Diarmaid Ferriter: Pope’s visit might save us from Mother Mary Madigan
Perhaps she could lead a merry band of female dope smokers, fornicators and papal protesters
Perhaps Josepha Madigan fancies herself as a latter-day Sinéad O Connor, who famously ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live in 1992. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Ahead of its anticipated July landing, the silly season arrived early this year as the Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan, as some spun it, sought to become a female priest, much to the disgust of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin.
He objected to what he considered her opportunism in leading prayers in Mount Merrion Church in the absence of a priest last Saturday and her follow-up comments during which Madigan defended her demands for reform in the church and for women priests by announcing “all it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to say nothing”.
Perhaps Madigan fancies herself as a latter-day Sinéad O Connor, who famously ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live in 1992 before she went on to be, apparently, ordained a priest by Tridentine Bishop Michael Cox and appeared in full costume in 1999 on The Late, Late Show with a troubled-looking Gay Byrne. She wished at that stage to be called Mother Mary Bernadette. Moral theologian Vincent Twomey, apparently with a straight face, suggested her “ordination” raised “all sorts of tricky theological and canonical issues which are difficult enough even for the expert in those areas to disentangle, not to mention the man or woman in the street”.
It was also reported this week that various scoundrels saying “Nope to the Pope” in response to the visit of Pope Francis in August were snatching up tickets for his Phoenix Park gig, which they have no intention of using to gain admittance, and might even burn. That might seem a bit extreme, but it is all adding to the gaiety of the summer and we have to make allowances for the effect of extreme heat on a pasty and no longer so pious people unused to such prolonged exposure. They have clearly overdosed on Vitamin D.
Those protesting about the pope’s visit could, however, go one further and ask for their own day out to behave like heathens, or whatever is the opposite of what is done at the World Meeting of Families. During another very hot June, in 1949, Flann O’Brien got enormously exercised about the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association taking over Dublin city centre, Croke Park and the train network to mark the association’s Golden Jubilee. He lambasted the Pioneers for bringing Dublin to a standstill on the hottest day of the year in order to, as he saw it, parade their piety. He remarked that “Dublin’s working man with his wife or four children intent on spending a day at the seaside does not have to journey to Croke Park to prove that he is not a slave to whiskey. If he can manage a pint of porter a day it is the best he can do . . . I can call nothing comparable to yesterday’s procedure and I hope somebody will examine the legality of it. If the abstainers are entitled to disrupt transport in their own peculiar and selfish interest, there is in our democratic mode no reason in the world why the drinking men of Ireland should not demand and be given the same right. Let everybody stay at home because the boozers are in town! I would advise these Pioneer characters that there is more in life than the bottle, that fair play to others is important and that temperance – taking the word in its big and general value- is a thing they might strive to cultivate a bit better.”
Perhaps Madigan, dressed as Mother Mary Madigan, could lead a merry band of female dope smokers, fornicators and pope protesters to one of our parks for a day out as the ultimate protest?
The run up to this papal visit is certainly entertaining and goes to prove that the great Meena Cribbins of Mná na hÉireann was correct just before the previous papal visit in 1979 when she was interviewed by valiant journalist Rosita Sweetman and predicted an era of ever more shameless hussies. Women’s emancipation, Cribbins insisted, “should never have been. It doesn’t liberate women, it enslaves them . . . women were never equal to men, we were always miles above them. Men put us on a pedestal always. You see we shared in a little bit of the glory of the Blessed Virgin…this whole business of taking a woman away from her man, for whatever reason, is evil before it starts”. She also insisted “the church will have to. . . get back to sanity”.
Things have clearly got even worse when the Minister who directed Fine Gael’s campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment has become self-appointed parish priest in Mount Merrion and there is even talk of the government holding a referendum to remove the constitutional clause relating to women’s “life within the home . . . without which the common good cannot be achieved”.
It’s time to stamp out this modernist crusade nonsense. The pope can’t come soon enough.