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Showing posts from January, 2021

Women in the Catholic Church

  Women in the Catholic Church              Gerry OShea Women fared poorly in the theological writing of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, highly influential figures in the Catholic tradition. Augustine promoted the story of an original sin happening in a paradise garden with Adam blaming Eve for leading him astray. Aquinas believed that the female foetus was really an incomplete male resulting from weak semen. Of course, they lived in past centuries and Thomas’ biological theory was debunked a long time ago, but their negative outlook on a woman’s inferior role in the church has cast a long and dark shadow. True to their muddy insights, females are still treated like second-class members in their church.   For example, at the Amazon Synod, summoned by Pope Francis in late 2019, important recommendations emerged for changes in church practices to better serve the native communities not only in Brazil but also in the neighboring countries of Peru, Venezuela and Columbia. It is

The Report on the Mother and Baby Homes

  The Report on the Mother and Baby Homes           Gerry OShea The recent official report on Mother and Baby Homes in Ireland was the third in a dismal trifecta dealing with the shocking abuse of young people in publicly-funded institutions during the sixty years after the foundation of the Irish state in 1922.   The Ryan Report in 2009 laid out in disturbing detail how boys were maltreated in sixty industrial schools throughout Ireland. The physical and sexual abuse in all these schools, run mostly by Christian Brothers, was described by Ryan as systematic and endemic. About 120,000 poor youngsters passed through these ignominious schools over the hundred years of their existence.   The Magdalene Laundries, sometimes called asylums, were founded in England in the 19 th century to provide some help for “fallen women.” They were continued in Ireland as part of the penal system in the new state after independence. Prostitutes as well as women deemed troublesome or even sexually

Trump's March on Washington

  Trump’s March on Washington            Gerry OShea If we judge intelligence as always including the ability to think through the consequences of one’s behavior before engaging in any action, then President Trump qualifies as a dunce of the first order, based on his invitation to his followers to join him on January 6 th for a “wild” event. The President was oozing a sense of grievance after the election results were declared and his opponent, former vice-president Joseph Biden, was announced as the clear victor. He got seven million more votes than the president and ended up with the same electoral college numbers as when Mr. Trump won against Hillary Clinton in 2016. His lawyers and other experts made their case for a crooked election in various states before around eighty judges, but not even one of these courts could find any example of election malfeasance. Trump’s angry refusal to accept the election results, confirmed by all these court judgements, led directly to the di

The War of Independence in Cork in 1920

  The War of Independence in Cork 100 Years Ago              Gerry OShea Great Britain, clear victors in the First World War and controlling the biggest colonial empire in the world, faced a major challenge to its authority a hundred years ago, in the final months of 1920. The Irish War of Independence was in progress and three events that happened as part of that conflagration rattled the British Empire, and all of them were related to the insurgency in the city and county of Cork. Munster was identified by the top leaders of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as an active war zone where “ most of the fighting was done ” in the words of the popular ballad, The Black and Tan Gun. Between January 1917 and December 1921 political violence claimed 2141 lives in Ireland with more than half coming from the province of Munster. There were 495 deaths in Cork, 152 in Tipperary, 136 in Kerry, 121 in Limerick, 95 in Clare and 36 in Waterford. In Cork, 450 men have been identified as active I

Conspiracy Thinking in American Politics

  Conspiracy Thinking in American Politics                Gerry OShea It is hard to believe that one-third of Republican voters believe the raving QAnon narrative which preaches that President Trump is battling a global network of satanic child sex traffickers with connections to the Clintons, George Soros and the Rotschilds. That is about 25 million Americans walking around with some version of these crazy ideas, clear in their minds that the despised media won’t even cover the abusive traffickers, who in America are mollycoddled by Democrats. A series of polls since the November election reveal that no less than 70% of Republicans – around 56 million citizens - agree with President Trump that the declared election results are fraudulent, that he, not Joe Biden, won on November 3rd. The Trump campaign went to ninety courts in various states to argue their belief about twisted corrupt elections. They lost in all cases, with a number of judges commenting on the lack of any evidence