Thursday 21 September 2017

Backchat: O ye of little faith: the church and pulpit-bashers will always let us down

Liam Fay

Blessed are the inattentive – for they shall snooze through every wake-up call. Mass-goers in Castlebar are reportedly outraged that disgraced former minister Pádraig Flynn has been reading scripture from the altar at his local church. Apparently, some innocent souls are surprised to discover that religious preachers often prop their pulpits on shaky ground.

Ireland remains a Pharisee playground in which the most ostentatious Holy Joes seek to be judged for what they profess rather than what they do. On any given Sunday, you will find some of the country's biggest hypocrites beating their breasts in churches of various creeds. This is not to say that non-believers are, in any way, morally superior – merely that religious observance is invaluable to those who feel a pressing need to make a public display of their virtuousness.

Politically, our society has been shaped by sanctimonious frauds who claim allegiance to the Ten Commandments but feel no obligation to practice what they teach. The duplicity of the Catholic hierarchy, especially on sexual matters, is well known. Less frequently scrutinised, however, is the bad faith that exists among a small but significant swathe of the faithful. Some of the most notorious players in the nation's economic ruin – unprincipled bankers, greedy developers and, of course, crooked politicians – are regular church attendees who saw no contradiction between their weekday chicanery and Sunday morning prayerfulness.

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