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Showing posts from January, 2022

The Anglo-Irish Treaty

  The Anglo-Irish Treaty              Gerry OShea I recall clearly a conversation with my uncle, Michael OShea, shortly after I came to New York in the early seventies. He and his older brother, Paddy, were active in the Irish War of Independence. My query centered on why they had taken the anti-treaty side in December 1921.   He explained that the Volunteer group that they trained with attended mass every Sunday in the village of Ardgroom in west Cork, just over the Kerry border from their home in Lauragh. After the church service, they proceeded to a designated secluded area about two miles out the road where their leader, Liam O’Dwyer, would announce plans for the coming week. Towards the end of his instructions on the Sunday after the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in London on Tuesday, December 6 th 1921, he told them that “a crowd in Dublin want us to abandon our oath to the Republic. Needless to say, we will have nothing to do with that. See you on Wednesday. Company dismi

In Praise of Trade Unions

  In Praise of Trade Unions            Gerry OShea I watched an interview with Marty Walsh this week. He is the Secretary of Labor in Washington who started his working career with Laborers Local 223 in Boston, where his father, an emigrant from Ireland, was a lifelong member. Addressing the importance of union membership, he pointed out that his late father enjoyed a comfortable retirement because of his pension, negotiated by his Local, and he added that his mother still gets a substantial check every month from the same fund to supplement her social security entitlement. A substantial minority of American retirees are flirting with poverty because many of them depend solely on their social security check every month to meet their living expenses for housing, travel and food. Trade Unions are needed more now than ever. Our new Gilded Age is marked by obscene wealth garnered by a small percentage of Americans while tens of millions of workers and retirees are struggling to pay t


  Liberalism                       Gerry OShea The revolutionary cry from America in the 1770’s that all men are created equal shattered the prevailing political wisdom of those years. It debunked the legitimacy of monarchs and clerics who claimed that their power was unassailable because it was part of their heritage, approved from on high. The American colonies asserted their right to independence from England and they won the war against a disgruntled king to establish a democratic form of government, the first since the Greeks of old. Fourteen years later, the French – greatly influenced by events on this side of the Atlantic - made a similarly decisive move. Louis XV1 was convinced that he ruled with divine approval, but he and his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette, represented the Ancien Regime and were dispatched by guillotine.  Loud French proclamations about their new radical guiding principles of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality reverberated throughout the world. These

The Biden Record

  The Biden Record                     Gerry OShea President Biden’s poor approval rating is causing consternation among Democrats. His score in various polls hovers around 45%. This is the lowest of any president at this stage of his tenure in the last half century. The one exception is his immediate predecessor, Donald Trump, who, a year into his term in the White House, was judged to perform even more poorly at just above 35%.   Nearly all the experts predict that Republicans will win a majority in the House of Representatives in the November midterm elections, with dire consequences for the Democratic agenda. The leadership of the senate is also in danger of changing from Schumer to McConnell. Our era is defined by chaos and uncertainty. We have the jitters worrying about covid and climate change, police brutality and mass shootings in schools. Democracy itself is under attack with about 50 million Trump voters firmly convinced that Joe Biden thieved the election. It is imper

The Challenges of a Synodal Church

  The Challenges of a Synodal Church              Gerry OShea The 16 th Synod of Bishops announced recently by Pope Francis, unlike any previous one, calls for involvement in church decision-making by all Catholics in every diocese throughout the world. The pope stressed that the heart of this process involves people walking together and listening to one another, believing there is a divine light prompting the whole ecclesial movement. The Synod will take two years. The first crucial stage, which began last October, involves worldwide consultations that will continue until April of 2022. This listening phase ushers in further deliberations in each continent lasting until March 2023. The whole process will culminate in October of that year when the bishops assemble in Rome, presumably to make decisions, influenced by grassroots thinking, which will then be passed on to the pontiff for his approval. The Vatican stresses that the Synod should not be compared to some kind of parliam