Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2018

Ireland One Hundred Years Ago

Ireland 100 Years AgoGerry O'Shea

In January, 1918, the Great War, the war that it was said would end all wars, was entering its fifth year with the German propagandists claiming a major planned offensive that would lead to imminent victory.

About 350,000 Irishmen had enlisted, prompted by what Yeats called "public men and cheering crowds." John Redmond, the undisputed leader of Irish nationalism, who successfully negotiated a limited Home Rule Bill in 1914, strongly urged Irishmen toenlist in the war effort by joining the English army.

These recruits surely did not anticipate the appalling trench battles along the Western Front from Ypres in the north tothe Moselle River close to the Swiss border. Tens of thousands of Irishmen died in support of a war that the leaders in Westminster - ironically from an Irish perspective - claimed was being fought to secure the freedom of small nations.

The Spanish flu, known to many as La Grippe, became an international epidemic and resul…

Women in the Catholic Church

Women in the Catholic ChurchGerry O'Shea
The Synod on the Family was held in two sessions in Rome in 2014 and 2015. It was convoked by Pope Francis to considerthe many problems faced by Catholic families in today's world.
Knotty issues were discussed, including the treatment of divorced Catholics who wish to receive communion and the status in the church of the LGBTQ community.
The recommendations that emerged were voted on by 279 participants - all of them male, all with a vow of celibacy and most of them over the age of 50.
There are about 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, but not even one woman had a vote on what emerged as the final document on the contemporary family, which, by the way, ducked any decision on the controversial topics regarding divorced and gay Catholics.
It is hard to believe that a serious organization that preaches the equality of all its members uses such a ludicrous and demeaning system of decision-making, showing clearly that power resides completely w…

The Black Irish

The Black IrishGerry O'Shea
The million or so men, women and children who sailed for America during and after the Irish famines in the 19th century had imbibed a clear message from the ruling class about their inferiority; they lacked any sense of confidence in their culture or, indeed, much belief in their own individual worth. Widespread starvation conveyed the clear message of failure and shame and left a deep imprint on the national psyche.
In addition, their masters told them that - far from being victims - they were somehow responsible for the mass hunger that they experienced. The Irish people had to accept that they somehow brought it on themselves, or perhaps that God, the personal God that they prayed to every day, had abandoned them because of their sins.
The new Irish exiles in America saw themselves as unhappy emigrants from the country they had roots in and loved and not as immigrants in a country that promised real opportunities for bettering themselves.
The distinguis…