Irish Catholics should establish a home-grown church by demanding that the bishops "get the hell out of your cathedrals", a leading author said yesterday.
Former 'Newsweek' journalist Robert Blair Kaiser also said that a grandmother who is urging women to boycott Mass in protest at the way women are treated in the church has started a revolution
He called on Irish Catholics to fix their "broken church" by making it "more Irish, less Roman" at the opening of the Humbert Summer School in Co Mayo.
Mr Blair Kaiser, who reported on the second Vatican Council for 'Time' magazine, said that the battle for the Irish Catholic church had already been started by 80-year-old Jennifer Sleeman, who has called on women to boycott Sunday mass on September 26 "to let the Vatican and the Irish church know women are tired of being treated as second-class citizens".
The US author said that the Cork grandmother had probably started the revolution.
"I have every reason to believe that you can take back your church -- your church, not the Pope's church, your church -- not the bishops' church", said Mr Blair Kaiser who recommended that Irish Catholics create a "autochthonous" or local and from-the-ground-up church.
In a keynote address 'Church Reform: No More Thrones', the author said he was not attacking the Catholic faith but the "special and corrosive tyranny that popes have been exercising over Catholics everywhere".
He said that in the 1800s, Ireland's first cardinal, Paul Cullen, had built a two-tiered clerical Irish church which marched in total loyalty to Rome and his own over-reaching authority. Later, Dublin Archbishop John Charles McQuaid had "put his own special twists" on Cardinal Cullen's authoritarian model, imposing his iron will on Irish politics and Irish society.
"The cardinal and the archbishop established the clerical culture in Ireland that Judge Yvonne Murphy identified as the root cause of the Irish scandals that have sent your nation reeling," said Blair Kaiser.
Irish Catholics could establish a home-grown church by demanding bishops "get the hell out of your cathedrals" and elect their own bishops who would serve the people as listeners, not lords," he suggested.
In a response to the US expert, 'Irish Catholic' deputy editor Michael Kelly rejected the comparison between England's occupation and the "colonising power" of the papacy.
He said that while he shared the keynote speaker's sadness that the church in Ireland had been unwilling and unable to embrace the teachings of the second Vatican Council, he could not accept that the council intended a rupture of the Catholic tradition of the church.
"What I have experienced in Ireland is a Catholicism that has betrayed the best tradition of our church, he added. He said it was more consoling to blame Rome than to search Irish Catholicism for what had gone wrong and he called for an "honest investigation" into the culture of the church here.
The dreadful truth about the "cabal of egomaniacal clerics" who failed Irish Catholics so dreadfully, is that these bishops did not come from Rome or Constantinople -- but from Caherciveen, Tullamore, Cavan, Roscommon and Castlebar.
The school continues today with an examination of the response by the Pope and the Irish hierarchy to the abuse scandals.