Colette Browne: Papal visit will remind us just how tangled Church and State still are

By Colette Browne
Irish Independent
November 29, 2016

Pope Francis, left, meets Taoiseach Enda Kenny, right, during a private audience in the Vatican yesterday.
Photo by Alessandra Tarantino

The Ireland that Pope Francis visits in 2018 will be vastly different to the theocracy his predecessor John Paul II toured in 1979, but the Catholic Church's grip on education and healthcare remains as tightly clenched as before.

According to Taoiseach Enda Kenny, we're all friends again. After a brief spat in 2011, when Mr Kenny rightly eviscerated the Vatican for its wilful failure to adequately investigate decades of clerical child sexual abuse in this country, relations are now much improved.

"I explained [to Pope Francis] my own difficulties with the Church some years ago and was happy to confirm that Church-State relations are in better shape now than they were for very many years," said Mr Kenny, speaking after his 25-minute meeting with the Pontiff. So, I suppose this means Mr Kenny no longer thinks "dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and narcissism" continue to "dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day".

Although, the opinion of some high-profile Irish priests who have been silenced by the Vatican, and whose plight Mr Kenny raised, may be different.


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