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Column: Cardinal Rules - On using the Sunday Independent as his bible

This week, the (not) Primate of All Ireland finds that a certain article about “the gays” could become an “ideological springboard” for him and his clerical pals.

(Not) Cardinal Sean Brady

WHAT A WEEK. A week of turmoil and upheaval the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades. But enough about Fr Farrell losing his favourite Snoopy socks in the wash. Other events also grabbed our attention.


After mass a very excited Bishop Brophy rings. “Have you read the Sunday Independent?”

“Not since Aengus Fanning did that lovely interview with me,” I reply.

“Read it!” he shouts. “There’s an opinion piece in it about the gays.”

“Is it a well balanced, rationally argued piece, espousing what some woolly liberal types might see as an unconscionable point of view?”

“It’s written by Eamon Delaney.”

“That’s a yes then.”

Later that day I read the article. It is very impressive indeed. “It’s like he’s saying what we’re all thinking,” says Bishop Brophy. I have to agree.


Bishop Brophy calls to the house. He is waving the Eamon Delaney piece. “I will use this article as an ideological springboard for a new campaign to raise people’s awareness about the gays’ sinister plan to subvert normal society.”

He shoves the dog-eared piece of paper into my hand. He has all the best bits highlighted in green marker. He also has ideas and suggestions of his own scribbled in the margins. I am particularly thrilled by the phrases “re-education centres”, “time for a cure” and “buy a small gay island and leave them on it”.

Later that day he gathers the priests into the common room for a training session. He even has a flip chart a big red marker. There is a lot of shouting and fist shaking. Everyone is “raring to go” in what will no doubt be the first of a new wave in the fight against gayness. We are all very excited.

Then it’s time for our afternoon nap.


At Bishop Brophy’s second training session he addresses us all with typically unbridled passion.

Bishop Brophy: Being gay is a choice.

Fr Lawlor: You mean like picking a sandwich filling?

Bishop Brophy: Yes. It is just like picking a sandwich filling.

Fr Brennan: I always ask them to hold the cucumber. Brings me out in hives.

Fr Deegan: That’s not a choice though, is it? It just means that cucumbers are bad for you and you have no choice but to avoid them.

Bishop Brophy: Yes, and being gay is bad for you. People should realise that and accept it. They should say ‘Stop right there. I know exactly what I want in my sandwich and it’s certainly not that.’


Fr Lawlor: Are we still talking about cucumbers?


For his next training session, Bishop Brophy decides to give us a “visual metaphor” expressing how harmful choosing to be gay can be. He has Fr Lawlor eat a tomato sandwich, and Fr Brennan reluctantly eats a cucumber sandwich. Both sit side by side at the top of the common room. Fr Brennan does not look well at all.

Bishop Brophy: This is what happens when you choose to be gay.

Fr Deegan: You break out in hives?

Bishop Brophy: No, not exactly…

Fr O’Shea: What’s the story with Fr Lawlor?

Bishop Brophy: He’s chosen tomatoes.

A confused silence.

Bishop Brophy: As a sandwich filling.

A slightly more confused silence.

Bishop Brophy: It’s a metaphor!

Fr Ryan: Oh. Oh right.

Fr Deegan: What if you’re allergic to tomatoes?

We break for lunch, which gives Bishop Brophy some time to calm down.


Bishop Brophy is as bullish as ever at his next seminar.

Bishop Brophy: Remember, gayness is learned behaviour.

Fr Lawlor: I thought you said it was a choice.

Bishop Brophy: Well, it can be a bit of both.

Fr Deegan: Like learning your twelve times tables?

Bishop Brophy: I’m not sure I follow you.

Fr Deegan: Well I can choose to learn my twelve times tables or not.

Fr Lawlor: What’s twelve times twelve?

Fr Deegan: One hundred and forty four.

Fr Lawlor: You made the right choice. Good for you.

That afternoon I find Bishop Brophy re-reading the article in a corner. His lips are moving in that charming fashion of his, and he looks moved to tears.


Bishop Brophy delivers a quick seminar on the art of arguing against “certain degenerate social groups.” He tells us to always remember to start with “Some of my best friends are (insert minority interest group here).” Follow this with a very large  ‘BUT.’” This large qualifier must then be followed by a reasoned and well argued rebuttal to this minority group’s claim for certain perceived “rights.”

After delivering your piece, you must twirl your imaginary moustache, and finish with “Aha!” then ride off into the metaphorical sunset on your great big stallion of righteousness, with the admiring glow of all reasonable sensible people at your back.

“Remember,”  he says “we don’t want these people ‘abnormalising’ society, thereby destroying the sanctity of marriage and the family unit.”

“I suppose it all comes down to who will think of the children?” says Fr O’ Rourke.

“Woh, dude, slow down,” says Fr Murphy.

Oh and how we laugh.

Read previous Cardinal Rules columns>

Read more: Column – Eamon Delaney’s attack on gay people is full of all the oldest tricks>

About the author:

(Not) Cardinal Sean Brady

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