Oh, The Popes Cross by Chris Shauinger Lewis & Clark FIE Spring 2015
Our second day in Dublin and we unload ourselves from the tour bus at Popes Cross in Phoenix Park. Our wonderful tour leader, Donal Casey, describes the story of the Popes Cross and how it was a grand event for Dublin, an event that crowded the greens surrounding it by at least a million people. From grandmother to youngest, generations of not just Dubliners but all Irish came to pay tribute to the leader of the Catholic Church, the great John Paul ll. This was also the first visit of a pope onto Irish soil, at least physically, because Ireland has felt the grip of the pope since the 11th century.
Oh the irony of Catholicism. As we as a group walk up to the mound that anchors the giant 31 ton, 125 foot cross we were almost blown over by the powerful wind. The force of the wind was astounding. It felt like the beautiful princess, that is Ireland, was displaying her disapproval of this scar on her soil, the scar of the Papal Cross. Maybe I read the wrong stories in my preparation for a semester in Ireland, but if I’m mistaken, wasn’t it the pope that blessed Henry ll’s conquest of Ireland in the late 12th century, a pope that deemed Ireland ignorant and undisciplined, barbarous, uncultured, and ignorant to divine law? A pope that ignored the contributions the Irish Church made to Catholicism like the great monastic schools, Irish missionaries, and the book of Kells, to name just a few? And wasn’t it under the purifying eye of the pope that Henry ll, as the Christian ruler, would rid the church in Ireland of its terrible vice and corruption and urge them to enforce obedience? No more would priesthood be hereditary and passed down from generation to generation in Ireland, a tradition that transitioned from Druid heart of Ireland. No longer were the priests to marry in Ireland. That would be too civil. Also, marriage, marriage should not be performed openly outside of the canon law with the liberties that the social people of Ireland honored. It should be regulate under the watchful eye of the Pope like all other obedient English peoples. But most importantly every household in Ireland must pay the Catholic Church in Rome a penny every year.
The topic of Catholicism in Ireland is on the forefront of discussion today. The intention of helping others is strong in Ireland, but of that under the watchful eye of the Pope? That is changing. (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/ireland/130325/ireland-catholics-continue-flee-church).