Month: February 2015

Big Tobacco Flexes its Muscles

Sean McDonagh comments on the current conflict between Dr. James Reilly, the Children’s Minister, and Japan Tobacco International over the issue of plain packaging of cigarettes.
Sean challengingly reminds us that “Religious people do comment on alcohol miss-use, but not on cigarettes. I wonder why, because every time you use tobacco products as described by the producer you harm yourself and those around you.”

Widen the circle at the 2015 Family Synod

Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director of FutureChurch, brings to our attention a campaign to ‘widen the circle’ of those who can contribute at the Synod about family.
She argues that ‘The synod would benefit from listening to Catholic representatives from diverse constituencies and from engaging in the dialogue Pope Francis has promoted throughout his papacy. We believe widening the circle will create greater understanding among the synod fathers whose final recommendations to Pope Francis may impact our Church’s pastoral practice for years to come.’

God in Winter

As winter lingers in many parts of the country, and with Moygownagh being no exception, Brendan Hoban offers this reflection on God in Winter by Pádraig Daly.

“Daly’s poems penetrate to the core of reality, dissecting the human condition, finding rumours of the divine in everyday experiences and mining a seam that echoes the experience of priests and people in parishes in Ireland today.”

Outsiders and Insiders

As he continues his recovery from recent illness Seamus Ahearne finds himself musing on a comparison between church and the gentry of old. The gentry who once ‘lorded’ it over others are now the outsiders. Seamus concludes that “as (Gospel ministers) we are now very much outsiders; so we can be more aware of how so many felt ‘outsiders’ in the world of Church in our past. We now feel in present day Ireland as we made so many feel in the past . The empathy of understanding can help us along.”

Justice in the World: Justice in the Church

Tony Flannery quotes from Donal Dorr’s Option for the Poor and for the Earth.
“While the Church is bound to give witness to justice, she recognises that anyone who ventures to speak to people about justice must first be just in their eyes.”
Tony in reflecting on his own situation suggests that this principle presents a strong challenge to the prevailing practices and views in the Vatican

Married priests: There is still so much we can do

Brian Eyre keeps the situation of married priests before us. How can the talents of these men be utilised for the good of the church. He presents a challenge to us! “However in the long run it is the local parish where the married priest lives that can bring about changes. A P.P. who welcomes a married priest who lives in his parish can do an awful lot of good to break down barriers and wrong attitudes. His role or position will not be challenged or weakened if the married priest is seen doing pastoral work in collaboration with him.”

Winning Battles, Losing the War

Brendan Hoban in his Western People column argues that for the Catholic Church the result of the referendum on same-sex marriage will matter less than the fall-out afterwards.
“Looking back on previous debates (on contraception, divorce, abortion) that divided the nation, neither side was prepared to take a long and respectful approach to the issues. Debates around difficult subjects and competing rights were marked by an absence of generosity on both sides.”

The meaning of God

In his weekly Western People column Brendan Hoban discusses the RTE ‘Meaning of Life’ programme following a recent edition featuring Stephen Fry.
Brendan marvels that ‘in a country immersed in religion, it’s quite extraordinary how few seem to have given little more than a passing thought to the meaning of their lives – and how many still imagine that God is some version of Fry’s caricature, notwithstanding huge unanswered (and probably unanswerable) questions about the problem of evil and suffering in the world.’

A need for healing … and revolution

The World Day of Prayer for the Sick occurs next Wednesday, 11 February. Seamus Ahearne, reflecting on his own illness and hospitalisation, shares some very pertinent thoughts about the reality of illness.
“I couldn’t think. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t read. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t pray. I couldn’t talk (socially) I shut down. This different world took control of me. The ‘nakedness’ of the ward took over. I was institutionalised. The rhythm of hospital life absorbed me. I had no control over anything. “
Seamus also suggests that we in church could gain inspiration from the ‘teamwork’ he has observed in hospital.
We wish Seamus a speedy return to full health.

‘Who will say Kaddish for me?’ – remember, lest we ever forget.

Last week, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the world marked Holocaust Memorial Day. Brendan Hoban in his weekly Western People column tells us that forgetting or allowing time to diminish the significance of Auschwitz is not an option. Remembering is a human and historical imperative.

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