Please Support Bishop Drennan

Mass at Galway Cathedral when I last visited
On September 3rd, Clare Short broke the news that the Catholic Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Galway has donated €45,000 to local gay rights group AMACH!. The money donated came from the Maureen O’Connell fund.

In 2007, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Galway received a bequest of €7.8m from the late Maureen O’Connell, following the sale of her landmark Galway property “O’Connell’s” public house. The St. Augustine Conference is managing the spending of the bequest according to the terms of the Will, which states that “…funds should be used for the work of the SVP in Galway City and County.” The Conference is comprised of members of local SVP Conferences from throughout Galway.

In accordance with the aims and mission of the Society, the Maureen O’Connell Fund aims to tackle poverty in all its forms through the provision of practical assistance to those in need, specifically addressing poverty and isolation among older people, family poverty, child poverty, educational needs of disadvantaged children, young people and adults and homelessness. It will support innovative projects which complement the activities of SVP Conferences which add value to existing services or fill gaps in existing services for the most disadvantaged groups.

Clare had researched the story well, and there is more information, and links to sources on her blog here.

Indeed, Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan approached the SVP seeking answers about this donation. The SVP seem confident that the donation was made in the context of SVP objectives i.e. "the relief of poverty, both material and emotional, in Ireland and abroad without differentiation on the grounds of race, colour, creed, ideology or gender." An SVP spokeman also said “It is also a key element of the SVP Christian ethos to be non-judgmental when its assistance is sought,”. Yes- OK- non judgemental insofar as the circumstances which have led to the need arising certainly. But to positively fund an agency which seeks to encourage a morally contradictory lifestyle which is at odds with Catholic teaching? AMACH! report the receipt of the funds on their website stating:
Another step forward to realising a much need LGBT Resource Centre for Galway’s LGBT community. And another achievment to celebrate over the Pride festival!!
AMACH! aims are stated as being:
  • To ensure that the Committee reflects the LGBT community, works in an effective manner and is both transparent and accountable
  • To support the development of an accessible and safe Resource Centre that can be utilised by the LGBT community
  • To work towards supporting the provision of services for the LGBT community
  • To source funding for future development through grant applications and fundraising events
  • To support the LGBT community to have a voice in influencing and bringing about changes in LGBT issues.
The Catholic Church also aims to support people with SSA, but not to encourage them in their immoral lifestyle, rather to support them in their heroically strive for virtue, as it does for us all. The Church's teaching makes special mention of homosexual persons, stating:
"special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not." ~ CDF Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, no. 3.
Bishop Martin Drennan
Bishop Martin Drennan, is reported, in response to the donation, to have acted in an authentically Catholic manner taking responsibility for his flock, which includes all the people of his diocese, not just the Catholics. He correctly described so-called "gay culture" as “morally wrong” and said he had a problem with the “moral judgment” involved with making the decision by the SVP. However, he is now reported to be "rowing back" under attacks from the laity who consider his stance, i.e. the stance of the Church “deeply offensive, uncharitable and unchristian”.

Such a subjective response can only come from someone wholly ignorant of Church teaching and Christian responsibility in terms of fraternal correction and a real comprehension of agape/ caritas (love). It is the bishop's solemn duty to teach the authentic doctrine of the Church:
bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ, and they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith. They bring forth from the treasury of Revelation new things and old, (164) making it bear fruit and vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock. (165) Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. ~ Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, no. 25.
I have heard from Ireland that those dealing with people from deprived backgrounds consider that the SVP there does hand out cheques without due process or discernment, not always targeting resources where they are most needed. With all due respect to the LGBT community, the SVP isn’t where they should be funded from.

So. The reason I am posting this blog is to encourage you to write to Bishop Drennan and thank him for his authentic witness to Catholic truth. To pledge him your prayers and support, and to ask him to continue to uphold the Catholic faith in Galway, despite the immense pressure from the secular agenda. Put simply, if we do not, we run the risk of losing the intellectual battle which allows us any social capital. We must continue to think deeply about these things, but have confidence in our carefully considered position. We must act with compassion and a true charity which only works in the context of objective truth.

The diocesan website is www.galwaydiocese.ie and the email address is galwaydiocese@eircom.net

Galway Cathedral

Me in Eyre's Square



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