Skip to main content

Posts

Book Review - Come Forth by Fr. Jim Martin

  Come Forth - Book Review       Gerry OShea I recall a fine priest who ministered when I was young in my home parish in Kenmare, County Kerry. In response to perennial   questions about God’s role in the human condition, his usual answer was, “It is all a mystery.” For example, one parishioner approached him for an explanation of how a merciful God would condemn anyone to eternal damnation. A number of others spoke of their bewilderment about why a loving and personal God tolerated so much abject poverty and destitution among his creatures all over the world. In reviewing James Martin’s recent book Come Forth, which deals with what many consider Jesus’ greatest miracle, the raising of Lazarus from the dead, I thought of the priest from my childhood.   Delving into the whys and wherefores of this amazing biblical event, Martin wonders why, despite Christ’s promise, “Ask and you shall receive—- knock, and the door shall be opened—for everyone who asks receives,” this rarely seem
Recent posts

Priestly Celibacy

  Priestly Celibacy          Gerry O’Shea The name of Charles Scicluna is unlikely to resonate with readers, yet he is playing a major role in deciding whether the Catholic Church should change its regulation on priestly celibacy. Alone among the main Christian denominations, the Vatican insists that at ordination, its ministers must pledge to remain single and chaste. Scicluna serves as the Archbishop of Malta, and, more importantly, he has Pope Francis’ ear. With advanced qualifications in civil and church law, he was highly regarded by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who appointed him as the principal investigator of clergy sexual abuse crimes. So, he has heard the stories of the dark side of human nature. The most coherent institutional argument for ending this celibacy requirement comes from the parishes, which are understaffed and struggling to provide presbytery services comparable to those available as late as fifty years ago. The number of priests in the United States

Perspectives on Ukraine

  Decision time in   Ukraine            Gerry OShea When Ukraine’s top military commander spoke last November of a stalemate in the war, most people understood this to mean that the conflict was frozen, with neither side capable of advancing. The Russians couldn’t plunder any further, and the Ukraine liberation drive was at a standstill. This standoff situation invited talk about a declaration of truce a la Korea or Cyprus and a call to the United Nations to facilitate some kind of treaty that wouldn’t please either side but would end the war that has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of fighters as well as large numbers of civilians. However, there was no serious talk about a truce, and negotiations of any kind were not on either side's public agenda. If, somehow, an end to the war was proclaimed, Russia could claim to have grabbed tens of thousands of square miles of rich farmland, and millions of Ukrainians in the captured territories would be forced to bow thei

The Migrant Crisis

                                 The Migrant Crisis                Gerry OShea   The current snafu surrounding the refugee crisis in Great Britain started when Boris Johnson was prime minister and facing increasingly harsh criticism because of the number of illegal migrants arriving. He came up with a bizarre solution: place these unwelcome arrivals in a chartered aircraft that would transport them to Rwanda, a landlocked east-African country that is mainly remembered because of the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi tribe there thirty years ago. This plan, which remains the policy of the conservative Government in Westminster, means that these refugees would have their claims processed in Rwanda and be expected to settle there. Courts in the UK and Europe have expressed doubts about the legality of this curious policy, and there are currently serious objections to it in the House of Lords in London. In 2023, close to 30,000 refugees came to Great Britain in boats crossing th

Ireland Then and Now

  Ireland Then and Now      Gerry OShea I had a discussion with a Jewish friend recently about the continuing tendency among many people to hold on to old ethnic and racial stereotypes. He said that his family, with an obvious Jewish surname, feels that some people still view them as Shylock types defined by strategies for accumulating money. He often feels that even his friendly neighbors and co-workers are convinced that Jews dominate the banking industry and Wall Street. I responded to him on the same theme that in a recent study, representatives of Epic Museum, a Dublin-based research organization, typed “Irishman” into the most-used AI image generator. They were dismayed by all the derogatory comments that spewed out, focusing on aggressiveness, inebriation, and people preening like leprechauns. The behavior of some people at the Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade this year seems to confirm the stereotype. The day after the march, local Councillor Ed Flynn, reflecting on disg

Strongman Politics

    Strongman Politics     Gerry O’Shea Viktor Orban’s recent visit to the United States was highly irregular. As a prime minister, he avoided the usual protocol of meeting with American government leaders in Washington to discuss issues of mutual importance. Instead of talking to officials about issues like trade and tourism, Mr. Orban went to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, where former president Donald Trump greeted him in effusive terms: “There’s nobody that is a better and smarter leader than Viktor Orban. He is fantastic. He is the boss .” Of course, Mr. Trump doesn’t utter such encomiums of praise without similar laudatory paeans flowing in his direction, and the Hungarian didn’t disappoint. He told a gathering of prominent conservatives meeting in Budapest, “If President Trump had been in the White House, there would be no war in Ukraine and Europe. Come back, Mr. President. Make America great again and bring us peace.” President Biden slammed his opponent in the Nov

Catholic Social Teaching

  Catholic Social Teaching       Gerry OShea The Catholic ethical teaching on ownership of material goods can be encapsulated as follows: the goods of the earth belong to all the people in the universe without distinction of place or culture. This important right is universally accrued based solely on people’s humanity. In some future idyllic world imagined by high-minded idealists and saints, this thinking may evolve into a new world order. We are talking about a utopia, the mysterious place over the high mountain seen only by mystics who believe that possessions and acquisitiveness should no longer define a person’s importance. Readers are likely to conclude that such a place is a dreamland that can never exist because one-upmanship will always reassert itself. Status, power and money will inevitably corrupt this imaginary Garden of Eden. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the brilliant philosopher and theologian who lived in the 13 th century but who remains in the front line