So a Roman Catholic priest, a Jesuit intellectual no less, condemns armed insurrection by a significant body of men and women against the colonial occupation of their island nation by a foreign imperial power, and their hope of establishing a democratic republic with equality for all persons regardless of gender, class or faith. Furthermore his words of condemnation are quoted approvingly by globally prestigious newspapers like the Guardian and New York Times. But who is this turbulent priest who damns the 1916 Easter Rising and its revolutionaries? Why, he is none other than Fr Séamus Murphy of Loyola University, Chicago, who formerly wrote for the magazine “Making Sense”, an internal publication of the Workers’ Party. That would be the Marxist–Leninist grouping that emerged out of the Official Sinn Féin and the Official IRA and who’s leading apparatchiks were ideologically opposed to any and all forms of Irish republicanism, past or present. In 1989 he wrote:
“…The typical southerner… while… abhorring the appalling violence of the IRA and generally supporting the Dublin governments attempts to suppress it… cannot quite bring himself to consciously stand with the unionist population against IRA violence or express support for the security forces in NI.
…the Republic must not lend a sympathetic ear to everyone claiming to be a spokesperson for the oppressed minority in NI. It is perfectly obvious that the democratic parties representing northern Catholics (SDLP, Alliance, WP) are engaged in a serious struggle with a fascist, authoritarian, violent and anti-democratic party (SF/IRA).”
In other words: vote the Workers Party! Just make sure you overlook the continued existence of the Official IRA in the form of the covert “Group B”, the post office robberies, extortions, prostitution, Russian and North Korean “donations”, the Stalinist clique beavering away inside RTÉ’s news and current affairs department, and everything will be hunky-dory
But where else does Murphy raise his flexible, philosophical head? Well, how about in his support for the American-led invasion and conquest of Iraq in a 2003 edition of the Irish Catholic?
“Since 1991, to keep biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs, Saddam has defied UN sanctions, thereby inflicting hunger on his people, and manipulating that hunger for propaganda. UN food for the hungry has been diverted and sold abroad to enrich his extended family and supporters.
While liberation theology does not encourage violence, it acknowledges the right of people to defend themselves against murderous repression. Uprisings by Kurds and Shi’ites in 1987-89 and in 1991 were put down in large-scale massacres, sometimes with chemical weapons. If they were to rise again, they would have the world’s sympathy. Liberation theology would say that the Lord, who breaks the rod of the oppressor, was with them. But unaided rebellion would have no prospect of success, and our bystander sympathy, our distant indignation (if we even noticed) would not prevent it being crushed with great slaughter.
Yet amazingly, when their liberation rides on the probable success of US arms, much of the world is totally opposed. …Iraqi exiles cannot wait for the US to overthrow Saddam’s regime. But, sadly, Christian solidarity with them is overwhelmed by pacifism, neutralism, and anti-Americanism.
To wonder whether there is sufficient justification for war is not unreasonable. But to claim, as have some senior clerics, that there is no justification at all is to close one’s eyes to the historical record and one’s ears to the victims. Liberation theology would say: God is with the victims, and failure to stand in solidarity with them is a betrayal of the Gospel.
The people of Iraq want peace and an end of oppression. They want neither Saddam nor war. But given Saddam’s addiction to war (against Israel in 1973, Iran in 1974 and 1980, Kuwait in 1990, and near-misses with Syria in 1976 and Kuwait in 1994), he is likely, if left in power, to provoke more wars. That, coupled with the oppression and terror, far outweighs the burden of the US/UK invasion. At worst, the US/UK invasion is the lesser evil, at best a liberation. So say Iraqi exiles and those protected in the ‘no-fly zones’. Liberation theology says: let their voices carry more weight in our moral discernment, for theirs is the voice of the voiceless, the voice of God.”
In summary. Irish violence, baaaad. American and British violence, gooood.
Those crazy Jesuits!
Up next. The Warsaw Rising. Why?