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Showing posts from May, 2019

Divisions in the Vatican

Divisions in the Vatican          Gerry OShea On February 10th, 2013, Pope Benedict shocked the world with his announcement that he would step down from the papacy at the end of that month. He promised that his contribution to the church in retirement would be "a life dedicated to contemplation and prayer." He chose rooms in the Vatican for his domicile and announced that his title would remain Pope followed by the descriptor emeritus. He continues to wear the pectoral cross and the white garments which are seen for centuries as part of the papal regalia, and he is comfortable being addressed as Your Holiness. This rather haughty behavior raised hackles in many places with Diarmaid McCulloch, the renowned professor of Church history in Oxford, predicting ominously that "two popes is a recipe for schism." Francis, true to his belief in a modest lifestyle, lives in Casta Santa Maria, a guesthouse for visiting clergy where he eats in a self-service cafe

Ireland in 1919

Ireland in 1919                Gerry O'Shea November 11th, 1918 is remembered as Armistice Day   which effectively ended the First World War. The Treaty of Versailles was signed six months later in June 1919; it confirmed the victory of the Allies and a humiliating defeat for Germany. The British perspective on The Great War, as it is called, gained widespread public support in Ireland in the early years of the fighting. Army recruiters were given the green light by the powerful Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) and indeed by the Catholic Church many of whose leaders felt that they were supporting their co-religionists in Belgium. Following the upsurge in nationalist sentiment after the 1916 Rising, the   appeal of a rejuvenated Sinn Fein gradually outstripped the IPP, which lost its popular leader, John Redmond, to a heart attack in March of 1918. The Republican appeal was especially strong with young people, who were greatly empowered by Westminster legislation which m

Taxing the Wealthy

Taxing the Wealthy                         Gerry OShea   Capitalism has lost its appeal for many young people. In a recent poll,   51% of Americans aged from 18 to 29 stated that they feel more positive about socialism with just 45% affirming the capitalist system. This represents a hefty 12% decline in just two years. What has caused this dramatic   change? A few statistics that indicate serious dissatisfaction with the status quo may give some indication of the issues involved. Since 1989 the working class share of total income in America has declined from 45% to 27%. Four out of ten citizens complain that they don't have the means to pay an emergency bill of just $400. Only 14% of private sector workers have access to paid family leave. Meanwhile the rich have done very well. There are more millionaires and billionaires than ever before in the United States. The stock market is flying, benefiting mainly the richest 10% who own 80% of the shares. Sales of luxury boat