking Quebec at the top of the all-time apostasy standings.
    The Irish would do well to note that since Quebeckers began abandoning the faith wholesale in the 1960s, they have become one of the most insufferable and disliked groups of people on the planet (pace the 2% of Quebec Catholics who still practice something vaguely resembling Catholicism).

  7. jaykay says:

    Supertradmum: interesting observations. Enjoy the visit!

    However I’m not so sure that the Irish tendency to “consistently vote in radical socialists” is quite accurate. Firstly the current Labour Party (and some of the previous small parties who have now coalesced to form the current configuration) are certainly not consistently voted-in. The fact is that they tend to do well in bad times, as a protest vote, and then in good times the normal conservatism re-asserts itself and their share of the vote declines, both main parties being in effect almost identical ideologically and of a right-of-centre bent. Election results over the last 40 years have demonstrated this.

    Secondly, most of the membership of the Labour Party are far from being radical anythings, although I do admit that some of the leadership has tendencies in that direction – mainly those who came from the previous smaller lefty groups.

    As regards a bi-polar attitude, I suppose that’s one way of putting it but I’d prefer to describe it as badly-educated or lazy thinking. The fact is that Ireland has remained largely isolated from the great currents of European political movements, with both main parties being essentially Christian Democrats in European terms and the Labour party something like the more conservative elements of the UK version. Therefore people here haven’t really had to think in “real” political terms since the foundation of the State in 1922 – in a sense we’ve just drifted along in a very middle-of-the-road fashion – so when, as you say, radicals disclose their real colours people tend to be taken off-guard and see the consequences of what they thought was a “harmless” protest vote. Lazy thinking, or complete lack of it more like!

    Interesting choice of headline by the Irish Times: “Public decries closure of embassy…” The fact that the Department of Foreign Affairs only registered a total of only 102 records in respect of the issue is hardly a national public outpouring of protest. Still, the fact that it’s by their political editor is interesting also; had their religious affairs correspondent covered it there would probably have been quite a different slant… if he had covered it at all!

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