John Cooney: Battle lines are drawn at Rome summit showdown
Published 15/02/2010 | 05:00
In 1891, it was a tragic case of 'Parnell versus the bishops'. In 2010, it is 'Martin versus the bishops'. It will not escape the attention of those versed in history that the late 19th century bishops came out in force against Parnell's relationship with the divorced Kitty O'Shea when they realised that if they did not do so they would be left behind in the moral indignation stakes by Protestant evangelicals.
No doubt, too, the discerning reader will also question the historical analogy with the observation that Diarmuid Martin is the Archbishop of Dublin, Primate of All Ireland and the number two in the Irish hierarchy after Cardinal Sean Brady.
However, the deeply ingrained public perception is that a 'Martin versus the bishops' division over how to respond to the damning Murphy report into clerical sexual abuse cover-ups in the archdiocese of Dublin appeared to be coming to a head on the eve of the two-day summit of 24 Irish bishops with Pope Benedict at the Vatican.