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Showing posts from March, 2019

Fr. O'Leary and Clerical Celibacy

Fr. O'Leary and Clerical CelibacyGerry O'Shea
Fr. Daniel O'Leary was born in the village of RathmoreCounty Kerry, close to the Cork border, in 1937. He died in January of this year after a short battle with cancer.
Fr. Donal, as he was called by his friends, served as a parish priest in the Diocese of Leeds in England for the first thirty years of his ministry. After that he worked for two decades teaching theology in St. Mary's University College in London.
He authored a dozen books on spirituality and was well-known as a leader of parish and diocesanretreats. He was a regular columnist in the prestigious international Catholicnews weekly, The Tablet.
In his final column for that publication he stated that he wanted to be "free of fear and bitterness and full of love and desire as I step up for the final inspection." He goes on to argue in the major theme of his parting essay that forced clerical celibacy is "a kind of sin, an assault against nature and God…

Vincent Carmody's listowel

Vincent Carmody's ListowelGerry O'Shea
In the bar area of the Kerry Hall in Yonkers there are portraits displayed of five well-known Kerry writers, and three of the five come from the town of Listowel or its hinterland: Maurice Walsh from Ballybunion, author of The Quiet Man, John Moriarty, poet and philosopher from Moyvane and, of course, John B Keane from the town itself.
The management of the bar would find it hard to explain why the marvelous Bryan McMahon is not on display or Brendan Kennelly from Ballylongford or George Fitzmaurice, a noted dramatist and short story writer in the 19th century or Fergal Keane of current BBC fame.
I have no idea why a small and - at first walk-through - an unimposing town accounts for so much exuberant artistic talent. And now we have local historian, Vincent Carmody, producing an excellent and intriguing communal history: Listowel: A Printer's Legacy. The title is further explained in the cover as The Story of Printing in North Kerry 18…

The New Socialism in America

The New Socialism in AmericaGerry O'Shea
In his recent State of the Union message President Trump warned against those who were pushing socialism as the best approach to solving the problems the country faces. This message was highlighted by many others on the political Right who pointed to the mess in Venezuela as the contemporary example of the disasters accompanying the hated "S" word.
Yet in a 2017 study 44% of millennials, citizens in their 20's and 30's, favor a socialist approach to government with, rather surprisingly, just 42% opting for the present capitalist system in America. A more recent Gallup poll found that 57% of Democrats expressed a preference for the socialist system while the percentage identifying with that party favoring capitalism registered in the low 40's.
Even a few years ago, at the turn of the century, the numbers declaring for such radical policies would barely break single figures. What has changed in such a short period of time t…