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Showing posts from January, 2023

Monica's Story

    Monica’s Story An aged man is but a paltry thing, A tattered coat upon a stick From William Butler Yeats’s poem Sailing to Byzantium I recall well an unlikely colleague coming to my office during my working years – for convenience, I will call her Monica. She was in tears, clearly distraught, telling me that she needed to talk about an important family matter. I was taken aback because while she was a respected co-worker, I had not really connected with her beyond casual conversation. She poured out her story, sobbing as she explained the details. Her father, a sixty-nine-year-old man, had started working packing shelves in a supermarket. He retired the previous year from a company in Manhattan, but he could not make ends meet on his monthly social security cheque. He lived in an apartment off Pelham Parkway in the Bronx. His wife passed away four years previously and their three daughters were all working and married in the New York area. They offered to supplement t

President Biden's Prospects

    President Biden’s Prospects             Gerry OShea Think back just six months when Republican leaders and all the experts in Fox News were projecting a red wave, a tsunami, in the November elections. Kevin McCarthy boasted confidently that his party would gain a majority of at least fifty seats in the House. Many polls endorsed these exuberant predictions. Inflation was high and prices in the supermarket and at the gas pump were escalating every week. President Biden’s approval rating hovered around a measly forty per cent. Very few independent voters seemed impressed by his outstanding leadership of the West in confronting Putin’s ignominious invasion of Ukraine, and his success in promoting a massive infrastructure bill, admittedly mostly involving projects with future start dates, just wasn’t registering with the electorate. Most Republican candidates rejected the results of the 2020 presidential election – a patently extreme position because more than fifty judges in var

A United Ireland

  A United Ireland              Gerry OShea The census figures for Northern Ireland released last September show Catholics, broadly understood, at 45.7%, and Protestants or people brought up in the Reformation culture at 43.5%. Ten years earlier, the figures were 48.45% Protestant and 45.1% Catholic. The statelet that was officially designed in 1920 to have a permanent Protestant-unionist majority has failed the test of time. During the ensuing century nationalists of all stripes have   complained that they were not even consulted about the partition of the island and their leaders have always advocated for reunification. The census results are significant, but they are far from the whole story. Today, one person in fifteen – a growing number - living in the North was born outside of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and there is a vibrant Muslim community accounting for 0.5% of the population. A recent major professional study involving polling and some in-depth interviews, led

The Ordination of Women

  The Ordination of Women         Gerry OShea About seven years ago, my wife and I participated in a mass in San Antonio, Texas, where the main celebrant was a woman. We were part of about three hundred people attending a conference under the auspices of Call to Action, a Catholic organization that takes a jaundiced view of how women are treated in the church and which rejects some traditional Vatican pronouncements especially in the area of sexuality. The mass was a memorable event with a pervasive sense of community, and the priest who preached the sermon did a masterful job. We were staying with a priest friend who worked in a parish nearby. At breakfast the following morning we shared our positive reaction with him and two of his colleagues. He and a younger man responded positively saying that, of course, women priests would be a big plus for the ecclesial community. The third man had a different perspective. He pointed out that the “so-called priests” were excommunicated,

Review of Events in 2022

  Looking Back on 2022          Gerry OShea In Greek mythology the river Lethe was deemed very important because those who drank from it in the underworld experienced complete forgetfulness and concealment. It flowed through the cave of Hypnos, the god of sleep, where they claimed its murmurings induced drowsiness. I thought of the mythical river when I listened to and read about the witnesses at the January 6 th hearings. Perhaps one of its tributaries wended its way to the Washington underworld and some of the witnesses sipped its water! A majority of the observers to the events of that dramatic day could barely remember what the weather was like. So many of the witnesses recalled attending a meeting that involved references to the insurrection, but they forgot all the details of what was talked about. The real content of phone calls and meetings with the President of the United States and his top advisors had somehow evaporated – gone with the wind.  Cassidy Hutchinson’s experience