Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York has sparked outrage among some Irish republicans and their supporters for comparing the violent Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq to the late 20th century IRA in Northern Ireland.
“The IRA claimed to be Catholic,” Dolan said on CNN. “They were baptized. They had a Catholic identity. But what they were doing was a perversion of everything the church stood for.”
Dolan insisted that Islamic State extremists “do not represent genuine Islamic thought” but are “a particularly perverted form of Islam.”
IrishCentral published a roundup of harrumphs from republican sympathizers. Father Sean McManus, leader of the Irish National Caucus, which lobbies for the North in Congress, said Dolan’s remarks were “profoundly ignorant, totally irresponsible and lacking all credibility.”
As Religion News Service noted, “Some Catholic leaders [in Ireland, north and south] strongly denounced the IRA and sought to downplay the religious aspects of the violence, but the IRA also found support among many clergy and the faithful.”
So far no prominent Irish, Irish-American or Catholic leaders have come to Dolan’s defense. It will be interesting to see if this tempest in a teapot cools off before he leads the annual St. Patrick’s Day in New York later this month.