Very little room for dissent
Half-a-century ago, Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council and said that he wanted to "open the windows" and let in some fresh air.
In more recent times, the objective of those in power in the Catholic Church has seemed to be to slam the windows shut and fasten them tight.
The silencing of a liberal priest, Fr Tony Flannery, shocked devout believers as well as waverers -- and members of other faiths who are deeply concerned about the role of Christianity in the "post-modern" world.
It was described by the Association of Catholic Priests as "unfair, unwarranted and unwise".
Now it has been followed by the silencing of Fr Sean Fagan, author of numerous books and magazine articles.
His works include 'What Happened to Sin?', published in 2008 by Columba Press. Reportedly all unsold copies of his books have been recalled, and he has been ordered to write no more. He is 84 years old and in poor health.
The Vatican tolerates no challenge to the theological principles it lays down.
But the chief issues in the current controversies, such as the ordination of women and married men, are not recognised as theological by most Irish Catholics.
Is there now a danger of increasing divisions which could damage our whole society?