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Showing posts from February, 2019

Abortion - A Different Perspective

Abortion - A Different PerspectiveGerry O'Shea
The issue of abortion came up in a recent Friday night PBS News Hour program when David Brooks and Mark Shields were reviewing the events of the week. Shields began his comments on the subject by noting the ambivalence of most Americans about this emotive issue. He pointed out how studies show that while people recoil from approving abortion, they also favor maintaining the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling that permits a woman to decide whether or not to end her pregnancy.
About 25% of American women have an abortion during their lives. Polls show that close to 60% of Americans favor maintaining the legal status quo, but that leaves more than 40% demanding the reversal of that controversial court decision.
Incidentally, despite repeated strong condemnation of abortion by the Catholic bishops, polling results reveallittle difference between their congregations and other Americans.
In an article last June in the prestigious National Catholic Reporte…

Review of McCarten Book on the Two Popes

Review of McCarten's Book on the Two PopesGerry O'Shea
Anthony McCarten, a distinguishednovelist and screenwriter from New Zealand, is best known for his celebration of the genius of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything , and for highlighting the crucial importance of Winston Churchill'seloquence indefeating the Nazis in The Darkest Hour. His latest work The Pope: Francis, Benedict and the Decision that Shook the Worldattempts to explain the ramifications of having two popes, one in his early 80's and the other ten years older, both active within the narrow confines of the Vatican.
These two men, Joseph Ratzinger or as he is now titled emeritus Pope Benedict andJorge Bergoglio , Pope Francis, represent two different approaches to the Roman version of Christianity. Ratzinger is a brilliant German theologian, a rather dour and introverted academic with little pastoral experience, while Bergoglio, comes across as a charismatic and fun-loving Argentinian whose idea of…

The Brexit Crisis

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Brexit in CrisisGerry O'Shea
In the 1992 Presidential election which pitted Bill Clinton against the sitting president George H.W. Bush, senior Clinton adviser, James Carville, famously advised his candidate to focus on dinner table issues with the pithy and oft-repeated political wisdom statement "it's the economy stupid."
That advice did not prevail with the British people who in 2016 voted in a referendum by 52% to 48% to leave the European Union. They disregarded the steady and substantial growth in their country's wealth, in their GDP, since they became part of the EU in 1973. Since joining, the median income for wage earners in Great Britain has increased by an impressive 79%; by comparison, using the same measure, the United States registered a modest improvement of 16%.Within the EU, over the last 45 years, the British economic growth rate slightly exceeded Germany and was well ahead of France.
There are three main trading blocs in the world in the 21st c…