Saint Patrick Drove Snakes Out of Ireland – The Clergy Drove Him Out

Reading an article the other day about Ireland it stated that the Catholic archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid  Martin, estimated that only 20% of the population are true believers in the Catholic Church.

He went on to say: “I could spend all my time being concerned about the people who come to church, but they’re — you know I don’t want to be nasty — but they’re a dying breed, The situation is changing, but Irish Catholicism hasn’t changed with it.”

Who’d ever have thought that a bishop in the Catholic Church in Ireland would call those in the Church who were still true believers a dying breed. He did cling to a sliver of hope that the abandoning of the Church may be stopped and that the Church may reconnect with the people during the ongoing discussions over the upcoming vote next year to repeal the Eighth Amendment

He said: “The one way the church could lose” in the debate “is to compromise its position.” The Eighth Amendment prohibits abortion. Ireland is planning to vote on legalizing abortion.

Garry O’Sullivan a book and newspaper publisher stated: “I think this referendum on abortion is the last stand for church versus state in Ireland. The last hurrah for having influence.” Obviously he believes as do many others that the ban on abortions will be lifted. A mere 37 years ago by an over two-thirds vote it was made part of the Constitution.

Ireland, the most Catholic of nations, whose people underwent centuries of suffering and death, comparable to the Jews, to cling to the teachings of St. Patrick is changed. What happened that caused so many to reject those teachings which had sustained them over fifteen hundred years?

As if caught outside in a sudden downpour they we’re drenched in scandalous clergy behavior.  One bishop had a child he was supporting from church funds in America, another was going on vacation to the hot bed of sexual perversities, Thailand, and the carapace of holiness surrounding the parish priest crumbled with each new allegation of wrongful sexual behavior by a priest.  Then the people learned of the Magdalene Laundries, the abuse suffered by unwed mothers, the neglected orphans of Tuam, children beaten and molested in industries all run by the Catholic Church.

The barbarity and depravity of the Catholic Church in Ireland with its total power brought back to mind the words of Christ found in Matthew 25:27,28 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! On the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” 

The Church lost respect and was stripped of its influence over a stunningly short time. It came about not through any doctrinal error but through the supreme arrogance of its clergy where even the local parish priest ruled his flock with a stern hand threatening excommunication to those who strayed. The bishops using these priests exercised total power over all the country. Lord Acton’s statement proved right: “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The facade of holiness having toppled over the people were appalled at what was behind it. They fled from it in droves. Saint Patrick was driven out of Ireland by the betrayal of those who on the outside preached his teachings but on the inside were full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Ireland is no longer Catholic. Bereft of its Catholic character what will be left of it, Much of its literature and culture which I have enjoyed reflects its Catholicism. It is the Catholic belief along with its foibles that made an Irish person to what he or she became.

I wonder if Ireland can be Ireland without its Catholic faith? Would Israel be Israel without its Jewish faith? Are religious beliefs intrinsic to a nation’s identity? We’ll soon find out. But Ireland will never be the same again. Much more the pity.


  1. Bill C

    all I can do is plant Trojan Horses here

    I never said I would take responsibility
    from the effects if you looked inside

    I used to have a roomate at Brandeis
    who was a member of the campus Israeli
    dance group

    He would travel with the group and perform
    at events in full costume

    He introduced me to the International Folk
    Dancing classes held at MIT every Sunday
    night at the Student Union Center. It was a
    free event and allowed me to learn and participate
    in some great tribal rituals.

    This video captures some of the essence of using a tribal
    ritual to transcend the John Connolly time space

  2. I try to read Schweitzer’s book every spring. One of my father’s heroes.

    Great post, Bill C.

  3. Msfreeh; I’d recommend other methods of transcending tribalism.

    You know what George Santayana said: Those who do not know the past, are doomed to repeat it.

    Tribes are good, like families, neighbors, communities, city-states and countries. You’ve heard of Roots, perhaps? We all have them. Know them; know others’ pasts; study history; it’s bracing.

    How can we human beings transcend tribes, while respecting tribes. The experts at it are the Judaeo-Christians. Through the Bible, the so-called Old and New Testaments, they shared their faiths, taught all and transcended tribalism, while celebrating ethnic identities.

    You’ve know Christians of every race and ethnic group. You’ve known Jews of every race and ethnic group. Half of Israelis are blue-eyed Europeans; most of the rest Middle Eastern or Northern African; but I have a friend who is from a tribe within a tribe: Ethiopian Jews and he has family who are Sudanese Jews and family who are Chilean and Honduran and American, and he speaks fluent Spanish, English and Hebrew.

    Just by being a person, a human being, he is both a member of a tribe (historically and genetically) and he transcends tribalism by being a fellow human being of planet earth.

    No contradiction. Think of how the synagogues and churches spread learning. Think of the music, the cantors and organists. Think of Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, the Nutcracker. Think of how Bernstein (West Side Story) and Gershwin (Porgy and Bess) and Rodgers and Hammerstein and all the Broadway composers brought us together through music. Think of all the disparate poets and novelists who brought us together, especially when they described their particular neck of the woods. To Kill a Mockingbird; the Dubliners; Richard Wright’s Native Son; Kafka, Dostoevsky . . . we read, we enter their world, and our world is enriched. Thank you, Boris Pasternack for sharing Doctor Zhivago, for being a member of a Slavic tribe and a thoughtful passionate human being.

    Now think of all the devout and religious figures who gave us science: Mendel (genetics) Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, Father LeMaitre (the Big Bang), Einstein, Salk and Sabin. Raised in devout families: they shared their insights with the world. Talk about surpassing tribalism.

    Think of the singers: Barbara Streisand singing Silent Night, Neil Diamond singing They’re Coming to America, Sweet Caroline, Van Morrison’s Gloria, the Kingston Trio’s Charley on the MTA, the Clancy brothers with Four Green Fields. Think of Art Tatum, Jimmy Hendrix, Joe Cocker, U2, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones.

    To be a member of a tribe, a group, is good. To share your talents with others is golden. The Beatles never stopped being lads from Liverpool, English through and through, or rather Irish-English mongrels blessed with musical genius.

    Members of many tribes have shared inestimable gifts with the world, while never forsaking their religious, cultural, historic or ethnic roots. JFK was one. W.B. Yeats another. C. S. Lewis a third. And Albert Schweitzer, that great Austrian organist/pianist/doctor/philosopher who spent his entire post-doctoral life working with the poorest of the poor in Equatorial Africa; he never forgot his Austrian-Christian roots, and all he took with him to Africa was his wife, daughter, his medical bag and an upright piano . . . want to transcend tribalism? I’d recommend reading Schweitzer’s Reverence for Life.

  4. Ay Matty me lad. It all goes
    back to the tribal thang,eh?

    As I age I seem to be dumping
    a lot of my tribal allegiances

    They seem to be holding me back
    from moving on to the other
    dimensional possibilities out there

    Yep dumping the earth/3 dimensional
    universe seems like a distinct possibility

    Jane Roberts laid out the maps for these
    possibilities in her 1970’s Seth book series

    Start with Seth Speaks the Nature of Personal

    But you can’t get there if you hang onto your

    As you constantly remind your followers:

    ” you are only as high as the people you
    hang out with”

    They can only take your conscious to where their
    consciousness is.


    Transcending Tribal Mentality
    By Caroline Myss

    Transcending Tribal Mentality
    All of us are born into a “tribal mentality” of various forms. These include our family unit, religious background, country of origin, ethnicity, etc. The tribal mentality effectively indoctrinates an individual into the tribe’s beliefs, ensuring that all believe the same. The structure of reality – what is and is not possible for the members of the group – is thus agreed upon and maintained by the tribe.

    While the tribal mentality has definite benefits in terms of establishing common ground and ensuring group survival, it is not a conscious agreement. We are born into it. Yet at a certain stage, both personally and collectively, the tribal mentality must be challenged. People can then begin to recognize the need for a personal honor code independent of the tribe. If humanity is to progress, we need to learn how to treat everyone – regardless of tribal affiliation – with honor and respect.

    Every one of us is plugged into the tribal mind. We support tribal belief patterns by directing a percentage of our life force into maintaining our affiliation with the tribe. This involves an implicit agreement to think like the tribe thinks, to evaluate situations and people the way the tribe does, and to believe in right and wrong according to tribal values and ambitions. As long as the tribal mentality within us remains unexamined, we unwittingly subject others to our tribal laws.

    When we are plugged into tribal thought forms, we can easily believe in nonsensical prejudices held by the tribe. Tribal mentality allows us to hold harsh, judgmental positions or attitudes about an entire group of people: “All fat people are lazy,” or “all Irish are drunks,” or “all Muslims are terrorists” for example.

    A rigid tribal thought form may have little truth to it, but individuals hold to such beliefs because that perspective is what the tribe has agreed to believe. Innocent children, born into the hatred and prejudice of their parents and ancestors, grow up inside a tribal mentality that sponsors an endless march toward war against the tribe’s perceived enemies. People grow up hating other people – people they have never seen – based on group affiliation. This is the shadow side of the tribe.

    Inevitably, some among us come to a point where we want to break out of the inflexible tribal mentality. At some point, these individuals want to explore, develop, and manage their own consciousness without the judgments and limitations of the tribal mind.

    It is easy to spot these mavericks when they start to question and unplug from tribal mentality – they hang out on the periphery looking bored and restless, or whimsical and dreamy. Others may act out the agitated hot-head as they challenge tribal ways.

    The unspoken assumption of the tribal mind is that everybody loves being part of the tribe. And in many ways, we do. Knowing where and to whom we “belong” is crucial to our self-concept and sense of safety in the world. Yet when we begin the real deep journey of questioning, “What do I believe?” and start to individuate from the tribe, we often enter a dark night of the soul. It is, by necessity, a passage we take alone.

    It’s one thing to reject what we don’t want to believe anymore. It’s quite another to begin to explore what we do believe. All we know as we enter the dark night is that we can’t go back – even when the tribe is the only world we’ve ever known.

    At this critical point in our development, the tribe doesn’t feel right anymore. It no longer offers us comfort. Previous feelings of security and familiarity begin to feel like a trap constraining our individuality and hampering our efforts to discover deeper levels of who we really are.

    This dark night passage pushes us to look at our false gods – the tribal belief patterns in which we’ve become invested and to which we’ve given our allegiance.

    The Language of Wounds

    For a large segment of the population, the language of wounds has become the new tribal language of intimacy. Prior to the current age of personal therapy – which only really took off in the 1960s and 70s – the tribal language of intimacy largely involved the sharing of only superficial personal and family data. Deeper matters such as family secrets like sexual abuse or a mad aunt or uncle were shared with exceedingly few, if any.

    Divorce and financial information were also considered very intimate. People would almost never talk about such matters, or about their inner life and emotions. They talked only about the details of what was going on in their external lives. The tribal mentality at the time kept people from revealing intimate matters or deep wounds or traumas even with their family and close friends.

    The current age of personal therapy has brought about a very different situation. Now, the tribal mentality has shifted such that we not only share our intimate feelings more openly and willingly, many have even begun to define themselves by their wounds. Let me give an example of how this phenomenon plays itself out.

    I was in an Indian restaurant in Scotland talking with two men friends when the woman friend I was to meet for dinner walked up and greeted the three of us. After I had introduced her, another man walked over and asked if she was free on June 8th, as he thought she might like to attend a lecture on that date. The question required little more than a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ answer.

    Instead of a simple answer, she began an elaborate discussion about June 8th. “Did you say June 8th? No, no. Any other day would be fine, but not June 8th. That’s the day my incest survivor group meets and I have to be there because we never let each other down.” She went on and on for at least a full minute with this.

    Later, I asked her, “Do you realize that in that brief introduction, you told two men whom you have never met before that 1) you had experienced incest, 2) you were still in therapy about it, 3) you were angry about it, 4) you were angry at men, and 5) you needed to determine the course of the conversation – all in one minute?”

    She replied, “Well, I am a victim of incest.”

    To which I replied, “I know that. Why did you have to let them know that?”

    She was operating from a tribal mentality. The group mind within the incest survivor community has a belief about how this particular wound should be healed. The tribe says, “You need a group.” The tribe says, “You have a right to be angry.”

    People now get together in support group tribes that function within many of the same rigid frameworks of ethnic, national, or family tribes. Some feel that the comfort and security of belonging to a group or tribe is more important than venturing alone in the direction of real healing.

    Tribalism in Relationships

    The tendency toward tribalism can keep us stuck in repeating negative cycles in our intimate relationships, and can wreak havoc when a relationship is ripe for transition. Tribal mentality often teaches a righteous stance in relationships: an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. When we feel violated, the first thought is vengeance, rather than forgiveness.

    Tribal mentality even has gender-specific undercurrents – women do vengeance differently than men. Yet for both genders, what rules the day is the tribal mentality that holds “breaking up is painful” or “betrayal warrants retaliation.”

    Healing revolves around this crucial question: “Do you want to make different choices?” Are we willing to let go of old, constricting tribal patterns? Sadly, the answer quite often is “No.” Being healthy isn’t always the most appealing option. Quite frankly, in many cases, it’s not appealing at all. What is most appealing is being out of pain. Old patterns are difficult to relinquish because they do serve to relieve pain, even if it is only in the short run.

    Change is terrifying for many precisely because short-term pain relief must be given up. Deep healing requires learning to tolerate the pain that comes with change. Fortunately, the growing pains that come with new behavior – with making the choices that will change your life – are often short-lived.

    Thought alone doesn’t heal. Nor does action without thought. For deep healing to occur, we need the chemistry of conscious thought and direct action combined. Every thought or attitude we have – whether consciously chosen or unconsciously adopted through the tribal mind – invests a part of our life-force into that thought or attitude. This is true whether the thought is one of betrayal and vengeance, or of understanding and forgiveness.

    What matters is that a whole system of consciousness – the old tribal mentality – no longer holds us enthralled. We no longer have faith in those limiting patterns of thought. Through this transformation we learn a whole new level of trust. We break the habit of telling tribal lies which bring short-term comfort but long-term pain. We develop a new sense of self-worth and of trust and honor.

    In spite of all the heavy tribal conditioning, we now have hope because tribal mentality the world over is going through a vast transformation. And each one of us can play a vital role in this transformation.

    With increasing numbers of individuals changing and transcending limiting tribal beliefs, the codes of the tribe are being affected. As we collectively change and evolve, the tribes around us gradually change and evolve with us. Yet ultimately, the journey upon which we are embarking is an incredible solo flight of transcending the tribe to find our own trust, honor, and new sense of self-worth and meaning in life.

    Note: Caroline Myss ( is a medical intuitive, and author of numerous books and audio tapes, including three New York Times best sellers. The above is an edited excerpt of her essay titled “Leaving the Wounded Relationship Tribe,” taken from a compilation of essays by various authors in the enlightening book, The Marriage of Sex & Spirit, edited by Geralyn Gendreau.

  5. Thank you, Bill C, for covering so detailed and eloquently the tragic history of Ireland. The Famine was not just a failure of economic theory. Many government decision makers were cognizant of the genocidal consequences of the economic policy and not adverse to them. Today’s collapse of faith has many roots. The only significant one, though not as important as the others, that should be added is the worst marketing decision in the history of mankind. It makes the Edsel and New Coke look like strokes of pure genius. It is popularly known as Vatican II.

  6. P.S. If you read Thomas Sowell’s Ethnic America, you appreciate more the sufferings of all who came to America. The Irish on the Coffin Ships experienced the same death rate as Africans during the trans-atlantic slave trade. That would be another 15%-20% Irish dying in passage (on board in transit or ships sunk). Once landing in America, they experienced appalling infant mortality, maternal mortality and other high mortality rates: disease was rampant in congested unsanitary slums they were forced to live in; so add another 15-20% death rate. In all, over one million died in Ireland, perhaps 200,000 in transit, and another 200-300,000 excess deaths year: From 1.5 to 2.0 million deaths in five to seven years; and the mortality rates continued high for another decade.

    The Jews suffered the highest death rate under the Nazis; but an equal or greater number of Ukrainians were killed by Stalin; and a far greater number of Chinese died under Mao, but not proportionally so

    It was pre-dominantly the non-Chritian Nazis and Communists who perpetrated the greatest horrors in history.

    But no nation, ethnic group, race or religion has pitched a perfect game on planet Earth . . . not yet!

  7. I’m more persuaded by C. S. Lewis, Albert Schweitzer, Mother Teresa, and the wonderful priests and sisters from Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Korea and China (Taiwan) I’ve met in passing studying at local colleges throughout the Boston area over the years.

    The Church has been a liberator throughout the world, a light unto the world, of charity, healing, learning, teaching and spreading the one true faith: Christianity. Judaism is true, too; so says the Church. There are truths in other religions. Wonderful passages in the Koran; profound thoughts in Buddhism and Hinduism.

    Oh, ye of little faith! Yes, the lukewarm will shrink, desert, surrender. Yes, we have free will.

    On abortion: America’s number of abortions have plummeted to its lowest rate in decades, perhaps a lower rate per capita than before Roe v. Wade.

    The leftist Press in Ireland and throughout the world so browbeats the populace with leftists propaganda, that they sometimes win temporary battles. But, the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church and its truths. Elective abortion is the killing of an unborn human child. As the Angel of the Lord said to Joseph, “Mary is with child . . . .

    Eternal truths will prevail. As we were taught growing up: Do good and fear no man. The truth will out! meaning the truth will win out in the end.

    Hey, like St. Francis taught by his example: be kind to animals; the Medical Profession has stopped experimenting on chimps and all sorts of mammals. Truth wins! Truths eventually sink in, even into those who see through a glass darkly, as we all do!

  8. Matt: I think Ireland will be fine without the oppression of the Church. By the way, there’s a new Indie film called “Lady Bird.” It’s the coming-of-age story of a Catholic schoolgirl in Sacramento. (The star is the fine Irish actress, Saoirse Ronan.) Anyway, every single priest and nun depicted in the film is a sympathetic character, something you just don’t see these days on the silver screen.)

  9. Thank you, Matt:

    “Ireland, the most Catholic of nations, whose people underwent centuries of suffering and death, comparable to the Jews,…”

    I’m largely ignorant on this, especially on how it’s comparable to the Jews’ suffering. Any good references you and others might provide for this would be much appreciated.

    • Hundreds of years of persecution by the British, capped by the Great Famine. Still, there’s nothing that compares to the horror of the Holocaust.

      • DanC,

        Exactly my thoughts. Awaiting refuting evidence…

      • Not really: One third of Europe’s Jews perished in the Holocaust; one third of Ireland’s population was lost in the Great Famine years; and 15% died to hunger and diseases associated therewith; the Great Famine was preceded by earlier and some say worst famines in Ireland caused by Britain’s laissez faire economic imperialistic policies, including exporting food from Ireland while millions starved.

        Under Oliver Crowmell et al the Irish population was reduced to 650,000 and driven to Connaught, Galway, to perish and starve to death: “To Hell or Connaught (Connemara)” was Cromwell’s swordsmen’s cry as they butchered Irish Catholic men, women and children. They did a nasty bit on the Scottish Presbyterians, too. Even under good Queen Bess the Irish suffered; her forces slaughtered 35,000 Irish. Funny both she and Mary put heretics to flame; but so called “Bloody” Mary didn’t kill thousands of Irish; Elizabeth did!

        But miraculously, back then, the potato was introduced to Ireland, the Irish population swelled in shanties , shacks and hovels . . . dirt poor farmers, from half a million in 1650 by 1845 the population rose to 8.5 million, just before the Great Famine. Within a decade or so, due to death and emigration, as said, the population sunk to 6 million or less.

        Why did they subsist on potatoes? Because the British Government took all other crops from them to pay for “rent”.

        2. Despair not! Read “How the Irish Saved Western Civilization” In the dark ages, when about 1% of the population was Catholic, of the practicing kind, the Irish monks spread learning and the word of Christ throughout Europe.

        3. As for priest predators; statistics show more predators (pedophiles and pedarasts) exist in public schools, YMCAs, Boy Scouts, etc, than in the priesthood. In fact the long running show To Catch a Predator, caught no priests, a couple rabbis and ministers, and the rest were mostly non-believers.

        4. Don’t fall for leftist propaganda. Poland is very Catholic. Orthodox Christianity is resurgent in Russia and elsewhere. Throughout the world there are 2 Billion Christians. Evangelicals are resurgent. Conservative reformation is sweeping America, Europe and the World. Even the Royal House in England will see the wedding of an American-Catholic to its prince heir. She will convert to Anglicanism. There’s nary a hair’s breadth of difference between the two in teaching the essentials of Christianity and that’s true of the vast, vast majority of Christianity adherents, Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox, et al.

        Fear not.

        It’s better to light a candle than curse the darknes!

        • I live in Ireland. This country is much more complicated than the Ireland imagined by most ‘Yanks’ and promoted by the Irish government tourist offices.

          Just how ‘Roman Catholic’ was Ireland prior to Cromwell is a subject worthy of discussion. The Norman ‘invaders’ invited to Ireland by the Irish king of leinster Diarmait Mac Murchada in the 12th century, beginning Norman rule, were Catholic. St Patrick was sent to Ireland to drive out the Celtic church and establish Latin Rite Catholicism, i. e. rule from Rome.

          There was sufficient food available during the famine, but people would not eat cornmeal or fish.