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Catholic Women Today

Catholic Women TodayGerry OShea
About 700,00 people leave the Catholic Church in America every year. These are not lapsed Catholics who drift away from their religious roots, but members of the church who choose to leave the belief system they were raised with.
There are multiple reasons for these unprecedented numbers, but the most important consideration centers on the dismal failure of the church in dealing with women's issues.
Talking recently at a symposium titled"The Women the Vatican Couldn'tSilence" in Trinity College, Dublin,former Irish president Mary McAleese, who spent six years in Rome earning a doctorate in theology, bemoanedhow "women were deliberately made invisible and programmed to stay invisible" because of church structures that are "designed to create and maintain the invisibility and powerlessness of women."
Speaking to the same packed auditorium, Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun from Pennsylvania and author of nearly thirty bo…

Capitalism or Socialism

Socialism or CapitalismGerry OShea
When John Healy, the great journalist of a past era from County Mayo, was faced with a conundrum that wasn't open to any easy explanation he would challenge his readers by asking "Riddle me that!" I thought of Mr. Healy recently as I tried to understand the policy differencesbetween two of the prominent candidates for the Democratic nomination for president, Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Senator Warren defines herself as a capitalist "to my bones." She says that her goal is to radically reform the economic system and make it work for ordinary people.
However, Senator Sanders always presents himself as a socialist and points to his commitment to that philosophy as setting him apart from his opponent on the left from Massachusetts.
A perusal of the positions of both candidates on the major issues is revealing.
HealthcareBoth Sanders and Warren strongly support a public healthcare system that covers all citizen…

Gays in the Catholic Church

Gays in the Catholic ChurchGerry OShea
The often-acrimonious debate about the morality of the gay lifestyle continues in the Catholic Church. In most parishes members of the LGBT community feel more comfortable keeping a low profile, not making demands, while the majority of pastors avoid preaching about the knotty and complex issues of same-sex relationships.
While Judaism, as represented in the Old Testament, strongly condemned homosexual activity, you will search in vain in the four gospels, which tell of Christ's sermons and lifestyle, for any criticism of same-sex relationships. His main message focuses on the primary importance of love and compassion among his followers, calling for special care for the poor and oppressed.
How then did these matters become so important in the teachings of the Catholic Church and indeed in most Christian denominations? The answer lies in what the theologians call natural law. Proponents of this approach to morality assert that any sexual activit…

Unionist Intransigence in Northern Ireland

ionism in Northern IrelandGerry OSheNot-an-Inch Un a
Intransigence is the guiding principle and predictable tactic of Unionist politicians in Northern Ireland. Their many victories over the years have convinced the leadership in that community that their "not an inch" political philosophy can transfer successfully to the current major Brexit crisis.
More than a hundred years ago when a Home Rule Bill was finally passed in Westminster, Loyalists in Belfast rejected the decision of parliament, armed a hundred thousand in their community and successfully defied the British government.
Next, seeing as they wouldn't accept a parliament in Dublin, they decided to partition the country and set up a government of their own in Belfast. They wanted control over the province of Ulster but they feared that nationalist majorities in counties Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan would make their plan impractical, so they settled for a six-county statelet.
They set up a governing system in the Nort…

Global Warming

Global WarmingGerry O'Shea
A basic axiom in the ancient wisdom of the native American community states that any laws or ordinances passed by their governing councils must meet what they call the Seventh Generation Test, meaning that the impact of any new regulationshould not harm people who will livelong years in the future - a deeply enlightened and spiritual insight that provides a valuable perspective on the global warming crisis.
In his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis makes the same argument: "We are not God. The earth was here before us and it is our common home which has been given to us". He reminds us that we are just custodians, morally obliged to pass on a functioning planet.
From this perspective the treatment of the environment in particular by the huge oil and fuel industries, especially in the last half-century, has been ruinous for the world's oceans and rivers and thus profoundly at variance with any positive ethical standard. The thoughtful people d…

Clericalism in the Catholic Church

ClericalismGerry OShea
During the early centuries of Christianity, Christ's followers met - often secretly - to honor his memory by community prayer including the sharing of bread in remembrance of the importance of togetherness in the Passover meal at the Last Supper.
They met in each others' homes for their prayer services just as Amish worshippers do in their communities today. They had no priests, again replicated in Amish services in our time where leaders are chosen by the community and given no perks.
In fact most historians contend that Christ had no plans to start a new religion. He was critical of the legalistic formalism that dominated the Jewish rabbinical establishment of his day, but he is best understood as a charismatic Jewish rabbi with an inspiring message.
The records show that these early Christian groups were egalitarian, with men and women chosen by their peers for leadership positions not only for their prayer and communion services but also in their chari…

The Great All-Ireland Replay

The Great All-Ireland ReplayGerry O'Shea
I am amazed that The All-Ireland Football Final, arguably the preeminent sporting event in the Irish calendar, is being held this year on a Saturday evening. This strange arrangement invites the comment that the planners in Croke Park looked for a convenient Sunday but had to pass on that to accommodate other considerations.
The official explanation seems to confirm this perception: "There were a number of logistical reasons. We are very keen to have it on live TV and in discussions with RTE-they would have considerations such as greyhound racing." Nothing against the dogs but surely getting Sunday prime time for a game with a huge level of interest that sold out at 84,000 fans should have priority. That shouldn't be a close call.
I am a big admirer of the GAA and the astounding benefits it has brought to every parish in Ireland since it was founded in Thurles in 1884, but sometimes I worry about the competence of the Association…

Just Imagine

Just imagineGerry OShea
There seems to be no end to the lies and outrageous assertions that Republicans will tolerate from their man in the White House. Just consider how they would be reacting if the person in the Oval Office was a Democrat.
Imagine that Hillary Clinton is in the White House and she claims that her father who came into the world in Scranton, Pennsylvania was actually born in Durham, England, the birth place of her grandfather. Would Republicans ascribe such a blunder tonormal memory slippage which seems to be the best excuse they can muster to explain how their man in the White House boldly asserted that his father, Fred Trump, was born not in the Bronx, which all the records indicate as his place of birth, but in Germany.
Senator Bill Cassidy, Louisiana Republican, a distinguished physician with a strong interest in the area of mental health, would surely be calling for a psychiatric evaluation of any Democrat in the Oval Office who seemingly doesn't know or has f…

An All-Ireland Final for the Ages

An All-Ireland Final for the AgesGerry O'Shea
The All-Ireland finals in 1955 and 1975 are remembered with great pride by aficionados of Kerry football. In both years Dublin - better known now as the Dubs - were strongly fancied to win, but the men in green and gold emerged victorious and thus were assured of a special place in the Kerry pantheon of football heroes.
There is a great story told about the 55 final. The Kerry team travelled up by train and settled in at Barry's Hotel, owned by cousins of the young IRA hero who was executed by the British during the War of Independence. A big steak dinner was consumed, the rosary was recited and on the stroke of 9.00pm the manager, the legendary Dr. Eamonn O'Sullivan, ordered his team to bed, stressing the importance of a good night's sleep before performing in the momentous event in Croke Park the following day.
Early to bed was not the custom of a few of the team, and four players, full-back Ned Roche, corner-back Micksie Pa…