Tuesday, May 26, 2015


The whole world knows what happened here in Ireland on Friday last.  At least they know what the media is telling them: Ireland voted for 'Gay marriage'.

Fact: Nearly 40% didn’t vote

Fact: just over 23 % voted no (a poor result I admit).

Fact: just over 36% voted yes – a little over a third of the population have decided for the rest of us.

How did this happen? I agree with some that clericalism (and its relatives anti-clericalism and laicism) has done damage. A Presbyterian colleague (a good Ulster man) last week said the whole thing was anti-Catholic. But years of poor catechesis, acceptance of contraception, secularisation (US and British TV dominate much of Irish culture) and to top it off the damage done by the clerical abuse scandals have taken their toll. Ireland hasn’t been a Catholic country in reality for a long time. There remains a superstitious attachment to the rituals of baptism, first communion and the funeral but even the church wedding is becoming less popular.  The Catholic Faith is in poor shape above all on the East coast (i.e. Dublin).

The main reason the referendum passed is simple: CASH

The Yes side were massively funded from the US, in particular, and many corporations and big companies got actively involved (Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter etc), Ryanair offered free flights for those going home to vote. They were able to use focus groups and professional expertise to manipulate language and emotions and so to swing the younger voters behind their side. The media were entirely on the Yes side. Even the head of the Referendum Commission was publicly advocating a Yes vote!

 The No campaign won the TV debates and the Irish Bishops were balanced and careful (strong tactics having failed spectacularly in earlier referenda) but we were out gunned. The No side could not compete with the Yes as regards resources but even so the Yes side were worried it would not go their way – I think where they succeeded, apart from the young voters, was in making the waverers decide not to vote. They used emotion to bully people away from voting No. The Guards (police) were even caught tearing down No posters!

For those who were not here – who did not experience the unrelenting talk and propaganda and the pressure from family and friends, on Facebook, in conversations, signs everywhere and with the expectation that one could not possibly vote No – it’s impossible to imagine.  There was huge pressure to conform, to be with the 'in crowd' and to 'go along to get along'.  The language was perfect: 'love', 'respect', 'equality' - all undefined but packed with emotional weight.  There wasn't enough moral or spiritual fortitude to cope and sufficient numbers voted Yes or just opted out to let the Yes side win.

There will be a price for this.  This will not stop at marriage.  As long as Catholics and other Christians are around, along with those who simply recognize the objective nature of moral law,  then we will be a living sign of contradiction and we will not be tolerated.  I expect that the legal route will be taken first but I doubt they will be able to resist the temptation to go further.  The homosexual community are but the tool of darker forces and persons who wish to use them as cover for their own perversity.  There are dark days ahead but we will survive.  The Faith will not die out in Ireland.  The blood of martyrs is seedbed of the Church.

At the moment though I feel like a Jew in the early days of Nazi Germany. Pray for us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fota VIII International Liturgy Conference

St. Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy
Fota VIII International Liturgy Conference

10 February 2015

St. Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy 
is pleased to announce a provisional list of speakers and topics for the 

Fota VIII International Liturgy Conference 
to be held in Cork, Ireland, 
4-6 July 2015, 
on the subject of the priesthood of the baptized, 

A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation: 
Aspects of the Priesthood of Baptism.

1.       Professor Dieter  Böhler, Sankt Georgen, Frankfurt (Germany)
A Kingdom of Priests" (Ex 19,6). Priesthood and Royalty of God's People in the Old and New     Testament 

2.       Fr. Joseph Briody, St. John’s Seminary, Brighton, Mass. (USA)
The Priesthood of the Faithful in Sacred Scripture

3.       Fr. Sven Leo Conrad FSSP, (Germany)
Ministry as an expression of the common priesthood or of the ordained ministry?  A review of the minor orders.

4.       Fr. Jao-Paolo Mendanca Dantas, Fortaleza (Brazil)
The new movements in the service of the unity of the Church. Reflections on the charismas of laity in the light of the thought of Joseph Ratzinger.

5.       Professor Manfred Hauke, Lugano (Switzerland)
The “sensus fidei” of the laity according to John Henry Newman and contemporary theology.

6.       Professor Helmut Hoping, University of Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany)
The priesthood of Christ in the baptismal and ministerial priesthood

7.       Fr. Thomas McGovern, (Ireland)
The Priesthood of the Laity and the Challenge  of the Secular

8.       Dr. Johannes Nebel FSO, Administrator of the Leo-Scheffczyk Centre in Bregenz (Austria)
Sacra potestas and the participatio actuosa of the Faithful

9.       Dr. Ann Orlando, St. John’s  Seminary, Brighton, Mass. (USA)
The Faithful’s Sacrifice as Priestly Service in St. Peter Chrysologus


Hon. Secretary: Terry Pender colman.liturgy@yahoo.co.uk 
or tel: international +00353 21 4813445/ local 021 4813445

Thursday, April 3, 2014


The Catholic Collegiate Chapel of St. Finn Barr, erected through the generosity of Isabella Honan, for the scholars and students of Munster was opened in 1916.  The first photo is of the sanctuary in 1916 and it's taken from Sir John O'Connell's The Honan Hostel Chapel, Cork (1916).  The second photo was taken by myself and shows the sanctuary as it is today.  

There is no tabernacle!  It had not yet been installed, nor had all the stained glass windows either - given the amount of light coming from the North side (right).  That would mean this was taken before Harry Clarke's windows were installed.  There are no candle sticks, no sanctuary lamp nor a crucifix either.  The altar railings were removed after Vatican II.

The only additions to the present sanctuary are the ambo (in bronze) and the altar (in wood) by Imogen Stuart.  There is also an Eastern Rite painted crucifixion (on wood) a gift from the Romanian Orthodox community that uses the Honan a few times a year.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014


Below are two posters for anyone to print off and use either for their own inspiration or to promote Lent in their family, work, parish etc.  They were made with Microsoft Publisher.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


© Photo: Voice of Russia
This is news worth paying attention to:

A council of the heads of all 15 local Orthodox churches will be held in 2016, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill said. "We believe that all issues relating to the preparation of documents and the solution of all procedural, administrative and technical issues will have been resolved in the world by 2016," the patriarch told reporters on Sunday in Istanbul, where he took part in a meeting between the heads and representatives of Orthodox churches devoted to the preparations for the Council.

Patriarch Kirill said all decisions at the Council will be made by a consensus (unanimous voting), not a majority of votes.
Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Hilarion, the head of the synodal department of external church relations, for his part, recalled that the preparations for the Council have been conducted for more than 500 years and the last such council was held in the 8th century.

You can read more here.


The Internet has no lack of advice for Lent.  My own ha'penny's worth?  Keep it simple - whatever you do do it for the love of Christ.  Whatever you give up replace with something better.  If you spend less time on the net or watching TV then spend that time with family or private prayer.  Take up some spiritual reading, the Gospels above all.  If you give up some favourite treat spend the money you save on the poor.  Replace your vices with virtues and do all for love of Christ. 

If you fall go to Confession.  Make it regular part of your spiritual discipline.  Try to find a wise and orthodox priest to confess to and try to go regularly.  Persevere in these simple things and leave the rest to God.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


A few weeks back we were approached here in Cork to facilitate part of Mr. Michael Voris' visit to Ireland. Having discussed the 'ins and outs' we quickly agreed to help but instead, with the agreement of the Capuchin guardian, to host Mr. Voris' talk in the Holy Trinity.  Anyway if you are in Cork on Saturday evening do call in to the Holy Trinity at 7.00 to listen.

Also coming up is the Honan Catholic Society retreat in Ennismore with Fr, John Harris O.P.  that promises to be a worthwhile event and it will help deepen and strengthen the foundations of our new society.  The theme will be 'Living the Catholic faith as a Young Person in Ireland today'.  Each Wednesday we are having a catechetical talk on the Sacraments in Hillside, the Honan owned building on O'Donovan's road across from the Honan.  We usually start at 6.00 pm and have a meal and socializing afterwards.  We had to cancel the talk this week because of the bad weather.  Speaking of which I looked out a window in Holy Trinity and the quay walls were under water!

Ministry here is different to that in the school.  It takes time to establish oneself anywhere but at least there is the Sacramental work and the catechetical talks to look forward too.  While I was assured that offering Mass in the Honan would  be an experience (what experience could make up for leaving Dublin?) I have to say it is a beautiful place to pray both liturgically and privately.  Having adoration there on a Wednesday afternoon and Mass every weekday is a blessing.  There are times though when I drift off into plans to finish it off with Byzantine-style mosaics or even to paint some icons for it - all those blank spaces on the walls and ceiling are just crying out for appropriate art work.  All I need is the cash.

The 'crack' in the chaplaincy is good too.  There is a welcoming atmosphere in the chaplaincy that we both want to preserve but also to promote and share.  the problem is always how to get the message out that we provide a safe, welcoming, faith-friendly place for students and staff and run events that provide an alternative to the alcohol fueled madness available elsewhere.  Tea and coffee are free!


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