Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category

Connecting a Glorious Mystery of the Past

Were you ever allowed to offer literary criticism of the writer of Acts of the Apostles? In English, any way? Literary criticism about the object in a sentence, per the rules of grammar. An antecedent for? In a personal pronoun which seem so impersonal? A reader will know the reference being referred … to? And if you ever read the Gospel of John, you might be shocked by the reference to “devout Jews” from every nation, mentioned by the writer of the Acts of the Apostles, unlike in the Sunday Gospel reading on Penecost, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews….”

“When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, ‘they’ were all in one place together. Suddenly there came from the sky …. a noise like a strong driving wind. And it filled the entire house in which ‘they’ were. Then there appeared to ‘them’ tongues as of fire … which parted and came to rest on each one, of ‘them’[which sounds wrongly impersonal in the use of the personal pronouns].”

“‘They’ were all filled with the Holy spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled ‘them’ to proclaim.”[to whom?]

“Now there were ‘devout Jews’ from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, [an attribute which sounds wrong and too impersonal, as if “this sound” rather than the noise which came from the sky] ‘they’ gathered in a large crowd. But ‘they’ were confused because each one heard ‘them’ speaking in his own language. So ‘they’ [which sounds wrongly impersonal, as if each individual sensed and reacted the same] were astounded, and in amazement ‘they’ asked: ‘Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia….’ ”

In the story of Firsts, like in the Book of Genesis, did you ever notice all the mistakes the first time? And, by the way of amazement, if ‘they” all were each so separated by language, how could ‘THEY” ever ask, ‘How then does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia….”

Yes, so the second time. “So Jesus said to them AGAIN: ‘Peace be with you!'”

And did you notice the chronology, in these new commandments about this living dynamic Peace that had been passed down since Abraham? About a closeness, along with a Spirit that came out of a Dynamic Peace. Forgive the ones you seemed closest, too! Like in Temple or Church and in families. And on matters of power and shared dominion, between Church and State, what had been the cause of your Crucifixion?

“And when he had said this, he breathed on THEM [which sounds much more personal] and said to THEM: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit! Whose sins you forgive are forgiven THEM. And whose sins you retain, are retained.'”

Somehow, I imagine it was a lot more personal than as recorded. For all these Jews in the world, who go out to share their inheritance. As “they” came to understand “it.” Like the Apostle John, who is NOT the evangelist writing the last Gospel, John, if you did the chronology, after the second Temple was destroyed.  Mostly, rather personally. To take that kind of destruction so personally, John is comparing the Temple to the Tower of Babel!  So is it the sins you forgive or THEM that sinned, John?

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill.

Like in Psalm 104, concerning the face of the Earth.

When you send forth your spirit, ‘they’ are created, and you renew the face of the earth….

….stolen from Cecilia Wessels’ Facebook, like suddenly there came from the sky …. a noise like a strong driving wind. Thanks Cecilia.


Did Abraham ever find God, like yesterday, in the emptiness of famine. At the end, in an Evangelical call for prayer together – as if he could convert me and this food through his prayer – The Muslims, and I along with them, left.

Abraham, trying to design God, through sacrifice, was like Alexander Hamilton, trying to design a nation, if you have seen the play or read the book by Chernow.

Money. The systems, created. With Land. Would there be land banks, since the currency was so worthless? In the beginning, inventing a national currency? Did you know all the Troubles in creating?

In post-Revolution, this first Civil War, Hamilton is manipulating George Washington? And then Jefferson – yikes! – with his thinking, and with his slaves.

Abraham. Count the moments of the Great Unsettlings. In his life. In contending with what is private and what is public, there is great irony in giving up the Land, as well as a home. In replicating the Great One, like Abraham, how?

With balance, in Somalia, Church/Mosque and State? Is there even a section of the news for today’s obituaries in Somalia. . . for the Somalis who are dying in hunger? There was at the end of the day, a photo projected of a mother of eight, now down to five.  In the photo, she had just received a box of food from the American charity, addressing famine. Of her future – should she lose five more, would she be a mother? And as she is all alone, where is her God of Abraham, for the mother?

Surviving, after every war, In a public sector?  Social justice, over who might stay there.  Taking what had been so public – in war – private?  Like The American Revolution, with the split.  On what side were you?   Loyalists, post-war?  Did you know the ongoing clash among the survivors, after every war in a public sector?  So, social justice?  That the Somalians might stay!  So, taking what was public, private, keeping their land in the hands of the Somalis like never has been allowed in Syria in the past six years?

Who might stay there?  “Why me? Why have I survived and my three children have not? Or all my relatives born in Somalia now in Minnesota?”

Goodness?  In invisible famine, feed MY starving Children, oh God!  Like in The Great Flood, there were the Loyalists who never moved from their lands, like Noah did.  Not unlike these times, with the oceans under threat like never before – defending much more than the fish, from rising temperature.

Humans living in denial.  Unable to look too close?  Leaving?  Staying? The Choice, for the wealthy?  Taking what was not yours to take?  Sacrifice, Abraham?  When there is nothing left, maybe like for you in old age? Taking what is private, so public. Group our kids by age…by place in neighborhoods, by gender – to hear, if not learn, stories!  But all  translators betray what they attempt to convey – this is a truism – as every reader comes to their Scriptures with a history.  And some with head scarves.

Did you ever consider the eight survivors eating during the Great Flood? Did you ever contrast dryness to a great flood? Like these days in Somalia. In the emptiness of famine, Feed My Starving Children, during Ramadan, was addressing the six million in Somalia this morning in need of food.  I gave some time yesterday to their cause which involved, for me, too much cheer-leading and too little humility. I walked home later wondering, why am I able to help the starving, in Famine? Like the one in Ireland, that seemed to teach a people, forever after, something about sharing. Why in Somalia is their Land like this and mine is not? Why are we not all starving? Together!

Valuations. Counting the cost, through sacrifice. And at the end, the representative of Feed My Staring Children, an Evangelical – part of The Evangelical Movement – wanted in a too loud moment of his prayer, over the just packed food, when the sun had risen at 5:30 am and would set after 9:00 pm, wanted the Muslims here to pray. With him over his food, while they fasted? Taking what was private a little bit too public, for me. This morning, I am considering, again, over breakfast, “the right hand of God” moment that both saved the first born son as well as split the son, along with that photo depicting the right hand of God, in the “why me?” moment, of what can come out of sacrifice. Given life… a second time, if I keep losing more, will I still be an Evangelical? As I ate my food and contemplated Grace, I wonder at what point I might stop being Irish, or a Somali, or even an American, after being given life a second time. 

Did you know all the Troubles that come in creating?  Like a Nation Once Again?

Fairies Alive in Ireland Still

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God so made the world, visible and invisible. And landscapes do not talk to strangers.

In a world of stories not as often told, there is one old emerging story here to assist your consciousness, without recompense. There could be a threat in stories based upon pride, of being distinct from your neighbor, but your stories of a past should not fit comfortably, otherwise why would, why should, young people care?

God so made the world, and someone wrote the stories. So to capture the reader in story — to explain why to care — comes the mystery. In 

There is an old conviction in a land where they burn the peat that riches lay not on the land but beneath it. Little is what it seems in this landscape, in a land so poor in County Cork. And city people seldom pay attention to the clouds or the…

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Fairies Alive in Ireland Still

God so made the world, visible and invisible.  To assist your consciousness, there is one old emerging story here: God so made the world, and someone wrote the stories. Little is what it seems in this landscape, in a land so poor in County Cork. And city people seldom pay attention to the clouds or the land that they drive over, where the dead sometime walk in the lower portion of the scene.

Did you hear, in the silence, the sounds from the landscapes, with the fairies living in this landscape, still, among the living? There is an old conviction in a land, with landscapes that do not talk to strangers, in a land where they burn the peat, that riches lay not on the land but beneath it.

So to capture the reader in story — to explain why to care — in a world of stories not as often told, comes the mystery. Of Ireland.

“If you ever go across the sea to Ireland…where the women speak a language strangers do not know.”

Any good history begins in strangeness, with strange characters. But it is the landscape that makes part of the everyday miraculous, as people and things from the past resurface there. To walk through the landscapes, you must know the stories. Because stories are embedded in and define the landscape, the death of the story is a small death for the land itself. These stories matter, are a powerful tool, and the closer you get to County Cork where they burn the peat, the more powerful they become. There find the long-been-forgotten stories once so intensely local which helped to mark each townland as so SEPARATE.

Unlike nostalgia, the past is full of dead things preserved on papers, or in the land itself — though mostly unremembered by any living person. And so the stories about where your heroes are? With the same kind of surety that religion, based upon stories, once held in all the world, now rendered at least partially mute, there was this Irish pride about place, distilling information about mitochandrial DNA from the maternal side which seldom strays far from place.

Deliverance. Any good history begins in strangeness, when the newborns cannot comprehend, as the past speaks a language that these strangers do not know.  What do you share with your heroes, but of a PEACEFUL landscape.  What you share is not stories of a past about this land, but the past?

To share this past, to protect the past…. to protect a place called home threatened by outside forces, and finding the gravitas in the great forced migrations, which threatened the lightness of your inner being as you faced your own extinction.  SO maybe the land had failed for a time the locals during the Great Famine, as twenty percent failed, in the fetal distress from the motherland, either to survive or had to leave.

Any good history begins in strangeness, with strange characters formed on an island, in isolation from the rest of the world.  The old question of why heroes, mostly at battle against the outside world, centers upon keeping the outsider out.  When a homeland is, for those who forever left, for those who stayed contending with displacement, an ideal still to be passed along, with the old need for prayer and a place to pray?

And so the migrations from a place called Ireland where the stories mark the landscape as clearly as the hedgerows and the ruins.  In the battle of lightness versus gravitas, you carried the lightness of stories, once so intensely local, with their own fairies living in this landscape, until the stories had become national by the 1930s.  Irish-born leaders in this Irish Free State went out to construct an Irish culture, distinct from the English culture which the Irish felt had contaminated the country, without recompense.

In a world of stories not as often told, there was the lightness of your migrations from this land only orphaned –of course, never dead — until reinvigorated by emerging fertility and the old emerging stories here to assist your consciousness.  It is stories still with word traffic, of rural people and the land which had become The Garden of Eden, where the prayers of the lowly still pierce the clouds.  After the Great Famine.

Forced out emigrants, banished by what they were born into.  Descendants of Irish immigrants –the sons and daughters of history — only banished from the Garden of Eden which of course had never died.  But a trust is so slow to return, if it ever would return, post-famine.  What makes the green blade rise, to be mowed down once again?  Little is what it seems in this landscape, in a land so poor in County Cork where the dead sometimes walk in portions of the scene.  So do fairies live still in this landscape, among the living?

In the beginning of God’s creating the skies and the heaven – when the skies had been shapeless and formless, and darkness had been on the face of the deep, and God‘s spirit was hovering on the face of the water – God said, “Let there be light.” –from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

Creativity is like either a morning fog or the night itself: It begins to vanish in an Irish landscape like darkness after a few hours.  In the real world, with all the warring parties, who really care about nothing but a future — who cares about a past in the present?  Who really cares about the lightness of your darn dreams, and what is left over from the previous night’s dream with you?

Knowing someone: there is the outside resentment about the network where people came to know, trust and love one another …. like in the evolutionary stages of religion.  Sharing something in common, like from a glass mug.  In all the light you cannot see, there is the glass mug, with a kind of appeal when you can see through something, to somehow know the content from the sense of scent, in the way you knew the hovering steam inside this glass mug.

“Presence.” Guarded by Mystery, in the war going on over the napkin holder between a new generation.

Guarded by the Mystery, behold the. Stories which Richard White writes about in Remembering Ahanagran: A History of Stories – places where other time and other dimensions intrude on the everyday world.  And the closer you get to County Cork where they so personally cut into the sod for the peat, you might feel a connection to the land where dead were buried — buried with a fresh spirituality to add to the landscapes.  Yes, when you can see through something, to somehow know the content, in the way you knew the hovering steam inside a glass mug of Irish tea.  For hundreds of years, before refrigeration and before imports, the people relied and ate only the local produce, from the land.  More than simply a place, beyond the vast acreage, about the Irish ghosts and Irish fairies, a land formed in such a way – feel the hovering greatness of the Divine Presence. If you believe.

The fog, the steam, the goodness of the landscape, transparent, like in a glass mug. . . in a hovering spirit, from the ancient peat bogs, near, as you are surrounded by these kind of spirits.  There is a human tendency to forget what happened in the formation of the land — in any story the land as a homeland is a living character.  To silently remember that God so made this world, visible and invisible. Out of thin air, with such thin borders.  Feel the spirit in the air – the same air that gives wing to the birds, gives wings to the notes of a singer which sluices my heart and puts wings on my own heels – in Ireland, where the landscapes do not talk to strangers but miraculous things happen as people and things from the past resurface there.  And I somehow had so personally inherited a knowledge of people who I had never known, or never seen –ancestors from Ireland, like people anywhere in time or place who had starved to death, whose spirits would come out again.  Knowledge of people, their vanishing lives and hovering Spirit that belonged to a place and to a people across the sea, seemingly impossible for a descendent of Irish immigrants to know and to understand.  And so a deeper feeling in the need for “our people,” with our visible and invisible vulnerabilities and imperfections between the sexes over fertility which moved creation.  There were the deep feelings that these ancestors from Ireland had, though little different than what I have, in reacting to the circumstances that they lived through, when I somehow had connected to them.  It was the stories which had been missing in the times of Noah.  To know through reading, in backward glances at history, the do-overs, after the story of Noah.  When I no longer had to go through, live through, the same turmoil, the same rebellion, which disrupted lives.  Feel the hovering spirit of a people from their vanishing lives that belongs to this place.

The fog, the steam, the goodness of the landscape, transparent, like in a glass mug. . . in a hovering spirit, in the realm of ghosts, nothing is reliable in the here and now.  Feel a presence in a silent night, with the spirits, hovering, as the buried dead add to the landscapes, add to the stories — to so quietly infiltrate the land like a spy along the thin borders of the past to the future.  The dead do rise from their graves, and somehow I had inherited the stories with a conviction of the importance of “a process” as a visible product – to the Irish.  And the closer you get to County Cork where they so personally cut into the sod for the peat, you might feel a connection to the land of the buried dead.

In the realm of ghosts comes Time and Place and Land.  In a world with a need for personal identity, I had this knowledge – a head full of stories associated with the places to which I had traveled – mostly local knowledge useless any place where there is so much food.  Could you feel a closeness because you shared the same interior space – inside and more inside, like “PLACE” in a story like with the pain of childbirth – which helps an old spirit emerge, along with a host of surprising truths about this land surrounded by water and God’s hovering Spirit?

“If you ever go across the sea to Ireland . . . where the women speak a language strangers do not know.”

Stories of a past should not fit comfortably, should not be flat otherwise why would, why should, young people care?  The stories, once so intensely local – like the one about Lot’s wife and her personal identity from the land of Sodom which she could not ever leave behind – it was conflict of the past with the present which always moves a story for people so unique who always inter-married.  With the little changing border, there could be a threat in story based upon pride, of being distinct from your neighbor.  There the once forgotten stories –-the stories once so intensely personal if not private, with the hovering smell of the turf-fire — should not become like wisps of vanishing cigarette smoke, banned in public place, but like the moon over the Cliffs of Moher, should rise up to meet every returning prodigal.

Connections.  The Private.  The Public.  Visible and invisible, the different world of land and landscapes from different times, before things had become so easy. These landscapes do not talk to strangers, in the new world of cremation and digital bookstores, though things do here resurface, in the rising of the moon, from an always buried past.  In the awkward silence, listen.  Stories associated with places where you had to take in everyone, like a spy.  When you cannot get out, except through stories, and in trying to pass something in the way of spiritual power on, you needed others to tell stories– otherwise you would go, over a time, crazy.  Did you ever feel the power of Irish ghosts and Irish fairies – that many an outsider confuse with the power in Irish whiskey — in stories?

To be captured first by not the landscape but stories about this land.  Did you hear in the silence the sounds from the landscapes?  I have come to tell you stories of the rising from the dead, because when life is too easy, no one is ever gonna move.  And so the deeper feeling in the need for “our people,” with our vulnerabilities and imperfection between the sexes, over fertility which moved creation.

And so out of thin air, the creation STORY of the Garden of Eden, with the land in the landscape where you had to take in everyone — keeping the outsider out, the insider in — came this call to feed the hungry at the door.  So to whom did this land, with the timeless nature of the Land, really ever belong?

In the land that, Delores Keane sings, owns you.  It is the land that takes in the overflow of people.  Yes, the riches lay not on the land but beneath it.  T’is said grief is the tax that Irish paid on the richness of a life, if not the land with all of its parameters which tried to hold us in, in relation to love.  When LOVE is never any better than the lover.  Over the past 18 months, I have buried two more relations named Tom.  It has not been a good decade for any of the Toms of my life.  In the passing of the most recent Tom, I went looking for the song that was played as the concluding song at the requiem for my Uncle Tom.  And now when I hear the song that my brother-in-law desired sung at his own recent funeral, I hear the words of Life everlasting, as more the words of the dead to the living.

May the road rise to meet you . . .


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So to capture the reader in land — to explain why to care — comes the mystery. In Ireland.

“Feeling secure in one’s ‘papers’ in a paperless world,” said Captain Obvious. “How did we ever miss this before?”
#May The Road Rise To Meet You

 Ah, to catch the heart of God and blow it open. 

“I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” – on a plaque upon the home in Howth (outside of Dublin) of William Butler Yeats 


#Celtic Women  catch the heart of God and blow it open. London Irish Centre

You are welcome to follow this blog with 18 others, to resolve the Greatest Celtic Mystery.


#larry gillick

#London Irish Centre

#Gaelscéal Goitse

# http://The House of Brigid
Sweetness #9, GoodReads


How The Irish Catholics Evolved



 In 1155, to curb ” ecclesiastical” corruption, authorization was given to King Henry II to invade Ireland, in the form of a Papal bull from Pope Adrian IV. Henry I had died in 1135. The deed was done in 1169, upon authority based a lot on the remnants of a forged Roman imperial decree. As the English began their rule in Ireland.

 It had been out of the history of the times of Constantine the Great which had determined the place of the Church of Rome in western religion. It is the history of Henry VIII that left the Irish under a dominant culture. In his campaign against Catholicism, Henry VIII seized church lands, raided monasteries, and in the process, Henry’s henchmen disturbed and destroyed the burial places of the monarchs who preceded him. Henry VIII likely contributed to the destruction of the tomb of his namesake Henry I.  

 Modern historians attempt to determine whether Christian sources exaggerated the scope of the Diocletianic persecution of Christians during the times just before Constantine.  It is written of the persecutors, Galerius and Diocletian were avid, while Constantius had been unenthusiastic. Constantius was the father of Constantine the Great. Later edicts for persecution, including the calls for universal sacrifice, were not applied in Constantius’ domain. In 303, it was Diocletian who had rescinded the legal rights of Christians, demanding compliance with traditional Roman religion.

 Roman imperial decrees, not unlike papal bulls.  The emperor in those days was concerned with the spiritual life of his people.  Constantine the Great was the son of Flavius Valerius Julius Constantius (later known as Constantius Chlorus) and and woman later canonized by the Church of Rome as Saint Helena from a common law marriage. After divorcing Helena some time before 289 (if he never married her, why the divorce?), Flavius Valerius Julius Constantius (later known as Constantius Chlorus) married Flavia Maximiana Theodora (known as Theodora) in order to obtain a wife more consonant with his rising status, per the analysis. Theodora and Constantius had six children: Constantius Chlorus carried in the Tetrarchy (which lasted until 313) the title adopted from antiquity of Caessar, as an officer in the Roman army, and as part of the Emperor Aurelian’s imperial bodyguard.

 A prominent member of the court of Diocletian, Constantine had fought for Diocletian and Galerius in Asia. By late 305, he had become a tribune of the first order. Having been schooled in the East under some Christian influence, Constantine, on taking the imperial office in 306, restored full legal equality and returned confiscated property to Christians. Internecine conflict had eliminated most of the claimants to Roman power leaving colleague and rival Constantine the Great and Licinius I. Like the Church of Rome itself, Constantine was still largely untried, with questions about his legitimacy, from Helena’s cohabitation, recognized in fact but not in law, with his father. Constantine gave his favorite half-sister Flavia Julia Constantia (one of six chilren of Theodora and Constantius) in marriage to his co-emperor, Licinius.

 In the times before Constantine the Great, the Roman Empire was on the edge of extinction, with the Empire split into three competing states, as the Roman Empire nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of invasion, civil war, plague, and economic depression. The Crisis of the Third Century, before Constantine’s rule, had  resulted in such profound changes in the Empire’s institutions, society, economic life and, eventually, religion. 

 Henry VIII upset the burial places of his namesake, putting the Irish under a dominant culture. As the son of William the Conqueror, Henry I had reigned for nearly 30 years, from 1106 to 1135. Although he crowned himself king of England in 1100, Henry’s reign was disputed by his older brother Robert, who had been away fighting the Ottoman Turks in the Crusades. Initially able to buy Robert off, Henry later came into conflict with Robert again that was resolved in 1106 as Henry’s army captured Robert in battle, imprisoning him for life. Henry spent much of his time away from England, often frequenting Normandy. In order to rule in his absence, he created a bureaucracy that would efficiently govern and run the affairs of state, the most important duty of which was to collect taxes. Following the death of his son, he was left with only one legitimate heir, his daughter Maud. When Henry died in 1135, his daughter Maud’s rule was rejected by the English nobility and in the succession crisis, of people of low birth, civil war ensued through 1141.

 And so in 1155, Laudabiliter, to curb ” ecclesiastical” corruption (had this corruption been the result of the civil war?). Authorization was given to King Henry II to invade Ireland, in the form of this Papal bull allegedly by Constantine’s power, from Pope Adrian IV. The deed was done in 1169. The authority was based a lot on the remnants of a forged Roman imperial decree, allegedly dating back to Constantine the Great. As the English began their rule in Ireland, long before the Protestant Ascendancy.

 After all, Saint Patrick was a Brit from the Scottish Highlands born about 380 A.D. – not long after Constantine the Great – kidnapped at a young age, taken prisoner in 403 AD and held in captivity in Ireland, for six years. Learning a new language. An escape as a stow-away, after a 3-day journey, he was back to Britain. Then returning to this land years later as a priest. And with his knowledge of the language, changing the landscape where actually there were no snakes, if there ever had been? So you had cause to trust both British leaders and leaders in Rome.

 Island people, increasingly entangled in worldly matters, over the conflict of public and private lives: after almost four centuries, following the declaration of the independence of the Church of England from papal supremacy and rejection of the authority of Rome, a new basis for the English monarch’s legitimate claim to the rule of Ireland was found in the Crown of Ireland Act 1542. Like some updated version of Great Vowel Shift in the pronunciation of the English language in England after 1350, after the writing of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the Protestant minority remained socially, politically, and economically dominant through the officially established religion or the established church. Among the Canterbury pilgrims, many began to question the authority of the established Church, perhaps following Henry VIII’s lead. Within the framework of pilgrims on a pilgrimage, written during a turbulent time in English history, with the Catholic Church in the midst of the schism that kingdoms regularly went through over the issue of inheritance, how did the pardoner,in the Canterbury Tales, view his own work? Or a king?

 There was the perceived threat to the English by the rest of the world, over the issue of Supremacy. In the world of Protestant Reformation, the Irish people were the lamb. Europe’s Catholic monarchs and the Papacy remained committed in considering Ireland a feudal fief of the Papacy, to be granted to any Catholic sovereign who managed to secure the island Kingdom from the control of its Protestant monarchs.

 And so the stories of the Spanish Armada. The discovery of the New World. The Inquisition, which never really ended. And still the Ottoman Turks in the east. Over the course of the next two centuries, the Papacy and Europe’s Catholic rulers continued to recognize Ireland as a Kingdom in its own right, while asserting the Protestant monarchy as illegitimate. Catholic Europe simultaneously would incite Catholic rebels in the island, as a means of recovering Ireland from Protestant to a Catholic sovereignty.

 The papal bull.  The last Catholic inspired invasion of England ended in failure during the Jacobite rebellion. In 1755, the Holy See recognized British sovereignty over Ireland.  Subsequent treaties with Catholic sovereigns, following British global victories during the remainder of the 18th century, ended future Catholic sovereign incitements. Until the Irish Rebellion of 1798 with Wolfe Tone. Massacres of captured rebels after almost every British victory in the rising, some on a large scale as at Carlow, New Ross, Ballinamuck and Killala, were noted. And from that point on, the native population was directed –inwardly — to their very own quest for independence. And so the celebration of this inward feast, in the wearing of the green.

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Religion Blogs

In What Direction to Take An Ark To Safety?

The view of those who run Europe is that the truth is that its single currency must be saved. And so the story about what rain-makers and bailouts, and a flood of money …in a flood of new money — do to stave off impending doom, like in the 2008 financial collapse.

Before the time of Homer was a story of Noah, when the world was destroyed by flood. In the story of the second creation. In the book Sages and Dreamers, Elie Wiesal wrote of the world in which Noah was swimming in the polluted air of the earth which had resulted after ten generations of creation. In the story of Noah, God was still very conscious of the goings on in the world. The crimes of humanity, the corruption, which Noah was above, are never explained in the lines. Who did what to whom? Noah, who is all that others are not. Creation had become chaos. And the story of Noah, like most of the Genesis stories, dealt with the themes of fertility. Fertility and the pairing up — the fertility that you tried to control, just as your tried to plan your own future. It would be what you would leave behind, way beyond your control. All others die, yet Noah lives. There is a certain irony to read the perspective of a Jewish author who lost each and every one of his relatives in the Holocaust — a man who at war’s end tried returning to his hometown, which had done nothing to help the Jewish population, perhaps feeling like Noah where all he had left was family.

So what had Noah ever done to deserve his role, to save humanity? Little ever is said. All that the Good Book says is that Noah submits to God’s will and nothing more. God has chosen to talk to him. And he built his ark. To save humanity.

The NYU economics professor (former derivative trader) known as Dr. Doom, Nassim Taleb, who had predicted the 2008 crash, in a January 2009 speech about bailouts: “I want them poor. And they deserve to be poor. You cannot have capitalism without punishment.”

And so the stories about what the flood of money in our times has done, and the belief that someone ought to be punished. Because at least money was one value everyone understood. Through a medium of exchange which conveyed a sense of belonging. To a group of people. And then the attempt to pass on that culture. With a sense of belonging, through the stories. Where there were so many problems. About where to go with your money. For safety.

When you shared a heritage, or a culture. But your leaders attempted to form a union with the neighbors. And so the new stories about what a shared heritage, or a culture, pairing up, to save humanity. My fertility as a medium of exchange, which conveyed a sense of belonging. To a group of people. To a land. And then to pass on, in like the eggs. Or the euro.

“One reason the eurozone is tottering is that markets know that its members (by which they mean Germany) could produce the mere two trillion euros required to calm things down, but are refusing to do so.

In Europe “one crisis leads to another crisis unless you find a really effective circuit breaker,” said PIMCO’s El-Erian. The creation of the new government in Italy “is certainly not sufficient. You fundamentally have to convince the people that they have to sacrifice and come up with a set of policies that allows the economy to grow and not just austerity. Europe so far hasn’t come close.” PIMCO continues to favor sovereign debt of nations including the U.S. and U.K. where central banks are keeping interest rates low and embarking on monetary stimulus programs such as debt purchases, said Bill Gross during today’s interview. Canadian and German debt also remain attractive.

Nancy Lazar of Ed Hyman’s ISI Group makes it clear that the Germans are exhibiting an uneasy awareness of the limits of their own less-than-vibrant economy. Expressed as a percentage of Germany’s GDP, German bank exposure to debt from France is 6.1%; Spain, 4.8%; Italy, 4.4%; Ireland, 3%;Portugal, 1%; and Greece, 0.9%. As she comments, the total of German banks’ exposure to peripheral and French debt is equivalent to 20.2% of Germany’s GDP, “high by any standard.” About Germany, Lazar posits that even without capturing fully the fiscal drag and contagion from the crisis, inflation-adjusted gross domestic product, which in the September quarter rose 2.5% year-over-year, will head for zero growth next year. That rather glum prospect is in keeping with recent weak readings of, among other indicators, German business expectations and slowing consumer spending.

Since something like 70% of German exports go to the rest of Europe, German exports have softened. Paced by a 12.1% plunge in demand from the rest of the Continent, September German factory orders were off overall by 4.3%. Corporate earnings have begun to give, with a one-two punch of a weaker economy with the rise in unit labor costs. Retail sales, with diminished consumer confidence, are destined to suffer this holiday season and thereafter.

There was so much irony to read the quote of a French leader that the European Union was set up so that religion would not be the basis of war among nations again. And so the secular nature of Europe, in post war Europe. The EU as the defining instrument of the times, with the euro. When spokesmen for a system of government spent so much time disseminating illusion on issues of unity, if not union. What happens when the confidence is gone? And so the devaluations, the corruption, which came out of one means of exchange for the all nations. And the downward spiral.

Nov 16 (Bloomberg) – Europe has as little as day or weeks to act to avoid a default by a euro-region country, Citigroup Inc. chief economist Willem Buiter said today, “Time is running out fast.” In an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Surveillance Midday” with Tom Keene, Buiter said, “I think we have maybe a few months – it could be weeks, it could be days – before there is a material risk of a fundamentally unnecessary default by a country like Spain or Italy which would be a financial catastrophe dragging the European banking system and North America with it. So they have to act now.”

The irony in the story of this flood of money and ancient Greece. And the mottled German leadership role in all of this, seventy-five years after the Third Reich. When money helps to create the illusion of grandeur in this life. When money was a DEFINING INSTRUMENT OF THE Culture. It was the language we communicated, in western civilization. It was how we exchanged things, beyond words. It was a way of understanding. Money reflected the values of a community. Systems of money were created. Capitalism. Communism. We fool ourselves with the systems of grandeur. By nationalism. Fascism. In castes. Or in Aryan supremacy. In the debates about theologies, and the defining instruments of communication, so often stifled by popes, or about radical authoritarianism, with a missing collegiality. With the missing debate not so much over valuations — about buzzcuts on those holding Greek debt, or just needed pruning back — but how to measure valuation. With a meaningful DEFINING INSTRUMENT of the culture.

You cannot have capitalism, the one size which is supposed to fit all, like really the one size that fits Germany. As people without their own currencies, or their own language, cannot correct their own errors, as their debt compounds. As Germans overvalue their currency and the remainder of the EU’s along with them. Without punishment.

Yeah, up until one month ago the view from Europe was that its single currency must be saved. At all costs. Was there an irony, a certain sense of satisfaction, to see the currency pain in Italy and in Germany at the same time, with their real pain in a devaluation in the use of dynamic equivalence. As old men from Italy led by a German, put in place this currency adjustment, at all costs, affecting the way I prayed? In English.

This devaluation, the change in translation, was not about just prayer but about the medium that I used, that all of us within these borders use. So now comes the change. It was a currency adjustment, a devaluation in the use of dynamic equivalence. As these things happened in international systems of exchange. And with it, a change in the spiritual lives of many in these united states. Mindful of the intense suffering and pain which is part of fertility, it took more than 10 years for all of this to bear fruit. And after the translation comes the real life interpreting, as a church’s true mission has been in the field of interpreting and translating, just like in those services offered for interpreting and translating, to lawyers and court services. With my own ignominy watching the story of the euro play out, I had a certain response – like that found in Germany – that the pain in places all over Europe would not happen here. And I now understood the Occupy Wall Street protest which was now leading to a world-wide movement, about leaders who had no idea where or how they were leading people. The protest like the one over the leadership of the financially chosen people.

From the economic discussion of “Too Big to Save,” came me. Questioning who these leaders were and what they hoped to accomplish — who they thought they were really serving. I felt that somehow my prayer life was caught up in the European wholesale sovereign debt mess, and I was part of the write-downs. It was being packaged as The New Evangelization. And I was a part of the write-offs. And in the aftermath, there was a disproportionate size of Europe’s biggest cathedrals relative to their real life use which would be coming to America. As Germans overvalue their currency and the remainder of the EU’s along with them, there was the missing debate over sovereignty. And like the feelings of animosity towards a distant far-away authority, I empathized so much like the Greeks today and the Spanish tomorrow.

Before the time of Homer, when the world was destroyed by flood, except for the story of a man named Noah. When one man was responsible for carrying on. It was what happened in a world during a devaluation in the use of dynamic equivalence. This was the same story later played out in the past, among Chosen People. Like the perverted story eighty years ago with anti-semitism. And members of a church – the ones who see themselves as chosen people concerning issues of salvation – can, in discovering the subtleness of God, play a critical role. Or not. In interpreting the meaning of Creation. Like Noah. Like my own priest, who in navigating closeness was above all the petty human politics, with a perspective in the broken world about the truth that its single currency cannot be saved. Without punishing the poor in spirit. With his services carried out, like that by the seasoned and professionally trained interpreter, far from the Holy See and its philosophy based upon a single currency.

“In very ancient Greece, Homer tells us, the giants tried to scale Heaven by piling Mount Ossa on top of Mount Olympus, and then adding “wooded Pelion”, another mountain in those parts, on top of that. They failed, of course, and “piling Pelion on Ossa” became a by-word for reinforcing failure.” –Charles Moore in “The Left and Right Should Join Forces Against the Great Euro Take-over”
Copyright © 2011.

Reigny Days and Mondays

I get an apostolic blessing once a year, which is extended from the good graces of the pope. Now he might not have heard, but it has been a while since I belonged to his fan club. As a matter of fact, I told a priest from Milwaukee of my concern over the election of this pope long on record of the need for pruning back in the church, three months after the puffs of white smoke appeared outside of St. Peter’s Square. .

I also am not a fan of prunes. One Sunday a year, I am served prunes for breakfast, and I am not allowed to say anything. I used to actually eat the prunes, until 2005. As a kind of protest.

“Every country, every family, every individual has setbacks as they rise. China is going to have some horrible setbacks. America had unbelievable setbacks as we rose,” said Jim Rogers, the noted investor. I wondered if he had Irish blood.

In December 2009, The Papal Nuncio in Ireland denied ’showing contempt’ for the State institutions by refusing to respond to requests from the Murphy Commission for information, according to Ivana Bacik (Labor). The previous reluctance of the Papal Nuncio in Ireland to contribute to the report, and then the delay of one week before finally commenting upon findings of the Murphy Commission led to calls for expulsion of the Papal Nuncio in Ireland.

Twenty months later, the Vatican has recalled its special envoy in Ireland, Papal Nuncio Giuseppe Leanza, to Rome to discuss the impact of the recent damning Cloyne Report on the Catholic Church’s handling of child abuse by priests.

This was eighteen months after someone in the Papal Nuncio’s office boiled the blood of the President of the Irish Republic, Mary McAleese. In her January 2010 speech at the annual pres­entation of greetings from the Diplomatic Corps on Saturday, she rebuked a senior Vatican official who suggested that reports about recent child-abuse scandals were in some measure peculiar to Ireland. Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza should have packed his bags right then.

The doctrine of defined papal infallibility came to pass only in 1870, though belief in this doctrine long predated the First Vatican Council. When you were infallible on matters of not just faith, but morals. I half-expect that Pope Benedict’s favorite song is “Reigny Days and Mondays Get Me Down.” And those stories which keep getting investigated in Ireland, oy vey.

It was Monday, and you needed to pass the buck. Or the euro. In a time frame when every means of exchange seemed to be falling, I would really love hearing the pope confess, “I do not know what to say. I do not know what to do. Especially in English. I know it was not the original tongue, but imposed there by a dominant culture.” It might be time for some papal humor directed at himself. In the tweaking of words and phrases. A few months before the imposed translations of the Mass scheduled for the First Sunday in Advent. In the modern world since the mid seventies when, if policy language causes ambiguity, sentiment have been construed to favor the policy-holder.


As the Merry Season Approaches

Robin Hood. Banks rescuing banks. Until government had to rescue banks. And no one asked for a tax increase.

Robin Hood. American troops rescuing Afghanistan. After rescuing Iraq. And no one asked for a tax increase.

Robin Hood. The rich rescuing the poor. It was a great story. At Thanksgiving time. Or at Christmas. Or Hanukkah. Until the rich were extinct. Or in Asia.

“I’ve been forever blowing bubbles. Pretty bubbles in the air. They rise so high…”

When you got older and used your head to make a living. Looking at the fundamentals. Making decisions upon the present day news. About investing. People living in the present. Carpetbaggers, somewhat. For the short-term. Those San Francisco 49ers one hundred sixty years later. Only not doing manual labor.

The movement in the story. In the story of speculators. Gold. Once you had entered the entrance ramp. With concern only about today’s closing prices. Hope, in the story of speculating. Hope for tomorrow, that I made the right decision. The only focus about a hope for the future based upon the disappearing past.

The movement in the story. Looking for exits. And what was happening. Looking for safety, once you had some gold. The movement in the story, in the world with Robin Hood. When it was thought to be okay to steal from the rich. And Robin Hood had his own powerful group of merry men. Sometime enacting the law of the land.

The movement in the story. When you moved around a lot in your life, you did not have a great deal of trust. In your relationships. When your relationships were short-lived. Like in the movement in the stories of the markets. Those quarterly results. With the recent market appreciation of 14 percent since August 27, 2010 when the Federal Reserve Chairman announced QE2. An appreciation driven, the movement upward, by the Federal Reserve, not underlying economic fundamentals. The illusions which come from artificial money moving the market. Cheap money. Newly printed money, as The Fed continues to pump cheap money into the markets. The commodities bubble will continue to grow, as the dollar becomes further depressed.

The movement in the stories. The accelerating speed. Of run-ups. On people. Anything providing evidence of how people would be dealing with loss. The focus on the human dimension of lost savings. And being saved. It was getting more personal. The stories were getting a lot more personal. If you were related to the Irish. As civilized people were buying guns.

There was conflict in a Robin Hood economy, as governments tried to take everything from the rich, to care for the uninsured, the uneducated, the unhealthy, the poor. As voters, if not merry men, could not make up their minds over the question of what ‘economic justice’ exactly was, as they wrestled with the fallout of economic freedom.

So was this what the Y2K problem really was about? In the Year 2010.

Religion Blogs

Still Infallible in the Aftermath of the Murphy Commission

According to a three-page letter from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to his priests, Pope Benedict XVI, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority and in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, solemnly rejected the resignations of two Dublin auxiliary bishops which had been tendered on Christmas Eve 2009 following the reports of the investigations by the Murphy Commission into clerical child sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin over 29 years. After coming under intense pressure because they had served as bishops during part of this period, Pope Benedict XVI has willed that Bishop Raymond Field and Bishop Eamonn Walsh should be shepherds in His Church, even to the consummation of the world, available to administer Confirmation in any part of the diocese in the coming year.

In a November 2009 report, the independent Commission of Investigation headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy looked at the handling in the years 1975-2004 of 325 sex abuse claims in the Archdiocese of Dublin. This Murphy Commission was released in the aftermath of The Ryan Commission report in May 2009 which had cited 800 known abusers in over 200 Catholic institutions, over 35 years.

The Irish Times on December 8, 2009 had reported, per Vatican sources, the direct intervention from the Holy See, with an invitation extended on December 8, 2009 to Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to a December 11th meeting in Rome to discuss “the painful situation” in the Catholic Church in Ireland following the release of the report of the Murphy Commission. The pope would be urging Irish church leaders to find a definitive exit from the crisis, feeling the Irish clerical sex-abuse crisis has gone on far too long.

The conclusion of this Murphy Commission report was that during those years 1975-2004, rather than being concerned about the victims, Catholic leaders were more interested in “the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the church and the preservation of its assets.” With his own infallibility, feeling the Irish clerical sex-abuse crisis has gone on far too long, Pope Benedict had called the leading two bishops to Rome. In February 2010, all of the Roman Catholic bishops of Ireland came to Rome.

The Murphy Commission had investigated the 325 sex abuse claims in the Archdiocese of Dublin in the years 1975-2004. The bishops named in the Murphy report included the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, the Bishop of Galway, two Dublin auxiliary bishops, and the Bishop of Limerick. Monsignor Dolan, the vice chancellor in Dublin from 1980 to 1997, was also named; he later became chancellor in 1997.

“The church in Ireland has been severely shaken as a result of the child abuse crisis. As a sign of my deep concern,” Pope Benedict said in Rome on the eve of Saint Patrick’s Day, “I have written a pastoral letter dealing with this painful situation. I ask all of you to read it for yourselves, with an open heart and in a spirit of faith.”

The Lenten Letter of March 17, 2010 to the Irish people, the first papal document devoted exclusively to pedophilia, following the Murphy report, was the first clue as to how the pope viewed all the goings on. That pastoral letter talked a lot more about sin than crimes. Pope Benedict XVI hoped the letter would “help in the process of repentance, healing and renewal.” __Read THE ACTUAL LETTER__

The Father Brendan Smyth affair over a period of over 40 years in which the controversy surrounding his case had brought about the downfall of the government of Ireland in December 1994. Father Brendan Smyth of the the Norbertines Order had sexually abused and assaulted over 100 children, moving from parish to parish and between dioceses in Belfast, Dublin, and in Rhode Island as well as North Dakota in the United States. After his arrest in 1991, Father Brendan Smyth fled to the Republic of Ireland, where he spent the next three years on the run, with the poor handling of an extradition request from the Royal Ulster Constable of Northern Ireland by the Irish Attorney General Republic of Ireland. Understandable with the years of distrust and discrimination between the Orange Order and the Catholic minority of the North, who was going to believe in the justice system of the North of Ireland? Had you ever read of the anti-papist rhetoric of Ian Paisley, and experienced how Catholics were treated in the North? True dysfunction came out of such relationships.

The now deceased Cardinal Cahal Daly, Archbishop of Armagh (a previous Bishop of Down as well as Connor, in a diocese where some of the abuse took place), reportedly was privately furious at the Norbertine “incompetence” involving Father Brendan Smyth.

In March of 2010, the Primate of all Ireland, Seán Brady admitted that in 1975, as a 36-year-old priest with his doctorate in canon law since 1967, that he had attended two separate interviews in 1975 as part-time secretary to the then Bishop of Kilmore, Francis McKiernan. Joined by two other priest in the first interview, his role was to take notes. He had been alone with the child at the second interview, and had been responsible for conducting the inquiry, with his note taking. He had also witnessed the two teenage boys in 1975 sign the oaths of silence after testifying against Father Brendan Smyth. The oath read: “I will never directly or indirectly, by means of a nod, or of a word, by writing, or in any other way, and under whatever type of pretext, even for the most urgent and most serious cause (even) for the purpose of a greater good, commit anything against this fidelity to the secret, unless a…dispensation has been expressly given to me by the Supreme Pontiff.”

Secrecy and inertia. The maintenance of church secrecy was mentioned in the Murphy Commission report, as one reason the priest abuse was able to continue. When nothing happened. From November 2009 to August 2010, especially in the stagnation of August heat, there was even a lack of movement in the story after the release of the Murphy Commission report. In that Irish church that had known of all of these transgressions well before the release of the Murphy Commission report.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, the only recognized hero in all of this, wrote to his people in early December 2009: “The sexual abuse of a child is and always was a CRIME in civil law; it is and always was a crime [in] canon law; it is and always was grievously sinful.” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin wrote: “Efforts made to ‘protect the Church’ and to ‘avoid scandal’ have had the ironic result of bringing this horrendous scandal on the Church today.”

In 1994, Father Hegarty was removed as editor of Intercom after publishing an article challenging the bishops’ handling of clerical child sex abuse. In March 1994 auxiliary bishop of Dublin, Eamonn Walsh, who was investigated by the Murphy commission, was appointed to survey the Bishops’ Conference on their attitude to Intercom. In July 1994, Father Hegarty was appointed full-time curate at Shanaghy in west Mayo. “In the circumstances, I felt I had no choice but to let go of Intercom,” he said.

In a January 1995 letter to the Irish Times, Mary McAleese (then a university professor) wrote, “What is truly depressing about this episode, though, is the contrast between the energy and determination which went into sorting out a perceived problem with the editorial tone of Intercom , and the sheer breathtaking ineptitude of church handling of matters relating to child abuse by clergy….It is truly ironic that Father Kevin Hegarty raised the issue openly in Intercom long before the Father Brendan Smyth affair, and in so doing incurred the wrath of those so anxious now to reassure us of their clean hands and bona fides in this squalid business.”

Taking people’s jobs away, after a lifetime of service. Five years ago Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, had no problem taking people’s job away. Under orders from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, American Jesuit Thomas Reese resigned on May 6, 2005 as editor of the Catholic magazine America because he had published articles critical of church positions, several Catholic officials in the United States told the New York Times. The order to dismiss the editor of America magazine was issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in mid-March when the Vatican office of doctrinal enforcement was still headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Catholic officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter. (Some have suggested it was the American bishops who got Father Reese removed, a story much like Father Kevin Hegarty’s dismissal.) Soon after Father Reese’s dismissal, Pope John Paul II died and Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI., with his new infallibility on both matters of faith and morals which came with his new job description.

Preserved from even the possibility of error since the First Vatican Council on July 18, 1870, Pope Benedict XVI has exercised his authority on matters of Faith and Morals. If not Rome, all of Ireland’s bishops knew of the environment of sexual abuse in their country. The environment where Cardinal Sean Brady had been the appointed leader. It was only the damn Murphy Commission, and the Ryan that had enlightened the public.

The two bishops, Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field, who had been continuing in their normal duties pending the decision, would now remain as Auxiliary Bishops and are to be assigned revised responsibilities within the diocese. The decision not to accept the resignations of Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field follows the decision of Cardinal Seán Brady last spring not to resign despite his involvement in an investigation 35 years ago of a case involving Brendan Smyth. Bishop Eamonn Walsh had been appointed auxiliary bishop in Dublin since April 1990. Bishop Raymond Field had been bishops since September 21st, 1997. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said it was not policy to comment on resignations which had not been accepted. It was time to move on. These two bishops should be available to administer Confirmation even to the consummation of the world. This all was punishment enough. One Vatican source told the Irish Times that the Secretariat of State had recalled the excellent work done by Bishop Walsh in the role of apostolic administrator in the diocese of Ferns.

To live in a country when nothing happened. To live in a country where its young no longer wanted to be confirmed, because of the sins of its Fathers. These two bishops should be available to administer Confirmation, but in a country where, based upon news stories, its young no longer wanted to be confirmed.

Crime and punishment. Catholic moral teaching states capital punishment is wrong. Based upon the papal response, Catholic moral teaching must be that cover ups of sexual abuse are okay. Actions speak louder than encyclicals, for the institution church which has lacked so much transparency on issues of cover ups of sexual abuse, over so many years.

Crime and punishment. What if a pope had grown up in a time, in a place, when crimes were an every day part of your life. When nothing happened to the perpetrators? And what if you then had to live in the aftermath? When you were a young man? When no one really was ever punished. When no one ever talked about what had happened? When life just seemed to go on, with a great deal of inertia. Would it affect your own way of thought? About Central America during the late 1970s into the early 1990s, in another age of terror in the southern hemisphere, as the United States supported the Salvadoran government armed forces throughout their civil war, with ongoing persecution of clergy and repression of movements for social change, would it affect your outlook? And what if you then had to live in the aftermath? When life just seemed to go on, with a great deal of inertia.

Crime and Punishment not all so dissimilar to what had happened to those Irish bankers who had led Ireland into a concurrent crisis. As the Irish-German 10-year yield spread widened to 2.64 per cent, the most since July 23rd. Standard and Poor’s said yesterday that it would be, with its BBB ranking for the bank debt, keeping its ratings on the Anglo Irish Bank on credit watch with negative implications. Anglo Irish Bank carried Standard and Poor’s second-lowest investment grade. And all the same leaders continued in their places? When nothing ever happened?

Pope Benedict already had written, as “a sign of my deep concern,” on the eve of Saint Patrick’s Day, “a pastoral letter dealing with this painful situation.” To live in a country where its young no longer wanted a part in that way of thinking. Because of the sins of its Fathers.

Last autumn in the United States, Cardinal Francis George came out with the statement about Catholic journalists who should “tow the line,” with his statement that Catholic universities, media outlets and other affiliated organizations are “less than fully Catholic” that insist on independence from the church hierarchy. His underlying sentiment seemed to suggest the need for Catholic journalists and academics to go about their jobs of Truth telling with a need for the same kind of oaths seeking “dispensations expressly given by the Supreme Pontiff.” When writing about cover ups. After all, all bishops took these kind of oaths to the pope every five years. (ED NOTE: In the way of full disclosure, in the midst of the Watergate investigation, I attended as an undergraduate, a Jesuit university where Francis Cardinal George was assigned, at the same time. Though I did walk by him talking to my sociology professor before a twice a week class, I do not know him, but respect him highly.)

Before he became pope, Cardinal Ratzinger was quoted in the Jesuit Magazine America, in the days of Rev. Thomas Reese, as writing that the church needs to get smaller so that it can become purer. Because, maybe the Church could not keep going on the way it had been. Maybe his dream about pruning finally has started this summer, based upon the article in the National Catholic Reporter in August 2010, which raises again the question where is the goodness in institution church?

In a related story on December 8, 2009, The Irish Times reported that in 1991 Father Kevin Hegarty was appointed editor of the Irish Bishops’ Conference-sponsored magazine Intercom, published under the aegis of the Bishops’ Commission on Communications. In its December 1993 issue an article titled “Twenty Questions for the Bishops” challenged their handling of clerical child sex abuse. “Will they eschew silence as the preferred legal and moral strategy in the face of future allegations?” it asked.

In 1993, just before the reign of Seán Brady, with his doctorate in canon law since 1967, the Irish bishops criticized an Intercom article on women priests published in the magazine and written by the current Irish President Mary McAleese (then a university professor). On December 13, 1994, Seán Brady was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh by John Paul II, taking over upon Cardinal Cahal Daly’s retirement on October 1, 1996.

In 1994, Father Hegarty was removed as editor of Intercom after publishing an article challenging the bishops’ handling of clerical child sex abuse. The Irish Times on December 8, 2009 reported about what happened when a priest had not towed the line. “We live in a dysfunctional church, which happens when deafness becomes deadly,” Father Hegarty. The Murphy report, he said, “showed that church leaders placed most premium on loyalty, regardless of the truth.”

Not so unlike the dysfunction of Irish bishops over the course of the years 1975-2004 , in Madison, Wisconsin, in his public witness is to the fullness of the Catholic faith, Bishop Robert Morlino has lent his support to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, with his participation on their board of what was formerly known as United States Army School of the Americas. In the view of Rome, there is punishment administered where there is no loyalty to Rome. In the way of background, Maryknoll priest Roy Bourgeois was now excommunicated for publicly supporting women’s ordination, within the past eighteen months. A Maryknoll statement dated May 24th which was made public on July 22, 2010 after SOA Watch announced a fundraising drive to replace the $17,000 grant, given former Maryknoll priest Roy “Bourgeois’ central role as the founder and public face of the SOA Watch, [Maryknoll] society leadership has determined that it cannot continue its financial support of that organization without giving the impression that it also supports the actions of its leader concerning the issue of women’s ordination. The American missionary order Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers has discontinued a longstanding annual grant to the anti-military campaign group School of Americas Watch because the organization’s founder, Maryknoll priest Roy Bourgeois (now excommunicated) publicly supports women’s ordination. Within a week, the SOA Watch fund drive had raised nearly $10,000.”

The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation was not protesting violations of human rights as much as aiming a spotlight on outright killing. Military juntas and dictators in the 20th century attempting, maybe too much like Bishop Robert Morlino, Bishop Eamonn Walsh, and Archbishop Seán Brady, to maintain power. Like military juntas and dictators with their air of infallibility, backed up by armies.

About the search for Truth and towing the line, when you had a hierarchy like this, with all of the falsehoods. Towing the line. In law? With academic freedom? When this church hierarchy desired a world with everyone praying in Latin? When this church hierarchy desired a world of archaic translations in the liturgy? When this church hierarchy, which has lacked so much transparency, desired a world of Kaiser Wilhelm, or Franz Joseph, where people had no powerful sense of identity of their own God above the temporal world. When all the calls for social justice, a True concern for social justice, was just hypocrisy?

If you had come from Poland or if you had come from Germany, what could you know of real “process of repentance, healing and renewal?” Mary McAleese had gotten it wrong, writing about the sheer breathtaking ineptitude of church. Ireland somehow had been neutral during the war. During the days of Hitler, when a child had to just shut his mouth and just deal with ‘this painful situation.” When life had just gone on. With people in power who seem to think they are above human and divine law. When you lived in the days of Adolph Hitler, with nowhere for the people to go, when there had never been a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Joseph Ratzinger had already lived a life a lot like those victims of sex abuse. With nowhere for the people to go, except within. When Latin had become a language of escape. From military juntas and dictators. And when you thought that all you could say was “I am sorry.” De Delictis Gravioribus (about serious crimes). From age to age. From east to west.

And now preserved from the possibility of error, on matters of faith and Morals, Pope Benedict already has lived in a Europe where its young no longer wanted to be confirmed.

Harold & Maude

When it comes to spirituality, small children get into spaces that an adult never could reach. I half suspected it also happened during pregnancy, and in the small spaces and events that led up to the moment of the pregnancy.

Looking at this photo from the Aran Islands, your author is looking west to the New World. After about a 20 year silence in listening to Cat Stevens’ songs this week, I thought of the soundtrack of that movie, “Harold & Maude.” The songs in the movie were all by Cat Stevens. And it dawned on me 6 months after returning home, that the view from the Aran Islands with a different perspective was the same westward view if you now lived in California that the“Harold & Maude” movie maker had when he presented a lot of life and death issues. Of Harold, as a kid just completing his formal education. A lot like me, in the time period the movie was made.

I did not recognize the spirituality in the music, at the time. This was during the time before Cat Stevens had his own conversion to Islam. And no one where I lived quite knew what Islam really meant. You could be isolated when you came from the Aran Islands about what was going on in the rest of the world.

I went to a burial yesterday lacking in any spirituality. Or below the acceptable level of spirituality. When we all had standards, of what was the acceptable level. My acceptable standard, like some kind of sea level. The ones set long ago either by people who lived by the sea. Or the ones set by nomads. The ones who came from the dessert. And I did not really know what to say.

Who really knows a family? Or what went on to reach the ritual of burial of this Irish Catholic woman. Who really knew the level of grief. When grief was described by Thomas Lynch, a guy who was involved with family decisions about burial in Michigan, as the tax that people paid on the richness of a life. And grief was an ongoing tax that no one knew you were paying, in the rummaging for God. On issues of birth and death. And fertility.

Religion Blogs

The Great Wars

The Great War.

I was taught by the teachers who had served in the generations following the great wars. In my high school, I had seen the photographs, of teachers in military uniforms. Post-war, men returning afterward still wore their uniforms, as civilian teachers at a military school. At least for a while.

My father had graduated from the same high school. A generation later, I had many of the same teachers. And I was taught what my father had been taught here in the years when World War II broke out.

The world had been reshaped by the Great Wars.

I enrolled at a Catholic university in the fall of 1971. Students who had seen the face of a priest in worship. Young Catholics who had no barrier in place as Mass. The philosophy and theology courses were unaltered, unlike the students, in the early 1970s by Vatican II. And I was taught by priests who seemed unchanged by Vatican II. Young men now in long hair. Unveiled women. In church.

At Catholic universities, where all students were not Catholics. Men now in long hair. Women now on the pill. And the spiritual tension, challenging the system of God.

The Great War. There were the battles being fought, over implementing changes of Vatican II. Younger priests were sent in to replace older priests, with power, replacing the Kosher-like priests who would not implement change. When papal authority said, “Just Do IT.”

There was the day to day strife in rectories, between priests. Over change and how to implement change. There was day to day strife over what was happening in the church, over what had happened in the world. Other than as chaplains, these priests might have missed the great wars. Unaware of how the world had changed.

Vatican II. The Catholic world had been reshaped by the Great Wars. And then Vatican II, with the requirement for clear and coherent speech … in the native language. With the purpose of greater understanding, with the demand unchanged for appropriate mood and affect. In the churches. In the music. But always there was an underlying tension. With occasional apprehensions. With the disorganization in task execution. With a conscious that could be turned off and on. Over good and evil. And in the battle for power.

Were those older priests, after Vatican II, feeling not much different than Eve? Yeah, unappreciated Eve. Like all women, especially after the great wars. When women had no power. In the legal process. When Lincoln might have freed the slaves, but not the female slaves. When nothing really ever had changed. When the civil rights movement, at the time of Vatican II, called the question, when the law of the land was not synonymous with true justice. When there was only a pretense of belief in the order to the system.

Then the war of independence. Women at war with insensitive men. Over the relationship. Women in the insensitive world in search of soul mates … and the battle fatigue. In a church still led by the pre-Vatican II priests, as well as priests formed from behind the Iron Curtain or priests formed in the reign of Hitler. In the day when only men were called to war. Some voluntarily and others involuntarily. When there was so much denial, were was the truth-telling about suffering in this world … about the damage done in the dominant culture? In relationships. In something invisible.

And the repercussions. In all real wars there was Trauma and Recovery. Even in the war of independence. Since Joseph Ratzinger was elected, a debate had taken place over an attempt to change the way the Catholic world had been praying, since 1965. In a letter dated July 29, 2006, Bishop William Skylstad, then President of the Conference, informed Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments that the Latin Church Bishops of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops approved the translation of the Ordo Missae at its plenary meeting on June 15, 2006. Before jumping through the hoops on the same issue in 2008 and 2009. For the English speaking world. (It is of note that Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, does not speak English.)

It was like the ‘turn-back-the-clock game where the professional sports team brought out vestments from one hundred years ago, in the clash of the modern world and the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, with their “slavishly literal” translation into English of the new Roman Missal from the original Latin. With new bishops in authority, appointed under the regimes of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, without the collegiality of the Holy See, the people in charge were ordered, not instructed, to follow the Nike model and “Just Do It.” These bishops who pledged loyalty every five years, to the pope. These bishops, those slavishly literal bishops, who had too often failed to show any true leadership — in Tucson, in Portland, in all the bankrupt dioceses and archdioceses in American – in the sexual abuse crisis until journalists exposed all of the cover ups. The old order, with too many shills, was to return. With the disorganization in task execution. With a silence, not telling the people in the pews about the plan. Those announcements were focused on the coming parish closings, not on the new way to pray.

In the age of divorce. Where even the Vatican was getting ready to divorce itself of the nuns — over their implemented changes — if not now maybe from the rest of the Catholic female world. Over issues of language. Ignoring all the issues of pain in relationship that the Vatican II tried to ignore. With a silence. Still keeping the reports and goings-on secret.

And so the timing to test, to measure, all the damage. In relationship. In relationships. In alienation. Between God and man. Between men and women. Measured in neuropsychological test findings, about true understanding.

There are those tests to report upon those very brief latencies of word-finding difficulties. Or confrontation naming. The Boston Naming test, dealing with expressive language. Measuring personal if not institutional intellectual capability. And all the occasional lapses of attentional deployment. All these things that happened during prayer.

The demand upon entry to the seminaries, for Visual Spatial Reasoning and Perceptual Organization, with high average perceptions. And the Bender-Gestalt to measure the perceptual motor skills, with good visual construction abilities.

The slowly forgotten Great Wars, which had changed the world. What humans perceived. The slowly forgotten perceptions of humanity. And inhumanity. The norms of the neuropsychological world. The Boston Naming test, like the city in New England, dealing with expressive language. In my own language. And the testing for confrontation naming.

The word-finding difficulties. In prayer. In a church that was abandoning the translations which have been used for 45 years. By my generation and the one behind me.

Binding orders. Teachers in military uniforms. Men returning afterward, who still wore their military uniforms in civilian times. At an all-boys high school. At least for a while. Dealing with authority, like Adam and the old world, before Eve. Adam living in all of the silence. And with the one commandment before she arrived, about the Tree of Knowledge. When in the story of Eve and Adam, Eve never really cared about the old rules –the one rule. Or the old commander and his war stories. I think Eve still did not care, as Adam tried to gain some control over the world before Eve.

That Old World Order which existed before the Great Wars. We were all gonna be praying, in a sense, in Latin again, in a way that Romans once dominated the world, with all the friendliness towards people under the domination of empire that Adolph Hitler tried to reproduce. In union with the church throughout the world. With an ensuing certain rigid thinking that might assist in a discipline to reach the highest thrones. In one piece. Unbroken. Slavishly, in union.

POST SCRIPT: In an August 20, 2010 letter, Francis Cardinal George, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced receipt of a June 23rd letter from Cardinal Llovera Antonio Cañizares, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, with the provided guidelines for publication of the full text of the English-language translation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition,as mandated by the Vatican. The document states, “The use of the third edition of the Roman Missal enters into use in the dioceses of the United States of America as of the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011.  From that date forward, no other edition of the Roman Missal may be used in the dioceses of the United States of America.”

There are, in the new translations, reportedly 12 new responses which will have to be learned by those who attend Mass, replacing the language used in the Mass since Vatican II.


The Deacon’s Bench

POST SCRIPT: The Catholic News Service reports an item from VATICAN CITY on November 23, 2011 that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has just issued a 41-page text on reforming the international financial system. Perhaps the Vatican was compelled with its own expertise after getting the Vatican Bank running so smoothly after accusations of money laundering in the 1980s, and then the subsequent investigation by Italian officials of the Vatican bank in the past two year.




POST SCRIPT: In November 2014, the magazine Commonweal writes: “It is extremely unusual to have a lengthy vacancy at the top rung of a major Vatican office, especially when it’s a Roman congregation. Normally when the pope accepts the resignation of a prefect or assigns him to another post, he appoints a successor within a matter of days. Usually he does it immediately. That hasn’t happened with the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (CDWDS). Spanish Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, soon to be sixty-nine, had headed the office since late 2008. But on August 28, 2014, Pope Francis named him Archbishop of Valencia. That was almost five weeks ago. He still hasn’t been replaced. During his nearly six years in that office, Cardinal Cañizares helped to advance Benedict XVI’s liturgical preferences. Those sympathetic to his efforts claimed his appointment to Valencia was part of Francis’s purge of the former pope’s men. But that’s not quite right. The cardinal had actually asked Benedict to send him back to Spain. He had hoped to be named Archbishop of Madrid, head of the church in the nation’s capital. Instead, Francis sent him to Valencia, Cañizares’s fourth diocese, where he was ordained a priest in 1970. What is puzzling is why it has taken so long for Pope Francis to fill the vacancy he left at CDWDS. Perhaps the pope is waiting until Saturday, after the cardinal is officially installed in his new diocese. Or it may be that there is a tug of war in the curia over the appointment. In any case, the delay has people of varying liturgical leanings waiting with bated breath.”



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