The well known Italian Catholic news outlet La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana interviewed Rory O'Hanlon of Irish Society for Christian Civilisation on the occasion of the World Meeting of Families held in Dublin in August 2018, as well as the petition to disinvite Fr James Martin SJ from this Catholic event. Below is the English translation of the original Italian interview:
La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana: Mr O'Hanlon, Ireland hosts the World Meeting of Families. In what state is the Church in Ireland as it approaches this event?
Rory O'Hanlon: We see that the World Meeting of Families is the object of criticism and rejection from every side.
Catholics who adhere to Church teaching are not happy with the silence of the hierarchy in the face the unprecedented onslaught against the family, and indeed against the Church herself. Such Catholics protested the initial promotion of the World Meeting of Families which included images favouring the agenda of the homosexual lobby, for example, a picture of a lesbian “couple” embracing each other.
The (reaction to the) removal of these images was predictable: it led to protests and criticism from elements within the homosexual lobby, and from politicians and media.
The recent exposure of clerical sexual abuse and cover up by high authorities in the Church has given new vigour to anti-Catholic sentiments expressed by the left and by opportunist politicians. In spite of all this many Catholics will attend the World Meeting of Families in the hope of growing in their faith and finding support in their family life.
The Meeting program includes the American Jesuit Father James Martin. Your Association, Irish Society for Christian Civilisation, has collected more than 16,000 signatures to ask the Primate of Ireland, the Archbishop of Dublin, to disinvite this Jesuit, famous for his pro LGBT positions. How did this initiative come about and what outcome will it have? Will it be possible to prevent the presence of Fr. Martin?
Fr Martin is well known for his promotion of an LGBT lobby inside the Church, which is leading souls astray. We are all subject to disordered inclinations of one kind or another – the Seven Deadly Sins, for example – and the Church tells us we have to struggle against these inclinations, and that it is only in this way that we can avoid hell and attain heaven. The LGBT lobby within the Church is preaching the opposite, that those subject to the inclination to homosexual sin should be affirmed in their lifestyle.
As Catholics we have the obligation to preach the truth, especially when it is being openly denied and contested by people like Fr Martin. Apart from being a defence of the truth in itself, our petition is an attempt to rescue the souls being led astray, and thus is an act of charity.
Besides his promotion of the LGBT lobby inside the Church, Fr Martin has taken other shocking positions, including the tweeting of a blasphemous depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe on her feast day last year. This alone would have obliged us to protest his invitation to speak at the World Meeting of Families.
While we would have been happy to see Fr Martin disinvited from the World Meeting Of Families, that did not happen. It seems that our petition was ignored by the Archbishop of Dublin, although it was covered by many media outlets in Ireland and elsewhere. The main effect of the petition was to raise awareness of the agenda being pushed by Fr Martin.
It's been 50 years since the publication of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, but now we are seeing an attempt to demolish it or misrepresent it. What do you think?
Unfortunately Humanae Vitae was opposed and undermined from the start by a significant number of clergy and bishops. And even more unfortunately it wasn’t backed up with canonical sanctions. So it has now reached the point where it is largely ignored by Catholics. Today, in so far as it is given any appreciation it is being interpreted in the light of Amoris Laetitia, which is a form of misrepresentation. This is the opposite of the way Catholic doctrine was refined and clarified in the past. Amoris Laetitia should necessarily be interpreted in the light of Humanae Vitae, which in turn should be interpreted in the light of Casti Connubii.
What do you expect from the intervention of Pope Francis?
The ambience in Ireland is much different from that of 39 years ago when Pope John Paul II visited. Then most of the country took a great interest in the Papal visit. The country has become much more secularised in the past four decades. Now the media is full of complaints about threats to public health (an issue that is never raised in relation to other events that attract huge crowds like rock concerts or pride parades), transport restrictions and the like. Meanwhile, according to a report in Crux, street traders are disappointed that sales of merchandise related to the Papal visit are poor, indicating a lack of public interest.
The Church in Ireland was wounded internally by pedophilia scandals, and from outside by the aggressions of a secularist culture. The last attack came from past president Mary Mc Aleese ...
The paedophilia and pederasty scandals are not unrelated to the aggressions of our secularist culture, which is also a highly sexualised culture. The sexual revolution has led to pornography, divorce, widespread use of contraception, abortion, same-sex “marriage” and ultimately to the rejection of any restrictions on sexual activity. Unfortunately some of the clergy were not spared from the perverted influence of this revolution.
If the hierarchy had handled the sex-abuse scandals in a better manner there would be less justification for the external attacks on the Church, but still the attacks would come.
In the past Mary McAleese was a staunch defender of Church teaching on divorce and abortion. But now almost every public statement from her is an attack on the Church. She has recently denounced infant baptism. Her attacks on the Church seem to be more for personal reasons rather than out of doctrinal conviction, as they really only began when her son “came out” as a homosexual.
This conference is an opportunity for the Church in Ireland to meet again, to be heard. Do you think there is a possibility of rebirth for this once glorious Church, a land of saints, martyrs and scholars?
It is certainly an opportunity for the Church to regain its influence in Ireland. But that will only happen when the hierarchy makes a vigorous defence of the doctrines and moral teachings of the Church. Already the World Meeting of Families has made too many compromises with the world to achieve this revival of its place in Irish society. And the occasion has become a catalyst for attacks on the Church by an anti-Catholic media and political establishment.
I believe a rebirth of the Church in Ireland will happen. The Message of Fatima predicts that the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph. We may encounter difficult times, persecutions and other hardships, but I am confident in the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Divine promise of Our Lord Jesus Christ that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church.