Wednesday, August 29, 2007


So the buzz word is 'manpower'.
I have just read 1.1 of the Draft Manpower Document of the Irish Dominican province.
"Closures will bring about renewal."
Elsewhere in it I read that the Irish Dominicans can provide the Irish people and those coming to Ireland purpose in their lives.
For me these are difficult words to read. Who do we think we are that we can write this sort of material. At present we don't seem to be too interested in offering hope to each other.
What is it about clericalism that makes people think that they have some sort of 'God-given' insight which allows them talk as they do?
Instead of being close to people it seems to me we are isolating ourselves more and more from the daily lives and sufferings of those to whom we think we have something to say.
Is there any forum/management structure which will help and advise priests in their preaching and ministry.
At a Mass I was at two weeks ago I heard a priest (not a Dominican) 'preach' seven minutes of total nonsense. His celebration of the Eucharist was appalling. Certainly Latin would suit him and those who have to listen to him much better then no-one would understand him.
And I don't think he is too great an exception.
Why is the standard of preaching so poor?
A seminar/meeting/workshop on our preaching, where we would invite people who attend our churches to join with us could prove a fruitful exercise.
Of course there are great preachers of the Word. But they always seem to me to be the men who have cast off all the shackles of clericalism.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Stocks and shares

While working at The Irish News I had the good fortune of meeting Archbishop Brady. I always found him a kind and pleasant man, very friendly and no nonsense about him. A man devoid of pretension, a humble man in the best sense of the word.
His sermon at Knock has received much attention.
But, there is always a 'but'. I imagine long before the ordinary Irish punter was dabbling on the stock market, the Irish hierarchical church was buying and selling shares. Is there a single diocese or religious congregation that does not have stock market portfolio? I doubt it. I imagine they have financial advisers.
The money that has been at their disposal to pay for the misdemeanours of priests has been mind-boggling.
Has anyone ever done an audit of church property in Ireland?
As for the tarot cards; I recently read a monthly 'holy' magazine, which was a mix of pious nonsense and patronising lore. And then all through it there was a clear hint that they needed money to keep it going.
I like Archbishop Brady. What he said needs saying, but as per usual, there is more to the story.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Journalists and priests

I think it is St Thomas who says that it is what is said rather than who says it that should concern us.
That has been a dilemma for me today. I see there has been a controversy between Irish Independent columnist, Ian Doherty and Fr Vincent Twomey.
Both men greatly annoy me. And then it dawned on me - it's not who they are but what they say. But it is exactly that - what they both say that irritates me.
Interesting. It strikes me that journalists and priests have much in common - many of them, journalists and priests end up believing in their own importance. And that certainly seems to be so with both these men.
Ian Doherty versus Vincent Twomey!
But the sun shines in West Kerry today and I'm not buying the Independent and have no intentions of letting Vincent Twomey annoy or irritate me.
Funny thing is though that I am a priest and a journalist.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The picture

The older man in the picture posted by Nick Miller is Tadhg Kelliher from Castlegregory. He tells me that he worked for my grand-aunt and grand-uncle. He says they were extremely odd.
Does that explain me?

New academic year

At last the sun has appeared in West Kerry and there can be no place in the world more beautiful than this corner of the earth.
Alas the summer is almost over and it's back to business shortly.
I have been on holiday here at home for the last ten days.
It's the place my grandfather was born and his before him. And it is in that context that I am delighted to be going back teaching. As and from next week I'll be teaching German in the local secondary school. The modern buzz word is 'connectivity'.
I'm also delighted to be going back teaching German. It's up there with my 'first loves'.
And then on top of that Concern has given me a permanent pensionable job based on three days a week. It means the coming year will be busy.
But then it has always dawned on me that being busy is an important key to the puzzle. Maybe especially for priests. I often wonder what priests do all day.
Please pray for me. I have bought a Honda Deauville 700cc. Amazing piece of equipment but dangerous too.
The plan is to retrace the steps of the Soviet general who routed the Wehrmacht on the Volga and chased them all the way back to Berlin. And he told him too that he would meet him again and it would be in Berlin.
But it is just to Tralee this afternoon!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Edith Stein

Today is the feast of Edith Stein.
On a visit to Poland in 1985 I called on an Anglican pastor on the GDR Polish frontier near Breslau. We had morning coffee together and I can still remember how he told me that his State - The German Democratic Republic - was about to collapse.
At the time I thought he was out of touch. How wrong I was and how correct he was.

Italian wisdom

There is an excellent article in The Guardian of August 8 - feast of St Dominic by Neal Lawson. It is about the positive possibilities that are now offered by Gordon Brown's premiership in Britain.
The author quotes a line from the Italian strategist Antonio Gramsci, ".. the old is dying the new cannot be born".
The article is about how Brown may address the symptoms of inequality.
He talks about how the political pendulum swings between our desires as individuals and our social needs, between our private and public lives, the thirst we have for freedom and the hankering we have for security.
It is ideal reading material for those Dominicans meeting in Bogota at present. Dominicans, who preach the Gospel would do well to read it.
I'm tired of all the new pious guff I am hearing and reading.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Flying kites

Came across the following sentence on the webpage of the Dominican chapter in Bogota.

"The eighth month of the year is beginning. This is the right season for flying kites in Bogotá; it is very windy."

The following piece also appears on the webpage.

"A new week has begun here in the General Chapter. Our Eucharist was celebrated in French by the Provincials of the Provinces of Saint Dominic and Saint Thomas in Italy. The homilist this time was Fr. Giovanni Distante, O.P, Provincial of the Province of Saint Thomas Aquina, who preached about 'becoming aware of the necessity of more complete and visible solidarity with the human beings of our time'; a preoccupation that must be present in the General Chapter. The songs for the Eucharist were in charge of the student brothers."

Is it cynical to say that this sort of language leaves people confused?

Feast of Saint Dominic

A word to say thank you to those who have made comments on this blog.
The reason why I decided to discontinue was multifaceted.
Bloggers are a strange 'breed' and bloggers who are associated with the clerical 'thing' seem even more 'strange', especially those with a 'pseudo conservative' style about them.
I also despair at times when I look around and realise how the clerical institution refuses to face serious issues.
Just in recent days I have experienced a form of anger and violence that has really frightened me. And it was because of that experience I decided what's the point in trying to get any form of discussion up and running. Most times, that anger and violence is hidden and couched in a worrying form of silence and 'pretence'. Now and again it emerges in many different manifestations.
And back to the website of the Dominican chapter in Bogota. It is appalling - will anyone shout out and say this is a terrible website? I doubt it.
Recently a Dominican told me that we exercise our form of democracy when we vote for our 'superiors'. I find that astonishing but also patronising. Does it mean once we vote we shut up and say nothing. Dominic would surely turn in his grave at such an idea.
On this 8th day of August 2007, happy St Dominic feast to all readers.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Maybe good bye

It is most probable that this blog is about to close down. Blogs and bloggers are a strange animal.
There are more efficient ways of getting the message out to the public.
That letter, which I quoted from The Tablet makes a good point about the mind-set of some bloggers. And I would hate to be associated with such a grouping.
I hope you have enjoyed what appeared on this blog.
But be assured, the fight goes on.

Featured Post

No comment from bishop

The editorial in the current issue of Kerry's Eye.