Thursday 24 January 2019

'All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing' - Josepha Madigan hits back at Archbishop's comments

Josepha Madigan adressed the congregation from the altar
Josepha Madigan adressed the congregation from the altar

Kevin Doyle, Group Political Editor

Culture Minister Josepha Madigan has hit back at Archbishop of Dublin, saying: “All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.”

The Dublin Rathdown TD is sticking by her calls for reform within the Catholic Church, including her belief that women should be allowed become priests.

It comes after Archbishop Diarmuid Martin accused her of being opportunistic and “deeply disrespectful” to parishioners in south Dublin.

The Irish Independent revealed on Monday how Ms Madigan stepped up to lead her local congregation in prayer on Saturday evening after no priest showed up to say Mass.

The former solicitor, who led Fine Gael’s campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment, said afterwards that it was “sad reflection of the times we live” that there are so few priests.

And she proposed raising the place of women in the Church with Pope Francis when he visited Ireland in August.

However, Archbishop Martin issued a stern rebuke, claiming the Minister has upset people in her Mount Merrion parish.

He accused her of trying “to push a particular agenda”.

“Comments by Minister Josepha Madigan yesterday arising from a situation that arose in the Parish of Mount Merrion at the weekend have caused parishioners in Mount Merrion and further afield considerable distress.

“Many have contacted my offices to express their hurt and upset at the Minister’s comments, as reported in the media,” Dr Martin said.

He added that there are “no shortage of priests” in the Archdiocese, explaining that the situation on Saturday evening arose “due to a misunderstanding”.

“It is in no way correct to say that the Minister ‘said Mass’. It is regrettable that that Minister Madigan used this occasion to push a particular agenda.

“Her expressed view that a mix up in a Dublin parish on one particular Saturday evening should lead to the Universal Church changing core teachings is bizarre,” Mr Martin’s statement said.

He suggest she might “consider listening to the voices of those people who disagree with her public comments”.

And he added that she should “consider the hurt she has caused to parishioners who deem her actions deeply disrespectful.

In response Ms Madigan told a gathering of reporters in Dublin this evening that she doesn’t understand how her actions are being interpreted as disrespectful.

“If I didn’t address these issues that I see in the church, then I would have missed an opportunity to do that,” she said, adding that she intends to continue attending services in Mount Merrion.

"I know most of the 300 volunteers in Mount Merrion parish. I meet with them all the time. I don’t know how it’s remotely disrespectful.

“I simply highlighted something that I believe many people share the same view with. I’m just talking about equality,” the minister said.

She added that he Church is “going to have to address this or there is not going to any church for the next generation”.

“We need women involved. We need them to be priests. What’s wrong with that? I think we’d make good priests.”

And when asked was she being opportunistic, she replied: “All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.”

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section