Saturday, August 31, 2013

Gospel values and clerical titles

In tomorrow's Gospel we read:

"When you are invited to a wedding party, do not choose the best seat."

Yesterday I called to a church in south Dublin and saw a title and name over a confessional box. It said:

"Very Revd Fr ...... "

Friday, August 30, 2013

Occasional Scribbles gains new readers

Today for the first time in the six year history of this blog it had a higher readership in the United States of America than in Ireland.

In August it was read in 172 cities around the world.

Highest readership today was registered in the US, Ireland, The Russian Federation and Germany.

RTE Radio presenter makes shoddy comment

The following is a quotation from the presenter of RTE's Drivetime programme today:

"A Master's degree in Catholic Apologetics, that's a new one on me."

As the presenter made the comment she laughed.

A parishioner with an MA in Catholic Apologetics had objected to a Brendan Grace concert taking place in his parish church in Wexford.

The issue was being discussed on the programme.

The programme was presented by Audrey Carville.

Shoddy radio.

What to do when leadership is inept

What does one do when she/he genuinely believes that the leadership of the orgnisation to which she/he belongs is inept?

ATM scam which may have cost banks a lot of money

Two serving gardaí have been accused of an alleged ATM scam.

The scam goes like this. A bank customer goes to the ATM and requests €300. There is a device on the machine that if the money is not removed within a certain time the machine retrieves the money.

If the customer removes just €100 and leaves the €200 in the ATM, the ATM takes back the €200 but the machine presumes it has taken back all €300.

The customer goes along to the bank, explains that she or he forgot to take the money and the bank credits the account with all €300.

How much money have banks lost on this scam?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

More to cigarettes than the tobacco plant

Custom and Excise officials apprehend a woman for allegedly selling cigarettes in Dublin's Moore Street.

The case goes to court. The judge asks the woman if she had been selling cigarettes on a certain date in Moore Street. She denies the charge.

The judge asks her if she had been shouting the word 'tobacco' on the street.

She explains: 'Judge, I saw my sister on the street and was trying to get her attention. She smokes heavily and so she has the nickname 'tobacco' and I was simply shouting her nickname."

The case was dismissed in the Dublin District Court.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Eucharist is an occasion of inspiration

The piece below is this week's column in INM's regional newspapers in Ireland.

Michael Commane
A Dominican in his 80s said to me during the summer that when he was a young priest older Dominicans accused his generation of being far too radical and rebellious. “And guess what Michael, today the young Dominicans are accusing my generation of being far too radical and rebellious. Isn’t it strange how things have turned out,” he smiled.

It certainly set me thinking, especially about being a member of a religious order and being a priest.

I can still recall a conversation between my elderly father and a distant cousin of mine. At the time I was working as a journalist in The Kerryman and the cousin asked my Dad what sort of a priest was I working in a newspaper. Dad’s reply was brilliant: “What’s the difference between working as a school teacher and working as a journalist?” A great reply and was I proud of my Dad that day.

For over the last 16 years I have been working as a journalist, either in a newspaper or in a press office. I greatly enjoy the work. I have also spent many years teaching. Since moving to journalism I have been living away from a Dominican priory and living on my own.

Indeed, I greatly appreciate the freedom that the Dominicans have afforded me.

My knowledge of church has been tempered by and from the experiences I have had as a Dominican. But I have also had glimpses of other models.

Whether I like it or not there is now a tendency among younger clerics to return to an ‘old-style’ church. I have seen young priests out searching for pre conciliar Mass vestments.

I have seen young priests stick their thumb and index fingers together celebrating Mass. I hear priests praise the new Missal. I hear priests requesting to wear their religious habit in public. I hear priests condemn the world and greatly criticise the media as if it were the work of the devil.

I hear priests saying that they know best. I hear priests laying down the law.

In the last few months I have officiated at a number of weddings of colleagues.

Without exception I have met people of great goodness and genuine faith. Every single one of these people wanted to be sacramentally married.

Of course it’s not as it was when I was growing up in Dublin in the 1960s. And thank God for that. The memories are bleak.

Sometimes I think that clerics have some sort of propensity to shove ideas down the necks of people; it’s their way or no way.

No priest, no church owns God.

Surely it is an essential prerequisite for a priest to be interested in people, not in a patronising, judgemental way but as a fellow fragile traveller in this confused and meandering world of ours.

In the last few weeks there has been public discussion about eulogies at funeral Masses.

Of course it’s important that the Sacrament be celebrated in a holy and dignified manner. I’d love to hear bishops and religious superiors talking out loud to their priests as how to celebrate Mass in a dignified and meaningful way. And that includes improving the quality of our preaching.

The liturgy, as we have had it for the last 40 years can be celebrated in a profoundly holy and dignified manner, in a way that connects with the people who are praying with us.

The Eucharist is the perfect place to inspire people. For the Eucharist to be real there has to be a genuine and loving communion between peoples.

Is that how you felt the last time you left church after Mass?


Sunday, August 25, 2013

BBC Radio 4's Sunday service

ANYONE who listens to BBC Radio 4 on a Sunday morning and compares it with what RTE Radio One offers at the same time must be left in no doubt of the terrible quality of the service offered by the Irish station.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Merkel says she was too much a gossip to be in Stasi

IN a newspaper interview German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that she was once approached by the Stasi, the East German secret police, to work for them. She told them she was an inveterate gossip and unable to hold her tongue. The Stasi never called again.

Neverthelss, Merkel obtained a place at the Humboldt University in Berlin to study physics. Before that she was  a member of the FDJ, Freie Deutsche Jugend, where she held a leadership position. The FDJ was the youth brigade of the ruling SED.

Ireland drinks €6.36 billion of grog every year

Last year Irish people in Ireland spent €6.36 billion on alcohol.

Spending on alcohol has increased each year since 2009.

It is estimated alcohol-related harm costs Ireland €3.7 billion a year.

Three people die every day from alcohol-related illness.

Friday, August 23, 2013

At last the airport for the united city

It was announced today that Germania will be the frst airline to use the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport in the south east of the city and close to the historic suburb of Karlshorst.

This November Germania will move from Tegel to Berlin Brandenburg.

The new airport has been bedevilled with glitches and was due to have been opened last year and then again an opening date earlier this year had to be cancelled.

The aiport is in Schönefeld close to Berlin's second airport, which was formerly the main airport for East Berlin.

The opening of Berlin Brandenburg will be the final step in the restructuring of the city on the Spree as the German capital.

When fully operational Tegel will be closed. Tempelhof was closed three years ago.

And it so happens that the CEO of the Airport Authority is Mr Hartmut Mehdorn, who was CEO of German Rail when the magnificent new Berlin Main Station was opened on the site of the former Lehrter Rail Station.

Up until 1945 Lehrter Bahnhof was the main Berlin rail station for trains travelling to and from north Germany, including Hamburg.

Today ICEs travel between the two cities. Journey time is 90 minutes.

The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport will have a main station on the campus with direct connections to all major German cities.

Next year German ICEs will be linking Stuttgart, Frankfurt-am-Main and Mannheim with London.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A 'sophisticated' mighty army cashes in on a vulnerable fragile youth

Anyone who reads the story of Bradley Manning in today's Guardian is left with no option but to cry for the man.

And who cashed in on his vulnerability? The United States Army.

Yesterday Manning was sentenced to 35 years in jail.

In the Snowden affair one of the code names given to one of the telephony companies was/is Blarney.

It's seems you can have your cake and eat it too

It is striking how clerics and clerical organisations criticise the media. Yet when the media publishes something 'positive' about them these same clerics and clerical organisations disseminate the media comment far and wide as 'proof' or 'verification' for what they are doing.

Surely there is an issue of logic or consistency here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Clever comment from wise Dominican priest

Interesting comment from a Dominican priest now in his 80s.

"When we were young Dominicans we were considered by the older men to be rebels and far too radical and now when we are old Dominicans we are considered by the younger men to be rebels and far too radical."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The very best at our doorstep and for free



The column below appears in this week's INM Irish regional newspapers.

Michael Commane


Mangerton Mountain looking down on Glencappul.

The sky was overcast in West Kerry on the morning of Saturday August 3. But we had decided the night before unless the weather was awful we would go ahead with our planned climb of Mangerton in South Kerry.

There were five of us travelling from West Kerry and we had arranged to meet up with another family outside Killarney.

There was a torrential downpour on the drive to Killarney but we kept going.

The skies cleared and sometime after 10 o’clock seven children and four adults began the climb of Mangerton.

The sky looked ominous and I was greatly regretting not having brought rain gear with me. A half an hour into our walk the heavens opened and I got drenched. Clown that I am. I was the only one without rain gear. I tried sheltering behind a rock but of course it didn’t work and I got drenched to the skin. And while I was sheltering the rest of the group marched on.

It was the only rain of the day. I walked on and caught up with the group. Dried out too.

Mangerton is 839 metres high and just like every mountain in the world, the sensation of getting to the top is pure joy. And the views too. Below us was Lough Leane. We could see right over to Mullaghanish in Cork.

The first to get to the top were three children and they ran the last few metres. To see them race those last short few metres would do anyone’s heart good.

Their innocence, their fun, their goodness was simply fantastic. And their fitness and agility too. One little girl ran up and down that mountain with such speed and she is the mighty age of eight.

We came down a slightly different route, which was somewhat more difficult.
Usually when coming down a mountain I am inclined to say little – unusual for me - so as to conserve my energy. I’m tired too.

On this occasion for the last half hour or so I was accompanied by nine-year-old Maurice, who talked non-stop about school, football, his Mam and Dad and his sisters. I was mesmerised with his energy. He was not one bit tired.


Okay, it was not like the weather earlier in the summer but it was fine and it was a fantastic day.

Everything about the day was great: the thrill of climbing, the camaraderie, the adventure, the sights and the challenge too.

A few days later I walked from the West Kerry village of Castlegregory to Camp, which is approximately 12 kilometres. I walked the complete route along the sea.

This time my companion was Tess, my dog. We had a great time. It’s a walk that can only be done when the tide is out and even with the tide out we had to circumnavigate a river and paddle through a stream.

It took about three hours. The views were spectacular. There was a cargo boat waiting for full tide to go into Fenit Harbour.

The water was as calm as it gets, warm too. Sometimes, walking on the sand with runners on, then other times paddling in that balmy water. Tess enjoying every moment of it.

On a walk like that it’s always good to have some sort of end in view. On this occasion I called to visit a woman in a nursing home. She is 98, still reads without glasses and when I called she was knitting something for a grandchild.

It really is difficult in words to convey the extraordinariness of such occasions. The peace that it creates. The thrills, the challenge, the excitement of making it all the way. The awareness or realisation of being so fortunate to be able to do such things.

And all on our doorstep.

Appreciate the now and thank God for such graces.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Untying the knots in the life of Jorge Mario Bergoglio

The current issue of The Tablet carries extracts from a new book by Paul Vallely on Pope Francis. The article is titled "He's a person who's caused a lot of problems'. It is written by the author of the book, Paul Vallely.

The future Pope Francis was perceived by some Jesuits as divisive when he was their provincial in Argentina. The book argues how Jorge Mario Bergoglio alienated many of his confreres with his conservatism and hostility to liberation theology.

Vallely quotes a serving Jesuit provincial: "He is well-trained and very capable, but is surrounded by this personality cult which is extremely divisive. He has an aura of spirituality which he uses to obtain power. It will be a catastrophe for the church to have someone like him in the Apostolic See."

The article concludes explaining how Bergoglio was moved to Cordoba.

"But there a remarkable transformation occurred, which was the beginning of the long transition from conservative authoritarian to humble pope of the poor."

Elsewhere it is alleged that within hours of Bergoglio's election as pope an instruction went out from Jesuit curia in Rome ordering Jesuits around the world to be prudent in their recollections and keep to themselves any unhappy memories they had of the new pope.

Next week in The Tablet: what changed Bergoglio.

'Pope Francis: untying the knots' by Paul Vallely, published by Bloomsbury, £12.99.

The eulogy debate trundles on

Noel Whelan wrote an opinion piece in yesterday's Irish Times in response to Bishop Michael Smith's comments on the practice of eulogies at Mass.

The article contained sentiments caninily similar to those expressed by the late Dominican priest Paul Hynes, who died in 1986.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Makes no sense to silence dissenting voices

Below is the Thinking Anew column in today's Irish Times

Michael Commane
"He is unquestionably disheartening people by talking like this."

Any idea who might have said this and who was being talked about?

Surely it's the advice given by ordinary decent people, telling their listeners not to heed the words of the 'trouble maker'.

It's the sort of 'advice' that is always wheeled out to 'warn' people not to listen or pay any attention to someone who may be expressing an opinion or idea that might well upset the status quo.

The quotation above is slightly “doctored” to hide its historical context. Here it is as it was written.

"These leading men accordingly spoke to the king. 'Let this man be put to death: he is unquestionably disheartening the remaining soldiers in the city, and all the people too, by talking like this. The fellow does not have the welfare of this people at heart so much as its ruin.' " (Jeremiah 38: 4)

Of course we can always find the relevant quotation whether in the Bible or the Quran to suit our activities no matter how crazy they are.

Nevertheless this jumped out at me when I was looking at the texts, which will be read in churches tomorrow.

The quotation from the Prophet Jeremiah was written close to three thousand years ago. To put it in context, Jeremiah is approximately a thousand years younger than the human remains, that were found in Cashel Bog in County Laois two years ago.

Most likely Jeremiah was born near Jerusalem about 646 BC. He lived through the tragic years of the ruin of the kingdom of Judah.

So whatever way we look at it, it is a long time ago and what mesmerised me about the quotation was how apt and relevant it still is today.

Those words could be used by a US president, a British prime minister, a pope, a trade union leader, a CEO of a multi national corporation, by a party leader, anyone in a position of authority, whether legitimate or not.

Not so long ago a taoiseach warned people of the perils of talking down the economy. And today politicians warn us to be quiet as we prepare to return to the financial markets.

The words spoken about Jeremiah are the sort of words used by the powerful to keep people under them, the masses, the proletariate, whatever you want to call them, in control, keep them quiet and submissive. They were words used in an attempt to keep the Prophet Jeremiah quiet and they are the words used today to keep 'trouble makers' quiet.

Those words will be read in churches around the world tomorrow. The words read in church are read to inspire us, to make us think, to invite us to question the status quo and force us to parse every word that we hear from those in authority.

And then we come home from church and are expected almost to bow our heads and accept all the words and ideas we hear from authority, whether State or church. Any signs of the slightest insubordination or free- thinking and those words spoken by the leading men to the king about Jeremiah will be addressed to us.

At the MacGill Summer School this year Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy spoke about the reality of being a back bencher and how he has to kowtow to the party whip.

He criticised how independent action is discouraged and dissent severely punished. Then again, if he were a government minister, would he express such ideas?

We seem to live in times of shocking 'orthodoxy' where the slightest move away from the 'leadership' involves castigation and disapproval. Today authority seems to be centralised in such an unhealthy way that people can easily feel alienated. And that's the case in church and State.

Systems that invoke the party whip and excommunication surely have lost aspects of their credibility. Silencing dissenting voices is never the answer. One is reminded of people like Mandela and Solzhenitsyn.

When Barack Obama first appeared on the scene he was loved and admired because of his willingness to question the status quo. That aura, that mystique has gone and we seem to be left with some sort of automaton, who does exactly what is expected of him.

Imagine the hope that could be generated if Pope Francis decided to re-examine the case of the Irish priests who have incurred censure for reasons of their theological thinking and public utterances.

Jeremiah came under the cosh of the ruling authority close to 3,000 years ago. Today we honour and admire him, indeed he is put forward as a 'role model'

But what about the 'trouble makers' of today'?

Does anything ever change?

Goethe on Catholicism

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of Germany's great writers, described the history of Catholicism as a hotchpotch of errors and violence.

He was born in Frankfurt-am-Main in 1749 and died in Weimar in 1832, where he is buried.

The former GDR authorities made much play on his association with Weimar, which is in the territory of the former GDR.

Advertisements that don't make sense

Yesterday's Irish national newspapers carried a large Bank of Ireland advertisement.

The ad headline ran: " Notification to Bank of Ireland Customers".

The sub head was: "SEPA Changes to Current Account and Credit Card Terms and Conditions."

The ad was addressed to personal and business customers.

Not once in the ad did Bank of Ireland explain to their readers/customers what 'SEPA' means.

Also yesterday TV3 ran an ad for its autumn schedule. Someone is holding a poster which reads: "Your fired".

Yesterday the Irish Times reporting on the deathof former FF minister Paddy Power, wrote: " His son Sean was a former Fianna Fáil TD....".

Why not: "His son Sean is a former...."?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

German Foreign Minister criticises monsignor

This evening on German news a German monsignor based in Cairo spoke in support of the behaviour of the Egyptian army.

His comments were later criticised by the German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Guardian misspells pogonophobia

Thanks to Paxman many people now know what the word pogonophobia means.

Indeed, it certainly has opened a can of worms. In today's Guardian the word is misspelt. The Guardian spells a fear of beards as 'pogorophobia.

The word is not in the Concise Collins Dictionary, 2006 but it is listed on the web.

Splitting hairs?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Jeremy Paxman has a beard

Paxman's beard looks good.

Rail chaos in the German city of Mainz

Over the last number of days there has been chaos at Mainz main rail station. Trains have been cancelled and more trains have been re-routed so as to avoid the main station in the capital city of Rheinland-Pfalz.

The reason for the chaos is because of a shortage rail personnel, especially signal workers. With some on holidays and others on sick leave Deutsche Bahn, German Rail, has not been in a position to operate a full service.

Signal staff are responsible for directing trains in sections and guiding trains on to other tracks. They are the traffic controllers of the railway

German Rail is currently short 1,000 signal 'men'.

Trade Union leaders say that Mainz is the tip of the iceberg.

To add to the current problems of German Rail, the company is having difficulties with the late delivery of a new generation of ICEs with Siemens technology.

And this in Germany.

In another era but the same country, a different city. Today is the anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall, which was erected on August 13, 1961.

Because of the post war division of the city houses in Bernauer Strasse lay directly on the path of the new Wall. On August 13 East German troops ordered the people, who lived in these houses, to leave them immediately.

And that was in Germany.

A former Dominican writes about a former Donminican's story

The column below appears in today's Irish Times. The author, David Rice was a member of the Irish Dominican province and is now living in Clare. David lectured in journalism for a number of years at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Rathmines.

In 1952 a medical student at University College Cork finished his third-year exams and applied to join the Dominicans to study for the priesthood.

His father, an eminent physician, was distressed and tried to persuade Denstone Murphy to change his mind, even signing over to him a farm of considerable value.

Nothing would change the young fellow’s mind: he signed the farm over to a relative and became a Dominican, Br Paul by name. In the decades that followed, Fr Denstone (Paul) Murphy OP, working as a priest in Ireland, then as missionary in Trinidad, and later as lecturer and researcher at Trinity College, became revered for his priestly ministry, his empathy with others, gentle humour and, some would say, downright holiness.

Then, in 1974, Fr Denstone Murphy married Maura Wall, a former Medical Missionary of Mary.

Yet people say he never ceased to be a priest. He simply brought his empathy and constant prayer into married life. He gradually grew to understand that he could still continue ministry, in his teaching, lecturing, caring and counselling, in his married life – the priesthood conferred by Baptism, as outlined in Vatican II’s half-forgotten document, The Priesthood of the Laity.


Well-loved teacher
He loved to quote Walt Whitman: “Every man shall be his own priest.”

On February 5th, 1986, by then a well-loved teacher at Cabinteely Community College, Denstone was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and had to resign his post.

In a way it was a new beginning, for that was when he decided to write the story of his life. Called Rumour of Hope: The Challenge of Choosing, this fascinating book allows the reader inside the mind of a dedicated priest who finally decides to marry.

Denstone Murphy finished the memoir in 1993, three years before he died, but the manuscript remained in Maura Wall-Murphy’s possession for 20 years. Just this year she decided to publish it.

It is not just the sequence of events that makes the narrative come alive: it is his insights into the persons and institutions that brought these events about. And also it is the revelation of his personal motivations that take him, with heartbreaking honesty, almost seamlessly into, and finally out of, the religious life.

Some of it is so sad. For example, his motivation for giving up a medical career to become a priest: “Is my father in the state of grace? How could he be when I am almost certain he never goes to Confession or Communion and eats meat on Fridays, not to mention . . . his occasional attendances at Protestant services . . . I am being called to leave all things and enter religious life in order to ensure his salvation.”

Then, many years later, his motives for leaving the ministry: “I was confident still that I had a vocation to contemplate and communicate, but I could no longer express it within the canonical limitations of the order. I was frustrated . . . Through my work in encounter groups I got a clearer idea of the true nature of human and sexual love . . . I learned quite a lot about my own behaviour and human behaviour in general.

“I learned about friendship. Friendship for me had been to some extent threatening. Perhaps I had taken too seriously the religious admonition discouraging ‘particular friendships’. I was now feeling a painful need for a human, trusting relationship. It was in one of these groups that I met Maura again.

“My mother and sister were totally accepting of my decision (to leave) and supportive. The Dominican Order was generous in ensuring that, in my new life, I would not want for anything. It augured well for the new beginning.

“I had reached a stage when I could best approach the Lord through the sacramentality of human love . . . I had followed the celibate way and was happy in it. But . . . there was a time for me to change, and yet throughout, it is always ‘Time to be Priest’.”

Denstone Murphy’s Rumour of Hope is available from Original Writing Ltd, Dublin (originalwriting.ie). David Rice, a former Dominican, directs the Killaloe Hedge-School of Writing. His Look with Mindfulness will shortly be published.
(LookWithMindfulness.com)

Anyone willing to censure architects of new Missal?

The Bishop of Meath is receiving much publicity on his ruling concerning funeral Masses.

It would be intersting to hear what Bishop Smith thinks or what he has to say on the Collect or Opening Prayer, which is being said in Catholic churches this week.

The prayer is almost impossible to undestand. Who is responsible for this insult?

A wise Dominican once said that if something goes wrong in a house the first person to be blamed or criticised will be the most junior brother in the community.

Monday, August 12, 2013

What's good for the goose is good for the gander

Bishop Michael Smith is reported to have issued new rules on the celebration of funerals in churches in the Diocese of Meath.

Indeed, funeral Masses can 'get out of hand' and liturgical guidelines might well be pushed to one side, something that is unfortunate.

But it would be interesting to know if Bishop Smith has ever issued rules to the priests in his diocese on how to celebrate the liturgy and if he has ever given advice on preaching standards or expectations.

Careless work from Irish Rail


Below is a note on timetable alterations on the Irish Rail website.
Read carefully the movement of the 08.30 Heuston to Tralee train
One would imagine that timetable changes would be carefully proofed.
Irish Rail issued some months ago a new Tralee timetable and omitted the first train from Tralee on Mondays. The incorrect timetable is at rail stations though a corrected version has been printed.

Sunday 11th and 18th August 

  • 08.00hrs. Heuston to Galway will be bus transfers from Heuston to Kildare and Portarlington and by train from Portarlington to Galway.  Buses will depart Heuston at 08.00hrs.  Train will depart Portarlington at 08.41hrs.
  • 08.30hrs Heuston to Tralee will be bus transfers from Heuston to Portlaoise and by train from Portlaoise to Tralee.  Buses will depart Heuston at 08.30hrs.  Train will depart Heuston at 09.40hrs.
  • 09.10hrs Heuston to Waterford is deferred to 09.30hrs.
  • 10.50hrs Mallow to Cork is deferred to 11.15hrs.
  • 09.40hrs Athlone to Westport is deferred to 09.45
  • 11.05hrs Manulla Junction to Ballina is deferred to 11.10hrs.
  • 10.13hrs Limerick Junction to Ennis is deferred to 10.51
Please note that the 20/25 minute delay may occur due to these alterations. 
Iarnród Éireann apologises for any inconvenience caused.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A closed door can always be opened

On his return flight to Rome Pope Francis gave a much publicised interview to journalists.

In that interview he said that the door was closed on the issue of women priests.

A Dominican commented on that remark and said: "A closed door can always be opened and I'm sure the pope knew exactly what he was saying."

Saturday, August 10, 2013

And who are there to admonish the priests?

In a parish newsletter this weekend the following appears:

"In view of what is happening in our country could it be said that a politician with a conscience is as rare as the corncrake. ....."

Could that be re-written to say:

"In view of what is happening in the clerical church could it be said that a priest with a conscience and a mind of his own is as rare as the corncrake?"

The newsletter quotation is yet another sign of the breathtaking arrogance of the Irish clerical church.

The constant attack on democratically elected politicians, with all their faults and limitations, becomes tedious and even more boring than so much of what we hear in churches day-in day-out.

The job of the priest is to talk about the Good News.

That same newsletter asks: "Who of our political party leaders is most likely to convert to Christianity?"

And that too could be re-written:

"Who of our priestly leaders is most likely to convert to Christianity?"

A report published last week showed how the corncrake is making a comeback in Ireland.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Castlegregroy to Camp on shanks's mare

The stretch of beach from Castlegregory to Camp in West Kerry on a good day is stunning.

The 10 kms is walkable when the tide is out. It is truly magic.

One can paddle almost the entire10 km. Just one stream and one river to cross. No river to negotiate when tide is fully out.

And such beautiful places right under our noses

Dublin Bus could learn from Kerry Group

CEO of Kerry Group Stan McCarthy appeared on Morning Ireland today on the back of positive half year results.

Dublin was without buses for two days as a result of a bus strike.

In the last few days Dublin Bus management was represented by a PR person. Today someone from HR spoke for the compnay.

Who is the MD/CEO of Dublin Bus?

The difference.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A register with little or no meaning - a sham

It is now practice in some Catholic churches, not all, that a priest signs a register before celebrating Mass.

Many churches have such a book, others don't. In some churches where there is a book the signing of it is done in a haphazard way.

What exactly is the purpose of the book or register? Is it a real attempt to put in place some sort of professional behaviour in churches in the State?

Or is it some sort of legal reaction, some sort of attempt at PR to make the church look better?

Whatever its purpose it does not work.



Tony Benn on RTE Radio One

The former English Labour government minister Tony Benn was interviewed on the RTE John Murray Show this morning.

The listener was given little chance to discover much about the great man.

Not one question about his years in the Wilson government or his relationship with the mine workers' leader Arthur Scargill.

No reference at all to his 'handing back' his peerage.

Poor interview. A pity too. Tony is 88 and we may get little chance to hear the great man again on Irish Radio.

Watch out for the film on his life, which is being made.

Monday, August 5, 2013

No buses in Dublin on busy weekend

The Irish Government comes up with the idea of 'The Gathering' to bring people of Irish descent back to the country and boost tourist numbers.

What happens? On one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year, the capital city is left without buses.

Quite extraordinary.

Over the last few days a spokesperson for Dublin Bus has tried to give the company's side of the story and a deputy chief from the National Bus and Rail Workers Union has done his best to explain why the strike has taken place.

If these two people represent what is happening on the ground at Dublin Bus is it any wonder the company is losing money.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Nameless woman and cleric with title and name

On page eight of the current issue of 'The Irish Catholic' there is a picture of two people, a man and a woman.

The caption runs: "Apostoloc Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown chats with a pilgrim at the summit."

It sums up the ethos/ideology of 'The Irish Catholic' and the hierarchical church in one ignorant sentence.

Does the woman in the picture not have a name?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Remembering the dead at Smolensk

At Smolensk today Germans returned to the graveyard where the last German soldiers killed in the former Soviet Union were buried.

The German Defence Minister addressed the gathering and spoke about the importance of peace in Europe and Germany's close relation with its eastern neighbours.

Nazi Germany lost two million soldiers on the Russian front while 20 million soldiers of the Red Army lost their lives.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

That ball again

Worse again. It was a beachball.

Will the laces be glued together and what direction will the ball face?

Then again there are no laces in a beachball.

Isn't it all absurd. Moving the deck chairs on the Titanic.

And all the time the people speak with their feet.