Séamus Ahearne: ‘Where does the temple begin, where does it end? There are things you can’t reach, but you can reach out to them, and all day long. The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of God. And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.’ Mary Oliver

Maurice and the Missal:

Bishop Maurice Taylor died on 14 June 2023. He was 97. He had been bishop of Galloway (Scotland). He was ordained at Fatima House, Coodham  (it was a well- known venue to many of us who worked in Scotland) in the Open Air by Gordon Gray. The Open Air was so appropriate for the man, and how he lived his ministry. Maurice was a gentleman. He was the Chair of ICEL for ten years. His team produced a New Missal which was never  published for general use. Instead the present version arrived which is a monument to institutional stupidity. The present document is riddled with convoluted constructions;  bad English and rather questionable theology. Maurice wrote about this project. He was very sad and hurt, by what emerged in the debacle and how wrong and unsuitable the official Missal is. Maurice wasn’t a man to be bitter but he was right to be sad.

Irritation and the Synod:

Were you irritated? I was. There is a spelling faux pas in the Synodal document. It wasn’t a floating apostrophe or a missing one, but it was a misspelling. Now the Americans might disagree, if an American had the final say in the writing. By the way, I think the Working Document is excellent. I further think that the project/process of finally putting it together is in itself, a miracle. It is the way of working; it is the listening; it is the accumulation of commentary;  it is the respect; it is the belief that the Spirit is in everyone;  it is the new way of living, sharing, and working together that matters.

The very Late Late Show with Ryan Tubridy:

Ryan Tubridy is the News. What an oversight in RTÉ. However, his salary doesn’t even approximate Gary Lineker’s  (£1. 35m) per year for talking football. Erling Haarland’s is only around £500K per week while Kevin de Bruyne gets c£400k per week. How on earth is it possible for €345,000 to go unpublished and to be hidden in the audited accounts of RTÉ? In parish life, it is the greatest waste of time when the accountants (local and diocesan)  keep on questioning every cent of our accounts. They obsess about every detail and are caught up in finicky administration. And we are only amateurs who have a rather fulltime job otherwise. We cannot be chasing irrelevant minutiae to satisfy pernickety administrators! Now I know it has to be done. But how could it happen in RTÉ? I am impressed at how the Radio has delivered the discussion. But it can’t be easy for them. They are doing an excellent job.

Everest and the Titanic:

We all need a goal. Some look for an Everest; aim for the heights. Others go for the depths – the Titanic. It is fascinating. How many want to climb every mountain and some want the adventure of the depths. It was amusing to hear how imprecise the knowledge was in trying to locate the Titan submersible. The frequent comment was: We know so little. Humility is essential in the vastness of the oceans and the very nature of our world. The world media watched and told us every little detail (as far as they could) as the saga unfolded. The count-down to the minutes of oxygen. 12.08. And then the news of the catastrophic explosion (implosion). Five were dead. We heard about Suleman Darwood who hoped to break the record with the Rubik’s Cube when he was on his trip.

Reach for the Stars:

The heights and the depths. The mountain features highly as the God-place in the Bible. We are all stretching to reach out and beyond ourselves. We encourage one another to raise our sights. The word – empowerment features everywhere. The challenge to be fully alive. The best we can be. To believe in something and someone more. And yet despite the wonders of the modern world, the God-sense is evaporating. The cliché is true: ‘God is missing and not missed.’ I take a whispered message from the adventurers – the climbers and the divers; a wish for everyone to be an adventurer in what really matters in life. In love. In searching for answers. In learning. In gratitude. In seeing the wonders of nature. In humility of knowing so little. In breaking the bread of experience. In opening the eyes of the mind, heart and imagination; in looking out for God. Pádraig Daly (Glimpsing More) writes: 

“Blinkered by knowledge.

We search for Him with furrowed brows.

While He is close and unnoticed.

In every midget being, of creation.”

Or Mary Oliver’s words in Why I Wake Early

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was…

And yet so many of us stumble through life whinging and moaning and missing out on the wonder. The ‘living of life to the full’ (Jn 10.10). Or Irenaeus – ‘The glory of God is woman/man fully alive.’ Good News people? Gospel poets? Evangelisers? 

Glastonbury and Michael D: 

I didn’t make Glastonbury this year. For that matter I didn’t make it any other year either. Now I do know some of the team who set up the event (if that counts!) Elton John did make his debut. His last UK tour ever. For the moment. He said. There are quite a number of ancient performers about. I suppose even antique members have a song to sing. Now I’m not sure that Michael D Higgins should be singing as he was on the issue for the Consultative Forum on International Security Policy. His song was out of tune. We have been blessed as a country by our recent presidents: The two Marys. And by Michael D. But maybe he has become too certain of his own thoughts and words. His son didn’t help by turning up at the Forum. I think Michael D is too old. He should try Glastonbury. And see it as his farewell gig!

Seamus Ahearne osa

28th June 2023.

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One Comment

  1. Pádraig McCarthy says:

    Thanks, Séamus. And for the Mary Oliver too.

    Maurice Taylor wrote about his experience with Rome in his book “It’s the Eucharist, Thank God”, in a chapter called “A Cold Wind from Rome”. It’s available at https://www.theway.org.uk/endeanweb/lttaylor.pdf.
    The rejected 1998 ICEL translation can be found in four sections at https://liturgy.co.nz/failed-1998-english-missal-translation.

    But No: I wasn’t. Irritated, that is, at the “spelling faux pas”! Well, if it’s the same one that you found, in the second part (Worksheets) of the Instrumentum Laboris”, at B 1.5:
    “d) in the relationship between indigeneous communities and Western models of missionary action. Many Catholic missionaries have shown great dedication and generosity in sharing their faith, but in some cases, their actions have hindered the possibility of local cultures offering their original contribution to the building up of the Church.”
    It’s a point worth considering, a reminder of how the Synodal approach to church is so far beyond the centralised model, and the “faux pas” is a reminder of the limits of infallibility!

    Is Michael D too old? He’s only two and a half years older than me, and five and a half older than you. His faux pas, if that’s what it was, did achieve higher public notice of the matter of national security and neutrality.
    And in case I forget it later: Advance congratulations on your golden jubilee in September! Ad multos annos.

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