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Showing posts from May, 2024

Americanism and the Catholic Church

  Americanism and the Catholic Church          Gerry OShea The major conflict that rocked the Catholic community in the United States in the 1880s and 1890s was known as Americanism, and it resembles, in important ways, the current crisis in the church. The central issue in the 19th-century controversy dealt with the strained relationship between the Vatican and some top representatives of the Church in the United States—a conflict that also applies in our time. Americanism is associated with Isaac Hecker, who was born in New York in 1819, the son of Protestant German immigrants. He converted to Catholicism and later trained for the priesthood with the Redemptorist order. A few years after ordination, with four other priests from the same group and with the pope’s approval, he founded a new religious order that became widely known and respected as Paulists, with headquarters, then and now, in Manhattan. Hecker believed that the true Catholic ethos stressed the importance of commu

St. Joseph's Industrial School

The Tralee Industrial School        Gerry OShea On May 4 th of this year, the Mayor of Kerry, Terry O’Brien, unveiled a memorial plaque in Tralee recognizing the location of St. Joseph’s Industrial School. The poignant inscription reads: “To acknowledge the children who passed through the doors of St. Joseph’s Industrial School between 1871 and 1970.”   Their best-known graduate, Michael Clemenger, who was there for eight years from 1959, was pleased by Mayor O’Brien’s decision to unveil the memorial because he feared that, otherwise, all the boys who were forcibly kept there would be forgotten about as if St. Joseph’s never existed. Mr. Clemenger, an orphan, wrote a memoir starting with his early treatment by uncaring nuns in Dublin before being moved to Tralee in 1959. This book, which was published by O’Brien Press, deals with the outlandish behavior of many of the Brothers who treated the boys in their care using excessive physical punishments while keeping them on near-star

Poverty in America

  American Poverty           Gerry OShea According to the March 2022 Oxfam America report, about one-third of American workers live below the poverty line —approximately fifty-two million people, and just short of 90% of employees with annual remuneration of less than $31,200 live in similarly dire monetary circumstances. The same research asserts that people of color are disproportionately affected by low wages. 27 percent of white workers earn less than $15 an hour compared with 46 percent of Latinx and 47 percent of Black workers. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour has not been raised in fifteen years and is now worth less in inflation-adjusted terms than at any time since 1956. No place in the country can offer an adequate standard of living on such a meager salary. Women also are doing poorly, with 40% of females hovering below the hourly fifteen-dollar mark compared to males, who show in the results at 25%. Ideological opposition to any mandated minimum wage is s