Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was clearly very upset by the remarks of Dr Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury (RTE News).
Williams’ (accurate) assertion that the Catholic Church in Ireland had lost all credibility drew an instant and strong response from Martin. He issued an immediate statement to the media saying he was ‘stunned’ by the remark.
Bishop Willie Walsh was sent out to express the outage felt by the hierarchy saying that the remark was harsh, over the top and went against all the evidence (Marian Finucane Show – Saturday).The evidence, he bizarrely claimed, was the huge number of people who had attended weekend Mass.
Then, amazingly, Archbishop Martin himself got onto the same show to express his stunned shock at such a terrible event.
Listening to the Archbishop it was clear what worried him most – that Williams’ (correct) assessment of the corrupt nature of the Irish Catholic Church was going to be broadcast by the BBC across the globe or, as Martin put it – Boomed across the world.
He was obviously shocked, that after all his careful manipulation of the Irish media and in particular RTE, a simple few words from Williams would see it all come to nothing when the brutal truth was broadcast across the globe by the most respected broadcasting agency on the planet.
In a desperate damage limitation move he announced that he was going to write immediately to Williams and would publish the correspondence if necessary.
Martin obviously felt that those few simple words were so damaging (revealing) that immediate and strong action was necessary to limit the damage.
In the end no letter demanding an apology was necessary. Williams, realising he had made what I call an ‘in house error’ immediately telephoned Martin and made an abject apology expressing his
deep sorrow and regret for difficulties that may have been created by his remarks.
So what was this spat all about? It has all to do with the truth. Williams, in an unguarded moment, uttered the brutal truth that the Catholic Church in Ireland is indeed without any credibility whatsoever.
How could a church that presided over a child abuse holocaust have any credibility especially when, as the truth began to seep out, it engaged in a long, well funded, well organised cover up?
And make no mistake about it Dr. Martin is part of that ongoing denial/cover up. Williams’ slip of the truth has damaged Martin’s well choreographed propaganda campaign of the last two years or so. His working of the media, and in particular RTE, has been a major and very successful part of his campaign.
In practically every interview Martin is treated with an over arching deference and in most cases, as in his interview with Marian Finucane on Saturday, is actually told what a great man he is.
This dishonest strategy was exposed during the bishops’ visit to the Pope recently. It was clear that nothing had changed, that the Catholic Church was still in denial, still engaged in a damage limitation strategy, still putting all its resources and power into protecting the church rather than admitting the brutal truth.
Archbishop Martin, the soft face of this strategy of dishonesty and denial, made no criticism whatsoever of the Pope’s failure to properly address the pain of the victims.
Neither did Martin express any criticism when the Pope’s pastoral letter blamed secularism for the child abuse holocaust.
It was the immediate, strong and panicked response by Martin to a few simple words of truth that has exposed his true position.
His response to the child abuse horror is, and always has been, strictly in line with the Vatican’s policy of putting the interests of the church before the safety of children.