Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dunkirk 70 years ago

Today is the 70th anniversary of the evacuation of more than 338,000 Allied troops from Dunkirk.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Arrive at 17.25 depart 19.00

What's the glue or 'itness' that keeps the world together?

A man in his late 60s, early 70s travels from Dublin Heuston to Millstreet every Thursday evening. Departure time is 19.00.

He is on it every Thursday. Then one day he is seen travelling on the Kerry Dublin train that arrives in Heuston at 17.25.

Is it that the man does this every day? Of course it is his business. If he does do it every day is there something sad about it? Is he anymore sad than the rest of humankind?

Observing him walking out through the car park at Millstreet just before 10pm on Thursday one had to ask where was he going. Was he going to someone? Would he be chatting at home later with family? There is a frightened look in his face, a look that says, 'I'm all on my own'. There is also a severity about him. On the train he never seems to speak with anyone and all the time his eyes seem to move with great speed observing everything within reach.

Of course it would be inappropriate to ask him about himself. Or would it?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Church cries out for prophetic and brave voices

The editorial in today's Irish Times comments on Ian Elliott's report earlier in the week. It again brings to notice his comments on clericalism.

"Until clericalism is completely behind us, we are not going to see change," Morgan argues. "Clericalism is the antithesis of what the church is supposed to be about." And he challenged lay Catholics 'to take initiatives, to put it up to church leadership.

All our views and opinions are partly formed by our own experiences and sometimes it can be difficult to be wise and objective. Notwithstanding, it seems that at present a greatly worrying 'clericalism' is spreading across seminaries and clerical institutions. And not a word of worry or protest is to be heard.

Simply look at some of the men who are placed in charge of those studying for priesthood. Look at their dress, their interests and style. Examine how perfectly coiffured they are, whether in their monastic habits or their fashionable glitzy apparel for dinners in top class restaurants. Listen to their conversations and note the misogyny and total disdain for the 'material world'.

Simply examine the links between a worrying closet homosexual behaviour and style with an obsessive 'obedience' to church 'dogma'.

Not for a moment is this a comment about homosexuality or homosexual practice. But it is an observation about clerics, who hide their sexual orientation and there seems to be a real link between this closet 'behaviour/atmosphere' and an unhealthy interest in Rome and all its gossip.

Watch their inordinate interest in liturgical dress and practice and above all listen to their bizarre sermons.

Surely this has nothing to do with church but everything to do with the clericalism that Ian Elliott is talking about. That anyone should think that this form of clericalism is on the wane is another sign of how far removed people actually are from the 'clerical church'.

The Irish Times editorial ends with the following sentence. "That essential recognition of the necessity for a revolution of lay empowerment in the church remains a battle unwon."

Clericalism will never allow that battle to be won. Alas the damage and pain, that clericalism causes is an untold story. The recent revelations about the Legionaries of Christ give some, just some insight into the realities of clericalism.

Is this what Dermot Martin was speaking about last week? Maybe.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Aspirations and reality differ

The chairman of the Catholic Church's National Board for Safeguarding Children has called for a 'radical change' to the church's clericalism.

"Until clericalism is completely behind us, we are not going to see change," John Morgan said. He went on to say that "clericalism is the antithesis of what the church is supposed to be about".

Is it this clericalism that Dermot Martin is speaking about?

Is Mr Morgan saying there is a link between clericalism and what has happened?

While at face value what Mr Morgan is saying is great to see, the reality is something different.

What he says about the word 'lay' and 'cleric' is a powerful way of explaining the situation.

Right across church institutes there is a growing clericalism evolving. It is a most worrying trend. There seems to be a link between closet homosexuality and an exaggerated interst in liturgy. It is difficult to understand how young men can express great interest in old monastic traditions and at the same time be fully in touch with a world that espouses totally different interests and values. It also seems there is a move away from a real and honest interest in people and their daily struggles. Instead of praying with the people, there is the trend to replace the cloister and do the praying behind closed doors.

There is something profoundly worrying happening. People are talking about these developments, yet nothing is being done. More or less the old story with different chapters.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Church leaders may be seeing the light

Dermot Martin gave a 4,000 word speech to the Knights of Columbanus in Dublin on Monday. It was a far reaching talk. A pity he was not more specific. But he did speak about 'dark forces'. He also referred to 'clericalism'

Is it possible that the penny has dropped with high officials within the Catholic Church? The Archbishop of Vienna too has spoken out in recent days.

But words are not enough. The climate, instead of improving, seems to be deteriorating.

When 'clerics' can travel the world to attend a Cher concert surely there is something very wrong in the State of Denmark. Cher is the world's great gay iconic figure.

Again, it is the juxtaposition of the high life with monastic utterances, an impression of being conservatively orthodox with extensive air miles in the back pocket.

Sinn Féin or the IRA were accused of having the ballot paper in one hand and the rifle in the other. The analogy applies appropriately to modern day clericalism.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

65th anniversary of ending of WW II

Tomorrow, May 7 is the 65th anniversary of the ending of World War II. Signing took place in Reims on May 7 and in Karlshorst on May 8.

The first Instrument of Surrender was signed at Rheims, France, at 02.41 on May 7, 1945. The signing took place in a red brick schoolhouse that served as the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). It was to take effect at 23.01 Central European time on May 8, 1945.

The unconditional surrender of the German armed forces was signed by Generaloberst Alfred Jodl, on behalf of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht and as the representative for the new Reich President, Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz. Walter Bedell Smith signed on behalf of the Western allies, and Ivan Susloparov on behalf of the Soviets. French major general François Sevez signed as the official witness.

In Rheims, the United States and Britain acted on behalf of all Allied forces, whereas France, Germany and the USSR acted individually. The Rheims' instrument of surrender was ratified May 8, which was agreed at the time of the May 7 signing.



Signing at Karlshorst
This ratification was a response to both Soviet and British concerns. The Soviets desired a signature in the presence of the Soviet Supreme Commander (Major General Susloparov, who had accepted the May 7 surrender for the Soviets, was only liaison officer at the Western Headquarters). The British wanted the surrender to be signed by the highest military and civilian representatives of the German Reich, in order to avoid a repeat of the "stab in the back" legend which had been cultivated by the Germans after World War I because the armistice had been signed only by a civilian politician and an unknown general. (Jodl, who signed in Rheims, was an officer without the power of command). It was agreed to have the May 7 act ratified with the signatures of the commanders in chief of the Wehrmacht, army, air force and marines, who were brought to Karlshorst, the seat of the Soviet Supreme Commander. The representatives of the Western Headquarters, the United Kingdom, France and the United States entered the dining room of the officers' mess in Karlshorst shortly before midnight. The German delegation, which had been flown in from Flensburg to Tempelhof in a US aircraft, entered the room shortly after midnight after Marshal Georgy Zhukov, the Soviet representative, had opened the ceremony.

The ratification of the German Act of Unconditional Surrender was signed at 00.15 after its regulations had already been in effect for over an hour 23.01 (Central European Time).

Representatives:

Soviet Union: Marshal Georgy Zhukov on behalf of the Supreme High Command of the Red Army. United Kingdom: Air Chief Marshal Arthur William Tedder as Deputy Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. United States: General Carl Spaatz, Commanding United States Strategic Air Forces as witness .France: General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, Commanding First French Army, as witness
Germany: Admiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg as Commander-in-Chief of the navy (Kriegsmarine), Colonel-General Hans-Jürgen Stumpff as the representative of the air force (Luftwaffe),Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel as the Chief of Staff of the German Armed Forces and as representative of the army (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht)

Text of the Instrument of Surrender (Rheims)
Only this text in English is authoritative

Act of Military Surrender

1. We the undersigned, acting by authority of the German High Command, hereby surrender unconditionally to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and simultaneously to the Soviet High Command all forces on land, sea, and in the air who are at this date under German control.

2. The German High Command will at once issue orders to all German military, naval and air authorities and to all forces under German control to cease active operations at 23.01 Central European time on May 8 and to remain in the positions occupied at that time. No ship, vessel, or aircraft is to be scuttled, or any damage done to their hull, machinery or equipment.

3. The German High Command will at once issue to the appropriate commanders, and ensure the carrying out of any further orders issued by the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and by the Soviet High Command.

4. This act of military surrender is without prejudice to, and will be superseded by any general instrument of surrender imposed by, or on behalf of the United Nations and applicable to Germany and the German armed forces as a whole.

5. In the event of the German High Command or any of the forces under their control failing to act in accordance with this Act of Surrender, the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and the Soviet High Command will take such punitive or other action as they deem appropriate.

Signed at Rheims at 02.41 France on the 7th day of May, 1945.

On behalf of the German High Command. Alfred Jodl

On behalf of the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force. Walter Bedell Smith

On behalf of the Soviet High Command. Ivan Sousloparov

Major General, French Army (Witness) François Sevez




Text of the Instrument of Surrender (Berlin)

1. We the undersigned, acting by authority of the German High Command, hereby surrender unconditionally to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and simultaneously to the Supreme High Command of the Red Army all forces on land, at sea, and in the air who are at this date under German control.

2. The German High Command will at once issue order to all German military, naval and air authorities and to all forces under German control to cease active operations at 23.01 hours Central European time on 8th May 1945, to remain in all positions occupied at that time and to disarm completely, handing over their weapons and equipment to the local allied commanders or officers designated by Representatives of the Allied Supreme Commands. No ship, vessel, or aircraft is to be scuttled, or any damage done to their hull, machinery or equipment, and also to machines of all kinds, armament, apparatus, and all the technical means of prosecution of war in general.

3. The German High Command will at once issue to the appropriate commanders, and ensure the carrying out of any further orders issued by the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and by the Supreme Command of the Red Army.

4. This act of military surrender is without prejudice to, and will be superseded by any general instrument of surrender imposed by, or on behalf of the United Nations and applicable to GERMANY and the German armed forces as a whole.

5. In the event of the German High Command or any of the forces under their control failing to act in accordance with this Act of Surrender, the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and the Supreme High Command of the Red Army will take such punitive or other action as they deem appropriate.

6. This Act is drawn up in the English, Russian and German languages. The English and Russian are the only authentic texts.

Signed at Berlin on the 8 day of May, 1945

Von Friedeburg
Keitel
Stumpff
On behalf of the German High Command

IN THE PRESENCE OF: A.W.Tedder
On behalf of the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force

Georgi Zhukov On behalf of the Supreme High Command of the Red Army

At the signing also were present as witnesses:

F. de Lattre-Tassigny General Commanding in Chief
First French Army

Carl Spaatz, General, Commanding
United States Strategic Air Force

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Theologian fights church tax law

Great story in today's Irish Times about a German theologian taking his tax case to the Vatican.

He refuses to pay church tax but argues he is still a believer. He argues by refusing to pay the German church tax he has not exited from the church as a community of believers, but from the church as a public corporation.

This story is sure to run and prove most interesting.

When a person signs the dotted line to leave, it is called a Kirchenausstritt or church exit. the person's name is struck from the church register and they are excluded from the sacraments. Of course it is fraught with profound problems. Today's Irish Times says that such 'Kirchenqustritters' are also excluded from church services. This reporting error highlights the silliness of the current dispensation.

With an eye on the job in Armagh

Alan Dukes has called for the resignation of all bishops in Ireland.

It would make more sense if he asked for a change in the method of appointment of bishops worldwide.

It is most worrying that a significant number of today's bishops were appointed by John Paul ll. It was John Paul ll who promoted the founder of the Legionaries of Christ.

The system and environment in which bishops are appointed needs a route and branch change.

The blatant careerism of priests and bishops is worrying. Already it is clear that some bishops have already begun to throw shapes hoping to be the next archbishop in Armagh. Distasteful, undignified and another proof that nothing has changed.

When these men appear to speak 'lofty' words one is forced to smile.

Ar ais leis an Ash

Smart letter in today's Irish Times from David FitzGERALD in Finland.

Madam,
Ar ais aris. - Yours, etc.