Thursday, October 31, 2013

The perfect irony of that secret extra-marital affair

It is remarkable irony that at the Old Bailey today it is revelaed that Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson had an affair, which lasted at least six years.

Both Brooks and Coulson were editors of 'The News of the World'.

It was part of the mantra of the newspaper to tell its readership about the affairs of public persons. They argued that the public had a right to know about the private lives of people in important positions.

US radio seems to be a mix of fake horror and rudeness

Anyone who reads un-edited comments across the web will be familiar with how nasty so many contributions can be.

With internet radio, people now have the opportunity to listen to radio stations from anywhere in the world.

Anyone who has the opportunity to listen to US radio will be aware of the shock and horror of so many local stations.

Surely this can't be the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Irrespective of what one's politics are, the current non-stop attack on the US President makes for terrible radio.

Its rudeness and vulgarity have to be heard to be believed.

Is this style of radio some sort of mirror of what life is like in the US?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

JFK admired those who question the status quo

"When power leads man to arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diverstiy of this existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgement."

From a talk given by President John F Kennedy in October 1963 at Amherst College, Massachusetts.

Poet Robert Frost taught English at the college.

Monday, October 28, 2013

German politicans want Snowden in Berlin

News today that the United States embassy in Berlin had listening devices placed on the roof of the building, and this in the heart of the German capital.

A number of German politicians have callled today for the presence of Edward Snowden in Berlin to answer some of the unanswered questions concerning the bahaviour of the United States' spying agency, the NSA.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

'Our humanity no thicker than skin of an apple'

Swetlana Alexijewitsch, who won the German Book Prize this year, said, when people talk about Stalin they should never forget it was sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, mothers and fathers, who carried out the brutal work.

They were all complicit in Stalin's butchery.They were all executioners.

She also said that our humanity is no thicker than the skin of an apple.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Archbishop says violence embedded in theology

On October 17 this blog reported the comments made by Archbishop Michael Jackson. Since then his comments have been widely reported analysed, criticised and praised.

In today's Irish Times in an interview with Patsy McGarry he is quoted as saying at a book launch: "... there is a certain combat and indeed violence deeply embedded in theology and I suggest there always will be".

Extraordinary and the subject for a most interesting discussion.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The wisdom of Joe Duffy

Joe Duffy advertising his show on RTE Radio 1 today talks about the clocks going forward this weekend.

Outrage at spying while whistle blowers exiled

The news is full of reports of Angela Merkel's phone being tapped.

Julian Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Edward Snowden is in exile in Russia. Chelsea Manning is in jail in the United States.

All of the current news on spying is centre stage because of Assange, Snowden and Manning.

The world locks them up for what they have revealed and now the same world is shocked to hear about the details of what they revealed.

It's also difficult to understand why the German Chancellor seems so upset. Does the Bundesnachrichtendienst - BND - not engage in similar activity? Surely Mossad and GCHQ all undertake similar activity.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The perfectly ironed cuffs complete with cuff links

The Irish Times carries a photo today of Bishop Franz Peter Tebatz-van Elst.

The picture says so much about the poor man. The perfectly ironed cuffs, the cuff links and that 'six-inch' roman collar. And all the ecclesial clatter, rings, chains and smocks with a multitude of coloured buttons.

The picture says it all about the man.

It's not fair to knock a person when they are down and anyone with a heart must now feel a certain sympathy for this man.

Who allows this sort of thing to happen? And it is something that is happening every day in the Catholic Church.

The real issue is not at all  the money.

Anyone with eyes in their head will see what the real problem is. And not a word from the institutional church. Not one word.

The clerical madness will allow men to continue to prance about in the long flowing robes and coats and wear all the clatter and chains.

Isn't it so clear there is something terribly wrong.

According to today's Irish Times report van Elst was appointed by Benedict allegedly to combat 'progressive' tendencies in the German church.

Is it possible the dots are beginning to join up?

Note. The word 'clatter' is used intentionally.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Tebartz-van Elst saga main story on German news

Germany's ARD 20.00 Tagesschau, the main evening television news in Germany, gave five minutes to the Limburg saga today. It was the first item on the news.

It is a matter of laughing stock. The church from A to Z has handled the entire affair badly.

Who appointed Tebartz-van Elst bishop? Was he recommended by Cardinal Meissner of Cologne? When Joachim Meissner was appointed in Cologne there was loud and strong objection from a sizeable number of priests in the diocese.

When Joachim Meissner was cardinal bishop in Berlin he drove about the streets of East Berlin, the then capital of the GDR, in a prestige Mercedes Benz. It looked awful and so out of place - a mirror image of the Limburg residence.

Will the papal nuncio, who appointed Tebartz-van Elst be asked how this man was appointed a bishop? Hardly.

The 'power' of papal nuncios is a lesson in 'non-transparency'. And then the coterie of people surrounding them leaves so much to be desired in the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis your job is almost impossible.

Francis removes van Elst

Tebartz-van Elst is not to return to Limburg, at least not for the moment.

The diocese will be managed by Wolfgang Rösch.

Children with blue eyes blond hair protected brand

And now the police are checking the colour of our eyes and hair. Doing it in public too.

Someone else did that.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

First day for 18th Federal German Parliament

631 members representing 80 million people.
The 18th Federal German Parliament meets today for the first time.

There are 631 members, 402 men and 229 women.

Karamba Diaby (SPD) is the first African born member. Armin Schuster, a CDU member for the electoral district of Loerrach-Muellheim has the furthest to travel, 685 kilometres from L-M to the Reichstag. The person with the longest name is SPD member Sabine Baetzig-Lichtenhaeler.

The youngest parliamentarian is 26 and the eldest is 77.

Among the new members are two miners and a professional wrestler.

Almost one third of the new parliamentarians are taking their seats for the first time.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Lucinda Creighton turns up late but does apologise

The column, which appears in this week's International News and Media Irish regional newspapers.

Michael Commane
Over the last few weeks I have been at two book launches. The first was Fr Tony Flannery’s book, ‘A question of Conscience’.

Most times I have been at a book launch I have gone on my own, which means I’m hanging about not knowing quite what to do or with whom to say hello. Many is the time I have felt a right eejit at a book launch.

Tony Flannery’s book launch attracted a large crowd. Why was I surprised not to spot a single bishop or provincial at the event? Nor did I see the papal nuncio.

Bill O’Herlihy launched the book and it was abundantly clear that he had read it. He also spoke about his own Christian faith, which I found impressive.

Last Wednesday I went to another book launch. This time it was in the Jesuit Centre in Dublin’s Milltown Park. ‘Broken Faith’ is edited by Patrick Claffey, Joe Egan and Marie Keenan. I went along because I know Joe Egan. He is a cousin of mine and I think I can say a trusted friend. He also gives me plenty of good advice. Sad thing is I don’t always heed him.

Again, at this launch I arrived into the room on my own, knowing no-one. Inside the door the book was on sale. Bookshop price is €60, on the night they were selling it for €35, which I still thought was quite expensive. But such scholarly books are always this sort of price. I explained I intended doing a review of the book for a column I write. I eventually got it for €20. I was really chuffed when someone recognised my name from a column I write. Gosh, I felt I had made it, up there with the glitterati. Silly I.

From what I can recall, the book launch was due to begin at 6.30pm. When I arrived I was told it was 6.30 for 7 but nothing happened until 7.30. Deputy Lucinda Creighton was launching the book and did not manage to arrive until 7.30 pm. That annoyed me. However, she did apologise for her lateness. Why are there different rules for different people? But it’s the way of the world and there is nothing I can do about it.

I remember years ago going to a book launch where AJF O’Reilly was speaking. He too arrived far too late and I found myself getting really annoyed. But the man was not speaking 60 seconds when he had won me over. Either he was brilliant or I’m just a silly superficial sycophant.

Again with Lucinda, she may not be of the same calibre at public speaking as Sir Anthony. Who is? But it was clear she had spent considerable time and effort reading and studying the book.

The book is a compilation of essays written by 14 international scholars. It came about as a result of a three day conference in 2011 on clerical child sex abuse. The flyer for the book explains: “It is a theological reflection on the broken state of faith within the Catholic Church in Ireland following more than two decades of revelations about institutional and child sexual abuse and the church’s now acknowledged failure to respond to the abuse in an appropriate way”.

Lucinda Creighton stressed that the book is hugely thought provoking and certainly is an important read for people involved in policy making in this country. She also said it showed up great similarities about the flaws that church and State seem to share.

The first contributor, Patrick Claffey begins his article with a quote from James Baldwin.

“For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.”

It sets the tone for the book.

We waste tens of thousands of tonnes of good food

Supermarket giant Tesco revealed today it generated almost 30,000 tonnes of food waste in the UK in the first six months of 2013.
Of that total, 21 per cent was made up of fruit and vegetables and 41 per cent of bakery items.
No doubt the story is no different in Ireland.
Food waste is a scandal, the smallest morsel.

One in seven people in the world have not enough to eat, that means 1,000,000, 000 people.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Germans stick to the 1975 translation of Missal

The  publication of the new translation of the German Missal has been cancelled indefinitely.

The  wise and sensible German Bishops' Conference.

And the pup we were sold.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

German newspaper reports bishop no plans to resign

According to tomorrow's Frakfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Bishop of Limburg Tebartz-van Elst will not resign voluntarily from his position.

The newspaper also reports that when Cardinal Robert Zollitsch told Pope Francies about the €31m spent on the bishops's residence he simply said, 'Wie bitte', which means, 'Excuse me' in a sense of unbelief.

FedEx delivers Lidl PR

On Wednesday FedEx telephoned to say they had called with parcel but no one home

Yesterday they arrived with vacuum cleaner, which Lidl kindly replaced for faulty machine bought in one of their stores.

And the suction on the new machine is far superior to that of the old machine.

Thank you Lidl. Great PR too.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Tolls, parking meters, bus tickets and lotto cards

Last evening BBC's Newsnight carried an interview with US author Donna Tartt.

I have read none of her books but she came across as brilliant and funny.

One of the things she said that was interesting was that she always carries a notebook with her so as to write down her experiences.

How right she is. Think of all the funny and amazing things we see every day.

How much would it have to be for you to bend down to pick it up? What would you get off your bicycle to pick up?

A good friend of mine, who knows I get off the bicycle to pick up a cent has introduced me to a great new game. Indeed, I have branched out to new pastures.

He drives through the toll on a weekly basis, going through the coins only barrier and checks out if there are any coins in the return slot. We are in competition now as to how much we find.

I had a great day today: picked up a 10cent coin, a bus ticket worth 65cent. And listen to this: found an all-cash lotto ticket with a €5 prize on it.

Car parking meters can make good revenue too. Last week on Fitzwilliam Square I pocketed €3 in one machine.

Tartt's idea of a notebook is good but I think I'll supplement it with a ledger.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Jesuits always do it well

The link beow is to the current issue of Irish Jesuit News.

How to do it. And not a pious word of nonsense. Nor a word of spoof.

Archbishop warns of sectarianism in church

Church of Ireland Archbishop Michael Jackson in his presidential address on Tuesday spoke about the sectarianism he has encountered in Dublin and Wicklow.

Referring to the sectarianism he experienced as a child in Fermanagh he said:

"Such a mindset I even then realised was as much a cynical manipulation as anything else of fearful people who had no active desire to dehumanise their neighbours. It was exercised by those with clinical brilliance who sought to eat such people up in a power game of politics and dominance - and to divide the spoils among them and start again."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lefebvre priest justifies actions of notorious Nazi

Italian priest Floriano Abrahamowicz said on Italian radio yesterday that notorious Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke was 'innocent' and that he had "only applied the martial law of the day".

Fr Abrahamowicz is a memebr of the Saint Pius X Confraternity.

It was planned to bury Priebke yesterday in the Lefebvre church in Albano.

The Pius X Confraternity has a history of Holcaust denial and places great emphasis on celebrating Mass in Latin and wearing ornate vestments. They also insist on their priests dressing up in clerical attire.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Lidl vacuum cleaner that spew out real raw flames

Below is this week's INM Irish regional newspaper column.

Michael Commane
Vacuum cleaning my living room last Sunday week I got an awful fright.

Suddenly flames started coming out of the back of the vacuum cleaner. No, not sparks or a smell of burning but raw flames. Quick off the mark, I immediately turned off the power and all calmed down. I can tell you it was scary.

I bought the vacuum cleaner I think within the last year and don’t use it very often. It was cheap cheap and bought in Lidl.

I had not kept the receipt so I really did not know what to do. One thing was sure I was not going to leave the machine in the house. A good ten minutes after the flames it was still almost too hot to touch.

Later that day I called in to a Lidl store and told them my story. The assistant was very helpful and gave me a customer care card with a 1800 number printed large on it.

Early on the Monday, I called the 1800 number and after a short time was talking to a friendly Finnish woman in Germany. I explained my story in a polite and reasonable fashion. The lady asked me for the model and serial numbers of the machine, which I read out to her. Within less than 30 seconds she was back to me to tell me Lidl would post me out a new unit within ten days.

I was flabbergasted. No receipt, no examination of the machine. I could have filled it with ball bearings for all this kind Finnish lady knew. No questions asked. A new machine on demand. I could not believe my good fortune.

But then some minutes after I had finished the call the cynic in me began to ask a few questions. Maybe Lidl knew this machine was dodgy and was staying quiet about it and simply replacing it with an improved version. But I doubt that. If the machine were faulty they would be obliged to recall the series.

The upshot of the whole experience is that I am greatly impressed with Lidl and might even go as far as saying that I admire them and want to say a big thank you to them. I got this rare feeling that they are on my side. Yes, Lidl have won me over. And all done as a result of a mix of a bad event and good news.

It set me thinking about my own life in priesthood and the various jobs in teaching and journalism I have done over the years.

If someone were to ask me what jobs I liked best and why, I have no doubt my reply would be greatly influenced by how I felt treated or regarded by my superior in the context of the Dominican Order or the school principal in the context of teaching and the editor when it came to working on a newspaper.

Of course I can only talk for myself but when people feel respected and valued by their boss it is as sure as day follows night that the person will make it her or his business to live up to that expectation.

When someone is told that they do a good job, most likely the job will be done even better the next day. If someone is told they are useless, it will be almost impossible for them to produce a result the next day.

Yes, there are those who will fight and win but they are the exception. Most of us like to be told we are great.

Surely a church that proclaims to preach the Good News of the Gospel should always and ever concentrate on the strengths of its people and inspire them to reach to new heights.

Amazing how flames from a vacuum cleaner can turn out to be something so positive.

But it was the way the issue was handled by Lidl.

If you want a good laugh listen to journalist Mick McConnell’s ‘The Ballad of Lidl and Aldi’. It’s on YouTube.

His wife sends him out to buy sausages and he comes back with a wet suit made in Japan.

Monday, October 14, 2013

What's happened in Limburg is a self-inflicted disaster

To watch German television this evening and to scan every German newspaper today one cannot avoid the nonsense of what has happened in the diocese of Limburg. It is pitiful, shameful and sad. Pathetic too.

And every single detail of the nonsense has been caused by the institutional Catholic Church.

Who appointed this poor man a bishop. How are bishops appointed?

The car crash that is happening in Limburg will happen here too, as sure as day follows night.

Anyone with an ounce of humanity is bound to feel sorry for this man.

The church has the ideal opportunity right now to examine how it appoints its bishops.

Will it avail of the opportunity? Highly unlikely.

The 'conservative' bishop, his house and his shyness

Below is a sentence from a letter the Bishop of Limburg wrote to the Catholics of the diocese some time ago.

"The bishop’s house is our common house, and it is open to you all."

Proof positive how delusional a person can become.

Bishops' palaces/homes are usually the most 'aloof' buildings in town. Who would ever dare think that  a bishop's home was 'open to all'.

Indeed, usually, bishops are sealed off from the fellow Catholics in their diocese.

Ever try to make direct contact with a bishop?

The Bishop of Limburg is considered a conservative bishop who has difficulty communicating. The 'silent' priests, the priests who say nothing.

The old story. It eventually gets tedious as does all the bluff, spoof and nonsense.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bishop of Limburg makes it to top slot on German news

 The Günther Jauch Show this evening had as its theme the €31m new home and offices of the Bishop of Limburg, Tebartz van Elst.

In the programme the Bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann admitted that van Elst cannot remain in Limburg as bishop.

It has now become a great German Catholic joke. The new residence has a €15,000 bath tub along with many other silly accessories.

But a quick look at the poor man, the Bishop of Limburg, and so much of the deception and nonsense of the institutional Catholic Church unfolds in front of one's eyes.

Jauch later in the programme moved on to invite the guests to discuss whether or not the finances of the German Catholic Church should be made more transparent.

Norbert Bluem, a former German government minister, expressed his hope and belief that Pope Francis was creating a new mood in the church.

Also discussed was the recent decision in Freiburg to allow remarried people to receive Communion. Ackermann hinted that there is urgent need for change. He said people cannot be left in cul-de-sacs.

The bishop also said that he would never refuse Communion to anyone at the altar.

The Günther Jauch Show is one of the most watched talk shows in Germany.

And then on the news that followed the show the main item was a report that  the  Bishop of Freiburg, who is the President of the German Bishops' Conference is in Rome and the Bishop of Limburg flew to Rome this afternoon.

Need for management overhaul at Irish Rail

This morning Irish Rail is operating a three-coach Intercity rail car from Tralee to Dublin.

Anyone who knows nothing about railway traffic in Ireland would know that such a small capacity train is not adequate for the journey.

The train leaving Killarney is filled to capacity with people standing in the aisles. It has seven more stops before arriving at Dublin Heuston.

The seat reservation system is not working, so an element of chaos reigns.

Irish Rail admits to having over capacity at present. Yes, it is understandable that they are making every effort possible to reduce fuel costs but the idea of running a three coach train on a Sunday morning from Tralee to Dublin tells a great story about management skills at the State-run rail company.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Appreciating those great moments of good fortune

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

Michael Commane
On my way to work recently I spotted a neighbour walking to his car with a baby basket. His wife was going to hospital to have their second child.

He did not notice that I was watching him. But he stopped me in my tracks. There he was, getting ready for his new-born child.

No doubt he was in a state of excitement, nervous too I can imagine. But in that momentary glance I got of him, it dawned on me what good fortune had befallen on this couple. Some days earlier they had told me that the baby was overdue. Obviously the moment had come.

Maybe it has something to do with growing older, maybe even growing wiser that one becomes more conscious of the moments of good fortune that we experience.

And just as I write this, I'm wondering if I’m using the right words. One billion on this planet are starving. More than 100,000 people have been killed in war in Syria, tens of thousands have fled their homes. Innocent people have suffered indescribable pain, losing limbs in the chaos and savagery of what is happening in Syria.

At my own hall door I have friends who are seriously ill, I see people whose lives are blighted as a result of poverty, lack of education, abuse of alcohol, violence.
One might simply say, the way of the world.

In tomorrow's Gospel, Luke 17: 11 - 19, we see how 10 lepers experience the healing hand of Jesus and just one comes back to say thank you.

And oddly enough the one who comes back is a Samaritan, in other words, an outsider, someone not considered to be important or of any worth or value.

This Gospel stops me in my step and does two things: it reminds me of the importance of appreciating our good fortune and it also tempts me to be more open and imaginative in seeing and experiencing the grace and good fortune that we see and live every day of our lives.

And even for people who are afflicted with the most indescribable pain and suffering there are moments and occasions, which allow them to appreciate the good things of life. No matter how great our pain or suffering is we manage to get up, dust ourselves down and get on with life. But we need reminders from time to time to appreciate the simplest of things that touch our lives.

I bow my head to my great fortune in being introduced in my youth to walking and cycling the hills of Ireland.

Last week I walked in Wicklow, skirting around the side of Lough Dan. The beauty of the place is breathtaking. But to take a stroll in a park, walk through a field, to watch a bird on a chimney, a child playing on the road, people laughing on a footpath, can be awe-inspiring.

Every day, right in front of our eyes, we are surrounded by great beauty. It's a question of having the right eyes to see it. Dare we call it God's handiwork?

Of course for most of us our everyday lives can from time to time be filled with grey, dark and foreboding clouds.

It's probably an attitude of mind that we need to develop to be able to see the wonder of creation, the wonder of life, the presence of God in the world.

Later on the day that I saw the man heading with the baby basket to his car I said to a work colleague what a miserable day it was. The young man replied, "It's only miserable if you are miserable".

All I could do was smile, agree with him and realise how easy it is to write fine ideas. But he did stop me in my track. Another moment of grace to direct me to the wonder and presence of God.

By the way, they had a baby boy.

New German cinema at Dublin's IFI Kinofest

Dublin's IFI is currently running a short Kinofest from October 10 to 13.

It's a presentation of new German cinema presented in partnership with the Goethe-Institut. The emphasis is very much on emerging talent.

Last night's film was 'Life Is No Piece Of Cake'.

When teacher Babette dies in an accident, husband Markus and 15-year-old daughter Kim are left to pick up the pieces.

The film traces their lives. It's sad but funny too.

A good film. An example how love and friendship can win out in spite of all the mess and fragility.

Note. To watch a film like this and then to compare it to some of the pious religious words that are currently in the blogsphere make one stop and think.

How out of touch, how unreal, are all those words wrapped up in holy lore. So sanctimonious and unreal and little if anything to do with the real world or truth.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

McConnell's rendition of The Ballad of Lidl and Aldi

If you want a good laugh then listen to 'The Ballad of Lidl and Aldi' sung by Mick McConnell in JB Keane's pub in Listowel. It is hilarious.

No matter what the 'wise' are saying it's all changed now

The piece below is from the Rorate Caeli blog, It is an extremely right wing blog with very unusual content. Until the arrival of Pope Francis it never hinted at any sort of criticism of the pope.The tone and the style of what's below is written in a language that was not possible on its blog up to now.

Someone was overheard saying in recent days that there was nothing different about this pope. Not true. It's all so different. A shopkeeper last week said that he now googles Pope Francis to see what he is saying. He was surprised at what he was doing but simply found himself interested in what the new pope was saying.

From Nicole Winfield, Associated Press:

            Casual Pope puts Vatican on alert with quips

Pope Francis has grabbed headlines with his off-the-cuff homilies, crowd-pleasing one-liners and lengthy interviews during which he has pontificated on everything from the church's "obsession" with rules to how he won't judge gays. But his chattiness has gotten him into some trouble, and the Vatican has gone into damage-control mode to clarify, correct or put his comments into context. Here's a look at some of Francis' more eyebrow-raising comments, and the efforts by the Vatican's spin doctors to address them.


In an interview with the Rome daily La Repubblica, editor Eugenio Scalfari quoted the pope as saying he was "seized by a great anxiety" moments after his election and asked the cardinals in the Sistine Chapel to give him a few minutes time to think things over.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Limburg bishop's €31 m home upsets many Catholics

German media outlets, including Deutschlandfunk, are giving prominence today to the controversy that has been sparked by the newly built residence for the Bishop of Limburg, Tebartz van Elst.

The resiedence with diocesan offices has cost €31 million to build.

A number of priests and assocations in the diocese have called for the resignation of the bishop. They have also asked the German Bishops' Conference to make a statement. 

Tebartz van Elst was appointed bishop in November 2007.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Road Safety Authority confuses autumn with spring

The RSA ran an ad on RTE Radio this morning. They gave a checklist of what drivers need to check about their cars at this time of year.

The ad finished by wishing all their listeners safe driving this spring.

Monday, October 7, 2013

German diocese to offer Communion to remarried

Today's Die Welt newspaper carries a story that a decision has been made in the Archdiocese of Freiburg that people who have remarried may receive Communion under certain conditions.

A good end to a vacuum cleaner that goes on fire

Congrats to Lidl.

This blogger bought a vacuum cleaner in a Lidl store. Yesterday while in use it went on fire. Real flames flying out the back of the machine

I called Lidl, explained what happened, telling them that I had no receipt.

The vacuum cleaner was bought probably a year ago.

I was asked for the model and serial number and was then informed a new unit would be posted to my address.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A pope greatly disturbed with clerical madness

"I become an anti-clericalist in a flash when I am faced with an officious priest.

The church is or should go back to being a community of the people of God and priests, pastors and bishops should be at the service of the people of God."

The person who said this would have great difficulty surviving in certain strata within the clerical church in Ireland.

The words were spoken by Pope Francis.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

When it comes to capitals size might well matter

Berlin is eight times bigger than Paris

Urgent need for a prayer to stop the pious piffle

What's real what's not real? What does a term such as ' the real world' mean?

No doubt most ordinary people want to think of themselves as real and living in a world that is real.

Read Erich Kästner's 'Fabian' and one might wonder what exactly the 'real world' means.

What at all would Kästner say to so much of the pious piffle that appears on many right-wing religious writings/blogs?

The material, the style, the seeming certainty, it's all simply shocking.

One is tempted to ask if the writers of this material really believe what they write.

And then all the pious humbug wrapped up in solemn pronouncements.

If we can say anything about God surely it is on the lines of kindness and gentleness. Real too.

Less certainty and more kindness and gentleness.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The universal relevance of what Mrs Paxman said

BBC's Newsnight front man Jeremy Paxman's book on the first World War, Great Britain's Great War, has been published.

He quotes his mother, whom he recalls saying about the soldiers in that war as being, "lions led by donkeys".

Maybe it's easy for people who have never been in a position of power to empathise with Paxman's mother, nevertheless, on a personal note, I look at the institutional Irish Catholic Church and wish to shout from the rooftops Mrs Paxman's words.

And I'm no 'lion'.

John Crown strongly defends retention of Seanad Éireann

Senator John Crown on Morning Ireland today challenged the Taoiseach to a radio debate to discuss tomorrow's referendum.

It was sensational radio and Crown was simply brilliant.

It can be listened to on the RTE Radio Player. The intereview took place close to 08.25

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An inspiring celebration of God's love at funeral Mass

There is a remarkable dignity and grace about the funeral ritual in the Catholic Church.

At a funeral Mass in Terenure College chapel today chief celebrant Carmelite priest Michael Troy presided over a movingly prayerful and dignified service.

In his sermon he spoke about the kindness and love of God and how the deceased had the capacity to love and be kind.

Thank you Fr Troy.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

An inspiring papal interview and a letter to the editor

Anyone who has read the interview with Pope Francis might well take a few moments out to read the letter in the current issue of Intercom titled 'Liturgical Surprises'.

Lough Dan in the Wicklow Hills at the end of September

Lough Dan on the feast of Michael the Archangel, September 29.

And warm waters in which to swim too.

Tess is the first to test the balmy waters.

At Seapoint on Friday water temperature was 17 Celsius.

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What's in a name?

The 'Thinking Anew' column in The Irish Times today. Michael Commane Sometimes I wonder has all the pious 'stuff' we have ...