So these days I am spending quite a bit of time in Ireland. It's quite dispiriting to see a whole country of people so crushed: though one can only admire the manful way they have decided to take their bitter fiscal medicine. There are some limited protests (Don't Pay The Septic Tank Charge !) [sic] but it's a world away from Greece or Spain.
In the midst of all this anguish, are people perhaps turning to religion ? No they are not: in droves. A recent survey of the Catholic laity reveals:
- 87pc believe Catholic priests should be allowed to get married
- 77pc support the ordination of women as priests
- 72pc believe that married men should be allowed to be ordained
- 46pc oppose the Catholic church's stance on homosexuality
- 75pc believe that the church's teachings on sexuality are irrelevant
In what sense are they Catholics, then ? In the grand old Irish tradition of Father Ted, that's what. In A Song For Europe, Ted hears Charles, an impresario, refer to the compere as his 'partner'.
Fr. Ted: Oh right, you run the production company together?
Charles: No, he’s my lover
Fr. Ted: ... he’s... he’s quite a catch! This is my partner, Father Dougal McGuire – not my sexual partner! I mean my partner that I do the song with
Charles: Yes, I guessed that
Fr. Ted: Of course you did – not that there’s anything wrong with that type of thing
Charles: I thought the Catholic Church thought 'that type of thing' was inherently wrong
Fr. Ted: Yes, it does. The whole ‘gay’ thing ... I suppose it’s a bit of a puzzle to us all. It must be fun though – not the… you know, but the night clubs and the whole, er, rough and tumble of homosexual activity. You know, having boyfriends when you’re a man! Anyway, don’t mind what the church thinks – it used to think the Earth was flat! You know, sometimes the Pope says things he doesn’t really mean. We all get things wrong – even the Pope
Charles: What about Papal infallibility?
Fr. Ted: Yes… er ... Is it for everything? The infallibility, do you know?
Charles: I don’t know
Fr. Ted: Right, anyhow, nothing to do with me ...
Roll that song ! My Lovely Horse ...
UPDATE - Antony in the comments points out that the scale of civil disobedience on the Septic Tank Charge exceeds the vehemence of the demos !