Sunday, 29 August 2010


The great white hope of the Catholic Church in Ireland Fr Tim Bartlett has publicly intervened in the controversy of the Church's role in the Claudy bombing cover-up.  Why? I can only speculate that as he has tended to be the media guru of the church in the past that perhaps he was the architect of their approach on this issue and as it has run into such trouble he's had to step into the public arena himself.  Maybe it is in his role of trying to defend the organisation no matter how much of a moral morass it finds itself in.

The past approach seemed to be denial.  Bartlett's comments shifted to the tactic of transference and avoidance.  He claims that those criticising the Catholic Church are:

"...dancing on the head of pin"

Dancing around the issues seems to have been more his own Church's approach although too clumsily to have pulled it off on the head of a pin. Then the issue is pushed back towards the state based on a new found concern for the victims of the bombing and actively tells journalists to start looking elsewhere (as if it is a choice):

"Why are journalists not pursuing that for the sake of the families?"

In its defence the state has managed an apology for its actions something that continues to escape the Church.  At least he can console himself with the thought that the main Protestant churches will happily co-operate in helping exclude the Catholic Church from legitimate but hard questioning. 

However, in the longer-term it is an unwise move.  There is speculation of a papal visit to Northern Ireland sometime in the next few years and the Irish Catholic Church's  failure to apologise will most likely result in the issue re-emerging with Pope Benedict XVI asked to offer one instead.  Something that could have been dealt with quickly and simply and been a genuine boon to good relations will come back to dog something bigger.

UPDATE: Turgon offers his perspective on the issues around the Claudy bombing here.

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