Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

More on Vatican doc on homosexuality

From Open Book blog -
Here's what's missing: a complete explanation of the motivation for this Instruction: a closer look at the landscape of Catholic priesthood and religious life. Yes, the abuse crisis brought this to the fore, but the concerns have been there for a while, as well as the knowledge, but, for fear of a failure to be pastoral, lack of will, sympathy in the episcopal ranks, typical Catholic bureaucratic creep, as well as a simple desperation for male bodies to ordain have all worked to silence concerned voices. I guess that's over.

The bigger problem is that there seems to be a consistent connection between sympathy for the secular gay agenda and ethos and a disinterest or even antipathy to traditional Catholic teaching on sexuality and family, period. And we're not talking about little points of minutiae here: we're talking about the big picture, that big picture in which the relationship between male and female is an anaology for the relationship between God and humanity, and even a template for understanding creation, period. Disconnect from that, and you are slowly, but surely, disconnecting from Catholic Christianity as you depend on your own personal revelation, rather than the public revelation of Scripture and so on, to define your faith, and the faith which you are teaching, preaching, and being guided by in your pastoral ministry.


It's just my favorite shit

Post title is a quote from an interview in Paste Magazine with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco about their new live album.
Having just returned from seeing Tift Merritt in Whelans, the end of the interview is very relevant. Tift rocked, by the way! She couldn't afford to bring her keyboardist or drummer - but she more than made do with herself and her guitar. I really agree with Tweedy's comments on live music - they really remind me of the sleeve notes of Martin Hayes and Denis Cahill's Live in Seattle album (pause while I walk to shelf to retrieve same) where he discusses the difficulties in deciding which tunes to play at his heavenly concerts - "Our allegiance is to the spirit of the moment. Our primary wish is that the musical experience be one the lifts our spirits and those of the audience." If you've been to a Martin Hayes concert you know what he means and you can totally appreciate that he would have philosophical dilemnas about performance. Bruce Springsteen sings about making his guitar talk. Martin Hayes makes his fiddle talk, walk, dance and write the odd novel while he's at it.
But back to Tweedy -
I think this is an example of a difference in how we were brought up to appreciate music versus the world we live in, which seems to rely upon much more going on simultaneously. Very rarely is there an audio element without a visual element, with computer games and even with iTunes and things like that, people are sitting there doing something else. And I just think there’s much more mystery to listening to this live record and trying to figure out what the hell’s going on, especially since the crowd is such a part of it, with these seemingly random cheers happening—why?
I think Wilco is never going to accomplish this goal, but I would love for more people to listen to music as a sole activity. I think it’s a really transformative way that that art form can touch you. Aside from live music, which I think is really important to being human—to be a part of a crowd experiencing music—recorded music is like literature when you allow yourself to sit and listen. I mean, you know. That’s all you did when you were growing up; that’s all you needed to do. You found friends that could sit and be quiet and not f—in’ ruin it; those were your friends, you know? If somebody couldn’t do that, you couldn’t hang out with them. I don’t care how cool they were; they were not cool.

In a follow up to my top 19 albums of 2005 post Sinead at sigla blog has a deluxe/DualCD/Double DVD/bonus version with FIVE top 10 lists.....

More Catholic Stuff (Yawn!)

This blog has been hanging around Catholic arguments for the last little while. In light of the new Vatican document on homosexuality and the priesthood, I'm going to back to some Catholic stuff....
A search on Google News shows how this issue and other Catholic related stuff is handled by the "meejah".
The Independent (UK) has forcefully restated its hostility to homosexuals
From Arizona
- The Roman Catholic pastor of Mesa's Queen of Peace Church has resigned in protest of the church's tougher and what he calls "hostile" stand against gays in the priesthood.
Given the Church takes an uncompromising stance on separating the sinner from the sin, words like force and hostile perpetuate the false illusion that the Church hates all homosexuals. In the light of the meaning of priestly vocation, which includes a broad spectrum of potentially virtuous behavious including celibacy but also obedience, that priest's actions smack of an overdose of diva behaviour.
And from our own Examiner Not surprisingly, the gay community is outraged over the thrust of the document, describing it as a blatant bid to scapegoat them for the problems besetting the church.
With the aim of dissuading gay seminarians from lying about their sexual orientation, the document urges them to tell the truth and warns it would be “gravely dishonest for a candidate to hide his own homosexuality”. If anything, gay candidates are less likely to be up-front in future.
On the vexed question of whether homosexual men should enter the priesthood in Ireland, it is telling that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin believes those who are stable and capable of celibacy can move through the system.

As an average practising Catholic I've no real problem with this document. As the quote from Diarmuid Martin above shows, those how are willing to practice the celibacy bit of their vocation are no different for heterosexualal priests.
However, the gay community are not being scapegoated for the recent paedophillia scandals - there is a considerable amount of evidence that suggests that homosexual activity in seminaries is quite widespread and this in itself has huge implications for how celibacy and indeed sexuality are viewed by priests.
As for gay candidates for the priesthood lying - psychological evaluation is part of the overall spiritual evaluation of men who feel that they are being called to the priesthood - the Church does not ordain everyone; maturity is a huge part in deciding whether or not one is able to both properly discern and answer a vocation as well as live up to its challenges. Anyone who lies about anything in this process is simply not suitable.
From the first magazine I ever subscribed to - First Things has a succinct little say about it. (Yes, I was a very intense and rather pathetic 16 year old - I don't think I was even aware that magazines like Bliss and Sugar existed then!)


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Constant Gardener....Not all rosy!

Went to see the Constant Gardener last night in the Savoy.
It's a very good film - incredible cinematography and Ralph Fiennes is fantastic.
It's based on John Le Carre's book and builds its story out of an English diplomat's marriage and into the commercial superworld of pharmaceutical companies. Its main point is that drug companies are unscrupulous villains who kill people and make "marriages of convenience with dead offspring".
I have a huge problem with this analysis as without drug companies all we would have is death. We need commercial interests to invest in research that ultimately leads to cures and improved quality of life for people everywhere. The message that drug companies are somehow responsible for MDRTB or AIDS or any other epidemic is lazy. The problem is with corrupt governments and sloppy development aid.
Tech Central Station have an interesting article on the film and this issues raised.

Krakow and Auschwitz

Krakow was fantastic despite snow and a post-exam weariness - it's such a beautiful city and really compact - the hotel I stayed in was about 10 minutes walk from the old town (which involved a very dangerous jaywalk!) and everything there is literally on top of each other. So many beautiful buildings, churches, castles and museums. Food so cheap - recommend Hotel Copernicus's restaurant (especially the chocolate souffle with mint ice cream!) and Cyrano de Bergerac (the venison was divine.
Went to Auschwitz and Birkenau - still not quite over that. I started crying in the barracks where the human hair is stored as there was a plait of hair sitting forlornly in the middle and I couldn't stop thinking off the girl who started her day by plaiting her hair and ended her life in a gas chamber. It was rather embarrassing as this nice American woman thought I was Jewish and started hugging me.
Birkenau was creepy - while we there it was snowing really heavy so the whole area looked like a winter wonderland - I couldn't believe who massive it was and also how methodical and scientific the Nazis were in their systematic dehumanisation and murder. A few hundred Israeli soldiers were there while we were and they marched up to the platform where Mengeles decided the fate of hundreds of thousands of innocent people and said some prayers there. They appeared to have some survivors with them.
The number of snowflakes that fell while we walked around was much much less than the numbers of lives that were cut short by an evil ideology a generation ago.
I know I have more to say on this and will say it soon!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Mary Robinson's active fighting for the world's deprived - she hates the US of A!

Watching the Late Late as Kathleen Edwards who I saw in Whelans last night is supposed to be on - Mary Robinson is on now. I'm sure lots of other bloggers will dissect what little she said. In a world where the UN have repeatedly failed those who most needed them, the USA are left to "police" the world out of neccesity. Personally I'd take the US over the UN. But Mary wouldn't. As far as she's concerned the main problem facing the world is America. I won't list all the real dictators. Nor will I mention how the USA have been to the forefront in fighting for the rights of Africa's poor.
But poor Mary's busy trying to sort out the US - for then all will be well.
And God love her, she had to sit at the front of the plane while her UN assistant had to sit at the back.
This Irish liberal attitude is so comfortably anti-US it's scary. Pat Kenny takes her anti-American diatribes at face value.
We need to wake up and start looking for the real enemy.
(Hint - you won't find him in the White House)

Walk the Line

National Review has 2 reviews by Frederica Matthews-Green and Steve Beard of the new Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line.
I really can't wait to see this film. It's the only film that'll draw me back to the cinema after the disappointing Pride and Prejudice
The main actors (Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon) were chosen by Johnny and June before they died - I found it really poignant to receive an email from the Johnny Cash newsletter about the film. The last one I received that I can really remember is the email advertising The Man Comes Around, for which I waited for what seems like ages before going into Tower Records daily for a week before it was released demanding a copy.
While my reaction to the email is the same (I'm getting palpitations) unfortunately my actions are limited - while Tower will often sell you a CD a few days before its official release, daily trips into the Savoy will not result in a showing of Walk the Line.
I'm actually tempted to fly in the face of all IMRO actions and look for a copy on the file sharing networks - but I won't mainly because I'm off to Krakow tomorrow and have to get up early to buy thermal vests and waterproof fashionable boots - for the next 5 days the temperatures will be hovering around the zero mark with snow - and it's set to improve on Friday when we leave! When I bought the tickets nearly 2 months ago, it seemed like a good idea. Now it doesn't seem so good.
My mother suggested purchasing long johns - a suggestion I turned down after having once purchased long johns before, a rather boring story I shall regal you with now. At the impressionable age of 15, while on my family's annual trip to McElhinneys in Athboy's annual January sales, I was sent from the ladies' shop up the road to the mens' to buy my father's usual ration of Schiesser vests and long johns. Instead of the greying sensible gentlemen that one usually finds in rural men's shops, there was a very attractive 16 or 17 year old boy serving. Undeterred by my rather unorthodox purchases for a teenage girl I went up clutching my long johns and presented them to the nice boy. Who then asked me if that was all I wanted - I said it was. He asked were they the right size. I replied that they were for I had tried them on.
My face became a rather alarming shade of puce and my sympathetic nervous system kicked in and I was sweating all over.
It was not a good day. Especially because my mother lost control of the car on the way home on the icy back roads of Meath and my father was not overly impressed with his new long johns when he had to drive 40 miles to pick up his family of women and his wife’s bargain purchases in some kindly farmer's house beside the wreck of the car.
Blogging will be light unless I’m forced into the warmth of a Krakovian internet café for the next week….
I’ll leave you a little bit of Johnny from my favourite album – Live From Folsom Prison –
Hello, I’m Johnny Cash…
I hear the train a comin'; it's rollin' 'round the bend,
And I ain't seen the sunshine since I don't know when.
I'm stuck in Folsom Prison and time keeps draggin' on.
But that train keeps rollin' on down to San Antone.
When I was just a baby, my mama told me, "Son,
Always be a good boy; don't ever play with guns."
But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
When I hear that whistle blowin' I hang my head and cry.
I bet there's rich folk eatin' in a fancy dining car.
They're prob'ly drinkin' coffee and smokin' big cigars,
But I know I had it comin', I know I can't be free,
But those people keep a movin', and that's what tortures me.

You really have to listen to it live – the inmates are shouting and catcalling especially when he sings “watch him die” – and when the electric guitar solo picks up, I can’t help smiling.


Annoying pop-up on blog

Any ideas on how to get rid of it?
Emailed blogger ages ago and no response yet. Couldn't find anything in blogger help.
Any bright sparks out there with techno knowledge???

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Medical Misc

For when the Clinic ends on RTE1 - television programme ideas from the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Just finished my finals today (half of them - next half April). Yippee! Going to see Kathleen Edwards in the Village now before going to the Pav in Trinity to celebrate with other meds.

My obstetric case today was obstetric cholestasis. Which is not in the index of our main textbook - Obs and Gynae by Impey.
Had great fun in the pub this afternoon trouncing everyone else's horror stories - you got Dr So-and-So and they screamed at you for not knowing the management of premature quads in a diabetic pre-eclamptic multigravida from a low socio-economic background - well I got obstetric cholestasis!!!

For those of you interested - check out
Itchy Moms, a support group for sufferers. It's a pretty horrible condition.
My patient was absolutely lovely and my examiners were understanding enough about how rare it is.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Top 10 (19) albums of 2005

In fact, ah have started off the best albums of 2005 lists so here’s my contribution.
I’ve been thinking about this the last few days as I find the whole ranking thing quite difficult – I feel so mean for relegating people to the lower rungs and then get pangs of conscience and become so indecisive that I’ve to start all over again – so here it is before I change my mind again. I started with top 10 list which became 19 with notable extras. It’s my list so I’m allowed have 19….it’s too hard to stop at 10. And I’ve actually left out quite a large number of CDs I’ve gotten in the past year that don’t fit! ‘Tis no wonder I’ve little enough disposable income!

1. Exploration – Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion
Amazing album – made so much better by their gig in Whelans. I doubt any readers of this blog were there – there were about 30 people in total – they are totally underappreciated in Ireland. They are numero uno simply because I know all the words to all the songs and had to mouth them at the gig as my harmonies (i.e. singing off key) would’ve been quite noticeable! She’s Woody Guthrie’s granddaughter – recommend their live EP too.

2. The Duhks - The Duhks
Celtic folk bluegrass kinda brilliance. Hard to quantify really. Played a stunner of a gig in Whelans over the summer.

3. Eveningland – Hem
The most sublime listening experience I’ve had all year.

4. Prairie Wind - Neil Young
The great man returns after green detours. Made so sweet by week long appearance on Conan O’Brien last week – 2 songs every night – he played needle and the damage done and I think I cried. It was that good I don’t actually remember.

5. Live at the Fillmore - Lucinda Williams
At her very best – disc 1 more acoustic stuff. Disc 2 amazing. My flatmates hate it. I tend to view this as a great endorsement – a 7min plus version of Joy….what more does a girl need?

6. Wolf Parade- Apologies to the Queen Mary
Unfortunately don’t have tickets to Whelan’s gig at weekend – album superb.
Have EP as well. Does that make me like those Arcade Fire geeks on

7. Humming By the Flowered Vine - Laura Cantrell
Her voice is even more amazing live, if that’s possible.

8. I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning - Bright Eyes
Originally liked Digital Ash better – this though has crept into my iPod’s most played.

9. Illinois - Sufjan Stevens
Because it’s really good. Because most people will have it on their top 10s. I’m a follower.

10. Plans - Death Cab for Cutie
Transatlanticsm was a hard act to follow – plans doesn’t quite meet the challenge imho, but still great.

11. Devils and Dust – Springsteen
The Boss rules.

12. Superwolf - Bonnie Prince Billy & Matt Sweeney
Not as good as greatest palace music but it’s the bonnie prince genius.

13. Mercy Now - Mary Gauthier
Because “I drink” makes me feel like an alcoholic. And her sublime performance in the point supporting Willie Nelson wiped away my irritation at going early and abandoning friends in the pub to hear her – only to have a gang of middle aged Daniel O’Donnell fans spend the entire time talking about the last D O’D concert they were at and then kept calling Mary a man. What part of Mary didn’t they understand?

14. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb - U2
Just because.

15. Nashville - Josh Rouse
Not quite as good as Home but still fantastic

16. Jacksonville City Lights - Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
He needs to appreciate the value of saving some stuff that one records while young to release posthumously. That said this is a return to form. Picked it over Cold Roses simply because it was released later and I’ve listened to it more.

17. Lonely Runs Both Ways - Allison Krauss and Union Station
Living Prayer is one of the most spiritually inspiring songs I’ve heard all year. Restless and Gravity are among her best. And she should have shamed Paul Brady who was at her concert in the Olympia, into never picking up a guitar and singing again.

18. Okemah and the Melody of Riot - Son Volt
I’m a big fan of Son Volt and was waiting for this album. No surprises really – so just really like it!

19. Cripple Crow - Devendra Banhart

In Reins – Iron and Wine/Calexico : Because having top 20 too excessive.
Picaresque – the Decembrists : Cool lyrics. Cool band
What I Really Mean - Robert Earl Keen
Amos Lee - Amos Lee
Souls Alike - Bonnie Raitt
Gimme Fiction - Spoon
Year of the Meteors - Laura Veirs
Blinking Lights and Other Revelations - Eels
Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple
The Outsider - Rodney Crowell
Fair & Square - John Prine
Back to Me - Kathleen Edwards
Early 21st Century Blues - Cowboy Junkies : Cowboy Junkies albums tend to sound the same – music to commit suicide to – bought this for covers of “Missing” by the Boss and One by U2. Was not disappointed.

RASPBERRY – Cure – Saw Doctors
Bought it at their last gig in the Olympia thinking the songs didn’t play had to be better than the ones they did. They’re not. Have listened to it 1 and half times. Can’t put myself through the pain again.

Of course, all of the above is only relevant until Westlife release their new album – then everything is subject to change!


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Jack Johnson

You can get your Jack Johnson tickets on Thursday for the Point.
If you can't wait until then (or Feburary when he's actually playing!) check out his video for Taylor featuring Ben Stiller. Very funny.
(you've to watch to the end of 30sec car ad and then it starts)


Christopher Hitchens on WMDs

and what you have to believe to believe that Bush lied -
We can now certify Iraq as disarmed, even if the materials once declared by the Saddam regime and never accounted for have still not been found. Why does this certified disarmament upset people so much? Would they rather have given Saddam the benefit of the doubt? Much more infuriating about the current anti-Chalabi hysteria is this: He turns up in Washington with a large delegation of Iraqi democrats, including a female Shiite ex-Communist, several Sunni dignitaries from the "hot" provinces, and the legendary Abdul Karim al-Muhammadawi, who led a genuine insurgency among the Marsh Arabs for 18 years. And the American left mounts a gargoyle picket line outside and asks silly and insulting questions inside, about a question that has already been decided. What a travesty this is. Not only do the liberal Democrats apparently want their own congressional votes from 1998 and 2002 back. It sometimes seems that they are actually nostalgic for the same period, when Saddam Hussein was running Iraq, and there were no coalition soldiers to challenge his rule, and when therefore by definition there was peace, and thus things were more or less OK. Their current claim to have been fooled or deceived makes them out, on their own account, to be highly dumb and gullible. But as dumb and gullible as that?

Verbal HyperProductivity

From the Telegraph Apparently the EC tried to fire this guy, Mr Sequeira after fears that he might whistle blow on some internal fraud - but they couldn't so they went down the road of trying to get him declared psychiatrically unwell and then fire him. Some of his symptoms were "verbal hyper-productivity" and a "lack of conceptual content in his speech." He was also considered to show "megalomania and paranoia" and "an astonishing lack of daily awareness in the world of work".
I wasn't the world's best psychiatry student by any means, so I couldn't pretend to comment on this with any knowledge, but this sounds all very mad to me.
My german teacher in school once told me that I was "intoxicated with the exburance of my own verbosity" (which is a Disraeli quote I think) - this however excludes my future employment in the lovely EU buildings in Brussels.
Yes that violent cracking noise is my heart breaking.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I was the one who told Kenny about the Irish

As a precocious 15 year old I wrote a letter to the Irish Independent bemoaning the appalling state of Irish education in primary schools following a particularly high rate of failures in Junior Certificate.
I complained about how I could barely string a few words together as gaelige (apart from "an bhfuil cead again dul go dti an leitreas?") despite learning Irish in school for 10 years. The little irish I had could be attributed solely to a few summers spent in the blissfully laid back Colaiste na bhFiann summer camps. (Yes, I'm being sarcastic - Colaiste na bhFiann, as enjoyable as it was, was akin to spending 3 weeks in the marines - complete with the raising of the flag every morning while singing the national anthem and being sent home if one sentence as bearla was spoken!)
I think I called for the abandonment of Irish as a compulsory subject - I can't really remember as the archives only go back to 1998.
While this letter earned me a certain notoriety in school (my Irish teacher was less than impressed) it did not make a public impression until now. I thank Enda Kenny, for bringing my ideas to the forefront of national debate.

(Yes, I realise I'm not the only one to have this idea, but I do like to think I was the first and that Inda was buying some fish and chips in Mayo wrapped with my letter and had a eureka-that'll-get-me-some-votes moment!)

Friday, November 11, 2005

More on "Mr Nice Guy"

Richard Delevan and that girl both take a similar line - disappointment is a bad word for Bertie to use when refering to the Ferns report.
I'm very disappointed in those that were given vocations in the Church fell into such horrible sins. I'm very disappointed that those who should appear as paragons of Christian virtue were actually raping little children. I'm very disappointed that the institutional Church did not serve as it should - as Christ's bride and that Bishops were blinded to the true nature of what was happening and what was needed to be done.
I'm also disappointed that as a Catholic who still goes to Mass and tries to discern a spiritual path in this materialistic world we live in, using the wisdom of 2000 years as my guide, that everytime my religion, my spirituality is discussed it is reduced to the sins of a few.
Disappointment is a good word. So is anger - I'm angry. Most ordinary Catholics in pews every Sunday are also angry. Angry that the Church didn't act quick enough. Angry that priests were allowed become so spiritually rotten that sexual expoitation of children became a reality, albeit in a small number. Angry that the vast majority of the encounters that we have with the Church and its ministers, and its schools, were on the whole positive and enriching experiences and are wholly forgotten about.
Angry that every anti-Catholic crank is using this as a platform to wallop the Chuch on every issue known to the disciples of modern liberalism.
I'm pretty sure Bertie feels the same.

Richard says But the issue of control of schools is where the Church will make its last stand for worldly power in Ireland. They will not give easily. And as today's remarks by Bertie make clear, they will have sympathetic allies at the very top.
This is all fine and well - I would much rather that the Catholic Church did not have anything with public schools. Leave religion out of schools and make it the responsibility of families and parishes to educate children in their religion. (Subsidarity, anyone?)
Saying that the Church has some power in schools is pushing it - religion is currently a fairly insipid part of education.
But what to do?
Buy the schools?
Even a FG/Labour gov't won't rise taxes enough to buy the schools. Not when people languish on A&E trolleys and spend whole days on the Red Cow roundabout.
Let's be sensible about this.
Eagle also weighs in.
I'm quite exercised by all this (as evidenced by rant below!) and will be checking in a lot about it over next few days even though I'll be studying for clinical parts of my finals next week and will have a slow dial up connection!


Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Witch Hunting We Will Go

Yesterday's Dail's debate is fairly illuminating in terms of what passes for, well, modern witch hunting in Ireland.
Instead of the Salem witch trials, we have the Ferns report.
Some of this stuff is just so random, my mind is spinning.
Liz O'Donnell - The unrelenting deference, which constituted the relations between church and State, must end. It was given for many decades and expected for many decades. This special deference and relationship was extremely influential in terms of outcome, and it must end. Only then can the State act as it should, which is objectively.
I fail to see the evidence of this great Church State monolith in 2005 Dublin. Or the Midlands. Is it somewhere else? When exactly has the State been blinded by its institutional Catholicism?
Because the church in Ireland was the main interface with God, the Irish people and the State have shown deference personally and collectively over many decades. This veil of deference is the root cause of society’s failure to stop the church’s systemic maladministration and dereliction of duty to protect children as outlined in the report.
Interface with God? What planet is LOD on? Obviously some intergalactical one - interfacing with God (some people call it praying) sounds like LOD watched a few too many Star Trek episodes.
This “no more Mr. Nice Guy” approach by the State means no longer countenancing the unhealthy enmeshing of the church in the secular layers of our society. It means no more consultation between church and State on IVF, abortion services, stem cell research, Ireland’s support for family planning in the Third World, contraception or supports for single mothers, adoption, homosexuality and civil marriage. In a democracy, all views can be articulated but the special relationship must be over. The deference must be over. The cosy phone calls from All Hallows to Government Buildings must end.
Democracy to LOD means allowing all other voices a respectful platform for their opinions on various moral issues, except the Catholic Church.
By suggesting that recent years have represented a "special relationship" for the Church is disingenuous. "Cosy phone calls" from All Hallows have not impacted on the implementation of any of LOD's wishlist - the democratic process, which was encouraged by the RC church, who conducted themselves in a manner befitting citizens of civil society, was the main theme of all the issues listed. That is except, “family planning" in the third world, which was the responsibility of LOD while minister, and she conveniently disregarded the increasing evidence that the UNFPA is becoming an increasingly malignant force in the world, in many cases condoning programmes which involve forced sterilisations and abortions, including China's infamous "one child policy".
This also means, like it or not, looking at the church’s almost universal control of education in this country.
Yes, the Church owns most of the schools in Ireland. Yes, the State pays for their day-to-day running costs. Yes, LOD, do that - divide up the school system - pay off the Church. Let the State buy every school and football pitch up and down the country at the going rate. Let the religious orders demand "money back" for all the sisters and brothers who toiled for years for nothing but the fulfilment of their vocation, educating the poor and the rich alike, building the educated and wealthy society that we have today.
Then LOD goes on about money and I got bored.
There is not a single person in Ireland who would admit that the Church has acted properly with regard to its tragic and appalling history of child sex abuse. It is interesting however to note, that the Church has currently instituted a full, comprehensive and well funded child protection policy.
The State has not. They have policies and consultancy groups, but no actual child protection programme. Perhaps LOD could "interface" with the State to ensure that those inevitable cases of child abuse that will arise in this imperfect world are minimised and handled appropriately.
LOD ends however with As one who has irreconcilable differences with the institution of the church, as is probably obvious, unless it allows the laity in, including women, it is in terminal decline
Whatever happened to live and live?. Attack the Church about its appalling history. Insist that it can never ever happen again. Ensure that structures are put in to ensure it won't.
But separate the issues.
LOD, you're either a practising Catholic or you're not.
And if you’re Catholic, check out Vatican II and the laity – you will be very surprised.

Get over it, honey - you can't be a priest in the RCC but rest assured, you're a fully signed up priestess of the new Irish secularism, armed with a Fendi crozier, an Irish Times Bible and enough bile to obliterate any pretensions of a pluralistic respect toward what is simultaneously believed to be a greying impotent force of irrelevancy and a powerful enforcer of a "rigid right wing morality".

Just when I thought the female politicians of the Dail couldn't get anymore shrill and sensationalist (and apparently according to the Democracy review people, us girls need more of them to speak for us - in reality we just need to muzzle the ones we have and allow women to achieve the last bastion of equality - the right to have political opinions as people, not just as the homogenous women) Liz McManus chips in.
If this is the logic that will prevail when the idiotic quotas come in, we're in for a short ride to hell in a hand basket - she faults LOD for rewriting history as the PDs have to accept for responsibility for all the things that LOD disagreed with including taking responsibility for trying to have a referendum on abortion passed which would have created a threat to the lives of young desperate pregnant women.
How one gets from Ferns to the 2002 Abortion Referendum is beyond me. I've taken off the contacts and put on my pink tinted post feminist glasses – I still can't see it. Is feminist/female politics simply about bringing everything back to same old agenda via the uterus?
Let's conveniently disregard the evidence that Ireland is one of the safest places in the world to be pregnant and that there is absolutely no treatment for ill pregnant women that is currently illegal, or would have been made illegal in 2002.
I'm still lost. Maybe it's because I didn't vote Labour. Perhaps it's because I don't consider Liz my sister. Or maybe, just maybe, abortion has nothing to do with Ferns. Maybe Catholics are allowed a voice in the democratic and political process. Perhaps the Catholic Church, being a religion and all that, are allowed to have moral positions on moral issues. And maybe, just maybe, the Christian ideal which Catholics strive to live by is not about child sex abuse, but rather the exact opposite - it's about dignity, respect, love, equality, forgiveness, courage, self-sacrifice and falling. Falling again and again until someday you stand a little bit longer because you've got someone else to lean on.
And maybe, the real issue here is how to deal with the sins of others and how to protect the innocent from the sinful actions of others within the Church. And moving on to a healthier place when it’s all done.
The 2 Lizs aren’t contributing anything to the necessary processes of purging and slow healing. They’re just a bad advertisement for women in politics. If political life saps all reason and perspective from the female brain, quotas should not be about increasing female representation, but decreasing it. The 2 Lizs believe that high heel stamping and bitchy comments are useful political statements. If that’s the best they can offer, pass me my Bridget Jones-type Diary and my big fluffy pink pen – I’m sick of politics.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Hot Press and Catholicism

Sue Denham, in her (or is it his??) usual snappy form, comments on the Hot Press picture of a priest masturbating (don't click if you don't want to see it!) She compares the lack of outcry (on Rte's Whineline) with the situation in Denmark where a paper depicted Mohammed as a terrorist which led to street protests and death threats.
As she said, Hot Press only was "kicking a soft target when it’s down".
I don't really see the relevance in the such a picture - it's not exactly highlighting anything no one knew before and is not just insulting to Catholics but to anyone who has an imagination and doesn't need to see actual depictions of masturbation, which are just gross. I can just see Niall Stokes in his little office, surrounded by his delusions of musical prophecy and the fragmented dreams of his intellectual liberal crendentials, with his face contorted from the strain of trying to be edgy and "cool".
The Catholic Church doesn't follow up every offensive picture or bigoted comment, and most times that there's outcry over things like this it's ordinary Catholics who've just had enough and want to make their voices heard. Perhaps it's time for the hand of the Church to grab that crozier that had everyone trembling in the past and stand up for itself against juvenile attempts at cleverness.
Hot Press give the picture the caption "the good priest". How dare they judge the entire population of Catholic priests in such a bigoted fashion? (Is the golden commandment of being non-judgemental not the most important part of the liberal gospel that Hot Press has been spouting with such originality since the eighties?)
The vast majority of Catholic priests are incredibly decent men whom we rightly welcome into our lives everytime we have a life changing event (births, deaths and marriage) and struggle heroically to live a life that is not just counter-cultural, but plain hard. Last Sunday, in a North Dublin inner city church a fresh faced priest in his early thirties told the congregation that the Ferns report showed what happens when we shut God out of our lives and refuse to rise to the challenge of Christianity. He spoke of his vocation to celibacy and how it was integral part of his identity as a man, not just as a priest. But according to Hot Press, this man whose daily life is to serve the people of his parish, something he does with charity, good humour and Christian love, is a sexual pervert who is one step away from molesting the nearest child. I suppose a daily musical diet of Damien Dempsey, Glen Hansard and the Thrills would cavitate one's brain and lead to all kinds of crazy conclusions.
Hot Press is a pretty pathetic excuse for a magazine - the free Event Guide is way better. In fact, any concert that I'm at where I see Niall Stokes leads to a mini internal crisis - I like the same stuff as Niall Stokes - does that mean I'm pretentious whiny posturer? (please say no!)


Friday, November 04, 2005

Blogging again

I've decided to start blogging again. Not that I really think that many people are interested! I've probably lost my tiny readership with my hiatus.
I'm not the only Irish blogger on a break - Atlantic Commentator, alt-tag and Richard Delevan are pretty quiet these days and even the formerly hopping Freedom Institute seem tame.
I'm blogging mainly becuase I'm bored studying for my finals. What is it with studying and blogging? Why does the first inspire the second?
I gave up after June simply because I was down the country in a broadband free zone with a useless eircom landline connection. My whole town were told by eircom that their modems were broken and then eircom finally figured that it was their own fault that no one could connect - and still haven't fixed it!
I was quite surprised how quickly the summer months flew by when I was only living on a daily ration of the front page of National Review and maybe the Corner if the connection lasted that long. So I read lots of books and listened to loads of CDs.
Back in Dublin I resolved to turn anew to my studies. Which worked for about 37 minutes. Followed by a return to checking my daily top 10 sites and blogs.
And on the rainy afternoon after my first written paper of my finals, I've decided to start again.
So watch this space. I'm back.

P.S. The comments seem to have been taken over by random spammers - will be back soon.