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Showing posts from December, 2023

A Changing Ireland

  A Changing Ireland         Gerry OShea “ You talk to me of nationality, language, religion ,” Stephen Dedalus declared in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. “I shall try to fly by those nets.” In response, one of his nationalist friends asked Stephen the bottom-line question “ Are you Irish at all?” According to the most recent Irish census that question is answered in the affirmative by no less than 23% of citizens who identify as non-white Irish. The number of Irish citizens born abroad, increased in 2022 and now accounts for 12% of the population. The biggest non-native groups come from Poland and the UK followed by India, Romania, Lithuania, and Brazil. In 2021, the year preceding the census, over 89,000 people moved to live in Ireland, with India and Brazil leading the way. How do the people feel about the big infusion of foreigners into the country? A 2020 Economic and Social Research Institute study revealed a gap between the public and private perceptions and a

Prospects for A United Ireland

  Prospects for a United Ireland         Gerry OShea ARINS, Analyzing and Researching Ireland North and South, is the rather unwieldy title for an important joint project of the Royal Irish Academy and the Irish Studies Department of the University of Notre Dame. The Irish Times newspaper lends its name and prestige to the work which recently published its second annual report. The purpose of this effort involves focusing on the beliefs and feelings of the communities in both parts of Ireland about transitioning to a united country. The identical polls used in the North and the South endeavor to provide a snapshot of what people believe about various social, economic, and political issues related to the desirability of a united Ireland. The study does not presuppose or advocate for any constitutional change. The polling method is very thorough, involving in-home interviews of 1000 respondents chosen in each jurisdiction to represent the diversity of both populations. The margin o


  Challenging Times for the Catholic Church         Gerry OShea Historians see the revolutions in America (1776) and France (1789) as ushering in the modern era. The 19 th century in Europe can be understood as an ongoing struggle between the old order driven by men holding on to their lands and privileges against powerless rebels who were denigrated as mere rabble.   The Catholic Church looked very favorably on hierarchical structures and strongly opposed the new Enlightenment thinking that was spreading throughout Europe. For example, the pastoral leaders in Rome, all-powerful potentates, viewed themselves as part of the status quo, fiercely opposing the growing calls for democratization. Pius 1X, better known as Pio Nono, called together the First Vatican Council in December 1869 and in a carefully orchestrated vote successfully convinced the assembled bishops – with only a few exceptions – that pronouncements issued from the papal chair about faith and morals could not be er
  Egalitarianism in America           Gerry OShea The dictionary defines egalitarianism as a philosophy affirming the equality of all people without regard to nationality or accumulated wealth. This belief based on shared humanity draws its meaning and gravity from 19 th century Enlightenment teaching now co-opted by every religion agreeing that there are no second-class citizens. The American Constitution names equality before the law as a basic belief with no exceptions. In dealing with former President Trump, the Department of Justice and various State Attorneys General repeatedly highlight this principle while explaining that their legal decisions cannot be adjusted to give any extra value to the prominence of the person facing charges. George Orwell had his gimlet eye on the repressive policies of the Soviet Union when in his allegorical novel “Animal Farm,” published in 1945, the pigs declare that “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others.” This famous Orw