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Showing posts from April, 2024

Home Rule: A Mighty Day in Dublin

                  Home Rule: A Mighty Day in Dublin      Gerry OShea Two general elections were held in Great Britain in 1910, which yielded roughly the same results. The two main parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives, ended up with similar numbers of seats in parliament, giving John Redmond, leader of the 82 Irish MPs, the balance of power in Westminster. The Irish contingent supported the Liberal leader Herbert Asquith, who promised to introduce an Irish Home Rule bill that would give Ireland a measure of independence that the two great Irish leaders of the 19 th century, Daniel O’Connell and Charles Parnell, had failed to achieve. Sunday, March 31 , 1912, was a momentous day in Dublin. Up to 150,000 people from all parts of the island gathered to celebrate the introduction of an Irish Home Rule Bill in Westminster, surely guaranteeing the achievement of the long-sought goal: the restoration of a parliament in Dublin, achieved without resorting to guns or bombs. For th

Elite Living

  The Elite Culture             Gerry OShea Thinking about the allurements of capitalism, the promise that anyone can make it in America, a country where every self-made millionaire is widely admired. Rags-to-riches stories guarantee an attentive audience. The entrepreneur is often portrayed as a rugged male who successfully overcomes bureaucratic regulations and peer opposition — an admirably dogged character. Reminds me of a tale about a rogue confronting impossible odds. A condemned man is begging for clemency from the all-powerful king. He is facing a death sentence for stealing the king’s donkey. He pleads with the monarch to let him live for a year, and in recompense, he swears that he will teach the king’s favorite white horse to talk. The king expresses incredulity about the proposition, but he reckons he has nothing to lose in the deal, and he agrees to postpone the execution for twelve months to see if the criminal can get his special horse to talk. The prisoner retur

Book Review - Come Forth by Fr. Jim Martin

  Come Forth - Book Review       Gerry OShea I recall a fine priest who ministered when I was young in my home parish in Kenmare, County Kerry. In response to perennial   questions about God’s role in the human condition, his usual answer was, “It is all a mystery.” For example, one parishioner approached him for an explanation of how a merciful God would condemn anyone to eternal damnation. A number of others spoke of their bewilderment about why a loving and personal God tolerated so much abject poverty and destitution among his creatures all over the world. In reviewing James Martin’s recent book Come Forth, which deals with what many consider Jesus’ greatest miracle, the raising of Lazarus from the dead, I thought of the priest from my childhood.   Delving into the whys and wherefores of this amazing biblical event, Martin wonders why, despite Christ’s promise, “Ask and you shall receive—- knock, and the door shall be opened—for everyone who asks receives,” this rarely seem

Priestly Celibacy

  Priestly Celibacy          Gerry O’Shea The name of Charles Scicluna is unlikely to resonate with readers, yet he is playing a major role in deciding whether the Catholic Church should change its regulation on priestly celibacy. Alone among the main Christian denominations, the Vatican insists that at ordination, its ministers must pledge to remain single and chaste. Scicluna serves as the Archbishop of Malta, and, more importantly, he has Pope Francis’ ear. With advanced qualifications in civil and church law, he was highly regarded by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who appointed him as the principal investigator of clergy sexual abuse crimes. So, he has heard the stories of the dark side of human nature. The most coherent institutional argument for ending this celibacy requirement comes from the parishes, which are understaffed and struggling to provide presbytery services comparable to those available as late as fifty years ago. The number of priests in the United States

Perspectives on Ukraine

  Decision time in   Ukraine            Gerry OShea When Ukraine’s top military commander spoke last November of a stalemate in the war, most people understood this to mean that the conflict was frozen, with neither side capable of advancing. The Russians couldn’t plunder any further, and the Ukraine liberation drive was at a standstill. This standoff situation invited talk about a declaration of truce a la Korea or Cyprus and a call to the United Nations to facilitate some kind of treaty that wouldn’t please either side but would end the war that has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of fighters as well as large numbers of civilians. However, there was no serious talk about a truce, and negotiations of any kind were not on either side's public agenda. If, somehow, an end to the war was proclaimed, Russia could claim to have grabbed tens of thousands of square miles of rich farmland, and millions of Ukrainians in the captured territories would be forced to bow thei

The Migrant Crisis

                                 The Migrant Crisis                Gerry OShea   The current snafu surrounding the refugee crisis in Great Britain started when Boris Johnson was prime minister and facing increasingly harsh criticism because of the number of illegal migrants arriving. He came up with a bizarre solution: place these unwelcome arrivals in a chartered aircraft that would transport them to Rwanda, a landlocked east-African country that is mainly remembered because of the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi tribe there thirty years ago. This plan, which remains the policy of the conservative Government in Westminster, means that these refugees would have their claims processed in Rwanda and be expected to settle there. Courts in the UK and Europe have expressed doubts about the legality of this curious policy, and there are currently serious objections to it in the House of Lords in London. In 2023, close to 30,000 refugees came to Great Britain in boats crossing th