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Showing posts from November, 2018

The Two Popes

The Two PopesGerry O'Shea
Shortly after taking over from Pope Benedict in March, 2013, Francis was asked his opinion on homosexuality and, in particular, on gay priests. He responded with a rhetorical question: "Who am I to judge?" This answer reflected a popular sentiment because most people are comfortable with a live-and-let-live approach to life and are often resentful of individuals or institutions - including the Vatican - that endeavor to instruct them how to behave.
However, his response did not find favor with a strong rump of conservative clerics and lay people who felt that the pope's job is precisely to make moral judgments and toprovide direction especially on controversial issues. His predecessor, Benedict, left no doubt about his belief that homosexuality is an intrinsic moral evil, an objective disorder that is incompatible with the priestly vocation. Plenty judgment there!
In Benedict's early years teaching in the University of Tubingen in Germany h…

Just Imagine

Just Imagine!Gerry O'Shea

Join me in a trip to la-la land. Dream with me that instead of the Electoral College our president is elected by popular vote and Hillary Clinton is in the White House.

Imagine what the Republican leaders would be saying if she was complainingevery day about the media, dubbing it the enemy of the people, a mischievous trope suggesting that CNN and reputable newspapers like the New York Times are trying to thwart the wishes of the majority of the people. Would these Republican leaders allow her to assert her innocence of any culpability when one of her extremist followers sends a pipe bomb to the offices of CNN?

Think for a moment of the loud guffaws from Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham if any Democratic president stated publicly that she "fell in love" with the North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Un, boasting that Kim had written her "a beautiful letter." Just imagine the condemnatory rhetoric such language would elicit especially among right…

The 1918 Election in Ireland

The 1918 Election in IrelandGerry O'Shea
The armistice ending the First World War was signed on November 11th 1918. Shortly afterwards the British Government called a general election for December 14th, and the results of that election one hundred years ago changed Irish history, leading directly to the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the establishment of an independent government in Dublin.
After achieving Home Rule, John Redmond , the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) leader, urged Irishmen to support the British war effort. For him, Ireland was part of the Empire and was thus duty bound to stand behind British war policy. Young Irishmen responded positively, some driven by the payments accruing to their poor families, while many others were motivated by a youthful sense of adventure.
Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and their comrades urged Irishmen not to enlist in the British army and instead to focus on gaining freedom for their own country. This advice did not resonate with most Irish peo…