Much debate centres upon the place of religion, particularly Catholicism, within modern Irish society. Claims and counter-claims are bandied about. Allow me to add to this heady Irish stew.
There are striking similarities between Christianity, as countenanced by the Roman Catholic Church, and Communism as enacted within the former U.S.S.R.
Both Christianity and Communism are admirable, even beautiful concepts, which promote the welfare of the community above that of the selfish need of the individual. Both place great emphasis upon improving the person as opposed to the specious benefits derived from acquiring ever greater material wealth. Both are ideological constructs that, if fully implemented and adhered to, would go a long way to creating that long-sought Utopian existence. Both have failed.
To be a true Christian is to be a Socialist (camel… eye of needle… etc.). To be a true Communist is to adhere to the tenets of secular Christianity. Yet both paths have not delivered what they promised.
In the Soviet Union, the government and its chief apparatchiks lived well. They revelled in privilege, power and prestige. As in ‘Animal Farm’, the rulers did not lead by example. They consumed more than necessary. Such a hypocritical approach was sure to sit hard with a deprived populace who recognized the unjustifiable imbalance. The U.S.S.R. was ruled by Capitalists masquerading as Communists.
In the Church of Rome, the clerical hierarchy live well. They revel in privilege, power and prestige. As members of their congregation live in hardship and penury, the Episcopalian elite eat plenty; have trinkets and baubles galore, and sleep without fear of where their food will come from. The Catholic Church is ruled by Capitalists masquerading as Christians.
So why these failures? Well the answer, I believe, is simply that, as noble and admirable as either Communism or secular Christianity may be, they will be doomed to fail because, at this time, humanity has not evolved sufficiently to fully embrace either.
Only with continual and indefatigable struggle against the baser human proclivities including greed, selfishness and ruthless ambition, will our instinctual species eventually defeat the negative inclinations upon which the Capitalist mind-set thrives.
Until then, the Roman Catholic Church, as it now is, will continue its decline commensurate with the corruption and hypocrisy extant within its hierarchy and structures. Sell the trinkets, flog the baubles, remove the trappings of clerical opulence and feed the people. Perhaps then they might survive the impending total collapse.
What happened to the Soviet Union is ironic evidence of what will happen to the Catholic Church. Eventually the people will tolerate no more.