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Showing posts from July, 2020

Tradition and Modernity in the Catholic Church

Tradition and Modernity in the Catholic Church              Gerry OShea In an interview after retiring as president of Fordham University, the late Fr. Joseph O’Hare warned Catholics against thinking that the beliefs and rituals of their faith are static and set in stone. He warned that “you can betray your faith by trying to hold on to some frozen moment from the past.” The Catholic church is in crisis largely because of the division between those who want to change and adapt to contemporary life and traditionalists who fight every movement towards modernity, clinging tenaciously to what has been handed on in beliefs and observance. The issue of inviting divorced and remarried church members to participate in the eucharist provides a good example of what we are dealing with here. Church law – Canon 915 to be precise - states clearly that a person who is living in serious sin should not receive communion. A cohabiting couple where one has been divorced indicates that, according

Policing in Ireland During the War of Independence

Policing in Ireland During the War of Independence     Gerry OShea Policing Ireland was a complex and challenging project during the War of Independence which lasted from January 1919 until July 1921 when a truce was declared between the leaders of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the British Government. While the British Army had a garrison of around 5o,ooo men in Ireland, prime minister David Lloyd-George stipulated that he wouldn’t dignify the IRA insurgency as a war and so he determined that dealing with it required strong police action, supported but not led by the military. The police force was re-organized in 1836 with a clear command structure extending from county leadership to the top man headquartered in Dublin. This Irish blueprint for policing was used later across the British Empire. Every constable was trained to use a variety of arms. They had a membership of around 9,500 and lost 300 of their number to IRA bombs and bullets during the thirty-one months of the

Homosexuality and the Catholic church

Homosexuality and the Catholic Church         Gerry OShea The sea change that has happened in attitudes to homosexuality during the last half-century marks this era as a time of massive cultural movement. Fifty years ago people often denigrated men and women who were gay; in fact, for most people talking about same-sex attraction elicited incomprehension and, too often, condemnation. Today the gay lifestyle has been accepted as an added welcome dimension of Western culture. Same-sex marriage is part of life now, best explicated in this country by a mayor of a small town, Pete Buttigieg, who introduced his husband at many of his rallies and who made a positive impact on the Democratic race for the party’s presidential nomination. While polls showed some resistance to the mayor because of his sexual orientation, most Democrats claimed that his marriage arrangement did not influence their voting preference. As late as the 1960’s and into the 70’s, the scientific community, led by

Confederate Monuments

Confederate Monuments          Gerry OShea Deirdre Clarke, a young Irish-American teacher with roots in Rockland County, posted a statement on Facebook recently dismissing the opinions of some of her friends in the Irish community who were arguing that statues of confederate leaders should not be removed because they are part of our history. Deirdre responded that based on that logic they would have no problem with an Oliver Cromwell Memorial in Dublin or a similar statue in Cork recalling the antics of the Black and Tans. John Mitchel, a leader of the revolutionary Young Irelanders in the 1848 rebellion, presents an interesting case in this debate, especially from an Irish nationalist perspective. He fought for the principles of equality and fair play for all Irish people, irrespective of religious affiliation. Coming from a Presbyterian background, he decried the demeaning anti-Catholic tirades by English Establishment leaders and their supporters. Mitchel saw clearly that