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Letter from Dublin

Ireland has a different word for hypocrisy—useful to politicians, priests and sportsmen alike

By Colin Murphy   February 2010

Mass cards: a peculiarly Irish institution, “guaranteeing” a blessing from a priest

If there were a phrase to capture the year just passed in Ireland, and perhaps the Celtic Tiger era that preceded it, it must be “mental reservation.” This was the process by which the former archbishop of Dublin, Cardinal Desmond Connell, misled people about his handling of abuse complaints against the Catholic church, without apparently offending his conscience. In the early 1990s, Connell loaned church money to a paedophile priest to compensate one of his victims; he subsequently denied having done so to reporters. Confronted about this later…

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