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Dublin: 16°C Wednesday 6 July 2022

Column: Cardinal Rules - Gaybo for President?

This week, the (not) Primate of All-Ireland writes that (not) Bishop Brady is upset to discover that the man who hosted the ‘Bishop and the nightie’ debate could be running for the Áras.

(Not) Cardinal Sean Brady

THE PRESIDENTIAL race has been lurching from one ludicrous incident to the next.

God be with the days when the campaign looked to have at least one stalwart conservative candidate in the homely, matronly shape of Bridie Keegan. Unfortunately the regrettable beard rash incident with the baby put paid to that.

This week, with the potential arrival of a certain new candidate, has arguably been the most ludicrous of all.


On Monday morning, a loud hammering on our front door announces the arrival of Bishop Brophy. He enters, spluttering, and waving a newspaper.

“Have you see this?” he bellows. “It’s madness. Insane. How can anyone consider him to be a viable option?”

Fr Lawlor interrupts: “I know. He’s too old for starters. Admittedly he’s strong, has good vision, and he has two good feet.”

Bishop Brophy and I look at him. Fr Lawlor looks confused. “We are talking about Wesley Sneijder going to Man United aren’t we?”

Bishop Brophy then launches into a tirade about Gay Byrne: “…‘let the people decide…if there’s enough support I’ll consider it’…unbelievable. That the old arch nemesis of our fine Church could even be considered…”

He goes on for some time. We let him stay for dinner.


I arrive at the breakfast table to be greeted with the sight of Bishop Brophy eating Coco Pops while reading the paper.

He bangs his fist on the table. “Gay Byrne? Gay Byrne!!? I ask you. Even thinking about it makes a mockery of the office of president.”

I pick up the box of Coco Pops only to find that there are none left. Fr Lawlor and I exchange a look.

“That man did more damage to the Church in Ireland than anyone. I suppose if he becomes president he’ll be “facilitating debate” and “listening” to people.” Bishop Brophy digs into his Coco Pops with real fury.

I have to settle for a bowl of Frosties.


We have all settled down in the common room to watch our A-Team box set. We are very excited because we are up to the episode in which Murdoch gets shot. Then Bishop Brophy arrives and stands in the door.

“I mean, how can anyone think that a man who allowed the liberal agenda to find a voice on our television screens can be suitable presidential material? The Bishop and the nightie. The divorce debates. The condom and the banana?”

Everyone shivers involuntarily on the word “condom.”

“I’ll tell you something. There won’t be any rolling it there, Colette, in the Áras. Not if I can help it.”


“…people need to be told what’s best for them. They don’t want some old media has-been shaking hands and being “inclusive” while “fostering” debate and discussion in the highest office in the land.”

We are at breakfast. Bishop Brophy is on his second bowl of Frosties. I am reluctantly eating a boiled egg. Fr Lawlor is nodding and smiling as Bishop Brophy rants.

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Bishop Brophy drops his spoon and looks aghast at the newspaper. “Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street might be getting married.” He is apoplectic. “They are intent on poisoning the minds of our children!”

Fr Lawlor nods and smiles. Bishop Brophy takes it as a gesture of support. I haven’t got the heart to tell him that Fr Lawlor is listening to his iPod.


Bishop Brophy is at the front door saying his goodbyes. He is still railing against Gay Byrne as a possible presidential candidate. But I sense a lack of conviction in him now. He looks defeated, small, and old. It starts to rain. Then it all comes out.

He tells me about his one appearance on the Late Late Show. About how he met Twink and Linda Martin in the green room. Bishop Brophy confesses he was “giddy with excitement.” Then they all had a light-hearted panel discussion, and someone was asked to draw raffle tickets from a drum which was being twirled by Zig and Zag.

The task had been promised to Bishop Brophy, but then Gay Byrne had stood in front of the audience, mentioned a “mystery guest”, done his nose up in the air while rocking back and forth on his heels thing, and introduced Brendan Grace dressed as Bottler.

“Bottler” then drew the raffle tickets to great applause and told a few jokes. Bishop Brophy was devastated.

He can hardly look at me.

“I had a great knock knock joke ready and everything,” he tells me.

I pat him on the shoulder and tell him to go with God.

As I watch him walk down the driveway in the rain I look at the newspaper headline. I know he can at least gain some minor consolation from the fact that Bert and Ernie won’t be getting married now.

From such small mercies…

About the author:

(Not) Cardinal Sean Brady

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