Danger Ireland

Amongst the nick nacks of my late father I treasure most are the old lapel badges he wore from adolescence right through to his final days. The most important of these to me is his RAS badge. Possibly beneath it to him, prestige-wise, were his membership badges for the Holy Name and Hibernian Australasian Catholic Benefit societies. These too were devices of an almost military nature, relics that call to mind an era in Australian history when Christians of all denominations thought of themselves as troops in a great soldiery. The conventional historian’s reading of those times is that a mean-spirited sectarianism – much of it shadowing events in Ireland – was detrimental to social harmony and, more tragically still, apostolic fraternity. An alternative view is that for all their mutual antipathies the sects here kept their faith (if not their tribalism) understated – almost in agreed-upon deference to secularism as everyone’s Primate.

Neither thesis is untrue but nor is either the whole truth. Yes, Micks chipped away at Masons and Masons chipped away at Micks. The Anglicans were wary of the Calvinists, the Methodists were suspicious of the Orthodox, the Lutherans – for all I know – looked askance at the Baptists. But it was still one big corny family. I know my father respected men from all walks of religious life. He served with them in war and did business with them in peacetime. Hard though it is for anybody under, say, 40, to believe but there was a time in Australia when mockery of groups and sincere respect for persons was not mutually exclusive. Today we decree the former but fake the latter. Their way was better. Multiculturalism existed and thrived well before the post-war waves of immigration. People brawled but they built one of history’s greatest societies.

I was thinking of all this after reading a fascinating two-part analysis of Ireland in the era of Brexit by Dubliner John William O’Sullivan. He argues a realignment of fidelities along theological rather than perfunctory sectarian lines is currently underway and could reignite the Troubles. While a shooting war born of anti-woke fury might seem unlikely if explained in those limited terms, the new alliances being forged in one of the West’s last institutionally Christian societies are more fluid and nuanced than outsiders from more nihilistic polities (like ours) understand. At core, the volatility in Northern Ireland is not about Leave vs. Remain. It is still about loyalties born of old affiliations and their ‘betrayal’ by disciples of an arrogant neo-paganism.



The British Conservatives and the ten Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MPs that help keep them in power are all pro-Leave but are boxing viciously over the Irish Backstop and the damage it would supposedly do to both Northern commerce and the Unionist cause. Meanwhile, pro-Stay Sinn Féin and the SDLP have decided to put their differences aside to unseat the DUP Leavers. This isn’t your father’s Sinn Féin, mind you. It has become a pro-abortion, pro-gay ‘marriage’ bourgeois party and is no longer considered the natural choice for Northern Catholics. Protestant Unionists, for their part, are suddenly poor cousins to a disdainful Westminster in general and Johnsonian Brexiteers in particular. Re-energised nationalists smell blood in the water. These diabolically complex interplays make for a powder keg ensemble.


In early October of this year, Lisa O’Hare, the Catholic captain of the Tyrone Gaelic games team, announced that she would back the DUP over Sinn Féin because the former opposed abortion. “As an Irish Catholic who places God at the centre of my home and my heart we don’t have anyone who represents our views,” she told the BBC … 


Not only is Boris Johnson’s northern Irish customs barrier seen as a headache for business, it is also seen as an open invitation for republicans to dust off their guns for unification. This month, says O’Sullivan, an embedded cross-border task force set up to monitor tensions and chatter reported that both nationalist and Ulster paramilitaries are primed to react to Brexit with violence. Paramilitary punishments and mortar attacks by the New I.R.A. have risen sharply over the past four years. In January, the group detonated a bomb outside a Derry courthouse. In October, an assembly of old-hand Unionists met in Belfast to plan their resistance to Johnson’s Brexit deal – the largest such gathering since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.



Britain no longer sees Northern Ireland as Neil Young saw Alabama: they don’t have the rest of the Union to help them along. The North is wounded economically and regarded as antediluvian socially. It won’t be surprising if even tepid southern nationalists begin to see Brexit chaos as a chance to kill Northern Ireland by subsuming it. What a satisfying denouement to the secularist march that would be; a black eye for Brits and another for Ulster clodhoppers. Does it matter that these casus belli spring forth not from old denominational beefs but – partly, at least – from new ones about the continued existence of public Christian culture itself? It matters a great deal if they help spark a new war. O’Sullivan argues:

In a world where the cultural battle lines are drawn not between the sects but between Christians and secularists, it seems inevitable that Irish Catholics and Ulster Protestants will soon see that they have more in common with each other than with their non-religious countrymen … the new Troubles, if they come about, will be viewed through the lens of the culture war. Indeed, this could well be the first “hot” culture war that we have seen in the modern Western world, and could become an international media spectacle.

The West is already in a state of phony culture war whose enmities are free of bullets but no longer on ice and comparable to Ireland’s in kind if not as kindling. In Australia too. Anti-Catholic penal laws (in all but name), anti-Christian sporting bans, prohibitions on advocating biblical morality, the rigged prosecution of Cardinal Pell and the atheist left’s bombastic triumphalism are beginning to stoke embers hot and numerous enough to have helped cook Bill Shorten’s goose, according to the Emerson-Weatherill report.


See John William O’Sullivan: The New Irish Ecumenism and New Troubles For Ireland?


For believers under siege – as O’Sullivan’s Irish in-betweeners seem to be – are there any lessons to be learned from Australia’s past? As inspiration, yes: Christians of all churches once lived their understanding of the Gospel with pride and expected governments and officials to pay deference to their beliefs. As cautionary tale, definitely: from about the 1960s, Christians too readily assimilated dozy Australian casualness and subjectivism into their own faith – justifying it as outreach, cultural rapprochement or even humility. So membership matters. That’s what Dad’s badges were about. But so does caution. For there is no scenario where the army of Israel Folaus and Margaret Courts wins this war as either angry isolates or gullible fraternisers. We have to start with cells – or parishes if you’re lucky enough to still belong to one – and build anew. In the mean-time, how many backward steps Christians are expected to take before reacting against the barbarians is an open, interesting question. In Northern Ireland, at least, the answer is likely to be very few.

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40 Responses to Danger Ireland

  1. Beachcomber

    Thanks for the interesting read C.L.

    BTW, that photo of the pretty colleen aiming her firearm with intent might be one of the hottest images on the internet.

  2. Beachcomber

    … the new Troubles, if they come about, will be viewed through the lens of the culture war. Indeed, this could well be the first “hot” culture war that we have seen in the modern Western world, …..

    If only! I suppose we would all have to notionally abhor any violence, but unless there is a cohesive resistance from the vestiges of Christian civility that remain in Western societies, it will totally disappear without even a whimper.

  3. Beachcomber

    In the mean-time, how many backward steps Christians are expected to take before reacting against the barbarians is an open, interesting question.

    But this is where the Christian organisations, the Morrison Pentecostals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc. etc. utterly fail. They have been “turning the other cheek” for so long that they have become servile to the State. They accept the triumphalism of the ABC and the cultural Marxist imperative that Western culture is always oppressive; and that we must be penitent for the oppression that is certified to always exist merely by the existence of any “minority” group.
    I don’t see any “embers hot and numerous”. I am afraid that Christians will continue to take more backward steps and stand idly by and watch as the fascist left establishment brutally assaults Cardinal Pell, Margaret Court, Israel Folau and the whole Christian community.

  4. Tom

    Thank you, CL. An excellent read.

  5. Bruce of Newcastle

    It’s an irony that the Left in Scotland want to leave the UK while the Left in Northern Ireland wants to join Ireland.

    I suspect if the Republic of Ireland got themselves a Trump or Thatcher, rather than the qwerty lefty they currently have, the Northern lefties would backflip so fast you could see their pinko knickers waving in the breeze.

  6. Mark M

    Good read. Thank you.

    how many backward steps Christians are expected to take

    If Jesus was alive today, it would be the moment when he turned over the tables of all the grifters who are selling doomsday/renewable energy salvation in the church halls.

  7. Not so long ago I had a visit from some traveling Christians (JWs as it turned out) and normally I shoo these characters away, but that day I decided to allow them to talk and we discussed the way of the world and where it looked to be heading. For the first time ever there was some common ground between the missionaries and myself.

    If they ever return, my advice to them is not to just go about door knocking individuals, but start doing something at a higher level. Get into the faces of the major churches etc that are pushing all of this SJW crap (such as Pope and Rod Bower of the Gosford Anglican Church) and start making noise in a public way. I realise that each of these denominations work somewhat individually, but I think it’s time they started to come together for a common cause or they will soon become irrelevant, if not illegal.

  8. JC

    Ireland is very wealthy , I’d be truly shocked to see wholesale lethal troubles starting over.

  9. notafan

    jWs refuse to even vote.

    I won’t look to them for table turning.

    Rod Bowers has a congregation of 30 odd (remember despite his robust Twitter following he scored a measly 3000 odd votes in the senate, his influence is grossly overstated by the msm), and Pope Francis ain’t here.

    There are plenty of faithful Catholics and I assume evangelicals that stand firm but I don’t see the dire straits here.

    Not yet.

  10. My main thought is that Christianity is being attacked from all sides and none of the denominations are doing much, if anything, to fight back. It seems that when they aren’t turning one bloody cheek for the other, they simply acquiesce to every demand, often abandoning their very beliefs.

  11. Entropy

    T because for them being a priest, a reverend, a minister, a prophet is more about career than vocation. Most of them probably don’t even believe the bible, or that Jesus was the son of god.

  12. areff

    The best thing that has happened at the Cat in recent times: the Lad’s return to full-blown blogging.

    Terrific and eye-opening analysis, CL. Likely the best thing I’ll read all day.

    Erin go blah.

  13. I_am_not_a_robot

    Since the Republic has shaken free from the smothering influence of ‘mother church’ the population has become better educated, urbanised, secularised, highly productive (about the highest in EU) and prosperous with a 2018 GDP per cap PPP of US$70,361 (Australia: US$45,439).

    Why has this author an obsession with Israel Folaus and Margaret Court?
    There are far more important challenges for traditional Catholic dogma and teaching than a contractual dispute and the name of a tennis court — abortion and euthanasia to name just two.

  14. Arky

    My main thought is that Christianity is being attacked from all sides

    ..
    aaaaaand loving it!
    Maybe we can get back to some real Christianity, when it is no longer the domain of establishment thickies and stooges.

  15. Arky

    Let the establishment have their boring wokeness, atheism, social controls and virulent globalism.
    Christianity belongs to the people.

  16. notafan

    I seem to recall some resistance

    in relation to SSM for one

    in relation to abortion law for another

    and

    Victorian Catholic Archbishop is refusing to kowtow to to the confessional reporting law

    waiting for the first prosecution

  17. Andre Lewis

    Good article with interesting points. It does though seem fanciful that the N Ireland Catholics and Protestants would ever fight on the same side for anything given the decades of sectarian violence and ongoing intimidation.
    The IRA might only be a shadow of what it once was but is not to be ignored as it still attracts a hard core of vicious thugs who build their lives and reputations on crime and insurrection. The great pity is that the N Ireland pseudo parliament still contains one of the IRA leaders sitting down free and clear when he should have been in prison for the last 30 years at least. His comrade in arms, now dead, also escaped justice.

  18. Arky

    Also this: Before colonising half the bloody world, we should have put all those Irish and Scottish ginger malcontents straight into the slave trade and off to Persia at a tidy profit.

  19. Judge Dredd

    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” – Matt 10:34
    Eventually Christians will stand firm, hopefully before there is bloodshed, but Jesus makes it clear that we are not just here to turn the other cheek when there is wickedness in the world.

  20. max

    Santa saved Australia a long time ago. He used the cellular parish organisation of the Catholic church to gather intel and recruit. Blokes who went to work in the blast furnaces of Whyalla and Wollongong also went to Mass on Sundays and were turned off by the rhetoric of hate favoured by the Labor hardliners.

    Now, I’m not sure. Older parish priests and bishops are often lefties though the younger generation coming out of the seminaries are a lot more clued in. It would be helpful if a bishop started calling out bigotry in the media and elsewhere and served as someone to rally around. You know, like Christ.

  21. Roger

    If Jesus was alive today…

    Jesus is alive today.

    That’s our hope.

    Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

    His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

    Blessed is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God

  22. Fat Tony

    Roger
    #3213998, posted on November 17, 2019 at 11:57 am
    If Jesus was alive today…

    Jesus is alive today.

    Roger – Just reading through and I see you beat me to it.

  23. Roger

    Roger – Just reading through and I see you beat me to it.

    🙂

  24. Jock

    As a scot can I please comment that I find it reusable that my cousins are voting snp because they want out of the UK partnership ( as a junior partner) to gain independence but want to remain subservient and completely under the authoritarian rule of the EU.

    Remarkably stupid.

  25. yarpos

    Another part of the world that has cost far more in time, money and lives than it is worth

  26. John A

    Time for Christians to invade the parties and stack the branches – just like the woke lefties do.

  27. dover_beach

    The best thing that has happened at the Cat in recent times: the Lad’s return to full-blown blogging.

    Indeed. It’s morning in Catallaxy.

  28. kaysee

    We have to start with cells – or parishes if you’re lucky enough to still belong to one – and build anew.

    True enough. But a really hard task.
    For the slow building process gets demolished by the so-called church leaders. They have tossed the Deposit of the Faith out the window and are writing their own rules. And so many of the faithful still look for direction from these unfaithful shepherds.

  29. Juan

    Time for Christians to invade the parties and stack the branches – just like the woke lefties do.

    This has been tried, and it didn’t work out very well:

    ‘…

    Mr Killin went on to exhort his fellow activists to work to prevent gay people from becoming Liberal members of Parliament, noting that Mr Wilson’s preselection was won by a very narrow margin.

    “ONE LOUSY VOTE! So, if you and I were there to participate in preselection the result = no homosexual MP,” Mr Killin wrote.

    … ‘

    The problem is when conservatives in the Liberal Party are in the ascendant, they split and turn on each other. It happened in NSW with David Clarke and Alex Hawke; and in Victoria with Marcus Bastiaan and Karina Okotel.

    Different states, different times, but the same outcome.

  30. Dr Fred Lenin

    Jock ,I have been saying that for ages too, why the bitter struggle to gain independence then hand it to a buch of foreign bureaucrsts who barely know where Scotland is ?
    Also the Irish rebelling ,killing bombing to get independence then electing an Indian poofter ex EU bureaucrat to give all your freedom to Brussells foreigners .
    The stupidity of these people is beyond belief ,its like the German people following the Socialist Hitler to their own destruction in the 1940s .
    Seems to me the scotnats are a bunch of woke lower middle class wankers like the gangrenes .-

  31. Entropy

    Jock
    #3214105, posted on November 17, 2019 at 2:22 pm
    As a scot can I please comment that I find it reusable that my cousins are voting snp because they want out of the UK partnership ( as a junior partner) to gain independence but want to remain subservient and completely under the authoritarian rule of the EU.

    Remarkably stupid

    Nah, the parasites stupidly believe they will get bigger dole payments from the EU.

  32. Juan

    Jock
    #3214105, posted on November 17, 2019 at 2:22 pm
    As a scot can I please comment that I find it reusable that my cousins are voting snp because they want out of the UK partnership ( as a junior partner) to gain independence but want to remain subservient and completely under the authoritarian rule of the EU.

    Remarkably stupid

    Nah, the parasites stupidly believe they will get bigger dole payments from the EU.

    It’s one thing for Scotland to be governed from Westminster; it’s entirely another matter for the Scots to be governed by the chaotic mess that has been Westminister since June 2017.

    Only a majority government which stands united, gets on with the job, and broadly speaking keeps its manifesto promises; only then will government from Westminster make any sense for the Scots.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  33. C.L.

    True enough. But a really hard task.
    For the slow building process gets demolished by the so-called church leaders. They have tossed the Deposit of the Faith out the window and are writing their own rules. And so many of the faithful still look for direction from these unfaithful shepherds.

    Yep. That is a problem. Maybe the biggest for genuine change in the Catholic Church anyway.

  34. Infidel Tiger

    Incredible that Ireland has gone from one of the most devout societies on earth to probably the most secular and progressive in one generation.

    They aligned themselves with Europe and embraced self hatred and nihilism that have wrecked the continent. For all Britain’s problems they still see themselves as different to Europe, but the Irish seem hell bent on embracing the worst.

  35. Infidel Tiger

    The best thing that has happened at the Cat in recent times: the Lad’s return to full-blown blogging.

    Indeed. It’s morning in Catallaxy.

    Indeed

  36. Overburdened

    The EU ship is alarmingly attractive from that angle.

  37. Overburdened

    ….or appallingly weird?

    I can see that too.

    Cartooning gives a bit of license.

  38. Dr Fred Lenin

    Conservatives in the liberal party ? Thats as bad as lighting a smoke in the government drug injecting room, under the astrictly No Smoking sign , love the way the pollies situate these places many ks from their own homes ,then tell local residents the facility will be no problem ,suppose thats right if the druggies are injecting in Richmond and the local member lives in Mount Waverly,knee deep in Chinese .

  39. Gediminis the Great

    Cats – what’s the reasoning for the most foul mouthed attack on the Catholic Church being done Catholic educated in Catholic schools eg This Milligan twat, Sorten, Rudd, Tom Kenelley and how about the pirate dresser upper Fitzsimons.
    Even at school there were this real foul mouthed group – Irish lot – what gives.

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