Taoiseach’s muddled Catholicism

In this article Michael strips away the emptiness at the heart of the political system.  We can see that there is very little substance to the Taoiseach’s Catholicism. We will be writing a further piece on this but first we want to give our readers a flavour of the reaction during the week.



Comment & Analysis

by Michael Kelly

June 26, 2014
Religion stripped of faith is a pathetic looking crutch


S3-CollateralImage-3-michael-kellyLike many people I watched with interest Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s interview with Gay Byrne on The Meaning of Life at the weekend. Mr Kenny rarely gives interviews, his handlers preferring that he speak in set pieces or scripted opportunities rather than subjecting himself to in-depth questioning.


Anyone who knows The Meaning of Life will appreciate that it is not a political programme and, being produced by RTE’s Religious Affairs Department, concentrates broadly on spirituality and the attitude of the guest to the eternal questions.
Presenter Gay Byrne described Mr Kenny as a “very straightforward man”. I was keen to see Mr Kenny articulate his faith, given the fact that he is frequently at pains to point to his Catholicism. In fact, Fine Gael loyalists and some of their clerical supporters have sometimes pointed to Mr Kenny’s Catholicism as proof that his abortion legislation is not something Catholics should be concerned about.
So, what picture emerges of Mr Kenny’s faith? Well, Gay Byrne is right: Mr Kenny is a straightforward man. His interview reveals that he is, at best, a confused Catholic. One might even suggest that Mr Kenny’s attachment to his Catholicism borders on the sentimental. His views on some of the core beliefs that make Catholics Catholic are probably more akin to a thoughtful agnostic rather than a Catholic struggling with the reality of doubt before the mystery of God.
Mr Kenny appears uncomfortable in the interview with the idea of a personal God. Instead, he asserts his belief in an “energy or spirit [that] is around”. There is, he asserts, “an energy, a force, an almightiness there that is certainly beyond my reach”.
But, the Christian God and the idea of incarnation seems like an alien concept to Mr Kenny. “I can’t see it as a person or as a being,” the Taoiseach adds.
Mr Kenny readily admits that he doesn’t pray, but does go to Mass to “communicate with that spirit”. His faith, he says, is in “my God, and my God is that energy and power that I feel”.
Gay Byrne, ever the professional and realising the Taoiseach’s muddled thinking, asks if Mr Kenny recites the Our Father or the Hail Mary to which Mr Kenny says he does. “But to whom? What’s in your head?” Mr Byrne asks. “They’re part of the faith I was taught and the story behind it,” Mr Kenny answers without even trying to explain what he means.
On the Eucharist, the source and summit of the life of a Catholic, Mr Kenny admits that he sees the Mass as little more than a community get-together. He is dismissive of talk of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist preferring instead to return to his themes of ‘energy’ and ‘forces’ that guide him.
Mr Kenny says he is guided by an “inner belief that you want to do what is right”. He is firm in his conviction that he “happens to be a Catholic” and insists that he would never allow his Catholicism (such as it is) to influence his politics. It begs the obvious questions: what does influence Enda Kenny’s politics? What roots his morality? On what basis does he build his moral reasoning and decision-making about complex moral issues?
I can’t judge Mr Kenny’s inner-life, or his relationship with God (whatever he imagines that to be). But, he certainly comes across in the interview as a man who has given very little thought to the eternal questions about life. His belief and trust in ‘forces’ and ‘energies’ seems more in line with vague new-ageism rather than the Catholicism he claims to profess.
Mr Kenny, who was himself a teacher of religion in a Catholic school, appears in the interview to be the product of a very weak form of religious education where faith is reduced to sentimentalism and a search for ambiguous feelings of wellness.
Religion and spirituality stripped of faith is a pathetic looking crutch. Belief must have a content and a context, without either, it flounders in to a form of thinking where doubt becomes the only goal. Doubt, of course, is part of any serious faith journey, but it’s not the destination.
Doubt, like hunger, is a motivation to search for nourishment and fulfilment. However, for some, doubt has become the goal rather than the impetus to search more deeply.

9 Responses

  1. Mr. Kenny is a very stupid man.
    The whole world saw that when he was caught texting right in the front row while Pope Benedict spoke.
    Expect more of the same from this empty suit.


  2. Mr. Kenny?
    Stupid !
    That about sums it up.


  3. Do provide a link if you have it.


  4. There was an interesting discussion around this on George Hook the other evening. A clip from star Wars was played alongside Enda’s comments and the conclusion was that he was a a Jedi!


  5. The reason is quite simple that was a trailer last week. We have the link to the full programme on that post on RTE player.


  6. “Gay Byrne, ever the professional and realising the Taoiseach’s muddled thinking, asks if Mr Kenny recites the Our Father or the Hail Mary to which Mr Kenny says he does. “But to whom? What’s in your head?” Mr Byrne asks. “They’re part of the faith I was taught and the story behind it,” Mr Kenny answers without even trying to explain what he means.”

    Mr. Kenny is no theologian yet it would seem to me that he has taken on board a disbelief about “the faith” in a Christian God as a living being and “the story behind it”, the obvious signs of this being that his ‘beliefs’ are the same as those who have embraced ‘the energy’ and ‘the force’. Without any discernment on his part it would seem that he embraces ‘the faith’ in “The Magic in You” regardless of how ridiculous or untrue “the story behind it”.

    Mr. Kenny I would advise you to rethink on the direction you seemed to be mesmerised into taking; the last thing we need in Ireland is a leader who is seduced into a belief system that promises the illusion of “indestructible” personal power. The truth is, you cannot change the minds of those who understand what you are going through and it will, most definitely, destroy your cult driven ‘vocation’ in politics.


  7. What is Enda Kenny hiding from? Can he clarify exactly why he thinks that attending mass is nothing more than a sign of his faith in God, or ‘the energy’ or ‘the force’ and not his belief in catholic teachings? If not from his Catholic upbringing, where did his ‘inner beliefs’ come from?

    The Educo cult considers itself all powerful; criticism against the cult from outside is regarded as harmless; “a drop in the ocean” being the words used to encourage attenders of the cult to ignore, NOT THINK about, what is being said. This tells us that they consider themselves vast and “indestructible” and the result of Tony Quinn’s ‘AMAZING’ power.

    The worst illusion that anyone can have is to believe that indoctrinated ‘religious’ cultic beliefs come from their inner self. Enda Kenny should THINK about what he is saying.


  8. All of the relevant conversation pertaining to the Taoiseach’s ‘energy’ and ‘force’ inner beliefs at not on the above u-tube clip. Why is this?


  9. muddled as muddled can be All the best, Mike, Paul


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