Archive for January, 2013

Death of a Garda

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Life is fragile. Very. And it can be brutal. Or human beings can be. The murder of Garda Adrian Donohoe shocked us: a professional policeman and, as such, a representative of the State, gunned down mercilessly in the line of duty. The murderer reminds us that homo sapiens is a species of animal, capable of beastly and inhumane acts to his fellow man. To summarily rob the wonder of life is the cruelest act, violating the victim and his wife and children, his friends and colleagues, his relatives, and the State he served – by all accounts – so well.
Let us remember Garda Adrian Donohoe at this time of trauma and grief for his loved ones and for the State, and at this sad moment for humanity, and we salute all gardai who put their lives at risk to protect and serve this Republic.

Father Flannery, the Vatican and the Taliban

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Father Tony Flannery was told by the Vatican that he could only resume his priestly ministry if he agreed, amongst other things, that women should never be ordained as priests. In light of the so-called Catholic Schools Week designated for next week 27 January to 3 February, are we to take it that children, especially girls, are required to be taught that they, and any of their gender, can never be priests because they are female? Are ordinary parents, innocently depositing their daughters (and sons) in Catholic schools, happy that unmitigated sexual discrimination under the guise of religious claptrap is being taught to their children? Are people who are capable of thinking for themselves not outraged that nuns, priests and teachers are required to indoctrinate such Stone Age folly in the 21st century? Are ordinary Catholics not outraged at the treatment of Father Flannery by the Vatican? For decades, devout Catholics innocently enrolled their children in Catholic schools not realizing the very real risk of sexual abuse and the cover up of sexual abuse to which they were subjecting their children. How long will it take ordinary Catholics to realize that subjecting their children to the intellectual abuse that comes with being taught such drivel – under pain of excommunication – is every bit as bad as having their children sexually abused?
Father Flannery is a man of good conscience. He represents a regrettably dying breed of priests who were willing to think for themselves and speak their mind rather than being moronic uncritical mouthpieces for the Inquisition. Yes, the Inquisition is alive and well, the thought police, repressing freedom of thought and freedom of expression, and threatening dire consequences for those who don’t submit.
St Peter – insofar as we know anything about him – never said a single word about women being prohibited from ‘ordination’ to the ‘priesthood’. Nor, for that matter, did he ever say a single word about contraception or homosexuality. The man whom the Vatican claims as its first pope wouldn’t have a clue what Rome is on about today, and I expect he’d be staggered at the suggestion that anyone should be ‘excommunicated’ or prohibited from exercising his priesthood because of his belief that women should not be excluded from the priesthood. So, Father Flannery, if they do dismiss you, it says a whack more about them and their thought control and fossilized thinking than it says about you.
St Thomas Aquinas said better to disobey the Pope than not to follow your conscience. The Inquisition within the Catholic Church, no less than the Taliban and Islamist terrorists, cannot be allowed to win. Love casts out fear, and the Inquisition can thrive only on threat and fear. I salute you, Father Flannery.


Thursday, January 17th, 2013

I recently caught on RTE Radio One an interview with Irish poet Dennis O’Driscoll. I’d never heard his work before and the interview finished with a recitation of hisĀ  extraordinary poem ‘Someone‘. It’s a remarkable poem, stunning, dramatic, arresting. It grabs you deceptively with its ordinary everyday words and revolutionizes one’s viewpoint on the ordinary, helping us to realize the great fragile transitory and fleeting magnificence of life. Like a funnel, we rethink our habitual awareness of the everyday, the things we take for granted – an erection, eating buttered toast, saluting the neighbours, listening to the weather forecast – and the poem transforms our awareness of the banal. Someone today is doing all those ordinary things for the last time. And becoming aware of that transforms our consciousness to live each moment – this moment – to the full.

Someone who is going about his ordinary business today is doing so for the very last time. Much of the genius of the poem is that that one word – Someone – is imbued with new meaning and that single word evokes the whole poem and its simple yet profound wisdom.