Séamus Ahearne: ‘NO ONE SHOUTED STOP.’ (John Healy – Death of an Irish Town – Charlestown 1968) {Applicable in many circumstances and even today.}


Luis Rubiales made a big mistake. He should have seen, or recalled that he had seen, Pretty Woman. With Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. Julia insisted that a kiss could only be on the cheeks! If Luis had listened! He could have been spared all the hullabaloo. The World Cup was wonderful. The Spanish team was brilliant. The Lionesses were rather good too. The occasion was a feast of football and celebrated the skill of the women. And now this. A kiss takes over. As we used to say: Has everyone lost the run of themselves? Surely there are more worthwhile ways of addressing the issue of women in sport and women in society? I think all of us should have a look at The Bucket List with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. To make out a list of what really matters and to give attention only to the precious, in life. (A wish list of to-dos.) Perspective is essential. Clamouring about, emoting and consumed by the immediate, is never a way of seriously facing up to the fault lines in society. By the way, Julia is delightful too in Erin Brockovich! Why? No one shouted Stop!


Ramaswamy, Pence, Haley, Scott, DeSantis, Christie, Hutchinson and Burgum met in Milwaukee for the First Republican Debate. The Moderator mentioned the missing elephant. Donald was interviewed by Tucker Carlson, coinciding with the Debate. It was sad to see that the Republicans couldn’t produce better than this pathetic group. Only two or possibly two and half of candidates, hesitantly admitted, that they wouldn’t support Trump, if he was the nominated candidate. It is amusing that Mr Trump should suggest that his Trial on interfering with the Election process, due now on the 4th March, was itself an interference with the Election for 2024! Democracy itself is hurting when America can only now come up with Joe Biden and Donald Trump as the candidates for the Presidency of the United States and the leadership of the so called Free World. Why? No one shouted Stop!


Lucy Letby was convicted of seven murders and of six attempted murders at the Neonatal Ward in the Countess of Chester Hospital. She was sentenced to a whole life order. All commentators, have struggled to make any sense of what happened in that ward. How could an ordinary girl, do something like this? How could anyone kill a baby? She came from an ordinary and loving home. Her friends cannot believe or accept, that she could do such a thing. It isn’t just denial but rather is that understanding is impossible. Nothing has been discovered to indicate how this could have happened or that she could do something like this. Her own written scribbles did say – “I am evil.” That is the only hint of what was going on. I suppose none of us can cope with such actions. However, I do want to whisper a thought. A whole life sentence, I think, can never be right. The obvious and certain sentence of murder is life. Much of that is custodial. Release is always on licence. Why wasn’t that her sentence? She could have been given a mandatory 20 or even 30 years but surely should have been given some glimpse of possible release even if it never was to happen. I know it makes many pleased, that the whole-life sentence was imposed. But that only feeds a mind-set of hate and vindictiveness. By the way, I have worked with lifers! Why? No one shouted Stop!


Prigozhin (Wagner) has died or at least, that has been confirmed by Moscow. He had served his purpose for Putin. He had fed him. He had fought his war in Ukraine. He had organised the Russian battles in Africa. It appeared that his Wagner soldiers (mercenaries) had done a more efficient job that the official army. But he had stepped out of line by criticising the leadership and even marched on Moscow. His death was expected. Litvinenko comes to mind. But again we are in a quandary. This whole war in the Ukraine makes little sense. The inability of the UN to help or sort out some compromise is worrying. NATO is on the sideline but is providing weapons. What is the way forward? Has our world any means of intervening in conflicts and finding a solution? If we had any sense of God or any respect for someone/something more,   might every muscle, every heart, every brain, every imagination be at work in finding a conclusion which is satisfactory? How can it be right to bomb and kill and destroy a nation and scatter the people of a nation? Why? No one shouted stop.


Nadine Dorries is resigning at last. She was an MP (UK) and Minister for Culture (including sport) for some time. Nicola Jennings did a cartoon of a chocolate teapot!  One of Nadine’s constituents had described her ‘as useless as a chocolate teapot.’ She isn’t going quietly. She has sulked for months. She was proposed by Boris Johnson for a peerage. She was excluded from the list. Rishi Sunak was blamed by her for this. But we are back to the question – how do some people reach leadership in Governments? Boris. How was it ever possible for him to get there? And yet he had his supporters. Jacob Rees-Mogg. Dorries. Plus. How did Trump reach the presidency and still be considered as needed for the job? What does it say about the electors? About all of us? Why? No one shouted Stop.


In matters of Church and Faith and God – we too can ask the same question. I remember one of our teachers in philosophy way back in 1965 who used this definition: Philosophy is the asking of questions and the questioning of answers until you come to a question that is unanswerable or an answer that is unquestionable. That does nicely for theology too. And we are all theologians or supposedly should be. I think I have got the definition right or it does sound near or near enough. As a ministry, as a body of Christians, as Communities of faith,  surely we are forever asking questions. How we find God today? How we celebrate God? How do we evangelise today? How do we reach out into the tragedies of life? How can we touch the mystery of nature? How do  we celebrate the life of a child? How do we find the sacred around us? How do we mark the love that is in the human heart?  How do we define and redefine the holy? How do we stretch the meaning of Sacrament? How do we hear the speaking God to us in daily life? How do we question the description of priesthood? How do we tap into the experience of God in the life of people? How do we critically asses the language of Liturgy? How do we truly find the gift of women and their sacred role in the priesthood? Surely priesthood and ministry has to be concerned with radical thinking and always finding out how the Word can become flesh. We are ministers of this. We aren’t just about creating order.


Seamus Ahearne osa           29th August 2023.

PS 1   Eugene. Thank you. I think we would be both happy in that Church!

PS 2   As I talked a little on politics; I have to question why we might need more TDs in Ireland.

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