Can we expect Freudian slips when Benedict meets Irish bishops?

February 13, 2010
spiegel cover

This week's cover of the German newsweekly Der Spiegel -- the title says "The sanctimonious ones -- the Catholic Church and sex"

Irish clergy abuse victims torn between Dublin monument and Haiti aid

January 28, 2010

The Ryan report into child abuse, 20 May 2009/Cathal McNaughton

One of the healing measures suggested when Ireland’s Catholic clerical sex scandals shocked the country last year was a proposal to erect a monument in Dublin to all the youths abused for decades at schools and orphanages run by religious orders that looked the other way.  The idea, proposed by the government’s Ryan report last May, won so much support that half a million euros were earmarked for the project. The government appointed a group to consider what the Irish Times called “the most difficult public art commission in the history of the state.”

Child abuse crisis to spark Irish Catholic Church shake-up

December 12, 2009
irishvatican Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (L) and Cardinal Sean Brady (C) after meeting Pope Benedict, 11 Dec 2009/Tony Gentile

Could Irish abortion case lead to a “European Roe v. Wade”?

December 10, 2009

European Court of Human Rights,30 Jan 2009/Vincent Kessler

Ireland has defended its strict law against abortion at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg in a case that could overturn that ban if the judges agree with three women who said it endangered their health and violated their rights.  The women, two Irish and one Lithuanian living in Ireland, had travelled to Britain to have abortions because traditionally Catholic Ireland allows the procedure only when the mother’s life is in danger. Read our full story on Wednesday’s hearing here.

Pope and Irish Catholic Church to hold summit on child abuse by clergy

December 7, 2009

abuse (Photo: Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern while discussing abuse report with journalists, 26 Nov 2009/Cathal McNaughton)

Ireland’s top Roman Catholic leaders will hold talks with Pope Benedict this week to formulate the Vatican’s response to an Irish government report on a 30-year cover-up of sexual abuse of children by priests.

A small book on a huge topic — about responding to suicide

December 6, 2009

troybook2There’s a knock on the door and it’s your ashen-faced neighbour come to tell you her son has just been found hanging in his bedroom. Your brother calls to inform you that his daughter has taken her life. You are shocked and speechless. And then what do you do?

Irish Catholics damage eyes staring at sun for Virgin Mary

December 2, 2009

irish-crossIrish Catholic pilgrims have suffered eye damage after staring at the sun in the hope of witnessing an apparition of the Virgin Mary, a doctor said on Wednesday. On one occasion in October, some 10,000 people gathered at the Knock shrine in northwestern Ireland hoping to see Mary, despite pleas from an archbishop to ignore invitations to the event by a self-proclaimed spiritual healer.

In abuse by Irish priests, a little “mental reservation”

November 29, 2009

irish-countrysideIt was a ride and I was hitchhiking around Ireland and the driver of a tiny Morris Minor who’d stopped was a priest, so what could be wrong?

Ireland braces for another Catholic clergy sex abuse report

November 24, 2009

irish-reportA damning report on sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Dublin is due out later this week, only six months after another report on abuse in industrial and reformatory schools across the country accused priests and nuns of flogging, starving and, in some cases, raping children in their care.

Bishops see more selfish Europe 20 years after Berlin Wall fell

October 4, 2009

referendum Photo; Irish “Yes” campaigners celebrate in Dublin, 3 Oct 2009/Cathal McNaughton)

Europe has become increasingly selfish and materialistic in the 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the heads of the Roman Catholic bishops’ conferences across Europe said at the end of their three-day annual meeting at the weekend.  “The crisis sweeping Europe today is serious,” they said in a statement after the session in Paris. They cited materialism, individualism and relativism as major challenges facing European society.