Archive for February, 2013

Success and failure

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Success and failure are inescapable experiences of being human. They say that all political careers end in failure. Kipling warned us to regard both success and failure as impostors. Beckett told is to fail better the next time. In the Christian myth, the central character, Jesus, is humiliated, shamed and mocked on a cross, crucified as a common criminal, and probably naked: exposed as an abject failure. And the story goes that he cried out: ‘My god, my god, why have you abandoned me?’ Even his god-myth had imploded.
Rather than asking was someone a success or failure, or, more to the point, each human asking asking of ourselves ‘Am I a success or failure?’ it is perhaps wiser to accept that, in any authentic human experience, there will be both success and failure, often interconnected and even simultaneous.
And so as we reflect on personal experiences of failure, we may need to nudge ourselves to perceive perhaps hidden, or forgotten, strands of success. And in the dazzling glow of success, let’s not lose the run of ourselves and omit the undercurrent of failure.
We are human, first and foremost. Humans who succeed AND fail, who fail AND succeed. At a time of failure, pause a while and bring to mind ways in which you have succeeded. And in the heady rush of success, recall that it is transitory and built upon untold failures, each of which has prompted you closer to success.
But do not see yourself as ‘successful’ or ‘a failure’. Be human. Embrace success and failure. See the bigger picture. And, for now, accept the successes and failures of your life and take the next authentic step for you at this moment.

Taoiseach’s heartfelt apology to Magdalenes

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

I was proud of our Taoiseach, Enda Kenny’s, heartfelt apology to the women shamed by Irish society when the real shame was on us, a society warped for much of the 20th century by the shameful holier-than-thou attitudes and prejudices which were instilled into us by the Church and which, alas, have not entirely vanished.

Watch Kenny’s tearful apology here:
Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s heartfelt apology to Magdelene women
 

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

Monday, February 18th, 2013

I watched Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God and attended a Q&A session with its director Alex Gibney at the Lighthouse cinema in Dublin last Friday. The documentary about clerical sex abuse in the USA and Ireland¬† is powerful, well-made and persuasive, as you might expect from the Oscar-winning director. It made the point that, at one stage, every case of clerical child abuse ended up on the desk of Cardinal Ratzinger, the soon-to-retire pope. Given the opprobrium rightly heaped on those very many bishops and religious superiors who did not stop abusing priests from the rape and molestation of children, who did not report such heinous crimes to the police, and who did not inform the parents of children abused of the trauma suffered by their children, I couldn’t understand why the film backed away from taking a closer look at Ratzinger’s failure in this regard too, given that, as the documentary makes clear,¬† every case landed on his desk.

My only other criticism of the film is that it doesn’t challenge the ludicrous belief which is articulated in the film that a priest is ontologically changed at ordination, becoming just less than an angel. It’s that daft belief that mesmerized so many credulous Catholics into not recognizing vile acts against children for what they are: crimes against humanity perpetuated by vile men, facilitated by senior clerics who retain their positions of power and privilege.