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Showing posts from April, 2023

Wealth and Poverty in America

  Wealth and Poverty in America         Gerry OShea Ask any political consultant in the United States what drives people to the polls on election day and you are very likely to hear that kitchen table issues are the number one consideration. Most would agree with James Carville, President Clinton’s guru in the 90’s, that “it is the economy stupid.” Using that yardstick Joe Biden is in deep trouble in his 2024 presidential election bid. Inflation remains a serious problem in America. Gas prices fell to close to $3.00 a gallon but they are moving up lately and are touching $4.00 in some places in New York. Staple family food items remain significantly higher than when the Democrats took over the White House in January 2021. No wonder that the President’s performance rating hovers around 40%. Yet he has already won record bipartisan congressional approval for spending close to two trillion dollars for much-needed infrastructure projects and for unprecedented investment in decarboniz

The Banality of Evil

  The Banality of Evil        Gerry OShea Can one do evil acts without being evil? This was the deep and puzzling question raised by the philosopher Hannah Arendt when she reported for The New Yorker in 1961 on the war crimes trial of Adolph Eichmann. He was the Nazi operative who was responsible for organizing the transportation of millions of Jews and others to various concentration camps in compliance with his government’s policies propounded as the Final Solution. Fr. Thomas Merton, the famous Trappist monk and spiritual writer, confronted the same question in an essay entitled A Devout Meditation in Memory of Adolph Eichmann . He was impressed that a distinguished psychiatrist examined Eichmann and pronounced him perfectly sane. Merton said that he didn’t doubt the expert’s conclusion, but he considered his findings to be deeply disturbing. Arendt found Eichmann a rather bland bureaucrat, who in her words was ‘neither perverted nor sadistic,’ but ‘terrifyingly normal.’ He w

Arthur Griffith

  Arthur Griffith                Gerry OShea Arthur Griffith played a central role in the political story which led to Irish independence around a hundred years ago. We can date these historic events from the passage of the Third Home Rule Bill in 1912 to the end of the civil war in 1923. Mr. Griffith, whose father worked as a printer with the nationalist newspaper, The Nation , was born in 1871 and lived in Upper Dominick Street in Dublin. He attended a local Christian Brothers school and apprenticed as a compositor in his father’s business, an invaluable training for his subsequent shoe-string journalism. He emigrated to South Africa in 1896 where he supported the Boers in their war with the British. While not considering the native people equal to the white Afrikaners, he condemned the denigrating treatment of the tribespeople. After two years he returned to Ireland and was pleased to observe a rejuvenation of many facets of Irish nationalist culture – games, music, literatu

The Irish Civil War - 100 years Ago

  The Irish Civil War – 100 Years Ago       Gerry OShea Liam Lynch was killed by the Free State army in the Knockmealdown Mountains in Tipperary on April 10 th a hundred years ago. Lynch, a political purist and sincere idealist, was the leader of the Republican insurgency in the Irish Civil War. After his death, Frank Aiken and other leaders of the anti-treaty forces realized that they could not win against the superior government army and that a clear majority of the Irish people opposed the killings and industrial mayhem of the war. So, following the old Irish proverb that it is better to quit early than hang in for inevitable defeat, they ordered their forces to dump their arms on May 24 th , 1923. Commentators look back on the eleven months of ferocious civil warfare as a time for deep regret. Some actions by both sides exceeded the savagery associated with the hated Black and Tans and Auxiliaries during the War of Independence which immediately preceded the interal conflict

Sexuality and the Catholic Church

  Sexuality and the Catholic Church        Gerry OShea In New York five of the eight Catholic dioceses have filed for bankruptcy. The list includes Buffalo, Albany and Rockville Center on Long Island. This catastrophic situation indicates major systemic problems; blaming corrupt individuals can’t account for such devastating numbers. The causes of this crisis boil down to incoherent and outmoded church attitudes and policies in the area of sexuality. The Vatican and most of its episcopal leaders worldwide are still trotting out teaching on the sexual dimension of living that is rejected by most of its members. The profusion of diocesan bankruptcies worldwide reflects the monetary consequences of thousands of sexual abuse cases perpetrated against young boys and girls by out-of-control clerics. Consider the main issues emerging from the worldwide synodal consultations still in progress initiated by Pope Francis involving priests and lay people called together by local bishops. M