Sunday 4 December 2016

Eamon Delaney: In Swiftian tradition dean fires parting shot

Often in a minority of one, the Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral is a true iconoclast, writes Eamon Delaney

Published 29/01/2012 | 05:00

It is often said of a man or a woman in a key position, that nothing became them like the leaving of it. Well, in the tradition of his illustrious predecessor, Jonathan Swift, the latest outgoing Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin has pulled no punches in his farewell sermon. As one letter-writer put it last week, 'light blue touch paper and retire'.

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The Very Rev Robert MacCarthy, 71, fired off a few salvoes at the Catholic Church, his own authorities in the Church of Ireland, the board of the cathedral and even the board of the Rotunda hospital where he found himself in a minority of one in wanting to retain a maternity hospital with a Protestant ethos.

You can be sure that the irrepressible reverend is often in a minority of one, but his insights are a revelation about just how moribund the churches have become in these times of economic upheaval and social change.

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