Ireland should sever diplomatic relations with the Vatican
A group called ‘Ireland Stand Up’ are campaigning to have the decision to close Ireland’s embassy to the Holy See overturned. Last Wednesday they met with almost a third of sitting Irish parliamentarians to support their campaign. Records released to the Irish Examiner show that 93% of public responses received by Foreign Affairs Minister, Eamon Gilmore, opposed the decision to close the embassy. The paper’s headline ‘Public decries closure of embassy to the Vatican’ becomes considerably less impressive when you take into account the fact that only 102 responses were received.
Has Ireland Stand Up really contemplated the nature and purpose of the Irish state’s diplomatic relations with the Holy See? Do they genuinely think that it is in the interests of the Irish Church? If so, why? What leads them to conclude that Irish diplomats and bureaucrats are motivated by any concern for Ireland’s spiritual welfare or for the health of the Irish Church? No, as paid servants of a secular government they are charged with acting on mere temporal and political considerations.
Currently seven of Ireland’s twenty-six dioceses are without a bishop and all bar four of the rest have bishops over the age of 65. The next few years will be extremely decisive in shaping the future mould of Irish Catholicism. New bishops who are appointed will be young and in their position for years to come. It is therefore indispensable that those bishops appointed to replace the current lot (who have failed disastrously) are unimpeachably orthodox, supportive of traditional liturgy, and are committed to a re-evangelization of Irish society. How likely is it that the Irish government will want to see such bishops appointed?
Progressives dominate the Irish ecclesiastical infrastructure. (Orthodox Catholicism is powerless in the Irish Church and without a voice.) They will mobilize and lobby both the Vatican and the Irish state to secure the appointment of progressive bishops and the rejection of conservative ones. Irish diplomats and politicians will sympathize with them on an ideological level but also because outspoken bishops are more likely to forcefully challenge the government’s increasingly liberal social policy. They will lobby the Vatican for or against certain candidates. It was not for nothing that many French anti-clericals opposed the 1905 separation of Church and State, which turned out to be beneficial to the Church in the long run. (Although sadly Pius XI later conceded a veto over episcopal candidates to the French government, which they retain.)
The Irish Church is going through a really historic period of transition, which could make or break or it. It needs maximum temporal freedom from state intrusion in its constitution and internal affairs.
Indeed it would be best for the Irish government to simply break off diplomatic relations with the Vatican completely. By closing their embassy to the Vatican, Irish politicians have already done the Church a massive favour, only they’re too stupid to realize it. Let Irish Catholics be intelligent enough to remain one step ahead.