Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Trump has an ally in EWTN

This week's Independent News & Media Irish regional newspapers' column.

Michael Commane
Every day we see and hear something new, usually outlandish, about President Donald Trump.

In early December Rex Tillerson, who was President Trump’s first secretary of state, said in a talk in Houston, Texas, that Mr Trump was undisciplined, did not like to read and did not respect the limits of his office.

Donald Trump immediately got to his Twitter account and said of Rex Tillerson:
‘Tillerson didn’t have the mental capacity needed. He was dumb as a rock and I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. He was lazy as hell.’

I can’t imagine a major company such as Exxon Mobil would have appointed someone as ‘dumb as a rock’ as its CEO, where Tillerson was 10 years in the top job.

These days it’s news when Trump is not in the news. And that surely is the way he wants it. In many ways he is a class act in getting attention. Indeed, the world seems to focus on him and his words every day.

The Mueller investigation is closing the net on him and his shenanigans with Russia, Putin and other autocrats and autocratic states.

These are not normal times.

If you or I said what Trump has said about women we would be summarily dismissed from our jobs. And certainly, in my case, I would be immediately removed from ministry. Yet millions of people voted for Trump, a large number of evangelical Christians support him and large swathes of right-wing Catholics cast their vote for the then Republican presidential candidate.

The conservative religious television station EWTN, the Catholic version of Fox News, is gentle and kind to him, even more than that, it makes it clear that it supports many of his policies.

Trump is no fool and it would be absurd to dismiss him as some sort of jester. He is far from it.

The President of the United States has an uncanny ability of appealing to the lowest and darkest sides of our humanity.

He is clever in how he attacks defined enemies, he knows he can ridicule the weak and the fragile. Do you remember that time when he mimicked a person with special needs? He has genius quality in creating scapegoats.

He can say whatever he likes at his mass rallies and his adoring fans will scream and howl in support.

There are now the regular chant lines: ‘lock her up’ or ‘build that wall’. They are clever one-liners, which are used as a response to his stream of nasty consciousness.

When any of us is hurt, feels alienated or unwanted, there is always the temptation to lash out and say or do nasty things. And it is this aspect of our being that Trump seems to touch and cultivate with an uncanny precision.

Anytime he meets with other world leaders he frowns and pouts and that must be because he is not at the centre of attention. It was clear at the funeral of George HW Bush that he was uncomfortable. 

While the eulogies delivered at the funeral were of course about the dead president, there was always the sub plot, pointing out the rudeness and vulgarity of the current president.

Editor of ‘The New Yorker’, David Remnick commented how the words spoken about the dignity of Bush compared with the vulgarity of Trump. He said: ‘One man speaking the truth, another man incapable of speaking the truth.

And the big question; what does former KGB spy in East Germany and now Russian President Vladimir Putin have on Donald Trump?

Monday, December 17, 2018

Happy birthday Pope Francis

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires on this day in 1936.

He was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1969.

Elected pope on March 13, 2013, taking the name Pope Francis.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Ryanair now flying Dublin Frankfurt-am-Main

That Ryanair operates a new route is certainly not newsworthy. 

But what is newsworthy and indeed surprising is that the carrier is now flying between Dublin and Frankfurt-am-Main international or main airport, in other words, the real Ffm airport.

And that they have done it all so quietly and fanfare-less is most unusual.

Up to now they have been flying to Hahn, calling it Frankfurt Hahn.

That would be similar to landing in Thurles and calling it Dublin Thurles.

Ryanair continues to fly from Dublin to Hahn and uses the former US airbase as a hub.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Cardinal Pell found guilty of sex abuse by Melbourne court

Cardinal George Pell has been found guilty by a Melbourne court.
In one of the most closely watched trials in modern Catholic Church history, after nearly four full days of deliberations, a jury rendered unanimous guilty verdicts on five charges related to the abuse of two choirboys in 1996.
Pell, who is 77, is currently on a leave of absence from his post as the Vatican’s Secretary for the Economy.
In June 2017, Pell was charged by Australian police with “historical sexual assault offences,” forcing him to leave Rome and return to Australia vowing to “clear his name.”
During the four weeks of testimony, the jury heard from the former master of ceremonies of the cathedral, its former organist, and other choirboys during the same period of the alleged incident.
Much of the testimony centred on whether or not it would have been possible for Pell to have been alone with the members of the choir and whether it would have been physically possible for Pell to engage in such actions while wearing his Mass vestments.
Pell has been a key point of reference in English-speaking Catholicism for at least the last two decades, and he was appointed by Pope Francis to his “C9” council of cardinal advisers from around the world in 2013. 

On Wednesday, the Vatican announced that at the end of October, Pope Francis had removed Pell, along with two other cardinals, from his council of advisers.
He served as the Archbishop of Melbourne from 1996 to 2001, then as the Archbishop of Sydney from 2001 until his appointment to his Vatican position in 2014.
The Australian media is prohibited from printing Pell's name.
The piece below is from The Sydney Morning Post


Friday, December 14, 2018

Ireland joins UN

On this date, December 14, 1955, Ireland, along with a number of other countries, joined the United Nations.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Louis Michael O'Halloran OP, RIP

Dominican priest Louis Michael O'Halloran died in Glendonagh Nursing Home, Dungowney, Midleton, Co Cork yesterday morning.

Louis, known in the Order as Lou or indeed, 'The Lou' was born in Cork in 1925, joined the Irish Dominicans in 1950 and was ordained a priest in July 1956.

He went to the famous CBS North Monastery secondary school. In his young days he was a keen tennis player. His parents owned and ran a general grocery shop on the Commons Road in Cork city.

Before coming to the Dominicans he studied engineering at University College Cork, graduating with a degree from the National University of Ireland.

After priestly ordination he did further studies, obtaining his Higher Diploma in Education, subsequently spending sometime teaching mathematics at Newbridge College in Co Kildare.

He also taught mathematics at the then Dominican-run Holy Cross College in Trinidad. He is remembered as a no-nonsense teacher.

Lou was teaching in Holy Cross during the emergence of the Black Power movement and on one occasion spoke critically of the behaviour of a number of students, which did not endear him to those involved in the new political development.

While in Trinidad among the many practical jobs he did was to label all the cabling, sockets, fuses and terminals at Holy Cross Priory, which over the years proved most helpful especially later when extensions or modifications were made to the building.

After Trinidad Fr O'Halloran moved to the United States of America where he worked as a prison chaplain and also ministered in parishes in California.

While spending many years outside his native Ireland he was to his core a Cork man and so proud of it.

In 2014 he returned to his beloved Cork and was living at the Dominican Priory, Ennismore, Montennote, Cork until he moved to the nursing home in Midleton.

May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Far too many patients on trolleys

In November there were 9,679 patients on trolleys in Ireland.

This is an increase of 11per cent on November 2017.

Figures supplied by INMO.

According to a report in The Irish Times on Saturday there is a €655 million hole in the State's health budget. 

This is due to overspending, increased GP and legal costs, and a failure to achieve €15 million in savings.

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Trump has an ally in EWTN

This week's Independent News & Media Irish regional newspapers' column. Michael Commane Every day we see and hear someth...