Sunday, July 31, 2016

Dominicans in Limerick

RTE Radio 1's 'Sunday Miscellany' today featured a piece on the Dominicans in Limerick and how the narrator would miss the church.

There was no need for the Dominican men to leave the priory and church in Limerick.

With a modicum of good management the priory and church could have remained open under the care of the Irish Dominican men.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

New Air Corps cadets

Anything striking about this picture?

All men.

Episcopal appointment

Forty-nine-year-old Tullamore priest Fintan Monahan has been appointed bishop of Killaloe.

How wise is the system of appointing bishops in Ireland?

It's clear the papal nuncio has a significant role in the appointment of Irish bishops.

What will be the long term influence of these current appointments, which are being made by a person who comes from the right-wing of the US Catholic Church?

Papal nuncios are Holy See ambassadors. Is it appropriate that ambassadors should have a significant influence in the internal affairs of the countries in which they are guests? 

The Germans appoint their bishops in a different manner.

Pope Franics at Auschwitz

Polish-born death camp survivor Robert Roman Kent was at Auschwitz on the occasion of Pope Francis' visit to the Nazi German death camp on Friday.

I am a survivor and I was in Auschwitz. It is irrelevant how long - one minute in Auschwitz was like a month, one day like a year, one week like an eternity. And how many eternities can you live in a lifetime? I don't know.

- Robert Roman Kent

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Dominican Order and its ways of communicating

The Catholic Church often talks about the importance of communication.

The Dominican Order is holding a worldwide meeting in Bologna at present. The meeting, which is called a general chapter, began on July 15.

The first information or communication the Irish Dominicans received concerning the meeting is today, July 29.

That's not acceptable. And then the information that has been sent can be 'funny' at times: telling the reader what time they had prayers and breakfast.

Nonsense and becomes tedious and insulting.

And how utterly boring.

Is this really where the Dominican Order is?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pope Franics in Poland

So I ask you: Are you looking for empty thrills in life, or do you want to feel a power that can give you a lasting sense of life and fulfilment? Empty thrills or the power of grace?”

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Radicalising young men

That elderly French priest celebratng Mass in a small French village, the religious sister who is seriously injured. No words to express the madness of it.

A young man 'radicalised'.

What's happening?

How easy is it to 'radicalise' people? Easier now than in the past?

Are there some echos or hints of 'radicalising' young men who join priesthood and religious life?

Listening to US right-wing radio stations 'Patriot Radio' and 'Fox News' one can hear the violence and nastiness. It's 24 hour hate radio with presenters seeming to incite their listeners to violence.

In today's 'The Irish Catholic' David Quinn refers to the 'ruling elite' when writing on the upcoming US elections and  sees both Trump and Clinton as 'bad and worse'.

Intemperate language?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Healy-Rae wagon parks in the most strategic spot

This week's INM Irish regional newspapers' column.

Michael Commane
Kilcummin is six kilometres from Killarney. It's considered more east Kerry than south Kerry. There are no tourist buses to be seen going through Kilcummin.

Last Wednesday it was a busy spot as mourners turned up for the funeral Mass of diocesan priest Fr Larry Kelly.

The modern-style church is in the centre of the village. I knew Fr Larry Kelly, more on that anon, so I was attending the funeral and arrived 25 minutes before Mass began.

Across the road from the church, probably in the most strategic spot available, was parked a large black vehicle and blazoned across the side of it was Healy-Rae.

Naturally I laughed. They don't miss a trick.

When I came out of the church after Mass there was no sign of the Healy-Rae vehicle.

It was probably sometime in 2003 when I first met Michael Healy-Rae. I was visiting my elderly father in Tralee General Hospital. Walking along a hospital corridor Michael Healy-Rae came up to me and said hello. It was Friday, I was tired and looking forward to getting home. So I turned to him and said: "Why are you saying hello to me as you don't know who I am, It's just a political stunt."

Immediately he replied: "Commane, you're as nasty in reality as you are in the paper." I found myself stuck to the floor of the hospital corridor. We got chatting. He told me why he was in the hospital. And I told him I had been with my elderly father. If I remember correctly he visited my father the next day. Michael Healy-Rae's number is in my phone and from time to time we have a chat.

The day that I saw the Healy-Rae wagon was the same day that his brother, Danny Healy-Rae TD, was on radio answering criticisms to his attendance at funerals of 'strangers'.
It brought a smile to my face.

But the Healy-Raes would have known Fr Larry Kelly as he was parish priest in Kilgarvan, the epi-centre of the Healy Rae-kingdom.


Before going to Kilgarvan Larry had been parish priest in Castlegregory, in other words he was my parish priest.

When I went to work in 'The Kerryman' newspaper in 1998 I went back to live in the old home in Castlegregory. Back then Fr Larry was in his late 60s.

Though we may have had different opinions on many subjects we became good friends. He could well have criticised me for doing what many may have seen 'unusual' work for a priest. But that's not the way Larry worked or thought.

There was never any 'double-speak' from Larry. You knew what he said he meant. There was not a scintilla of 'sleeveenery' about the man. Larry was no career priest and never an apparatchik.

He grew his own potatoes and vegetables. Those spuds were special and always my first real taste of summer.

In his late 60s he painted the outside of the church. He lived a simple frugal life, never drinking alcohol. An impressive man.

He had a great sense of humour, quirky and probably slightly eccentric. Maybe that's why we hit it off so well?

His nephew, MEP Sean Kelly put it down to "athnaíonn ciaróg ciaróg eile".

Larry was a special person. In many ways an 'old-style' Irish priest. In other ways not at all.

He was an avid GAA follower, who enjoyed being in Croke Park when Kerry were in the final.

I'm going to miss him. I knew he liked me and I treasured that.

He was a kind man. May he rest in peace.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Paul Wittgenstein on work

Having to work, and moreover to earn money - so much the more if it be for a good purpose - is the best thing on earth.

- Paul Wittgenstein

The late Fr Seán Fagan

Saturday's Irish Times carreid an obituary of Fr Seán Fagan, who died last week.

Reading it Irish Catholics must feel embarrassed and ashamed of the management class in the church.

Was there a word from them in the last few days, any of them attend the man's funeral?

Pathetic.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lally Lawlor RIP

Lally Lawlor died this morning in Ocean View Nursing Home, Camp, Co Kerry.

She is survived by her daughter Mary, sons Tom, Paul and John, sisters-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Lally was in her 102nd year.

Her son, Paul, is a Dominican priest, who lives in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

I got to know Lally close to 20 years ago. We became great friends. Lally, a refined lady, who was loyal to her church, was a woman of great dignity. She also had a sense of humour, always a touch of roguery in those eyes.

She was born in Wicklow but spent most of her life in Kerry, where her late husband was a GP.

A woman of many talents, including painting. Some of her works hang in my house in West Kerry.

It was probably in 1999 that Lally was close to dying. I arrived and she 'forgot' to die. I tell that story tongue-in-cheek. We were such good friends. I jokingly recall the incident as my first step on the road to 'canonisation'.

It was part of the jigsaw in our relationship. Lally was at all times polite and respectful. Not qualities people might easily associate with me, and yet her eyes always lit up when I walked into her home and later, her room in the nursing home. Lally's kind words about priests and the institutional church would be complemented by my different approach to its ministers and the institution. But we could both laugh about it all.

Even with her 101 years I was not expecting her to die, though, on Thursday, I was with her and it was clear that life was draining from her body.

Camp will be a different place without Lally.

Leaving priesthood

A priest of long-standing leaves priesthood. Not a word about it on the official website of the diocese.

Maybe that's what the priest wants, but if not, is that the way things should be done?

It's the time of year when bishops make changes in personnel. Most dioceses announce the changes on their websites. It would seem the ideal platform to tell the people of the diocese about a man leaving priesthood.

That's not the way the Catholic Church works. A pity.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Breaking the chains of hatred

The 'Thinking Anew' column in today's The Irish Times.

Michael Commane
Last Sunday, at least in Dublin, was a spectacular day. There were times when there was not a cloud to be seen in the sky.

Walking along the river Dodder I spotted two men I know, out walking with their young children. The bond that exists between those men and their children is unbreakable. They would go to the ends of the earth to protect them That's what normal parents do.

On that terrible day on Promenade de Anglais in Nice a young man lost his life in attemting to save his pregnant wife.

It really is incredible the sacrifices people make for those they love, indeed, often people do extraordinary acts of heroism for strangers. There is something in human nature that can bring out such goodness and kindness in us.

The flip side to that story is that we are also capable of terrible acts of cuelty and barbarism. What is it that makes people do terrible things?

In tomorrow's Gospel (Lk 11: 1 - 13) we see how the man asleep in bed eventually answers the call of someone knocking at his door. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For the one who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to him who knocks the door will be opened."

It is at the core of Christianity that Jesus never grows tired of forgiving us our wrong doing, never. We believe that the most depraved of people are not outside the loving mercy of God. Nor can they be excluded from being granted our forgiveness. And that certainly can be and is an extraordinary challenge. No one is beyond the pale.

At times that gap seems far too wide to bridge. But if we all make a constant and real effort at showing kindenss and genuine goodness to other people is it not possible that we can break down the chains of violence, anger and hatred?

People who are alienated, feel marginalised, left out of things, have a far greater chance of lashing out, being violent and doing harm to other people.

We are living in dangerous times. There are those who will perpetrate the most hideous of crimes. They will call down God's name in an attempt to justify what they are doing.

The man who drove that lorry on Bastille Day in Nice, we are told, was probably radicalised in a few short months. The word 'radicalised' has come to mean the process of converting a person to do the most evil of acts in the name of a thwarted and fundamentalist version of the understanding of Islam. 

No one will ever know why he got into that lorry and did what he did. His record shows that he was a violent man and a petty criminal, ideal fodder to be caught up in barbaric behaviour. 

History tells us that there are times that physical force has to be used to stop the aggressor. But long before that moment arises, if genuine love, care and goodness were shown is it not true that the aggressor might never have been  afforded the opportunity to carry out such evil deeds? Just as goodness begets goodness, evil too begets evil. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Of course there are no simple solutions but answering violence with violence seems a knee-jerk reaction. And it is usually counterproductive. Revenge never solves a problem.

Surely the love of those two fathers for their children, whom I saw walking along the river Dodder on Sunday, will most likely pay off, and in turn those children will learn to love and not hate.  

Friday, July 22, 2016

Screaming Trump

Watching Trump scream and roar in Cleveland last night, observing the crowds scream and shout 'Lock her up' was frightening.

Trump keeps shouting about making 'America strong again'.

The similarities between Trump and Hitler are uncanny.

Munich tonight

Nine people have been shot dead in a shooting rampage in Munich. The city is in lockdown. All public transport is closed down and the surrounding motorways have been closed.

The interior minister en route to the US is returning to Germany.

The speed of the police reaction is said to have saved many lives.

Latest information is now suggesting that the three perpetrators are right wing extremists. One may have been shot dead. 

The three suspected attackers are on the run.

Police from other German states are on the way to Munich as are Austrian police.

  

The story of an archbishop, a nuncio - 'sleeveenery'

What does this say about the Catholic Church, its bishops and nuncios, US right-wing clerics?

Mary Magdalene

A woman was heard saying this morning in a Dublin church:

"It's the feast of Mary Magdalene. She was the apostle to the apostles and they won't let us do anything".

 It was the stress that she put on the 'they' that made her comment so powerful.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

GOP antics in Cleveland

Mrs MelaniaTrump's plagiarism on Tuesday sums up what's going on in Cleveland this week.

Watching the Cleveland antics, its similarities with what went on in Nürnberg, in the early part of the last century, are really striking.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Our Lady in Killarney

Traces of an older Ireland?

This painting is at platform one in Killarney rail station.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Regrets make no sense

This week's INM Irish regional newspapers' column.


Michael Commane

Over 59,000 people will receive their Leaving Cert grades next month and those results will play a significant role in the courses they do or the jobs they take up. The decisions they make will affect the rest of their lives.


Guidance teachers play an important role in advising young people what careers are open to them. Parents too play a role in directing their children in career paths.


A gifted young woman I know has just finished a science degree at Cambridge, where she obtained a first class honours. She has decided she doesn't want to work in the area of science. She has now set her sights in working in the business field. The world is her oyster.


Farms pass from one generation to the next as do businesses. Doctors often see at least one of their children doing medicine.


But nothing is simple and there are no rules of engagement when it comes to the lives we live. 


The wisdom of Shakespeare is worth noting. In 'All's Well that Ends Well' he writes: "The web of our life is a mingled yarn, good and ill together".


The lifestyles we live and the jobs we do are a 'mingled yarn'. Has it ever dawned on you how you have ended up in your job or the person with whom you share your life?


What's the key that has us where we are? 


I heard someone say that we all end up where we want to be. Is that the case? I'm not sure. On the other hand a friend pointed out that he would never have been in his job but for a complete accident.


Reading about the Dublin Bus drivers who won the €23 million in the Euro Lotto there was something striking about one driver who has recovered from cancer and is now a million euro wealthier.


One got the impression that the money would be used wisely and indeed, he and his family will go on living their lives more or less as they have been up to now. It seems over the years the group has won smaller prizes and have given the money to charitable causes.


Last week I visited an elderly priest in hospital. He has spent over 50 years working in Africa. I asked him if he had regrets about his life. To my surprise he immediately said he had. "When we went to


Africa we brought a new list of sins to the people". He regretted that he had not listened to the people and taken more heed of their culture and their situation, rather then foisting on them all sorts of western rules and regulations. Otherwise, he had no hesitation in saying it has been a good life.


It probably makes no sense regretting who we are and where we are. Surely it is a matter of getting on with it and making the best of the lot we have.


We don't hear it these days but there was that old saying: " If all the ifs and ands made pots and pans there'd be no work for tinkers' hands."


We are where we are. A matter of living in the present and appreciating it.


Thinking of what we might or could have done makes no sense and all it does is burden us with excuses to stop getting on with our lives. There's so much to be done, so many to be helped. The tiniest of gestures can change the world, with or without Leaving Cert points.


All we have is the now. Regrets don't work. Carpe diem.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Larry Kelly a priest of the Diocese of Kerry dies

Fr Larry Kelly died in Fatima Nursing Home in Tralee yesterday. He was in his late 80s. He would have been 88 on 8.8.

Larry was a special person. In many ways an 'old-style' Irish priest. In other ways, not at all.

He was parish priest in Castlegregory when I went to live there when I was working in The Kerryman newspaper. From Castlegregory he moved as pp to Kilgarvan.

An avid GAA follower. His brother Brian, also a priest in the Diocese of Kerry, was well known in the county for his love of the GAA, indeed he was also famous for his sideline comments at matches.

Larry lived a simple frugal life, never drank alcohol. He grew his own potatoes and vegetables and as an elderly man cared for his garden. Those spuds were special and always early. No hiring in people to tend to Larry Kelly's garden. Nothing swank or pompous about Larry.

As a young seminarian he was struck down with TB.

We became good friends. Though we may have had different opinions on many subjects Larry respected me and it was clear that he liked me. There was no 'double speak' from Larry. You knew that what he said was what he meant. There was not a scintialla of 'sleevenery' about the man. Larry was no career priest and never an apparatchik.

He had a great sense of humour, quirky and probably slightly eccentric. Always kind to the old and infirm. A highly intelligent man.

During one of our many discussions he quipped that it would be a silly person who would deny the existence of life somewhere else in the universe.

Larry Kelly took his job seriously.

He has a nephew a parish prist in the Diocese of Kerry and he is also an uncle of Sean Kelly, the former president of the GAA and a current MEP.

Larry Kelly was above all a holy and kind man.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Jagger and Leschetizky

Mick Jagger is about to become a father for the eighth time. The rocker is 72-years old.

Theodore Leschetizky, piano teacher to Paul Wittgenstein, brother of Ludwig, married four of his pupils in succession, the last when he was 78-years old.

The House of Wittgenstein - A Family at War by Alexander Waugh and published by Bloomsbury comes highly recommended. A great read.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Dominicans meet in Bologna

The Dominican Order is holding a general chapter in Bologna, beginning today and finishing on Friday, August 5.

Representatives from the Order's provinces around the world will attend the meeting.

CSO says thank you

The population of Ireland (ROI), according to the census taken on April 24, is 4,757,976

The population of Berlin in 2012 was 3.507 million.

Friday, July 15, 2016

'A state of chassis'

Drunken Jack in Sean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock:

"The whole world is in a terrible state o' chassis."

O'Casey was ahead of his time.

Priesthood

Is the percentage of crazy people in priesthood greater than in the general public?

Lavrov and Kerry bow their heads in silence in Moscow

From today's New York Times.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov of Russia stood, their heads bowed, for a moment of silence Friday morning for those who died Thursday night in the attack in Nice, France.

“I believe this dialogue is becoming even more relevant and urgent because of Nice,” Mr. Lavrov said, referring to talks between the United States and Russia.

The two men, who are negotiating details of a possible military-cooperation agreement in Syria to fight Al Qaeda, Islamic State militants and their affiliates in Syria, both expressed abhorrence at the attack. Mr. Kerry met with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia until 1 a.m. Friday.

Mr. Kerry said that Syria had become the incubator for attacks like the one in Nice, saying: “You and I and our teams are in the enviable position of actually being able to do something about it.”

He described the conversations so far as “very fruitful and very serious” and said they had included issues beyond Syria, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, fighting in Yemen and Russia’s continuing support for separatists in Ukraine.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Young Russians and priests

Meeting people can make for great moments.

Yesterday evening out walking the dog I met a group of young girls listening to music and singing. They were here in Ireland learning English. They were Russians from all over the Federation, Moscow, Volgograd, Novgorod. And one of them knew who Marshal General Georgii Zhukov was.

That same day I met a priest, who has decided to move outside the 'cage' and 'fly free'. A man of great bravery and imagination too.

Earlier in the week an elderly priest, who has spent over 50 years working in Africa, had regrets about bringing out western rules and regulations, even a list of new sins to the people of Kenya and Uganda. A wise man.

So much nonsense surrounds priesthood and the waste of resources and money that can at times happen in the name of religion, obedience, all sorts of empty rules and regulations, is surely a scandal.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rail crashes on single lines

The major rail crash that occurred in southern Italy yesterday has certain similarities with the crash that happened in southern Germany in February.

Yesterday's crash happened on a single line and the train is owned by the private company Ferrotramviara.

The crash in Bavaria earlier this year also happened on a single line and the train was owned and operated by the privately owned company Transdev.

Modern signalling means that fail-safe systems are in place across Europe.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Great picture


     Lesha Evans stands still in the presence of Louisiana state
     troopers in Baton Rouge.

How free are we to make individual choices?

This week's INM Irish regional newspapers' column

Michael Commane
Clinical psychologist David Coleman often appears on radio and television discussing human behaviour.

Last Monday week he was on RTE Radio 1's 'Today with Sean O'Rourke' talking about the dynamics of family life and how best to interact with children in their early and formative years.

One man emailed in that his wife was domineering, constantly belittling him and shouting at the children. He wanted to know would it be better for the family if the couple divorced. David Coleman wisely commented that it would be impossible to give advice in such a case not knowing the specific details.

What makes us who we are? In an interview in 'The Sunday Business Post' writer John Banville said that we are remaking ourselves at every moment and that we have no singular identity.

It certainly is an intriguing question. Why are some people gentle and kind and others violent and nasty?

Did you ever stand on a busy street, look at the throng of people and realise every single person on that street is different? We never know exactly what goes on inside another person's head. Nor do we know why they behave as they do. Can we give a full and authoritative explanation for all our own behaviour?

With the development of modern psychology emphasis has been placed on the role our environment plays in our lives.

These days I often find myself doing things exactly as my father did, things that he did that even annoyed me.

What do the Jesuits say? "Give me the child for the first seven years and I'll give you the man."

Our parents mould and shape us. We are social animals so we are constantly being shaped by our surrounds and no doubt that happens especially in our early formative years.

But surely we can't blame all our woes on our parents and how they reared us. Nor can all our successes be the result of their behaviour.

How free are we to make our own individual choices?

Yes, exceptional people in exceptional circumstances on occasions manage to break away from their milieu. And then there are those who have been born with a silver spoon who end up on the street.

But they are the exceptions.

It would seem we more or less stay in our comfort zone and occupy the space we know best. But what at all is it that kicks the whole operation into action?

David Coleman places great stress on the roles our parents play in our lives and it would seem he is talking great sense. But then how come siblings can be so different.

Christian theology says that all goodness comes from God, it is a gift we don't earn.
With a fall-off in religious practice more people tend to turn to counselling to guide them towards healthy and meaningful living.

Illnesses such as bi-polarity and schizophrenia are medical conditions where medication can greatly help the stricken person.

But nastiness and pure badness? What makes people behave in such a manner?

What makes people hate? Has it something to do with childhood? Has there to be a reason for all our behaviour?

In that same artice in 'The Sunday Business Post, Banville quotes the novelist Samuel Butler who wrote: Every evening I fall to my knees and I offer up thanks to the good Lord for letting me get through the day without being found out." A cynical approach? Maybe not at all.

The way of the world? People talk about the mystery of God. Maybe better to talk about the mystery of life? Who knows.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Angela Eagle MP

Something about Angela Eagle that sounds like Harold Wilson.

Using titles tells a tale

This blog has been consistent in pointing out that it's the 'little things' that so often tell so much.

In a 'Radio Maria' interview, two Dominicans Luuk Jansen and David Barrins discuss how faith and science complement each other.

Both men are regiorously reverential to one another and to all priests. It's Fr Luuk, it's Fr David and all the other 'Fathers' who are mentioned.

When it comes to mentioning Richard Dawkins' name it is 'Mr Dawkins', 'this chap' or 'poor old Dr Dawkins'.

But it does make for good comedy.

Brendan Hoban writes on priestly vocations in Ireland

An extract from Brendan Hoban's weekly newspaper column.

"The simple truth is that the problem with vocations to the priesthood is that young Irish men are no longer saying YES to a celibate vocation, their parents are encouraging them to say No and the vast majority of priests in parishes know that prioritising celibacy over the Eucharist is not just bad theology, it isn’t working. 

Wasn’t it Albert Einstein who said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is a sign of mental health issues."

UK barristers call for EU vote in parliament

From today's Guardian

More than 1,000 barristers have signed a letter to the prime minister urging him to allow parliament to decide whether the UK should leave the European Union.

The letter describes the referendum result as only advisory because it was based on “misrepresentations of fact and promises that could not be delivered”.

The barristers argue that there must be a free vote in parliament before article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon treaty can be triggered – paving the way for the UK’s withdrawal.

The initiative has been coordinated by prominent barristers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland including more than 100 QCs, among them Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice, a former war crimes prosecutor.

The letter states: “The referendum did not set a threshold necessary to leave the EU, commonly adopted in polls of national importance, eg, 60 per cent of those voting or 40 per cent of the electorate. This is presumably because the result was only advisory.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Miliband on Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel

From yesterday's Guardian

I met Elie Wiesel only once, in his New York office two years ago. He had joined the board of directors of the International Rescue Committee in 1985, and continued on our board of overseers. As the new president and CEO, I wanted his advice.

Wiesel remained doughty, passionate, inspiring. “I am a refugee but the word refugee is not popular,” he told me. “But everyone likes the idea of refuge. Fight for refuge. We all need refuge.”

I remember in that moment understanding the often-cited description that Wiesel believed in taking sides – someone who knew what he was for as well as what he was against. He understood, as well as anyone, the power of knowledge and truth in the battle against ignorance. His descriptions of his first visits to Germany, and his meetings with German youth who used education to overcome their own country’s past, are not just moving, they are testimony to an openness of mind even in the midst of the worst memories.

Wiesel’s enduring legacy will not only be his story of survival through the darkest hours of humanity amid the unspeakable horrors of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. But also the inspiration of his lived life: his fight for truth and justice wherever he saw human dignity threatened. His visits around the world with the IRC led him to defend persecuted people of all races and religions.

This fight has never been more needed. Where globalisation should be bringing down barriers, the trend is towards putting them up. Dangerous populism and toxic xenophobia are again on the rise in Europe and the US – but also afflict minorities across the rest of the world. War and insecurity displaced a record 65 million people last year; and the system of international order that upholds peace and security is under threat.

But as much as Wiesel’s life reminds us of what we need to guard against, it also embodies what we must strive to emulate. He was not just a survivor, his story reminds us that when states open their doors to those fleeing persecution, they open their doors to knowledge, creativity and untold potential.

Wiesel’s memories have documented history, and his works have informed a generation. He taught us that, in the face of atrocity and tragedy, morality can prevail; that knowledge and truth are vital in the battle against ignorance and intolerance; and that the word refugee need not be unpopular. That is the lesson of Elie Wiesel.

• David Miliband is president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Healy-Rae Kingdom

Rosita Boland writes in 'The Irish Times' today on the Healy-Raes.

A quote from the piece:

These are some of the places where people told me that the Healy-Rae brothers had been seen recently:

My uncle’s retirement party in Tralee.

Walking down the main street in Kenmare on Saturday night.

In Dingle at a parade at 7am.

At three funerals in one day in three different parts of the county.

My grandmother’s funeral in Killarney.

A festival in Sneem.

Buying a round of drinks for the entire pub in a bar in Milltown.

At a charity fundraiser in Castlemaine.

“They’re everywhere,” Paudie Broderick says. “If you were at one function in the county and the Healy-Raes were there, and you got into a plane and flew to another event in Kerry, the Healy-Raes would have got there before you.”

Dallas bishop condemns rhetoric-filled anger

Bishop of Dallas, Irish born Kevin Farrell condemns the Dallas shootings.

He writes: .... We have become more and more isolated from each other, and hatred is what happens when somebody else doesn't do what I want them to do. There's little communication between people.

He is of course referring to US society but he could well also be talking of the hierarchical Catholic Church.

Farrell is a former member of the Legionaries of Christ, whose founder lived a notorious lifestyle.

The mobile-phoney

Another of those clever hint-posters on the DART suggesting people give up their seat if required.

But of course there are all sorts of other 'phonies' too


Friday, July 8, 2016

US Ambassador to Court of St James's Matthew Barzun

The US Ambassador to the United Kingdom Matthew Barzun was guest on BBC 4's Desert Island Discs today.

It made for great radio and well worth a listen.

Barzun quoted a line from President Barack Obama when he was talking to young people on his last visit to London:

Be predisposed to see the power in other people.

A man lying on the ground

This morning a delivery man was lying on the ground close to his truck outside SuperValu in Rathgar.

Gardaí had just arrived and were attending to the incident.

I was cycling by. Was wondering should I approach one of the gardaí, explain I was a priest and should I give the man a blessing.

You don't do those things these days. I hesitated, was nervous, eventually approached one of the garda.

I introduced myself. He was so nice, told me the man was okay.

It was honestly a moment of grace and the garda was most empathetic.

An ambulance arrived and cared for the man.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Blase Cupich

Before the advent of Photoshop it was generally accepted that a photo was worth a thousand words. But even today a photo tells its own story.

This picture of Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago is worth comparing to so many  other bishops, archbishops, cardinals.

Cupich simply looks like an ordinary man, not an ounce of that clerical pomposity about him. And more to it than that too.


Richard Dawkins

On the internet radio station Radio Maria, a Dominican priest, David Barrins refers to Dr Richard Dawkins as ".... poor old Dr Dawkins".

A line from a blurb advertising the programme goes:

However a more carefull (sic) investigation into the fact actually shows.........


Michael Gove eliminated

Michael Gove has been eliminated.

Words said on BBC and RTE today. They were referring to the elimination of Michael Gove in his run for leader of the British Conservative Party.

Clever abbreviation

TL;DR

Twitter/SMS/internet speak for 'Too long; didn't read'.

TL;DR is in the Oxford Dictionary since 2013

What about TL;DL or BTT?

When listening to priests at Mass. 'Too long; didn't listen' or 'Bored to tears'. 

This from Google on TL;DR

The abbreviation is based on the principle that, if the writer does not invest the time to convey their message concisely, the reader is justified not investing the time to read it. Alternately, it might mean that there is insufficient material of value or interest to justify the time required to read it.

UK's Iraq adventure

Most British television services yesterday carried a clip of a woman, who lost her British soldier brother in the Iraq war.

In an emotional moment she called Tony Blair the world's greatest terrorist.

The Chilcot Report, published yesterday, acknowledges there were no weapons of mass destruction and that the US/UK war in Iraq was waged without exhausting all diplomatic channels.

Hans Blix, who was the chief of the UN Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission at the time of the invasion, always insisted there were not weapons of mass destruction.

To think that a British Labour Prime Minister brought his country into a disastrous war is not impressive.

Had the words of the UN's expert Hans Blix been heeded how different it could have been?

The United Nations, with all its failings, has served the world well. It's worrying that there is a growing negative attitude towards the UN.

Surely the more checks and balances there are the less chance there is for such debacles to happen.

The UN, the EU offer checks and balances that help make individual countries play more responsible roles within the world community.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

John Banville and the now

We remake ourselves at every moment.

John Banville in an interview in 'The Sunday Business Post'.

Johnson and Farage no patriots according to Juncker

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday criticised Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and others. He called them 'retro-nationalists', commenting that they were no patriots, as patriots don't run away.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A day in court

This week's INM Irish regional newspapers' column


Michael Commane

The week before last I had occasion to attend a District Court sitting in Dublin's Chancery Street. I was asked to accompany someone who had received a road traffic summons. She had never been in court before. She was nervous and simply wanted me to go along to support her.


I arrived 15 minutes early and suddenly found myself in 'another world'. Legal people coming and going, people dressed in gowns and most of them with bundles of notes and files under their arms.


There were two groups of people - those who had been summoned to court for alleged breaking of the law and those who would pronounce on their guilt or innocence. 


Court proceedings were due to start at 2pm. A flurry of legal people and gardaí took their positions.


They were all formally dressed. And then sitting at the back of the court were the hoi polloi.


As the judge entered the court room and took her seat we were told to rise. 


The courtroom is fitted with an amplification system and the judge and the court clerk appeared to turn on their respective microphones. But the system was not working and it was close to impossible to hear a word that was being said. Anyone I asked expressed a similar view: they could not hear what was being said. It was not my first time at a court sitting where I could not hear what was being said. 


Sitting in the courthouse that day it was interesting to watch two worlds bumping along side-by-side.


The legal people were carrying out their normal day's work. It's what they were trained to do and they were simply in their work milieu. And then there were those who had been summoned to court. For many of them, no doubt, their first time ever in court, so it would have been an all-new experience.


And that naturally brings with it a sense of fear and trepidation. Also a feeling of isolation. 


The court session seemed to have been dealing exclusively with road traffic offences. On the scale of things, there was no big drama, nevertheless, there were many people with summonses who looked worried and isolated.


The legal people were at ease in their workplace, doing their job. It was a different story for those who had been called there to explain their alleged wrong-doing.


Of course court experience is not meant to be a walk in the park but from what I experienced that day I was struck by some sort of divide there was between the two groups. The fact that the amplification system was not working added to the feeling of 'them and us'. It didn't help in making for a proper working environment.


It seemed people were being fined €300 to €400, at least that's what the judge may have been saying as it was well nigh impossible to hear what was being said.


Surely for justice to be accomplished it has to be seen to be done. 


We have a shortage of gardaí. That day I was in court they were coming and going in great numbers.


Outside court I saw a young woman with three tiny children. Her husband had a number of road traffic offences. She looked worried and woebegone.


Did anyone care?


It's always difficult for the outsider, the non-expert to say something about a subject where they have no expertise.


But that day in court I was reminded of the words of Lord Halifax: "If the laws could speak for themselves, they would complain of the lawyers in the first place."


Monday, July 4, 2016

Confusion at Bus Éireann on the carriage of foldup bikes

A Bus Éireann driver requested €10 to carry a fold-up bicycle on his bus.

A Bus Éireann spokesperson has said it costs €12 to carry a bicycle on a bus and no exceptions for fold-up bicycles, whether packed in a bag or not.

And then this information from Bus Éireann.

"The regulations regarding the carriage of bicycles can be found on www.buseireann.ie under conditions of carriage - passenger luggage and I have attached paragraphs relating to same for you.  I hope this clarifies the issue for you.

Folding childrens' (sic) pushchairs will be carried free, subject to accommodation being available and provided they are folded before placing in the luggage compartment or other designated area of the vehicle. Folding bicycles which are packed and wrapped in a suitable carrier bag/protective covering will be treated as passengers’ accompanied luggage and carried free of charge in the luggage storage area.  Folding bicycles which are NOT packed or wrapped as described above will be charged at the full cycle rate.

Bicycles, prams and non-folding childrens' pushchairs will be carried only if sufficient accommodation is available; they must be placed in the luggage compartment or other designated area of the vehicle and are subject to a charge as determined by Bus Éireann from time to time.


Warm regards

XXXXXX
Customer Care,
Bus Eireann,
Waterford.
051-317875"


So what exactly is the fare?

Charities Regulatory Authority website

The Charities Regulatory Authority website offers information on registered charities.

Below is a quick cross section.











Sunday, July 3, 2016

Summer 'Soundboard'

Soundboard is published by Church Music Dublin, an agency of the united dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough set up to support and resource music and musicians in local Church of Ireland churhces.

The writer of this blog is a contributor to the publication.

The page below is from the summer edition.

Watching water

A quote from 'Laudato Si', encyclical letter of Pope Francis on care for our common home.

Greater scarcity of water will lead to an increase in the cost of food and the various products which depend on its use.

Some studies warn that that an acute water shortage may occur within a few decades unless urgent action is taken.

The environmental repercussions could affect billions of people; it is also conceivable that the control of water by large multinational businesses may become a source of conflict in this century. [31]

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Getting personal

Former British politician Norman Tebbit was interviewed on RTE Radio this morning. He was most critical of Michael Heseltine.

People, especially people in power, the management class, tut-tut any idea of getting 'personal' when discussing issues of policy, serious matters.

Listening to the higher echelons of the British Conservaitive Party this week talking and discussing Brexit and the upcoming leadership race, it is glaringly clear that it is all about 'personal issues', it's all about personalities, indeed, maybe nothing else.

That's the case everwhere, maybe especially in the churches.

All one big game, where we are all fooled. And all  the time the management class live that famous life called after 'Reilly', whoever he may have been.

New presidential election in the land of the Anschluss

Austrian's constitutional court has called for a complete re-run of the April/May presidential election.

In that election far-right candidate Norbert Hofer was beaten by a whisker.

Is it not ironic that this should happen now in 'Anschluss Austria'?

The right-wing marches on in State and church with that sense of righteousness. Its mission is that it knows best, it has right on its side and it will make us 'strong' again. Can it be stopped?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Remembering the Somme

Today is a day to remember the soldiers who were slaughtered on the Somme.

Something odd about it too. The management class, who are grieving the dead are the grandchildren and great grandchildren of those who sent out those poor soliders to die.

Crocodile tears?

The management class. The way of the world.

It is difficult to listen to Michael Gove. Does he actually believe what he says?

It was his class of people who sent those poor soldiers to the Somme. And that management class is everywhere, State and church.

'Spiegel' mentions Dublin as Europe's financial centre

The headline on today's Spiegel Online.

With Brexit 'Spiegel Online' is  asking where the new European financial capital will be. The reader does not need German to get the idea.

Frankfurt? Paris? Oder doch Dublin? Nach dem Brexit-Votum der Briten kämpfen mehrere Städte darum, London als wichtigsten Finanzplatz der EU abzulösen. Doch einigen Kandidaten fehlt es dazu womöglich an Glamour.