The art of kissing:
I like the idea that Victor Manuel Fernandez has been appointed Head of DDF (formerly CDF). He might be rather different. Did he write a book on the art of kissing? That could qualify him as rather unlike anyone who has gone before him. Surely Tony Flannery now has a chance for reinstatement – if he wants it? The Appointment Card or Job Description given by Pope Francis seems quite a contrast to the versions of the past. It would seem that Francis doesn’t want a Rottweiler at the gate.
Unrelated odds and ends:
- The UK: Arsonist jailed for life, will serve a minimum of 44 years. Machinegun murderer is jailed for at least 48 years (Christmas Eve). These were horrendous murders but what sense can it make, to jail people for such a length of time? This isn’t justice.
- We had a Funeral during the week (one of many). I was told later of a man who left the Church quite upset. He had become a lapsed Atheist! Shocking, isn’t it?
- Did you hear that the Koreans got younger recently? Koreans used to be a year old at birth. So there you have it. People can get younger.
- How many have written to the Russian Ambassador? To console him. To tell him how lonely he must be and even paranoid. The Ambassador at least has another view of the war from outside. He does speak for his Government but above all, he speaks for his people.
RTÉ used to report the News and now they are the News which is sad. There is a sense that RTÉ had become so self-righteous as the moral custodians (assumed) for the country and so what they said, was dogmatic and decisive. They had become the new Church or even the new Bishops! But their frontline people at present, are to be admired at the rigour with which, they Report on their own Institution, which is rather impressive. However, the Dáil Committees are enjoying the limelight. There is some grandstanding or possibly arrogance in their performance. They act with such certainty and are audacious. How knowledgeable are they on commercial reality, I just wonder? There comes a time when ‘flogging a dead horse’ is not sensible. Let the appointed investigators get on with it. I like the Eastern idea/culture when people try to ensure that the interrogator never ‘makes anyone totally lose face.’ There must be a tolerance and a space for people to hide a little. I do hope that those Dáil Committees applied the same ruthlessness and robust questioning to the issue of the siting of the Hospital for the Children and the budget/cost thereof; The Vincent’s Hospital and the Maternity grounds. The Eight Amendment – didn’t have the intellectual rigour necessary before the tide of popularism swept everyone before it. And much more. The Executive and the Board (RTÉ) weren’t just caught like rabbits in headlights or even skinny dippers on a cold beach. They were definitely stripped naked. Sober, quiet, thorough investigation needs to go on but not a public flogging, surely.
Musings on Reverence: (1)
I am getting old myself. I would hardly have said this previously. We were planning First Communions and Confirmations for the year ahead. It is a huge task. With so many schools. The Parish is bigger than some dioceses. Certainly we worry about those occasions being events rather than celebrations of a commitment into a community. So what are we to do? For the moment we stay with the planning. However, here was and is my thought.
How can people live without God? As professionals we can agonise about what we are doing and how we are doing it. We can become weary and critical of ourselves and of our past. We can spend the time apologising for how bad the Church was, and how often it failed. But that is not the issue. It is bigger than us and bigger than the Church. It is God. Where is God? What is God like? How do we celebrate God? Never mind how we have done it before but now. Communion and Mass is so far from the lives of most. Reverence is gone. ‘Holy Bread’ is the word used by the children, without many knowing what Holy means. People come to Church and are unfamiliar and very uncomfortable in these surroundings. They don’t know the Responses which is fine. But the sacredness of Communion is not understood and many just chatter at that time.
So yes, again, how can people live without God? I know it is fashionable to declare no affiliation. (Census). But really. Nature. Family. Friendship. Wonder. Beauty. What is it all about? Bettany Hughes (classical historian) has prepared a programme for Channel 4 which goes out this evening (9th July) on her journey through India. She comes to the Ganges. It isn’t a sight to look at. It was a Holy Place. She was asked to take part in the Ritual of letting go. She was deeply moved. Her mother had died a short time previously. She went to the Temple at Amritsar (The Golden Temple – Harimandir Sahib ‘abode of God.’). Once more it wasn’t about being a visiting tourist. She had to leave her phone outside, take off her shoes and enter into the sacredness of the place. This is the Reverence, everyone has to find somehow on a daily basis. Keir Starmer feels strongly that young people need to learn oracy. Jeremy Clarkson suggested that it is more important to teach them how to change a tyre! I think that we all have to learn Reverence above all; more than tyre-changing or oracy!
The wonder and beauty of the morning:
This morning, I met no-one. But three herons appeared. They don’t like community. They don’t appear to be a team. They are solitary. I love to look at them. Three was a morning gift. I walk on. The path narrows. The other birds have got to know me and won’t even make room for me to pass them. They clearly look, shrug their shoulders and say to themselves, ‘It is that fellow again!’ Such familiarity. The trees are more respectful. They wave in the wind or pray. The morning is beautiful. I reflect then on moments and people. Life is full of mystery. The fresh air unclogs the mind.
Smells like us:
Abraham wanted a wife for his son from his own people. We discussed this at Mass on Friday (7/7). Well Jack talked about an infiltration by the country folk into the Capital and how this diluted the genes. Others spoke of those South of the River Liffey, crossing north, and upsetting the natural mix in life. Others spoke of the Ringsenders being so clannish and unwilling to mingle. Others from the Traveller Community spoke of the reason they married young, that it was due to the inherent danger of being polluted by the settled folk. And finally Richard spoke – he said that we should marry someone who smells like us. Scripture sharing? Of a kind.
I don’t know what she is hearing. Or why she is saying such things. She believes that most people are overpaid. She suggests that wages/salaries should be cut. She talks too of relativities: ‘I am better than you and should be paid more.’ She asks that who and what is important, determine the wages. She wants to slash house prices in whatever way it can be done. Housing shouldn’t be a commodity or an investment, it should be a basic right to a home. Supply and demand or scarcity cannot be the only determinant. Many people too have too many holidays she says. Cut them, she says. Politicians shouldn’t be setting out to be popular; they should do what is right and necessary. The ‘must haves’ of life such as Cosmetics and smells; such as new Gadgetry; such as more new clothes; such as the latest designer stuff; such as drink, smokes, or drugs. She thinks it is all ridiculous. She says that most of these aren’t necessary. People have got too used to having everything. She wants everyone to go out. Drink in the air. Look at the grass and the trees. See the sky changing. Enjoy the day. Eat what you need. Play. Have fun with the little things. I think she is listening to the moaning and groaning by everyone and is fed up with it.
Seamus Ahearne osa 9th July 2023.