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Showing posts from June, 2023

Transgender Issues in America

  Transgender Issues in America           Gerry OShea The name Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (SPI) appeared in recent news reports and, understandably, drew guffaws from many observers. The title is a spoof on religious orders who sometimes work with unwieldy names.   The SPI members who come mostly from the queer and transgender communities dress in technicolor habits and, like so many real Sisters, they collect money to help poor and marginalized groups who have benefited by about $1.5 million since their foundation in 1979. These make-up Sisters achieved a degree of fame recently when the Los Angeles Dodgers invited, uninvited and finally re-invited them to the club’s annual gay-pride night game where they received the Community Hero Award for their charitable work. The baseball team management was justifiably criticized by some Catholics who resented the use of nuns’ garb to gain notoriety for their cause. Others, including some real Sisters, who share their concern about

Playing God

  Playing God              Gerry OShea In her recent erudite book, Playing God: American Catholic Bishops and the Far Right, Mary Jo McConahay, describes in detail how the American Catholic Church has veered away from acclaiming social justice policies designed to help poor and struggling families while at the same time being sucked into hot-button cultural issues. She refers to the influential Rerum Novarum (1891) of Pope Leo X111, an encyclical that strongly endorsed worker rights including the need for strong trade unions at a time when the powers-that-be condemned worker organizations as socialist-driven or anarchic. In 1931 Pius X1 in Quadragesimo Anno affirmed and highlighted the central importance of his predecessor Leo’s pro-worker teaching. Consider the following statement from that official letter: “The right ordering of economic life cannot be left to free competition. From this source, as from a poisoned spring, have originated and spread all the errors of individua

Trump's Indictment

  Trump’s Indictment                Gerry OShea Reading the 44-page indictment document prepared by Special Prosecutor, Jack Smith, one question kept recurring to me: what was Donald Trump thinking? How could he justify or explain placing himself repeatedly in dire legal situations? Where was the sense of self-preservation, of covering his own backside when he moved the valuable boxes to Florida and later refused to co-operate with the FBI and Justice Department in their official recovery work? It is important to note that if he handed over the boxes when they were requested, more than likely the whole affair would have ended with a reprimand. Listening to Trump’s wild attempts to explain his egregious behavior with top secret documents, are we hearing about pathological actions, entering a world where disordered and even mad behavior is deemed acceptable.   It is impossible to fathom why he insisted on following a bizarre and perilous course with the official files involving a

A Call for Spiritual Revival in America

 v A Call for Spiritual Revival in America           Gerry OShea In a recent article in the Daily Beast titled “ The Left needs a Spiritual Renaissance. So Does America ,” Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut and Ian Marcus Corbin, a philosophy professor in Harvard University, wrote about the collapse of a sense of community and spirituality throughout the country. Everybody acknowledges that we live in a time of hyper-divisiveness. A clear majority of Americans has sided either with the MAGA or the anti-MAGA culture. Only a decreasing number of undecideds are still left wondering in the middle.  Over 50% of Republicans would oppose marriage of a family member to someone supporting the opposing party, and similar prejudices are found among many Democrats. Rudyard Kipling’s famous line applies to the chasmic cleavage in American politics: “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.” Senator Murphy feels that people must step back from politics and away from

Economic Changes in the North

 v Economic Changes in the North           Gerry OShea A hundred years ago the economy in Belfast and its hinterland was booming led by shipbuilding and the burgeoning linen industry. With help from the English establishment, these industries were controlled by the Protestant community in Northern Ireland. Employment for Catholics was largely confined to lower-paying jobs; papists were deemed lazy and unreliable. Loyalists believed that their dominance of industry was further proof of the superiority of their religion. God was on their side. From their perspective, Catholics, subservient to the Vatican, lacked ambition and industriousness. They pointed to Dublin, a city in the economic doldrums where a good job in Guinness’ brewery – owned by a Protestant family – was a prized possession. Edward Carson, the top Unionist leader, boasted that the new six-county statelet with a clear Protestant majority would “guarantee power in perpetuity” to loyalists. All this balderdash talk a