The gardai have confirmed that the Director of Public Prosecutions is investigating Dr Boyce, Bishop of Raphoe for a homily he gave at Knock referring to a ‘godless culture’ for breaching theProhibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, 1989. This unwarranted and malicious investigation results from a mischief making complaint from atheist John Colgan, a former Fine Gael candidate who accuses Dr Boyce of inciting hatred against atheists.
Here is the paragraph from Bishop Boyce’s homily that has resulted in a police investigation:
‘The moment of history we live through in Ireland at present is certainly a testing one for the Church and for all of us. Attacked from the outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture: rocked from the inside by the sins and crimes of priests and consecrated people, we all feel the temptation to lose confidence. Yet, our trust is displayed and deepened above all when we are in troubled and stormy waters. It is easier to be confident when we ride on the crest of a wave, when the tide is coming in. Not so easy, however, yet every bit as necessary, when what is proclaimed by the Church namely the truth of faith with its daily practice and influence on behaviour, is under severe pressure.’
The second paragraph from Dr Boyce’s homily included in Mr Colgan’s complaint states:
‘Indeed unless we trust in a higher power, in God himself, what hope can we have? St. Paul told his converts at Ephesus that before they came to know Christ, they were “without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). We need the radiance of a hope that looks beyond the horizons of space and time, one as Pope Benedict teaches “that cannot be destroyed even by small-scale failures or by a breakdown in matters of historic importance” (Spe Salvi No. 35). For the distinguishing mark of Christian believers is “the fact that they have a future: it is not that they know the details of what awaits them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness….To come to know God – the true God – means to receive hope” (Ibid, No. 2.3). We thank God for the faith, that enables us to trust in Him.’
Mr Colgan attempts to justify his ludicrous complaint with the following statement:
‘”I believe statements of this kind are an incitement to hatred of dissidents, outsiders, secularists, within the meaning of the [Incitement to Hatred] Act, who are perfectly good citizens within the meaning of the civil law. The statements exemplify the chronic antipathy towards secularists, humanists etc, which has manifested itself in the ostracising of otherwise perfectly good Irish citizens, who do not share the aims of the Vatican’s Irish Mission Church.”
Martin Long of the Catholic Communications office said:
“I advise any person to read it and judge it for themselves. It is clearly a reasonable, balanced, honest — and indeed self-critical from a church perspective — analysis of the value of the Catholic faith. Bishop Boyce is a good and holy man and much loved by those who know him.”
Protect the Pope comment: This investigation by the Director of Public Prosecutions is ill judged and serves only to discredit the law in Ireland. Any fair minded person reading Bishop Boyce’s homily will find nothing that justifies police action.
Neither Bishop Boyce nor the Catholic Communication Office should publicly respond to Colgan’s malicious complaint, because that will just encourage more humanist thugs to attempt to bully the Church into apologetic silence. Instead for the next month all the bishops of Ireland should make some reference in their homilies to ‘godless culture’ in a show of solidarity with Bishop Boyce.