By now most readers will be aware of the events that took place in Croke Park on Friday July 31, where the Islamic Eid Al Adha festival was held. The event itself was covered by this journal the very next day. In this article I want to focus on the actions that day of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Dermot Martin and the content of his address.
In that article Daithí O’Duibhne wrote that critical attention should not be on the Muslim participants, who were merely responding to an invitation extended to them by the relevant authorities, but rather to Official Ireland who issued the invitation and are ultimately responsible for this event. I agree with him. The “desecration”, as he called it, was not so much the enactment of the Muslim festival itself but the use made of it by Official Ireland: “The event was used by the political class to signal for their ‘New Ireland’. This is the source of Croke Park’s desecration.”
He goes on to offer an explanation for what the real intent behind this event might have been: “The elite ruling this island know that nationalism threatens their very existence. As such, they must constantly push against such a primal, spiritual force with endless degrading propaganda. To do so, they will not only display, but actively promote acts that undermine such a force, while simultaneously silencing as much as possible any dissent.”
It really is an intriguing question as to what the movers and shakers of Official Ireland think they are doing, how they see the national situation, and how they explain or justify their grand strategies to themselves. Indeed this is a very important line of inquiry that dissident thinkers should take up, following the maxims of Sun Tzu that one ought to understand the opponent as he understands himself.
Here, however we are only concerned with the meaning of Abp. Martin’s role in this event, moreover I am mainly concerned with its objective meaning, and not so much with his own rationale. My purpose in this article is not to defend Catholic teaching as such, but to highlight the apparent betrayal of that same teaching by those prelates who profess to be Catholic, but who manifestly fail to uphold and defend orthodox doctrine. If you do not consider yourself to be Catholic, then what follows may seem redundant, but I hope that it may be of some interest nonetheless.
The contention here is that Abp. Martin’s actions that day can not be squared with long-standing Catholic magisterium concerning the correct relationship that Catholics ought to maintain with non-Catholics. This relationship, as with all inter-personal relationships, must be founded on and governed by the law of charity (Lt. caritas, Gk. agape). This is the kind of love that God has for all His creation, but most especially for those creatures that He created in His own image and likeness, namely mankind, and which is the divinely ordained norm for all human interpersonal relationships.
At this point some theological background information of the Catholic perspective is necessary. Through Christ’s death and resurrection and the institution of baptism, the shackles of original sin are overcome. Membership of His Church is necessary but not sufficient for salvation, or as an old Catholic saying has it; “there are many bad Catholics in Hell, but no non-Catholics in Heaven”. So much more is required, chiefly a progressive purification from sin achieved through life-long penance, prayer, and fasting, but also by living as a witness to Christ, a life governed by charity which is born into our soul through baptism and which must shape our disposition and all our actions.
The Catholic religion is therefore a difficult one, as it demands perfection from the faithful (“You must become perfect like your Father in Heaven”, Matt. 5:48). If perfection is the final aim, any compromise on essentials must be ruled out. The martyrology and calendar of the saints stands as a testament to all those who successfully trod the path of uncompromising perfection and won through to the crown of victory. The cult of the saints offers encouragement and role models to the faithful because their lives show that while perfection is difficult to achieve, it is nevertheless possible.
Bishops are the direct heirs of the apostolic office. The primary duty of a bishop is to teach the faithful (“Go therefore . . . teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” Matt. 28:18-20), oversee their spiritual welfare, and, last but not least, seek out new converts, because Christ came to redeem mankind and so His invitation is to all. The lives of the apostles after the first Pentecost were entirely evangelical, with many of them becoming blood martyrs, including the very first Vicar of Christ (Pope) St. Peter who was crucified in Rome.
The Church is a missionary Church, towards the world itself, through Christ, and in all its parts through its members. What took place in Croke Park in July was a tacit repudiation of the evangelical mission of the Church.
By now we have become used to the usual litany of “woke” PC sentiments that come from many prelates today. Their volubility on such matters is matched only by their silence on the issues that really are their responsibility, or at best, we get some dithering milquetoast sentiments. Abp. Martin in 2018: “Repealing the 8th Amendment in such circumstances means that the rights of the unborn would be definitively left without Constitutional protection. It would be a point of no return. I ask you to reflect on that [. . .] I will be voting no.” He asked us to “reflect on it” but at no point did he warn the politicians and hacks aggressively pushing for abortion that they would be committing mortal sin by their actions.
According to Catholic teaching, mortal sin destroys our relationship with God and can only be restored through the sacrament of penance via true contrition and absolution, and so it follows that to die unrepentant would be a fate that hardly bears thinking about. That the relevant offenders couldn’t care less about any of that is beside the point. The substantive issue here is the dereliction of duty by Irish prelates, where charity dictates that those concerned, including ordinary voters, should have been warned in the strongest possible terms about the dire consequences of such an act for their immortal souls. Do they not believe in their own theology?
After all, if one sees a child about to place their hand in the fire, one has a duty to prevent it; if one sees a friend about to do something self-harmful (e.g., attempt to drive their car after a night of serious drinking), one ought to remonstrate with them, persuade them against such foolishness, perhaps even confiscate their keys. This is what responsible adults and friends do, it’s also what we mean by a duty of care.
So too, bishops have a solemn duty of care as part of their sacred office to warn the faithful if and when they run the risk of spiritual harm. But instead we get calls for “reflection”, but reflection on what, precisely? The intrinsic evil of abortion? He doesn’t say. We actually got clearer moral guidance from the Grand Lodge of the Orange Order because they at least positively called for a No vote, the only Irish institution that did, as far as this author is aware. Let us reflect on that!
There is a remarkable oddity in Abp. Martin’s appearance. By now it must be as clear as day that the inviter, Official Ireland, is now anti-Catholic through and through and never lets an opportunity pass by without putting the boot in to further undermine the Catholic faith in Ireland. We see one of the most senior prelates in Ireland actively and enthusiastically participating in this “degrading propaganda” as O’Duibhne calls it, which is designed to buttress and secure the anti-Irish cabal that holds sway in the 26 counties. How then can a Catholic archbishop allow himself to be involved in this? What is really going on here?
Is it now high time that we should seriously consider the following analogy: just as Official Ireland is now working against the interests and well-being of the Irish nation, the Official Church is working against the interests of the Catholic faith and the well-being of the faithful. Ecclesial participation and endorsement of the Eid festival celebration in Croke Park must surely lead us to no other conclusion. I will now set about justifying this claim.
In his recent address, Abp. Martin referred to the “new Irish”, and at the same time trotted out the increasingly routine accusations of “racism” and “intolerance” (“Our city here in Dublin is tarnished by violence. There is racism and intolerance.”). From these quotes alone we immediately notice that Abp. Martin’s rhetoric is entirely in line with that of (anti-Catholic) Official Ireland. Interestingly, this kind of rhetoric is also completely in accord with the ideology of his current boss in Rome. It is for this reason that we can not accuse Abp. Martin of trying to cosy up to Official Ireland and win some PC points, rather, this all seems to come from a place of ideological conviction, and so I believe it would be a very great error to question Abp. Martin’s sincerity in this affair. We must surely conclude that both the regime and the prelates are on the same page, at least about certain things. On those matters on which they diverge, the default ecclesial response these days seems to be one of silence or lame calls for “reflection”.
In order to fully understand Abp. Martin’s address at Croke Park, we need to travel back to the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) which convened in 1962 and concluded business in 1965. What occurred there was nothing short of an internal revolution by which a group identified as the Modernists gained control of the institutional Church. These events will become the subject matter of future articles here, as it is crucial to understand the meaning of Vatican II in order to understand the progress and eventual victory of the Liberal Agenda in Ireland and elsewhere.
The disciplines and governance of the Church can be altered but its Magisterium is unchangeable, yet Vatican II produces changes which bear directly on the content of the magisterium, notably in this case, the attitude towards other religions and the fundamental claim that the Catholic religion is the one true religion.
The key to understanding the Catholic Church’s traditional teaching on other religions rests on two precepts:
- the Great Commission: “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” (Mt 28:19-20).
- “there is no salvation outside the Church” (extra Ecclesiam nulla salus) which was dogmatically defined, founded as it is on numerous scriptural passages.
With the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate (1965), on the relation of the Church with non-Christian religions, a very clear shift is discernible in that there is no talk about evangelism, instead there is the promotion of “dialogue”. Inter-faith dialogue has now been enshrined in the post-Vatican II Church, contrary to the Great Commission. This incompatibility forces the post-1965 Vatican into contradiction. Two examples should suffice. Benedict XVI articulated the two basic rules for inter-faith dialogue in his Christmas greetings to the Roman curia in 2012:
- Dialogue does not aim at conversion, but at understanding. In this respect it differs from evangelization, from mission;
- Accordingly, both parties to the dialogue remain consciously within their identity, which the dialogue does not place in question either for themselves or for the other.
There is this from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue: “It is not a betrayal of the mission of the Church, nor is it a new method of conversion to Christianity.”
This is a flat contradiction: if dialogue is not evangelical then it most certainly is a betrayal of the Church’s primary mission, expressed in the Great Commission. I openly challenge any defender of inter-faith dialogue to come forward and show how inter-faith dialogue can be made consistent with Catholic teaching as outlined above.
Even if inter-faith dialogue were some kind covert evangelical strategy, it would be a deeply dishonest and dishonourable one, a dishonour to Christ and a dishonour to all the holy martyrs who stoutly professed Christ unto death. It would be dishonest towards those of other religions and a sign of disrespect to them as human beings who as such are entitled to truthfulness and plain-speaking in this as for all human dealings. This kind of duplicity was condemned by Pope Pius XII “Even on the plea of promoting unity it is not allowed to dissemble one single dogma”, the context here concerned relations with the eastern Church in schism with Rome. Inter-faith dialogue does not involve dissembling dogma, but rather its complete suppression from the discussion!
What then is the orthodox Catholic position towards people of another religion? According to Pope Pius IX Catholics are exhorted to “always be zealous to seek them out and aid them, whether poor, or sick, or afflicted with any other burdens, with all the offices of Christian charity; and they should especially endeavor to snatch them from the darkness of error in which they unhappily lie . . .” (my emphasis). Did Abp. Martin do or say anything on that day in Croke Park which could be interpreted as “snatch[ing] them from the darkness of error”?
Furthermore, the Church always condemned ‘inter-faith dialogue’. A more recent example of this can be found in the encyclical of Pope Pius XI, Mortalium animos (1928):
“Certainly such attempts (“inter-faith dialogue”) can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little, turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.”
Not only does such dialogue entail foregoing evangelism, it is also harmful to Catholics for it will involve distortions which if left unchecked lead incrementally to naturalism and atheism and a complete abandonment of “the divinely revealed religion”.
Abp. Martin talks repeatedly about compassion in his address, but what kind of compassion is it to confirm and reinforce people in a religion which according to the most fundamental teachings of his own Church, can not lead them to salvation? Where is the compassion that withholds the salvific power of Christ from those who are entitled to at least hear the Gospel? Such invitations to participate should be respectfully declined.
In the wake of the Official Church’s extremely lame handling of the 2018 referendum, many Catholics and indeed other Christians, as well as non-aligned pro-life people felt isolated, abandoned, and betrayed. The question that must inevitably arise in any serious reflection on all this: do these people actually hold the faith they publicly profess? Their (in)actions have disturbing implications which would lead one to scepticism, and that is cause for scandal.
As must be apparent by now, no amount of spinning and double-speak can disguise the fact that inter-faith dialogue events of the Croke Park variety are a betrayal of the Church’s mission set out in the Great Commission, as well as a betrayal of all non-baptised persons by withholding the Gospel from them. For any faithful Catholic, this must be the real scandal of the Croke Park Eid event.