The Conversation

Irish Bishop Chides Obama for 'Hackneyed' Analysis of Northern Ireland Schools

Our president -  the one who spent twenty years going to a church in Chicago where the Minister uttered phrases from the pulpit like, "G*d-d*mn America" and "US of KKK-A" - deigned to poke his nose into religious education in Ireland, calling it "divisive", while he was visiting there for the G-8 Summit June 17 and 18.  

Obama's remarks came not long after a top Vatican official had  commended Catholic education in a speech in Glasgow on Saturday and in his homily at Mass on Friday.

Archbishop Gerhard Müller , prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, told an audience in Scotland that Catholic education provided a rare place where ‘intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment would come together’ while giving the presitigous Cardinal Winning Lecture on Saturday to officially launch the St Andrews Foundation for Catholic teacher education at Glasgow University.  During Mass at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow, on Friday night he said that ‘the Catholic school is vitally important … a critical component of the Church,’ adding that Catholic education provides young people with a wonderful opportunity to ‘grow up with Jesus.’

The US president, (whose only experience with church has been the aforementioned radical, race-baiting Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, and very occasionally,  St. John’s Episcopal Church located across the street from the White House, where the  liberal pastor likes to slam "the religious right" from the pulpit), shared these profound musings in front of an audience of 2000 young people at Belfast’s Waterfront hall when he arrived in the country, Monday morning.

“If towns remain divided—if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another and fear or resentment are allowed to harden—that too encourages division and discourages cooperation,” the US president said.

As Ben Shapiro at Big Government

reported, some Catholics in the US have fired back at Obama, saying his "anti-faith, secular, agenda was shamelessly on full display."

Now, a bishop in Northern Ireland has accused the president of a "simplistic" and "hackneyed" analysis of the political situation in the region.

Auxiliary Bishop Donal McKeown of Down and Connor said some parts of the president's June 17 speech in Belfast, Northern Ireland, echoed "the Protestant/Catholic caricature that has actually receded into the background in Northern Ireland."


Bishop McKeown said the 1998 accord "was clear that the core problem in Northern Ireland was a political one. ... It is significant that religion did not appear in the agreement on what is primarily a political problem."

He said that "it is the Catholic schools in Northern Ireland that are now actually among the most racially and linguistically mixed. And, while so many young people are very open to new friendships and opportunities, it needs to be stated that it is adults outside schools who promote mistrust for their own political and personal agendas."

"A simplistic denominational vocabulary fails to do justice to where we are," added Bishop McKeown, who chairs the Northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education.

"We all welcome the president's presence," the bishop said, "but would encourage his speechwriters to support a less hackneyed analysis of our situation and prospects."


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