‘Sinning priests’ remark lands Irish PM in hot water

‘Sinning priests’ remark lands Irish PM in hot water July 5, 2019
Image via YouTube

IRISH Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar, above, has apologised for making an ‘unfair’ remark about priests during an exchange this week with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin over the financing of public projects.

Varadkar said:

He [Martin] kind of reminds me of one of those parish priests who preaches from the altar telling us how to avoid sin while secretly going behind the altar and engaging in any amount of sin himself.

Micheál Martin. Image via YouTube

There was an immediate backlash.

Fr Tony Flannery, a founding member of the Association of Catholic Priests which represents over 1,000 clergymen, called on Varadkar to withdraw his comments, branding them “unfair”.

And Senator Rónán Mullen challenged the Taoiseach on the remark, and said it was:

Not acceptable, at this moment in our history when clergy are fewer and older but continue to do good work, to make a mocking, stigmatising remark like that, whether for its own sake or in order to attack a political opponent.

He added that if somebody made a similarly stigmatising throwaway remark about gay community leaders or spokespersons for the travelling community, they would be rightly criticised.

So if he is mindful of this context, why would the Taoiseach invoke a trope, a stereotype of a hypocritical, sinning priest? At best, it is a decision to play to a very unpleasant gallery of anticlerical people. At worse, it might be the expression of some deep-seated hidden dislike on his part.

I hope the Taoiseach will reflect on his remarks and come back with something more generous.

So Varadkar, Ireland’s first openly gay Taoiseach, did.

Speaking at a meeting with members of the government and representatives of almost 30 different churches and faith communities, he withdrew his statement and said he has a huge respect for the Catholic Church, for priests and their “sacrifice”.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Lurker111

    I’m not a politician, and in my years at work got myself fired twice for getting on the conference room table and shouting “bullsh*t!” But here I would have been sorely tempted to double-down. With some finely-honed sarcasm.

  • Michael Neville

    Fr Tony Flannery, a founding member of the Association of Catholic Priests which represents over 1,000 clergymen, called on Varadkar to withdraw his comments, branding them “unfair”.

    Sorry, Father Flannery, but when the Catholic Church finally decides to do something about priests raping children then you can whine about priests being called sinful.

  • Broga

    It is too late. The remark has been made, it resonates with the public, many have personal experience and it is out there.

  • rubaxter

    Take the hit.

    Everyone knows exactly what he meant and said, and the great popularity of Father Ted decades ago means everyone ALREADY tacitly acknowledges the RCC is a corrupt and corrupting organization.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/47933a9a1089c5215afc9a7de1e2a05ec048d4da3555f1bdd9cc92a14e6539b1.jpg

    Add to that, Graham Linehan’s uncle-priest told him, “You don’t know the half of it …”, according to Linehan.

    I’d imagine the younger part of Ireland is just waiting for these fec&#8203kers to die, because there are no replacements.

    Time’s long past to give Bishop Brennan a kick up the ar&#8203se.

  • Jim Jones

    > So if he is mindful of this context, why would the Taoiseach invoke a trope, a stereotype of a hypocritical, sinning priest?

    Who hasn’t met one of those? Or more than one?