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A Catholic Priest And The Message Of British Guns Good, Irish Guns Bad

I ain’t afraid of no ghost!

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.”

Fuck me…

In summary. Irish violence, baaaad. American and British violence, gooood.

Those crazy Jesuits!

Up next. The Warsaw Rising. Why?


7 comments on “A Catholic Priest And The Message Of British Guns Good, Irish Guns Bad

  1. TurboFurbo

    The Long Retreat is not for everybody – it can be too much for some evidently.

    Oh well, the Jesuits did educate Tom Barry and Kevin Barry (no relations) among many other proud patriots, so we’ll leave the rantings of one Jesuit lie.


  2. odd, can’t the catholic (roman) church be accused of being ‘fascist, authoritarian, violent and anti-democratic’. is this priest a hypocrite. and he will know what jesus thought of hypocrites.


  3. ar an sliabh

    He is a f……g ‘meirican, does anything surprise you yet? After chastising the New York Times (the premier traitor paper of the United States) for failing to understand basic tenets of European history and ethnicity you still seem to not see that they are haplessly uneducated and unwilling to see the world as it actually is. They simply do not get it. Even if they have Irish heritage. Meirican-style anything is incomparable to European understanding, they simply do not have the education necessary to understand. Their socialists (see Jacobin) are stuck in the Lenin-Trotsky-Stalin ways long since proven to be abject abhorrent totalitarian failures.


  4. I would have thought a Jesuit might be better versed on logic.


    • I think it’s a case of domestic Irish politics trumping logic. He was previously associated in some way with the Workers Party, which became a virulently anti-republican party in the 1970s, ’80s and 90s from its former republican roots. Not sure where it stands now, but his objections come out of that ideological perspective. A lot of formerly left-wing radicals in the “West” have ended up in the most odd of places – including as cheerleaders for the misadventures in Iraq and elsewhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post; sometimes you have to laugh even when it’s not all that funny; this is a perfect example of Jesuit logic, and they tend to be more logical than others, I actually admire many of them; but the last time I debated a Jesuit, he kept changing his original argument; when I said it wasn’t fair, he said sure it was, because he was spinning me in circles. “Fuck me”, indeed. Brilliant post.


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