Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category
According to a recent RedC poll Ireland is losing its religion faster than most countries. Now we must of course be wary of polls and declaring the end of religion as we know is still a bit presumptuous, but the poll is encouraging. For me it is obvious that the increase in non-believers has coincided with an increasingly educated population, wider access to information and the inevitable decline in the influence of the church. It is clear that the abuse scandals, cover ups and authoritarian reaction from the church to all this has done its fair share in damaging the influence of Catholicism. But I would be more inclined to think that regardless of the all the scandals this decrease in religiosity and move towards secularism was an inevitability.
We live in a time where science is uncovering truths and debunking myths at a rate of knots. It is a wooden stake in the heart of myth and mediaevalism and for many believers it is becoming harder to reconcile the myths and doctrines of their religion with the hard cold reality of scientific fact. Not to mind the Vatican’s obvious disconnection with the social realities of modern society. Their teachings with regard to homosexuality, contraception, and a host of other moronic dictates are at odds with the thinking of a majority of people in Ireland.
The church is increasingly isolated in its thinking and its dogmatic arrogance and narcissism only furthers the widening gap between a modern forward thinking population and a dusty irrelevant dictatorship. With every new scientific discovery from the Higgs Boson to an understanding of human consciousness, the creation fantasies and claims of the Judeo-Christian religions are eroded one step at a time.
While we may never live in a world free of religion we can live in a world where it is domesticated and its more destructive forms are sidelined and treated with the contempt they deserve. But we have a long way to go yet.
Reading the piece in the Journal today regarding Monsignor William J Lynn being found guilty of covering up sexual abuse by priests in America, brings Cardinal Sean Brady to mind. In America dogged prosecutors armed with the law pushed to have the Monsignor convicted of what to any thinking person is a crime.
In Ireland a few years back, we had Mr Brady coming on TV with not a single hint of remorse claiming it was the ‘times’ so therefore I’ve done nothing wrong. The Irish state has not bothered to even attempt to prosecute him.
Let me remind you what Mr Brady did; he made two young children sign some archaic Latin documents forcing them into silence and a lifetime of hell after they told him of the horrific abuse they had suffered at the hands of a fellow priest, and never informed the police.
Not informing the police meant a sexual predator was able to continue raping children for many years to come. Silencing the children guaranteed a lifetime of suffering and anguish. No thinking moral human being could possibly defend these actions. Unless of course you happen to be a priest attached to one of worlds most morally bankrupt organisations.
Ask yourself this – Were a teacher to have been found to have forced two school children into silence after they informed on their abuser and he then told his principal who then decided not to tell the police. What do you think would happen? Do you think as a society we would be happy to accept the same defence from the hypothetical teacher as we did from the very real Mr Brady?
Of course not. They would be prosecuted and vilified in the press. Why has this not happened to Brady? I honestly don’t know. If it’s some cultural hangover or a lack of political will due to some childhood fear of the church still lingering in the older politicians, I can’t say.
All I know is it’s wrong and that every time Brady opens his mouth and spews some arrogant bile from the pulpit or in front of the TV, he should be treated with the contempt he deserves.
So it seems the debate about the proper attire to wear when one is a parliamentarian rages on in old Hibernia.
Since the beginnings of the state politicians from all parts of Ireland have been trying heroically to seem more bourgeois than their proletarian roots would otherwise suggest, by stuffing themselves into off the rack suits; the odd fashionista may even have purchased a Louis Copeland special.
But since the general election, t-shirt wearing independents have been popping up in the back benches like irreverent weeds and no matter how many time the Ceann Comhairle waves his gavel and demands they respect the sobriety of the surroundings and have a little decorum, they just keep coming back.
Today in The Journal we have pictures of Luke Ming Flanagan wearing a bright orange Oscar the grouch t-shirt, standing up talking to the chamber. To my surprise, in the comments section under the piece raged a fierce debate on the issue. The surprise being that so many people cared enough about such a non-issue they felt an irresistible desire to comment on it.
Honestly when it’s the politicians shouting at each other saying, “my suit is better than your t-shirt” one despairs for the complexity of our political discourse. When the plebs get arguing about it,well then I know we’re fucked.
Limerick TD and Fianna Fail attack dog, Willie O’Dea has according to the Irish Examiner claimed that Minister for Defence, Alan Shatter is “prejudiced against Catholics” because he refused to allow the army to provide a guard of honour for a procession at the recent International Eucharistic Congress.
How this amounts to prejudice is beyond me since I don’t see why the army has to or should provide any form of escort in a religious ceremony that has nothing to do with the state. Not to mind the waste of taxpayers money and that the army has better things to be doing.
Since Mr Shatter is Jewish, I also have to wonder would O’Dea have called a Catholic Minister for Defence prejudiced for making a similar decision. When looked at from this angle it adds a darker hue the O’Dea’s reasoning and should be viewed with the contempt it deserves.
O’Dea has spent his entire career turning up at bars and funerals in Limerick and doing very little else for the city. This smacks of an irrelevant politician from a dying party trying to court the Peoples Front of Judea.
However he wouldn’t be the first religious person in the country to shout prejudice now that the Government has realised we live in a multicultural state and has made moves towards a more secular republic, albeit slowly.
David Quinn, head of Iona Institute and regular contributor to the Independent, has made a career out of shrill warnings that the end is nigh because of the secularisation of the state and left-wing conspiracy. The slow demise and relevance of the Catholic Church in Ireland has the religious right clutching their rosary beads praying for a return to the good old days.
While it is easy to laugh at O’Dea and his ilk we shouldn’t forget that they represent two of the major hurdles Ireland has faced in becoming a modern secular republic. Parish pump politics and Religion. It should also remind us that neither has gone away.
We’ve all seen them. Newspaper headlines that catch the eye, shock us or even get us to buy a paper (becoming a rarity in these digital times). And boy do they range from the good, the bad and the ugly. But whatever they say or how good they happen to be there is no excuse for lying,rank stupidity or deliberately misleading the reader as to what the content of the main piece is going to be about.
The Irish Independent has had headlines that were demonstrably untrue or manifestly stupid.
This headline appeared on the 12th of July – ‘This verdict will tarnish island and damage tourism’, say Irish priest The readers will most likely assume that they are now going to get a quote in the first paragraph regarding the priests statement. Instead we get this.
“A 95-year-old Irish priest who has lived most of his life in Mauritius said he fears the murder of Michaela McAreavey will tarnish the holiday island’s hospitable reputation”.
So on top of the fact that the headline is a lie and has misquoted the priest, the headline writer is either not the brightest person in the world or has so little regard for readership of the Independent that she/he thinks they won’t notice that in the first paragraph of the article we’re shown that the priest said nothing at all about the verdict and was talking about the murder.
The word verdict is not to be seen anywhere in the article outside the headline. What they did was use the verdict to get people to read a page filler. A non story.
I’ll admit that the Indo is not the only paper to do this but at best it’s shoddy journalism and at worst it’s pure cynicism.
Messers Kenny and Gilmore, had a piece in the Irish Times yesterday outlining the details of the upcoming constitutional convention. 100 people in total, 60 of them random members of the public and the rest TDs and academics. All brought together to review, analyse and suggest alternatives to elements of our constitution. In essence it is an excercise to try and modernise how our political system works.
A noble endeavour, to be applauded. If of course it was going to modernise our institutions and change how politics works in Ireland. But the convention will only be discussing a limited range of issues that I would imagine almost everyone in the country already agrees on.
Are they really trying to suggest that the removal of the section in the constitution regarding women’s position in the home is something we need to discuss? or that the insane blasphemy law brought in by the monumentally corrupt and morally bankrupt Fianna Fail, is trailblazing modernising stuff?. Changing the voting age to 17 and limiting the presidential term to 5 years are all good ideas but if these are the only issues to be reviewed then it is clear that the entire convention is nothing but a sleight of hand trick to distract the masses from their increasingly vocal demands for change.
Our TDs do not legislate, they fix peoples social welfare problems and we have way too many of them for a country our size. New Zealand has 120 and we have over 166 most of whom do little or nothing except engage in the worst forms of parish pump politics. The opposition has zero influence on the government of the day and the executive essentially has no cheques and balances. We have seen the results of this in Biffos’s disastrous bank guarantee which helped sink the country into penury.
We also have a country that has a constitution riddled with references to the disgraced and medieval Catholic church. All references to Catholicism being the states main religion need to be removed and the guarantee of the separation of Church and state,religious freedom and plurality inserted in its place. This is of vital importance if we are to finally limit the power of the church in our society and create a true democratic republic.
But we now know the convention won’t even be discussing these issues, so when Kenny says that this is great opportunity for the public to get involved, he really means it’s a great opportunity for you think your involved but we’re going to pat you on the head and then head away and make only the changes we want.
Nine stabbings in the Phoenix park, 3 deaths, 1 missing girl( thankfully returned safe and sound) and then last night we have 2 more men injured in stabbing incidents. All in Dublin and all in space of a few days.
Yet I’ve not seen a single paper describe Dublin as stab city. Were this to be Limerick, that particularly disgraceful moniker, would be plastered all over the papers and that pathetic excuse for a journalist Paul Williams would be turning up on every radio station giving his ‘inside info’ on the situation.
No nickname for Dublin, no Paul Williams ‘articles’ on the ever-increasing amount of aggressive drug addicts with titles such as “Dublin’s Heroin Epidemic” or “Junkie Dublin”.
For far too long the crime level in parts of Dublin has been ignored. Unless there was a high profile gangland shooting then it didn’t really count according to most of the national newspapers.
While we shouldn’t get all Daily Mail on the situation or Irish Independent for that matter (twin masters of hyperbole) the level of aggression and random violence around certain parts of Dublin has been very high for as long as I’ve been living here, yet it has been ignored for far too long. Yes the majority of the Dublin is very safe but the inner city does have a lot of problems.
It’s time the powers that be face up to the fact that inner city Dublin has been ignored for far too long and the results are plain to see.