We all know the Catholic Church has a serious public relations problem right now — they’re hidebound, they’re insensitive to the human needs of their congregations, and, well, sheltering an evil bunch of child-rapers that they shuttle about among unknowing parishes like a buggerymobile or a penis-on-wheels program doesn’t help. You would think that someone would realize that maybe some substantial reform is in order, and they have—but it’s not the kind of reform rational people might have imagined. Instead, the church is planning to crack the whip in Ireland and insist on more dogmatism.
Vatican investigators to Ireland appointed by Pope Benedict XVI are to clamp down on liberal secular opinion in an intensive drive to re-impose traditional respect for clergy, according to informed sources in the Catholic Church.
The nine-member team led by two cardinals will be instructed by the Vatican to restore a traditional sense of reverence among ordinary Catholics for their priests, the Irish Independent has learned.
Priests will be told not to question in public official church teaching on controversial issues such as the papal ban on birth control or the admission of divorced Catholics living with new partners to the sacraments — especially Holy Communion.
Theologians will be expected to teach traditional doctrine by constantly preaching to lay Catholics of attendance at Mass and to return to the practice of regular confession, which has been largely abandoned by adults since the 1960s.
An emphasis will be placed on an evangelisation campaign to overcome the alienation of young people scandalised by the spate of sexual abuse of children and by later cover-ups of paedophile clerics by leaders of the institutional church.
A major thrust of the Vatican investigation will be to counteract materialistic and secularist attitudes, which Pope Benedict believes have led many Irish Catholics to ignore church disciplines and become lax in following devotional practices such as going on pilgrimages and doing penance.
That’s just wonderful — there’s little the church could do to help secularism advance more than to totter on its creaky old legs into the fray, yelling at those damned kids to stop being so progressive. Well, they could bring back the Inquisition and send teams of witchfinders loose in Ireland…and given their record, I expect that’s what we’ll see after the new policy of increased hectoring fails.