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Showing posts from November, 2021

The Partition of Ireland

  The Partition of Ireland                 Gerry OShea   A historic debate took place in the Irish parliament a hundred years ago about whether to accept or reject the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which was negotiated in London by an Irish team led by Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins. The heated discussion started on December 14 th and lasted until January 7 th , 1922. The Treaty was carried by 64 to 57 with most of the opponents walking out of the Assembly in protest, leading a few months later to the unfortunate Irish Civil War. The debate focused on the issue of sovereignty, the extent of independence that the new state would have in dealing with other countries and especially with Great Britain. Surprisingly, the partition of the country, which happened about a year earlier with the passage in Westminster of the Government of Ireland Act, was only mentioned once during those emotional days. The negotiators in London were offered Dominion Status, equivalent to the relationship of t

Synodality and the Catholic Church

                                     Synodality in the Catholic Church          Gerry OShea The clearest divergence between Pope Francis and his predecessor, Benedict, lies in their different expectations from church members. The last pope emphasized traditional beliefs and rules that Catholics are expected to follow. To maintain these high standards, Benedict would   accept fewer church members favoring a kind of ecclesial purity. Francis certainly carries a different banner. His pronouncements are always cognizant of people who are struggling, and his first priority is to extend a helping hand to them. He shows no interest in inquiring about   their belief system or their religious observance; instead, he follows the biblical injunction: “Go into the highways and byways and invite everyone you meet to the wedding feast.” This focus on the human dimension by Francis spills over into the Synodal Path which he announced for the universal church on October 10 th last. In this hist

The Climate Crisis

  The Climate Crisis                  Gerry OShea A major row erupted in 2019 between Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, and the French leader, Emmanuel Macron, as thousands of fires engulfed the Amazon rainforest. Macron angrily accused his Brazilian counterpart of “ecoside” for allowing the world’s largest forest to be despoiled. He accused Bolsonaro of a despicable crime against the planet. Needless to say, the Brazilian strongman was enraged and he countered by asserting that Macron “was treating Brazil as a colony or no man’s land.”  “Our sovereignty is non-negotiable,” he exclaimed. Sovereignty is indeed the issue. Is Brazil the rainforest’s guardian or owner? Must the world just grin and bear it while Bolsonaro demolishes this indispensable carbon sink and vital repository of plant and animal life? Most people would agree that the Brazilian leader’s behavior is completely unacceptable, but what about Australia, a highly-developed country, still expanding its coal produ

Takeaways from the November Elections

  Takeaways from the November Elections           Gerry OShea James Carville, President Clinton’s top advisor, believes that economic issues determine the outcome of elections. Recent price increases in supermarkets and the big jump in gas prices surely help to explain the Democrats’ poor results in the governorship races in Virginia and New Jersey, the two big November contests. The Biden administration knew that their performance was on the line in both states. They hoped to get credit for dealing much better with the COVID crisis, ending the pathogen chaos that prevailed under Donald Trump. And, they wished that families would recall at the hustings that they received large support checks from Washington to help defray the extra costs of the medical crisis. On the other hand, the Democrats, with admittedly small majorities in the House and Senate, could not pass the two big infrastructure bills which would have provided a major boost, especially for families in the areas of ch