Monday, June 22, 2015


I was to transfer to our house in Donegal this week (yes, it was goodbye to Third level ministry and Cork!) but on my way to Tralee on Saturday, June 13th, I had a collision with another car and in the process my ankle was shattered. I left CUH on Wednesday. Thanks be to Heaven for Larry ( a pilot), Cirar (a Nurse) another Ciara (Doctor) and Peter (an Anaesthetist) as well as Dr Aidan Murphy (Emergency Response doctor) and Peter and his team on the ambulance. I was inspected, kept talking, fed sugary drinks, kept warm and reassured. It really was an example of the best in human beings. There was also the care I got in CUH both in A&E, from my surgeons and in ward 4A. A big thanks to all of them and an assurance of a lasting presence in my Masses and prayers.

In the middle of my hospitalisation one of my community, Paddy Cleary, died suddenly.  We were all fond of Paddy and will miss him.  He was buried Thursday.  The fallout from his sudden death are only just unfolding as he quietly did lots of jobs around the house.  

For myself I will miss him (he was one of the community here I would've missed the most when I moved) and I still can't think of his death as real.  I would like to help out but I am pinned here.  From the accident there are the physical consequences of not being able to put any weight on my right foot for at least three months.  There's the possiblity of future surgery on the foot and down the road of arthritis there.  Whether by the direct or indirect will of God that accident has pinned me here in Cork.  I am clamped in plaster and confined to barracks, more or less.  Unfortunately I had already packed away most of my books so that my reading options are quite curtailed.  Getting around is not easy partly because I now have to hop using my weaker knee but also because my room, part-filled with boxes and never very tidy, is something of an obstacle course.  My big question for God is why He has allowed this to happen just now and what I am to learn from this?  

At the moment these are the consequences I must live with, not the consequences of my own actions but of someone else's.  I have to relearn to forgive.  I am learning about the generosity and patience of others but also how people can react in such varied and unexpected ways.  Some handle change well and others not so well.  Myself I am struggling with frustration and boredom.  I find it hard to pray.  All I can do is take one day at a time.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Since the referendum passed there has been a poster on a pole along the route I take home from work.  I only get a glance at it but it is obviously from the YES side and seeks to build on the momentum to continue their campaign against 'inequality' etc.  As I have written before this is not going to go away. Mr Voris over on ChurchMilitant has the right idea.  What begins as encouraging sensitivity about language will become a campaign against 'hate speech' (hate speech will be whatever the liberal, secularist neo-fascists will define it to be - censorship returns under the guise of respect!).

So we will have to live with the consequences of this vote.  On this feast of the Ungandan martyrs one can't help wondering how it will unfold.

As regards the Irish Church we have a lot of consequences to face.  It have heard it say that Archbishop Martin is wrong to think that the Church has failed to communicate with the young, it happened a long time before that.  We failed to communicate the Gospel to their parents and grandparents.  The Irish Church failed to effectively teach the Church's own teaching and settled for a dumbed-down, no challenge, mushy caricature of the teaching of Christ.  We taught the easy bits and left the hard bits til later (i.e. never).

What concerns me though are the priests, religious and prominent lay people who came out calling for a yes vote.  As a theologian wrote in the Irish Catholic 'what part of Jesus' clear teaching on marriage did they not get?'  Have they not read the Catechism?  How long will public dissent be tolerated?  Are there no repercussions for those who publically oppose Church teaching?  What meaning has Church discipline and unity when those who publicly support the enshrining of an intrinsic evil in the Nation's Constitution in clear opposition to the Bishops suffer no consequences for that opposition.  Have we gone entirely to the opposite extreme of an authoritarian Church (such as is alledged we once had here)?  We have a Taoiseach who, while claiming to be a practicing Catholic, has publicly professed beliefs that are in clear contradiction to that Faith.

There you have it.  Our 'Catholic' (self-described as such) Taoiseach does not believe in God but in an impersonal, indestructible force or energy that drives us all.  Jesus is an embodiment of that force.  He ducks the question of faith in the Real Presence and comes across as theologically, and philosophically, confused.  A pantheist, in fact.  Bear in mind that he would've gotten catechetical training during his studies to be a primary school teacher.  There have been, to my knowledge, no repercussions for our leader for these statements nor for his support for the introduction of abortion into Ireland.  Let's not mention that he lied to the Pro-Life movement!

He's one of many.  Frs Gabriel Daly, Iggy O'Donovan, Peter McVerry and not a few others publicly supported a Yes vote, as did Sr Stanislaus Kennedy and former President Mary McAleese.  One wonders what you have to do to get a rap on the knuckles from the Irish episcopate?  Does it always have to go to Rome before there is action?  Has the ultimate result of the formation of Epsicopal Conferences been the effective esmasculation of our shepherds?

There are many ordinary, faithful Catholics who want to see their shepherds deal with the wolves.  They want to see some real action not words, not press statements, not pastoral initiatives but an effective handling of those who are opposed to the faith but insist on remaining within the fold.  Leaving the wolves there will prove very costly.


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