Resisting utterly pointless discussions on the internet is not one of my strong points. Waterford Whispers is a popular satirical blog which generally doles out mildly amusing comments on matters of Irish cultural interest, and as such I quite enjoy it. After following its regular quips for some time I have come to appreciate it as a voice of the new middle class; intensely interested in affairs dear to the ‘squeezed middle’ of Irish society, and almost negligent of social justice as it relates to the poorest. It’s its own thing, and that’s fair enough. What irritated me today was that while it almost ignored the recent race hate riots in Waterford, it elects to be uncompromisingly and aggressively anti-clerical to the point of democratising its loathing for the Church to everyone associated with it.

Yesterday it was a cult – which in the strictest phenomenological sense it is – which preys on the weak and uneducated. That’s me they’re talking about. That is my grandmother, your grandmother, friend, and your colleague. We’re all mentally challenged and morally pathetic. No one is allowed to be offended by this, of course, because Stephen Fry said so. Yet there is a violence in this type of popular public ranting. Let’s be honest, only a fool would try to defend the clerical hierarchy. It is responsible for some serious moral failings. Like Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or Labour it is a human institution which, when in power, permitted (through silence or complicity) horrid things. Yet this was never religion; the sincere hope and faith of billions of wholly innocent people. Catholicism was never the exclusive property of any hierarchy. It was the shared inheritance of an entire community – and it still is.

Meanwhile, thousands of people nationwide have urged the cult to just “shut the fuck up” with their opinions, hinting that their time in Ireland has passed, and to move on to less well off, education-deprived countries instead.
– Waterford Whispers, December 4 2014

Conflating righteous indignation with all things pertaining to the Church – any church and religious tradition – with stupidity and ignorance serves no purpose whatsoever. All that it appears to be is an attempt to bully other citizens of this country (and others) into silence and shame for crimes in which they had no part. Waterford Whispers obviously has its opinion, and I who read it welcome that opinion. It is not my opinion (not all of the time), but to see other opinions pressured into silence by mocking is really not on in a democracy which affords even it the right to speak.


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