Wednesday April 1, 2020

Clergy’s silence on Eighth speaks volumes

The Catholic hierarchy’s reticence in the referendum debate would have been unthinkable in the 1980s

Michael Brennan

Political Editor

27th May, 2018
A nun and a priest enjoy a chat during a Love Both rally earlier this month: this time, the waning influence of the Church saw clergy take a back seat in the campaign Pic: Getty

During the 1983 referendum to insert the Eighth Amendment into the Constitution, clerics like Bishop Eamonn Casey and Fr Michael Cleary were in full flight.

There is archive footage of Cleary in the audience of RTÉ’s Today Tonight programme, demanding to know if a female panellist supported abortion.

But the Catholic Church’s authority was undermined in the 1990s by the revelation that Casey and Cleary had both secretly fathered children. Then its credibility...

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