Friday, July 31, 2015

The rise of Jeremy Corbyn

Alice Houbart is a 20-year-old politics student from Brighton who joined the British Labour Party after the election.

She attended a meeting in Luton addressed by Jeremy Corbyn, who is now favourite to succeed Ed Miliband as leader of the British Labour Party.

"It is the first time in our lives there is someone in Labour we can identify with," she said.

Media reports bishop of bling on €10k a month

The diocese of Limburg has been reviewing the pension it pays its former bishop, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst - bishop of bling - diocesan spokesman Stephen Schnelle said without commenting on media reports that Tebartz-van Elst received the sum of €7,000  a month from Limburg in addition to his monthly Vatican salary of about €3,000. "The pension agreement provides for an adjustment if a new salary is paid. The diocese is also discussing this with the Vatican," he said.
Tebartz-van Elst, a strict conservative cleric who was fined for lying under oath about another scandal concerning a first-class flight he took to India, was able to spend so much money without supervision because he took most of it from a special unreported fund that many German bishops have at their disposal.
What are the salaries and pensions of bishops, archbishops and cardinals?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Martin's wise observation

"... there are signs within the Catholic Church that some - even young people - are seeking refuge from the challenges of life by adapting ways of the past and are retreating from dialogue with the present into the false security of imaginary better times. Conformist Catholicism is not the answer."

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.

Might it be that the archbishop has seen and heard a thing or two?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Music summer school at Cistercian Abbey Roscrea

Ian Callanan, who was a Dominican student for a number of years, is running a five-day summer school in liturgical music at Cistercian College Roscrea from Tuesday, August 4 to Sunday, August  9.

The Cistercian Abbey is on the Tipperary Offaly border and is set in exquisite countryside.

For information on the course contact Ian Callanan at 086 - 249 0779 or log on to

Ian has had a long association with the Irish Dominicans.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The art of fixing things

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

Michael Commane
My late parents had two pairs of great hands. My mother did the most intricate embroidery work.

I still have a quilt on my bed which she made. She also made magnificent rugs and beautiful knitted pullovers. And she managed to do it in her old age when her hands were gnarled with arthritis.

My father was a mechanical fitter. He worked in Killeen Paper Mills until retirement age and then moved to Smurfit Paper Mills where he worked until he was 82.

Three years ago I met a former colleague of his, who told me he was the best there was.

And then just last month, by an extraordinary coincidence, I met a man, who had spent a summer holidays working in Smurfits during his university years. It was 1978 and he could still remember my father and how good he was at his job. What a story to hear about one's Dad.

But maybe it was because my parents were such craftspeople that they never really trusted me to thread a needle or solder a broken electrical connection. Whatever the reason, I'm not known for having the finest pair of hands. It annoys me. And to make things worse I have a friend, who is an engineer, who often casts scorn on my attempts in the world of DIY. He too annoys me.

Over the years I have done bits and pieces, usually under supervision. In the Dominican priory in Rome I was the helper on a job installing a telephone system.

Well, my task was just a matter of pulling cables and boring holes in walls. I suppose something not considered high-tech grade.

And yet, I have to admit that I love messing about with plugs and sockets and trying to fix things. Though with modern circuit boards, the chances of my fixing something are becoming more and more remote.

Still, every now and again, I get a chance to do a bit of DIY. On Friday evening I heard an intermittent beep in the house. Could not make out from where it was coming and eventually it stopped and I forgot about it.

Fast asleep I was suddenly awoken by a non-stop beeping sound. It was 02.00 and the noise, at least at that hour in the night sounded loud to me. It might well disturb the neighbours.

After an initial investigation - that sounds fancy - I decided it was the burglar alarm. I had no idea what was wrong. I went downstairs to the display panel and fiddled about. It so happened that I had the code to get into the maintenance programme.

After messing about for about five minutes and saying a few silent curse words I discovered that the battery on the alarm was low. I managed to stop the noise. How, I don't know.

Again, I forgot about it. That is until it started beeping again the following day and this time it really was annoying. Eventually I opened the electrical circuit box, disconnected the battery, took down details and went off to a suppliers and bought and installed a new battery.

Delighted with myself. Just the fun of doing it and getting it right gave me a certain satisfaction. And then just imagine had I called out an alarm company to 'fix' it?

That surely would have cost me a minimum of €100.00. The battery cost me €16.35.

I'm back thinking of my parents and their generation. The things they made, fixed and repaired. We sure do live in a throw-away society. It can't be good for us. It’s not.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Rain drops falling ....

The picture below does not tell the true or complete story.

Yesterday, the last Sunday in July, it rained all day. At least it did when Tess was out walking. In a short 90-minute stroll near the Hell Fire Club we were all drenched to the skin, even with waterproofs.

Can Irish Water do anything about this?

The 'lapsed' Clare Short

"Everyone leaves some scratches behind them. I think that's what immortality is."

Former Biritsh Cabinet Minister and member of the Labour Party was interviewed on BBC 4's 'Reflections' this morning.

She spoke of being a born, raised and lapsed Catholic. And she later became a 'lapsed' member of the British Labour Party.

She was Seretary of State for International Development in the Blair government from 1997 until her resignation in 2003.

In the programme she spoke glowingly of John Smith, who was Labour leader before Tony Blair. She believes that Blair helped destroy democracy within the Labour Party and holds him responsible for the disaster of Iraq.

The opening quote is a comment Short made in today's programme.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Irish Tea Party

Anyone who is following what's going on in the Republican Party in the US at present could well see a parallel with what might be happening in the Catholic Church in Ireland.

The Tea Party seems to have many like-minded people, growing in number, in the Catholic Church.

Maybe a realated issue: there are 58 words in the opening sentence in the Opening Prayer (Collect) of today's Mass.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Catholics jump ship

Figures released show that 2014 saw a record number of people leave the Catholic Church in Germany.

Last year 217,716 paid-up Catholics jumped ship.

Approximately 24 million are Catholic and 23 million Protestants in a population of 80 million.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Extra columns

The INM column that appears on this blog is originally written for INM Irish regional newspapers. Up to now the column has been appearing in the regional newspapers two weeks  in the month.

From this week until the end of August the column will appear on a weekly basis.

Battle against malaria

The world's first malaria vaccine has cleared one of the final hurdles prior to being approved for use in Africa.

One child dies every minute from malaria.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sheep in the toilet

Guess what this is?

It's the interior decor of a toilet in Irish Rail's InterCity Spanish-built trains.

It seems they are repainting the toilets. And this one at least is painted using a rural setting.


Interior wall of  toilet on Irish Rail InterCity train.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The empty tomb

Today is the feast of Mary Magdalene.

Mary stood at the tomb. No sign of Jesus so she speaks to this man whom she thinks may be the gardener.

No, he's no gardener. She is talking to Jesus.

Isn't it really the most extraordinary thing in the world to say that word resurrection.

We rattle it off  in all sorts of places and at all sorts of occasions and it doesn't cost us a thought.

It is 'extra-ordinary'. Surely it's the engine of our faith and isn't it odd that there is so little discussion about it. And all the other 'religious' issues we get so worked up about.

David says: "My soul thirsts for the living God; when shall I come and behold the face of God."

What at all is resurrection? Best of all to say nothing? Surely not?

The closing of Benbulben

An item on Morning Ireland today said that because of the Cabinet meeting in Lissadell House today Benbulben would be closed.

How is it possible to 'close' Benbulben?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

There's never an excuse for rudeness and bad language

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

Michael Commane
A work colleague, who is eight months pregnant, came to me on Monday with two stories.
She had been out shopping on Saturday and while queueing at the check-out desk the man in front of her, realising she was pregnant, offered her to go ahead of him. She was really impressed with his action.

A few days later she was attending an ante-natal clinic. There were no spare seats available so she was left standing. But she did notice that a young man was sitting down in one of the seats and she was surprised and even somewhat annoyed that he did not offer to give her his seat.
Manners are a funny sort of thing and from time-to-time the subject features on radio programmes and on letter pages. Earlier this year it featured on the Joe Duffy Show.

I can recall how my late father when he was old would often speak of incidents he experienced while travelling around Dublin by bus. Sometimes he would be greatly impressed with the kindness of passengers and bus drivers. On other occasions he would be saddened by their bad manners and rudeness.

It’s funny how we can rub up people the wrong way or how we can be offended and annoyed by the actions of other people.
It’s awful to see people fighting and shouting profanities on the street. And it is also horrible to hear and observe people taking part in that exercise we call road rage. Indeed, calling it road rage seems to gloss over the rudeness and vulgarity that is actually perpetrated. That ever-so elegant car and then those crude expletives. Being rude and vulgar is certainly not a prerogative of any one social class. Far from it.

How do you find the use of vulgar or bad language? Do you use it? When did you last use the F-word? Is it just a word or is it something more than that? Whatever it is, its use in Ireland now seems universal.
I never once heard my mother or father say the F-word. Over the years I found myself using it more and more. And the habit began to take hold.

I seldom if ever make New Year resolutions but last January I made a decision to stop saying the F-word. We’re half way through the year now and the resolution is holding up well. I might say the word occasionally to myself but I never say it to another person or in anyone’s company.

But what has struck me most of all during the year is how different the word now sounds since I have stopped using it. Even when close friends and colleagues say it, there seems to be something wrong about it. I have to say, I just don’t like the sound of it any longer and actually would prefer not to hear it being said.
Does that sound a bit priggish? Maybe it does but so be it.

Is there a link between bad language and vulgar or rude behaviour? I don’t have the answer to that one. Nor for a moment am I saying that people who never use bad language are consequently polite and well behaved.
I’d love to know if the man who offered my pregnant colleague his place in the queue uses bad language. And what about the chap who made no effort to give her his seat?

I’ll never know. But surely there is something about crude and bad language that leads us down a road that looks rough and unpleasant.

Life can be difficult enough without all those profanities.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A lot of prisoners in the US

The United States accounts for five per cent of the world's population but has close to 25 per cent of the world's prison population. There are 2.2 million people in the US in prison.

For every 100,000 US citizens there are 698 behind bars. In Ireland it's 88.

One in every 12 black men between 23 and 54 is in jail, whereas it is one in 60 when it comes to the white population.

The land of the feee and the home of the brave.

It seems President Barack Obama is aware there is something wrong.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

St Dominic's 40 years on

Yesterday the parish of St Dominic's in Tallaght marked the 40th anniversary of the opening of the church.

Area bishop Eamonn Walsh was the principal celebrant at the Mass.

In his words after the Gospel he spoke of the church as a spiritual oasis in the area, the importance of discovering our relationship with God and the art of finding out about ourselves.

He wondered how the parish would look in 2055 and emphasised the importance of ownership. Bishop Walsh thanked the people for the spirit that has been developed in the parish.

It was a dignified, simple and prayerful occasion. And it was real. Not a whiff or a thurible-full of liturgical lap dancing.

The church was close to full for the occasion with 15 Dominicans concelebrating. Daragh McNally was deacon.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

God in the great outdoors

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

Michael Commane
It was probably September 1981 when a first-year pupil at Newbridge College, which was then a boys' boarding school, sat on the bank of the Liffey and began to cry. It was his first week in the school and he had come from Donegal.

He simply could not believe that there was not a mountain in sight. He realised he was in a foreign country and such a break from home was too much for him. 
He survived, managed and grew accustomed to flat Kildare.

I have said it before in this column how fortunate I am to have been introduced to the Wicklow Hills. As students at the Dominican Priory in Tallaght in the 1970s heading to the hills was one of the few great recreations we had. It has stood the test of time and whatever about any philosophy or theology learned and forgotten, the lure of the great outdoors has left a permanent impression.

Back then it was on the rarest of occasions that one bumped into other walkers. We had the mountains to ourselves, whether it was on Lugnaquillia, Scarr or Tonlagee. And then the exhaustion that followed.

On one occasion we cycled from Tallaght to Donard, climbed the Lug and did it all in one day. But even in the then-strict Tallaght Priory, we were dispensed from early Morning Prayer the following day.

Hill walking came to an abrupt end when my friend and fellow Dominican died 12 years ago of a heart attack. Fortuitously, through work, I have met up with a colleague who knows the hills like the back of his hand and I'm back roaming about in the Wicklow and Kerry mountains. He does all the navigating.

These days Ireland Inc. uses the hills, rivers and natural beauty of the place to sell the country as the ideal place to come on vacation. It's working. More and more people are out and about discovering the beauty of the place.

There is nowhere in Ireland more than a few short kilometres from natural beauty and it's simply crazy that we would ever let it pass us by.

In tomorrow's Gospel (Mark 6: 30 - 34) Jesus suggests to his apostles that they take off to a quiet place to get away from the "madding crowd".

The attraction of the message of Jesus is so persuasive that it is almost impossible for him and his apostles to get away to a quiet place.Is it possible to get any sort of "total picture" of the world if we are not someway or other in touch with the beauty of the world about us? That beauty is powerfully evident in the hills, valleys and rivers which surround us.

The most uneducated glimpse of the world, will make us aware of the importance of protecting it.

Pope Francis in his encyclical  "Laudato Si" speaks about the environment as a relationship between nature and the society which lives in it. "Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it." (139)

Discovering the beauty and wonder of our natural environment gives us a great opportunity to get a glimpse of the greatness of God's creation. It also gives us time and space to relax and take some time out.

But maybe most of all it gives us an appreciation of the importance of the challenge we have in protecting all that is good about our environment.

Whether in Kildare or Donegal, Rome or Berlin, the world is the cherished creation of God.

Friday, July 17, 2015

German claim for hegemony in Europe - Habermas

German philosopher Jürgen Habermas writes in today's Guardian on the Greek crisis.

Below is an excerpt.

"Forcing the Greek government to agree to an economically questionable, predominantly symbolic privatisation fund cannot be understood as anything other than an act of punishment against a left-wing government. It’s hard to see how more damage could be done.

"And yet the German government did just this when finance minister Schaeuble threatened Greek exit from the euro, thus unashamedly revealing itself as Europe’s chief disciplinarian. 

"The German government thereby made for the first time a manifest claim for German hegemony in Europe – this, at any rate, is how things are perceived in the rest of Europe, and this perception defines the reality that counts. 

"I fear that the German government, including its social democratic faction, have gambled away in one night all the political capital that a better Germany had accumulated in half a century – and by “better” I mean a Germany characterised by greater political sensitivity and a post-national mentality."

Thursday, July 16, 2015

US right-wing influence

The right-wing media in the US is relentless in its attack on President Barack Obama. Its attacks are rude and demeaning. Also simplistic.

The Iran agreement signed this week is currently coming under sustained criticism.

Patriot Radio is non-stop in its Obama opposition.

There seem to be parallels with  the modus operandi of  the right-wing media and that of the right-wing Catholic Church.

It's intersting to observe. Frightening too.

Has the Irish Catholic Church been unduly influenced by right-wing US Catholicism?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dominicans in Drogheda

The lead story in this week's Irish Catholic is about the Dominicans leaving/not leaving the priory and church in Drogheda.

No friend or admirer of The Irish Catholic, nevertheless it's a sad tale.

One might ask how such decisions are made and what actually is the level of communication within the organisation.

The old adage, one reaps what one sows.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Best bus shelter

It must be one of the nicest bus stops/shelters anywhere. And at the left side there is a pane of glass to allow the passenger to see when the bus is coming.

The bus shelter is in Camp, Co. Kerry. It comes with a seat, flowers and a current timetable. Perfect.

Camp records high levels of rainfall.

The bus shelter at Upper Camp, Co Kerry

Monday, July 13, 2015

Lord protect and save us from unintelligible 'Collects'

The Opening Prayer or 'Collect', as it is now called in the new Missal, in yesterday's Mass was almost unintelligible.

It's worth counting the number of words in the opening sentence.

How many people at Mass yesterday understood that prayer, no matter how well it was read and prayed?

Can the people who gave the English-speaking Catholic Church the new Missal be held responsible for this disaster?

Is there an Irish bishop who is honest and intelligent enough to stand up and say it is a failure?

Well done to the German bishops for 'postponing' a new translation.

How much did it all cost and who paid for it? Not a word from a bishop or a provincial.

System that debases and kills

Meeting with an international gathering of grassroots activists, Pope Francis not only encouraged, but tried to add fuel to their fire for "standing up to an idolatrous (economic) system which excludes, debases and kills."
Addressing the World Meeting of Popular Movements in Santa Cruz on Thursday, Francis acknowledged he did not have a "recipe" for a perfect economic-social-political system, but he said the problems with the current system are obvious and the Gospel contains principles that can help.
(National Catholic Reporter)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Irish Rail's website

Booking a ticket with Irish Rail how is the passenger/customer expected to know the meaning of the different symbols. It could well be a good platform for a game of charades.

Booking a seat seems completely chaotic.

This surely must win a prize for confusion. From beginning to end the site is close to impossible to understand.

Gauck comes to Ireland

German President Joachim Gauck begins a three-day State visit to Ireland tomorrow.

Gauck was born in Rostock in Nazi Germany, spent most of his adult life in the German Democratic Republic and is now President of a united Federal Republic.

He ministered as a Lutheran pastor in his home town of Rostock on the Baltic Sea.

In an interview with The Irish Times last week when speaking about the Irish marriage referendum he said:

" I thus hope that Germany can also have a stronger debate in which people are not overwhelmed by a feeling that equality between themselves and others is taking something away from them or posing a threat to their own way of life."

Germany introduced civil partnerships for gay couples n 2001.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Eamon Casey in Kerry

Two elderly Kerry priests when asked whom they would consider was the finest bishop in the diocese, during their time of ministry, immediately and spontaneously said 'Eamon Casey'.

Both men recalled that before Casey came to Kerry curates were treated like vassals by their parish priests.

One man said: "It was terrible. We lived in bed-sit style accommodation and the pp could be as tyranical as he wished. Eamon Casey came and so too did freedom."

Friday, July 10, 2015

Bible is foreign territory

How is it and why is it that so few people know anything about the Bible?

Why is it that so many liturgical prayers are said so quickly and almost in a meaningless fashion.

Read a Psalm to a group of people and they will look on in awe, wondering what it is.

And this didn't happen today or yesterday.  What exaclty is the Catholic ethos in Catholic-run schools?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cycle rail bus combo

Before the arrival of Michael O'Leary's Ryanair it was possible to take a bicycle free on most airlines. Those halcyon days are long gone.

But there are still some great 'offers' available, if not in the sky.

The three CIE companies allow passengers to take fold-up bicycles for free on all their vehicles, bus and train. It's a fabulous facility.

If one is a PAYE employee she/he can avail of the Bike2Work Scheme. Up off and you're away.

The scheme was introduced in the last Fianna Fáil Green Coalition.  Your employer pays up front for the bicycle and then they deduct it from your monthly/weekly salary. You end up paying the total cost of the bike minus tax, which depends on whether you are on standard or upper tax rate.

There's a downside to everything. The scheme means that there are far too many crazy cyclists on the roads. Ask any Dublin Bus Driver. One such driver was overheard saying to a customer that there are now nine million cyclists in the capital.

Fold-up bike on Irish Rail InterCity train.

David Quinn misses the point about seminaries

In this week's Irish Catholic David Quinn writes an opinion piece on concerns expressed about the national seminary, Maynooth.

The piece follows a news story in last week's edition.

He cites a controversy as to whether one should kneel or not kneel, Quinn also says that a great deal of theological training in Ireland seems to stray from the fundamentals of Cathoic theology.

He makes this statement without giving one single example to back up his argument.

But the problems of 'priestly formation' are never honestly discussed. And the issues are as clear as the nose on one's face.

The real issues are never openly and properly discussed. And so it goes. On and on.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A homeless man sits out three-month prison sentence

Known by some as Jack, by others as Mad Jack, Thomas Coleman regularly sits in the porch of the Three Patrons Church in Rathgar on weekday mornings before, during and after the 07.30 Mass. He cycles an old bicycle that certainly was not bought under the Bike2Work Scheme.

He is in his early 60s, 62 to be precise. He has been homeless for over 20 years. On occasion he can shout and criticise aspects of Irish and EU political life but he is also a gentle and kind man, a man of learning too.

Suddenly he was gone. No sign of him for a full week. People missed him. The place was not the same without him. No chat before or after Mass.

Jack is serving a three-month prison sentence in Mountjoy Jail.

I visited him yesterday. We had a great chat. His eyes lit up when he saw me as did mine. Sitting down talking and laughing with him was a moment of grace, certainly for me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Around the world in speed

This blog is read in the countries marked in blue.

Craziness endured and great people encountered

Forty one years ago today the Germans beat the Dutch in the World Cup in Munich.

Also on that day Martin Boyle and I were ordained Dominican priests in St Mary's Priory, Tallaght.

We often meet, talk and laugh about it all, the experiences we have gathered, the nonsnese we have seen, the craziness we have endured and the great people we have encountered.

Martin is well known across the city as a counsellor. A man of kindness and wisdom.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Vatican's pot of gold

The Vatican is considering, but is not committed to, divesting its holdings in fossil fuels. The comment was made by a Vatican official at a press conference to discuss Pope Francis' encyclical.

The Vatican has approximately €6bn in management funds.

Naomi Klein has said that the Vatican is considering a possible divestment policy.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

German troops to Ukraine

It was announced in Berlin today that German troops - Bundeswehr - will carry out exercises in Ukraine later this summer. They will be part of a Nato operation.

But surely it can't be a wise PR move for German troops to set foot in Ukraine?

It's worth noting that Ukrainian troops played an important role in the Red Army's rush to Berlin in spring 1945.

A letter from the President

Copy of letter to Lally Lawlor on the occasion of her 100th birthday.

Lally resides at Ocean View Nursing home in Camp, Co Kerry.

Mrs Lawlor is the mother of Mary, Tom, Paul and John Lawlor. 'Nidge' of Love/Hate fame is her grandchild and her son Paul is a Dominican, who ministers in the Islamic Republic of Iran's capital, Tehran.

The despised prophet

Today's Gospel reading (Mark 6: 1 - 6) might tempt us to give ourselves a chance to listen to what the 'other side' is saying.

Are we all brainwashed to think in a particular way? How much of our doing and thinking is influenced by those around us?

It must be almost impossible to go against the 'flow'.

In yesterday's 'Irish Times' Miriam Lord writes about the famous/infamous Fianna Fáil Galway Tent. She is commenting on Cowen's and McCreevy's remarks to the Oireachtas banking inquiry during the week.

Great last lines to the piece:

"Access. Influence. Word in the ear. Contacts forged. Networks strengthened. All very convivial. That's how it goes."

It fits.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Pope Francis adds his voice to protecting the earth

Papal encyclical On Care For Our Common Home is a great read.

"We know that approximately one-third of all food produced is discarded, and 'whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor'." (No 49)

Think of that the next time you are pushing food off your plate into a waste container.


"When media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously." (No 47)

"The deterioration of the environment and of society affects the most vulnerable people of the planet..." (No 48)

Friday, July 3, 2015

Saying hello and well done

At 06.15 today a Dublin City Council employee jumped out of his van to empty a rubbish bin in Rathgar. I said good morning and complimented him on the job that he and his colleagues do in keeping the place clean. His face lit up: "That's what we want to hear, thank you." And he said it with a great smile on his face.

When last did a bishop or a provinical simply compliment or even say hello to one of his 'foot soldiers'?

Indeed, they may well 'praise' their cronies and sycophants but communication skills within the institutional Catholic Church simply don't exist.

When last did a bishop or a provinical pick up his phone and say hello to one of his priests? Just to say hello and suggest meeting for a cup of coffee?

It's all worse than shocking.

Next time you are talking to a priest, a 'foot soldier' ask him when last did his bishop or provinical even say hello to him.

It was all so different at 06.15 on a summer morning in Rathgar.

It sure is a funny-old world.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Shallow fundamentalism

An interesting discussion happening on yesterday's blogpost re excerpt from 'The Tablet'.

Posts by Michael (not the writer of this blog), Thomas G McCarthy and Francis Hunt are all worth reading.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A sense of humour

From the current issue of Catholic Voice.


Thomist vision of natural law is not acceptable

The current issue of The Tablet  carries an interview with Olivier Roy, who according to the blurb, is one of Europe's most original analysts of Islam and religion in the West. Starting in 2011, his team of researchers from around Europe began studying controversies about faith in the secular public sphere.

Below is an excerpt from The Tablet article.

"Today's secular culture is no longer founded on common values, neither with those of religion nor of Christian anthropology with its conception of the fmaily, life and freedom.

"The laws on same-sex marriage show we are in an anthropological change. The Thomist vision of a natural law that both believers and non-believers can accept is finished.

"The Irish referendum was a prime example of this. It was not only a reaction of the sexual-abuse scandal. That certainly played a part in the church's loss of credibility. But the majority of people who voted for same-sex marriage did so because they approve of the anthropological change. They don't see any problem with homosexual marriage.

"The fact that abortion remains quite restricted in Ireland does not contradict this trend. Abortion is not popular. It's a lesser evil, not a value. But same-sex marriage is seen as a value. This is what the church has not understood well. It's a cultural change and the Catholic Church is not in phase with the dominant culture."

Later on in the article Roy points out that the Catholic Church has always said faith should be rooted in culture.