Lifting the lid on the cabals that rule society

Patrick Freyne

ON Tuesday's Moncrieff, likeable and learned academic Graham Finlay told us all about the Illuminati, a secret 18th-century society founded by a German canon lawyer called Adam Weishaupt.

Essentially a team of worthies assembled to spread enlightenment values, the Illuminati quickly became obsessed with arcane knowledge and secret handshakes. Why the secrecy? Well, Finlay explained, spreading seditious republican ideas was dangerous in those days of monarchy. Furthermore, "secret societies are cool".

In reality the Illuminati ended 15 years after Weishaupt founded them, but this hasn't stopped feverishly inane conspiracy theories about Weishaupt replacing George Washington, and a cabal of Illuminati, masons and lizard-people secretly running the world, embedding microchips in our heads and forcing us to have free health care.


Eagle-eyed readers will, of course, have spotted that "Graham Finlay" is an anagram of "Illuminati" (don't bother checking, you seem very busy) but "Moncrieff", clearly a stooge of the lizard people/ECB/IMF himself, insisted that Finlay was not a member of this insidious group. "We've double checked it with Denis O'Brien," he said, no doubt broadcasting from O'Brien's orbiting masonic space-lodge.

If you dislike secretive hierarchical societies run by canon lawyers you'll have spent much of the rest of the week in shock. The censuring of 'dissident' priest Father Brian D'Arcy by the Catholic hierarchy was detailed by D'Arcy himself on Saturday's Marian Finucane Show.

On Tuesday's Drivetime Olivia O'Leary championed him on her radio column, finding it "extraordinary [that] there was no room for his voice in the Church that he loves".

Instead, the official voice of the Irish Church is the weak and trembling one we heard defending the indefensible to Tommie Gorman on Wednesday's News at One. Cardinal Sean Brady was responding to a BBC report on a secret meeting he attended in 1975 during which details of Father Brendan Smyth's abusive behaviour were first reported by a brave 14-year-old victim, before being ignored.

"I was very upset by the programme last night," said Brady, keen to remind us who the real victim was. "It misrepresented me on a number of issues."

He maintained that he was a minor functionary at that meeting and couldn't have stepped outside the hierarchy ("My role was that of note-keeper," he said. "And I have the notes to prove that"). He went on to insist that he had done all in his power to protect children from abuse ... except, being pedantic about it, literally protecting children from abuse.

Some of those identified as being at risk at that meeting were subsequently abused by Smyth.

Gorman, an excellent interviewer, let nothing slide. "Because you assiduously did your job as a note-taker you knew chapter and verse of the awfulness that was going on," he said firmly, going on to question how "the human being in [him]" could have stood back.

Over the course of the item, it became clear, lest there was any doubt, that Brady was institutionally blinkered and, as a result, morally compromised. At the centre of it all was an indecent Catholic obsession with obedience. Brady was obedient to a fault -- a very grave fault.

Father Brian D'Arcy and others were censured for not being obedient enough. It's also worth remembering that 20 years ago nobody would have dared speak to a Cardinal the way Tommie Gorman rightfully and effectively spoke to Cardinal Brady.


Gorman's interview revealed the official church's shaky understanding of moral responsibility. Earlier, on Newstalk Lunchtime, Colm O'Gorman had eloquently and angrily railed against the emptiness of their stance.

"He was simply following orders?" he said. "That's the defence of the man who's meant to be the moral leader of the country? That's the defence of an institution that's meant to stand for truth and justice and love? The 14-year-old boy was simply a victim but he knew he had a responsibility to do what was right for those other children that he was concerned about.

"If a 35-year-old man didn't do that in 1975 it reflects badly upon him then. If the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland doesn't understand that he had that responsibility then, that reflects very badly on him now."