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Christianity dying in Ireland. VIDEOS The lies and deceit of the Roman Catholic Church revealed

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Christianity dying in Ireland

A poll conducted in Ireland by The Iona Institute and the Evangelical Alliance Ireland shows that levels of religious knowledge are decreasing across the Old Sod but especially in Northern Ireland.

By Ekklesia
Monday, December 10, 2007

Levels of religious knowledge throughout Ireland are decreasing significantly, and in Northern Ireland are even lower than in the Republic according to a new poll.

The poll, believed to be the first ever conducted on the subject in Northern Ireland, is the follow-up to a religious knowledge poll conducted in the Republic of Ireland on behalf of The Iona Institute and the Evangelical Alliance Ireland (EAI) which was released in April.

This found low levels of basic religious knowledge in the population, especially among young people.

The latest poll allows a comparison between levels of religious knowledge in the North and South, and between Northern Catholics and Northern Protestants. Those organising the poll conclude that, contrary to popular belief, Northern Ireland is less religious than the South.

It was already known that church attendance figures in the North were lower than in the South.

The poll found that levels of religious knowledge among Northern and Southern Catholics were roughly the same. However, in general, levels of religious knowledge among Northern Protestants were lower than among Northern Catholics.

The one question where protestants were more likely to know the answer was when asked what the first book of the Bible was. 68% of Protestants knew it was Genesis, compared to only 54% of Catholic.

However only 42% of respondents in the North knew there were four Gospels. 39% of Catholics knew the first of the 10 Commandments, compared to 26% of Protestants.

Unsurprisingly, the poll also found a marked difference between the levels of knowledge found among younger and older age groups. This means religious knowledge is in decline. Just 21% of NI respondents aged 16-24 could say there are four Gospels.

Responding to the opinion poll, Mr Stephen Cave of Evangelical Alliance (Northern Ireland), said: "The results of this poll throw serious doubt on the claim that we are a 'Christian country'. Overall the figures are not good but the drop in knowledge, almost halved within a generation, indicates that the Christian faith is becoming less meaningful to those under 25 years of age. The findings present a serious challenge to the church and those involved in religious education."

Mr David Quinn of The Iona Institute commented: “It's likely that many people will find the Northern Ireland results surprising in that the general impression is that the North is more religious than the South. Judged by both religious practice and religious knowledge this is definitely not the case. It's time to consign that notion to the dust-bin."

He continued: "As with the poll conducted in the South, we find that levels of religious knowledge in the North are very low, especially among young people. It shows that knowledge of Christianity, both North and South, is disappearing from general knowledge."


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The lies and deceit of the Roman Catholic Church revealed

An article for the Irish Daily Mail, published on May 27th 2009.

They lied, at times by omission, at times by distorting the truth and at times just blatantly. The most senior leaders of the Catholic Church in Ireland lied to and deceived us all, and sacrificed children in the interests of their authority and most damningly, their money. Not terribly Christian of them was it? Can you imagine what Christ might say to Cardinal Desmond Connell and his fellow Bishops about their bizarre relationship with the truth and their willingness to turn the other way whilst children were raped and abused by their Priests?

Reading the Dublin Report was a shocking experience. Even after all these years, after all that I know about the scale and extent of the abuse and the cover up by Church leaders, I was profoundly shocked. The depth of the self-deluded and self-preserving betrayal of all that is decent by men sworn to a higher power and who placed themselves in positions where they told the rest of us we were flawed is staggering. In their world their lies are not lies, merely examples of ‘mental reservation’. Ever hear of that one? No? Well it means that an Archbishop can tell a blatant untruth as long as he lies by omission and then ‘reserves’ the missing words that would turn his lie into truth to himself, saying them only inside his own head.

So when Cardinal Connell failed to tell the truth, he didn’t lie. He just omitted the bits that would have been self-incriminating and said them to himself, inside his head. Children remained at risk and victims and their families were deceived. But that’s ok, because the Cardinal can tell himself he didn’t lie.

The State failed too of course. In traditional style, it deferred to the crosier. Too often, state officials, with some notable exceptions, failed to investigate credible reports of abuse and looked the other way, deferring to the majesty of the Church and its princes.

It may be the past, but this is not ancient history. The Commission investigated cases of abuse right up to 2004 when Cardinal Desmond Connell surrendered control of the Archdiocese of Dublin to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

Back in 2002 when I began to campaign on this issue, our Government didn’t believe the abuse of children by priests was any of its business. Asked for a comment of the Ferns scandal in March 2002, then Taoiseach Bertie Aherne retorted that is was a matter for the Church, and he wasn’t going to cross religion and politics.

Unsurprisingly Cardinal Connell agreed with him. The Church, he proclaimed, was above the law of the Land. Canon Law, the rules of the Roman Catholic Church was superior to state law. The State could not investigate the Church.

But the past is not some other country, or some faded reality with little relevance to us today. This history matters today. It affects the lives of not just those who experienced abuse, but all of us, most especially our children. It reveals huge flaws in our child protection law which leave children at risk today.

Back in October 2005 the Ferns Report found an alarming gap in Irish child protection law. Mr Justice Frank Murphy discovered that the HSE had no explicit legal power to act in cases of third-party child sexual abuse, i.e. cases where the abuser is not a family member. The HSE could investigate and validate the abuse, but once it had done so, the only power it had was to inform the employer of the abuser of the risk. It could do little to ensure that people who pose a risk to children were prevented from accessing children.

The Ferns Report recommended that the Minister for Health and Children explore the introduction of new legislation which would give the HSE power to apply to the High Court to restrain any employee, including a priest, from having unsupervised contact with children where a concern exists about his ability to interact safely with children.

The Dublin report again details the same gaps in our current child protection law, four years on from the publication of the Ferns Report.

Responding to the publication of the report, Minister for Children Barry Andrews said, “Judge Murphy in writing this report noted the extraordinary delay in introducing child protection legislation in this State. Successive Governments failed in their responsibilities as legislators to put in place a comprehensive child protection legislative framework.”

We now know the consequences of such delays. The four years which have passed since the publication of the Ferns Report is a current and unacceptable example of this, as is the delay to enshrine children’s rights in our constitution.

So enough of delays and apologies and procrastination, instead, it’s time for resolute action. Where the state fails to guarantee and defend the rights of children and abdicates responsibility for their safety, then abuse and exploitation are all too often the consequence. Our children are our responsibility, and not the responsibility of any agency which places itself outside or above the law. Today we see the consequences not only of cover up and deceit on the part of the Catholic Church, but also of state failure to guarantee children’s rights and child protection.

Yesterday was an important day, a day on which as Minister Andrews put it “Church and State respond with words of sincere and fulsome regret.”

And those are good words, but they remain just words. And they are not enough.

Colm O’Gorman is the author of Beyond Belief and the Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland

Leaving Catholicism in the Name of Parenthood

By Julie Kuenneke

I left Catholicism for the safety of my children because the stained-glass curtain hides too many dark secrets.

For months, I’ve been following one of my favorite authors, Anne Rice, via social media sites. What intrigues me so much about Rice is that she, like most writers, says the things that most people fear to say. And she says them loudly and without regret.

When Rice proclaimed that she left Christianity in the name of Christ, many people balked. Even more judged. Everyone had an interpretation about her proclamation. For me, her announcement had much more meaning than words could convey, because Anne Rice wasn’t just publicly leaving organized religion, she was renouncing her lifelong association with Catholicism.

Like Rice, I was raised a strict Catholic. My parents ensured that I went through every applicable sacrament: Baptism, Penance, Communion, Confirmation. Eventually, I added Holy Matrimony to the list. When my children were born, I had them baptized in the Church. For me, it just felt like the only way.

Catholicism was comforting to me. The rituals of the Church were comforting. The Mass, which I had memorized at a young age, was familiar and all I had ever known. I stayed, because the Church was my home.

However, time changes many things. And as the controversies surrounding the Catholic Church grew, so did my doubts.

I discovered that two priests from my childhood were accused of crimes against children. One of those priests baptized me, the other married me and my husband.

I still sometimes think of those allegations when I look down at my wedding band.

I left the Church when my two boys became old enough to enter Sunday school. I left, because my boys put their faith in me to keep them safe.

As allegation after allegation came forward about childhood sexual abuse within the Church—each one seemingly more horrific than the one before—I knew that the Church’s walls were not my home anymore. Those walls certainly couldn’t be trusted to protect my children. I had no faith left in the Catholic Church.

Leaving behind the stained-glass comfort of my childhood was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. I still pray Catholic prayers. I still say prayers to the Saints. And, in my new life as a Protestant, I still, when receiving communion, have the urge to make the Sign of the Cross.

I am angry with the Catholic Church. I’m angry that secrets were kept and that priests were shuffled to other parishes to prey upon more children.I'm angry that these abuse cases were known throughout the Church's hierarchy and that these high-powered men allowed the abuses to be covered up.

Most importantly, I’m angry that God’s children were the last priority and that Canon Law took precedent over criminal law.

But unlike Rice, I haven’t completely given up on organized religion.

Raising my children with religion is important to me. After many careful searches, my children have a church home where I feel we can provide a safe and nurturing religious environment.

I am determined for my children to have a childhood rooted in faith—but just not the Catholic faith. For me, the only faith that matters is a strong faith in God.

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