WEDNESDAY found both the British prime minister and the Irish taoiseach passionately addressing their parliaments about the demystified lords of their universes.
Frantically distancing himself from the pope of Fleet Street, David Cameron sardonically assured riled-up lawmakers that he had never seen Rebekah Brooks in her PJs because he had not attended Gordon Brown’s wife’s slumber party at Chequers with Wendi Deng and Elisabeth Murdoch in 2008.
He conceded that he should not have ignored warnings from the palace and elsewhere against bringing a capo from the sulfurous Murdoch gang into his inner circle.
Across the Irish Sea in Dublin, Enda Kenny took on the actual pope, making a blazing speech about the Vatican’s unconscionable behavior in the pedophilia scandal.
After 17 years of revolting revelations, Kenny said the latest report on the Cloyne diocese in County Cork exposed “an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades ago.”
The report, he said, “excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism, the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day. The rape and torture of children were downplayed or ‘managed’ to uphold, instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and ‘reputation.’
“Far from listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal with St. Benedict’s ‘ear of the heart,’ the Vatican’s reaction was to parse and analyze it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer. This calculated, withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman church was founded.”
Pulling back the curtain to expose the profane amid the sacred would have been remarkable coming from any leader in one of the many countries scarred by pedophile priests, but from the devoutly Catholic prime minister of a nation whose constitution once enshrined the special position of the church, it was breathtaking.
The Irish were taken aback by the ire of the ordinarily amiable, soft-spoken Kenny, the longest-serving parliamentarian in the land. In his first few months as Taoiseach, the 60-year-old had not given any sign that he could throw such Zeus-style thunderbolts.