Séamus Ahearne: ‘Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander.’ (Thomas Merton)

The embarrassment of American Politics:

Kevin McCarthy was elected Speaker of the House on the 15th vote. He was stupid and insensitive to then go out and thank Donald Trump for helping him get there. This was on the 2nd Anniversary of the Invasion of the Capital. How can politicians become so disassociated from the core meaning of democracy? He wanted the job so badly that any kind of horse trading was allowable. God help us. When will they ever learn? And then Joe Biden is even considering going for a second term. Is he lacking all insight? Come back Barack Obama…….  

Is Bolsonaro a disciple of Trump?

Bolsonaro supporters invaded the Parliament Building in Brasilia (Sunday). The defeated candidate had got out of the country and went to Florida instead of being present for the handover. Unless those very fundamentals of democracy are respected; the management of a country becomes impossible. Democracy is a fragile thing. At least in Ireland as the 100 years since the Civil War; we had FF handing over to FG the job of Taoiseach!

Gianluka:  A gentleman and a footballer.

Gianluka Vialli died. He was praised as a footballer but above all as a gentleman. The consistent comments focused on his sense of humour; his humanity; even his champagne in the dressing room before a match! The tributes were very special.

Pele, Messi, Haaland

Messi was the acclaimed hero of the World Cup. Pele was celebrated as the exponent of the beautiful game. His departure explored football memories for many of us. But for me, it was the Moroccans who were the winners of the World Cup in Qatar. They played as a team. They overcame all expectations. I thought soccer was a team sport. Ronaldo, Messi, Pele, Salah, Bellingham, Haaland, Foden, Grealish,  Kane, de Bruyne, Mbappe, succeed because of the team. The team combines together to feed the shooters. I am surprised that every team is not paid as a collective with no variation in wages! It was interesting listening to Roy Keane being interviewed by Tommy Tiernan (on Saturday night). Roy took no praise for his role in the game. He was surrounded by great players. They played together for the team. There was no need for leaders. All were leaders. He was only an average player who had to work hard. He succeeded because of the others (or so he said)!

Putin at Christmas

Putin appeared at a Russian Orthodox Christmas celebration. How is it possible to reconcile such an appearance on this occasion with the brutality and delusory behaviour in Ukraine? Hitler is not dead. Ambassadors of Russia are left in office all over the world – mouthing obscenities. Why aren’t all of them told to go home? They aren’t contributing anything but frustration. Unless they might be learning something of a different view. If they can. If they could. The UN too is hindered by the Veto on the Security Council. Surely it is the UN who should be banging heads together and helping to sort things out. Politics is the art of the possible. Sometimes, it feels nothing is possible.

Prince Harry: Does he have any friends to tell him shut up?

Prince Harry is at the centre of the News. It is quite pathetic. He has left the comfort of the monarchy and now is trading on the institution. It is his only way of earning a living. It almost feels like immoral earnings. He is hurting obviously but this whole piece of work is nonsense. He has to deal with himself; with his past; with his grief; with his sense of failure; with his entitlement issue; with the basic issues of growing up and being independent. William is not the problem. Charles is not the problem. He is the problem.

The Epiphany:

The Epiphany: I never like when the Feast is relegated to the periphery of a weekday. It is a feast for Celebrating. For delving into our past. For remembering all the wise ones of our lives. For the sense of discovery. For the stars in life. For the expanded minds who stir the juices of the imagination. For the poets and artists and musicians. For the revelation of God to those who search. For the writers. For the real teachers. For the prophets among us. For the inspiration of the ordinary folk who are full of faith. For the stamina of those who keep travelling and learning and unveiling the world of beauty and wonder in the God of everyday. It is finally a celebration of the expansiveness of faith where we are never allowed to hide in the past or to get lost in the ordinary. Open eyes; open hearts; open imaginations sum up the Feast. (Have a look at Pádraig Daly’s new book: Glimpsing More. )


Benedict has died. There is only one man in white now at the Vatican. All of that posturing with the two-in-white seemed quite ridiculous. Benedict came in (as pope), to tidy up after the frail and faltering John Paul who had stayed in office much too long. Benedict really surprised everyone when he went to London. Many came to attack and condemn him but then went away most impressed by him on the occasion. Then Benedict continued to really surprise the world when he announced his retirement. He did so in the spirit of Mark 4. 35. That too was startling. His time in the UnHoly Office (CDF) was unimpressive and probably bad preparation for his role as pope. Francis has tackled most of the residual issues in the governance of the Church. He too needs to retire. It is not right that we should impose on a man of his age the task of continuing as pope.

Seamus Ahearne osa

PS. Have been sitting around for a few days. Doing nothing (not able). Not reading. Not writing. Not watching (except for Roy Keane!) I need to get back to work….. being an idle bystander doesn’t ever suit me.

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  1. Michael J. Toner says:

    This writing of yours is no idling! It’s action too. Keep going!

  2. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Yes Séamus, it may indeed be time for Francis to think of moving over to an apartment in the Lateran Palace as Bishop Emeritus of Rome – but first he needs to banish the once Gorgeous George Gaenswein back home to the Black Forest. That fellow’s still trouble.

  3. Paddy Ferry says:

    Eddie, I thought there was a partial banishment a few years ago when a book was published expressing views which were not exactly in keeping with the new Francis way and was it Gorgeous George who sent the understanding abroad that Ratzinger, aka Pope Emeritus Benedict, supported those views.

  4. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Yes Paddy, Francis removed him from the day job in 2020 and told him to go back and keep Benedict company. He seems to want to blame everyone else for his downfall – maybe his tell-all book should be titled ‘SPARE’…

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