A senior Cork-based priest has launched an astonishing attack on "women writers" in Sunday newspapers who he says "seem to be the most belligerent" in the current climate of anti-Catholic church attacks.
In a parish newsletter circulated to the faithful of the Clonakilty and Darrara parish earlier this month, Monsignor Leonard O'Brien PP – who is one of two Vicars General in the Cork and Ross diocese – criticises what he calls "lapsed Catholics, who no longer accept the church which Jesus founded".
"Not satisfied with walking away, [they] insist on calling for the 'dismantling' of the church which they have left," he writes. "In the current climate of anti-Catholic attacks, women writers seem to be the most belligerent, especially those who write for the Sunday papers," he said. "It leads one to wonder if, in the world of reptiles, the female of the species packs the more venomous bite."
He also appears to attack the funeral arrangements of the late broadcaster Gerry Ryan.
In his treatise entitled "The Institutional Church", O'Brien continues on this theme by referencing a Patrick Kavannagh [sic] poem entitled 'House Party to Celebrate the Destruction of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland'.
He says the poet wrote the poem in response to an anti-Catholic book by a "long forgotten lady author".
"Kavanagh mocked her efforts with his poem… the poet who did not 'do' political correctness described the lady as 'A female replica of Cromwell's face' adding cruelly 'her wart was a beauty mole,'" he writes.
Elsewhere in the newsletter, O'Brien describes how critics of the Catholic church "love to speak of the 'institutional church' on the one hand and the 'real' church on the other."
But, he argues, it is not too clear what they mean by the "real" church.
"Some kind of loose association of believers who follow Christ without the support of Sacraments, or Mass or public prayer… that is until they die when they are solemnly brought back to their parish church for an elaborate funeral service, (broadcast, of course, and streamed on Google.)"
Mgr O'Brien declined to comment when contacted by the Sunday Tribune, saying only: "You know what Pilate wrote, don't you know... Ever heard of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor? Quod scripsi, scripsi.What I have written, I have written."