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

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Predatory Wasp of the Christian Fundamentalists is Out to Get Us!

Maman Poulet is fact finding again.

Based on her previous attempts at this, I wasn’t expecting any great emphasis on facts.

For example she dismissed Professors Patricia Casey and Linda Waite as wingnuts not so long ago – a difficult claim to make in isolation, as at the time, one of their “opponents” in the Zappone-Gilligan case was Professor Daniel Maguire, a man well known for his own brand of fictional moral theology. She also dismissed Dr Finola Kennedy for being a mouthpiece of the Legion of Mary, ignoring her academic and professional qualifications for her appointment to the Working Group on Domestic Partnership – I was expecting a similarly detailed post on each member of the working group but was destined to be disappointed.

This time, in what is fated to be one of the most boring “watches” in the Irish blogsphere, she is letting loose with the “David Quinn watch”.

David Quinn, like most journalists, has moved between 4 papers in the last 6-7 years - not exactly a flighty career trajectory. Unusual among many Irish commentators (Vincent Browne, for example) he has principles based on a world view and remains fairly true to them. Quinn has now moved on to a new venture – the Iona Institute. The Iona Institute is fairly upfront about its aims - it’s dedicated to the strengthening of civil society by making the case for marriage and religion. It also helpfully provides a list of patrons and directors with minibiographies.

Hardly nation threatening stuff.

Suzy of course disagrees – she’s expecting Michael McDowell to go after Iona with a big stick. Why?

Well, as any self-respecting Irish liberal knows, anything resembling a conservative view point is always funded by American christian fundamentalists. (And of course the funding is always secret)

The possibility that something like Iona might be funded by Irish donors – business people or ordinary people – is simply inconceivable (although in this case, I suspect, very true)

It’s funny how seldom we see claims that oganisations like the KALcase fund or the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (picked at random!) are being funded by shady revenues from an Elton John single.

Suzy also stoops to easy (and lazy) ridicule describing the research Iona intends to do in inverted commas and mentions the word “fiction” a lot.

Her hysteria about a new Irish organisation, honest about its aims and structure, headed by a man, David Quinn, whose opinions are well known and to my mind, well articulated seems rather excessive. Especially when dialogue about the issues the Iona Institute are interested in, is pointless in the echo chamber that Suzy seems to prefer.

(post title is a tribute to the great Sufjan Stevens – whose Christmas albums are still keeping me enthralled)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Vatican Embraces Wilde

Father Leonardo Sapienza, head of protocol at the Vatican embraces Oscar Wilde's literary and Catholic legacy in a new book entitled "Provocations: Aphorisms for an Anti-conformist Christianity. The author says he wanted to “stimulate a reawakening in certain Catholic circles”. Christianity was intended to be a radical cure, not a humdrum remedy for the common cold: “Our role is to be a thorn in the flesh, to move people’s consciences and to tackle what today is the No 1 enemy of religion — indifference.” I love Oscar Wilde's work and find his life fascinating. It'll be interesting to see the reaction of more "conservative" catholics to this development.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sad News

Whien I read that Elizabeth Fox-Genovese had died, I was saddened that I would not be reading any more fantastic books like "Feminism is Not the Story of my Life".
Robert P. George says this about her in NRO -

"Elizabeth Fox-Genovese was a scholar as notable for her bravery as for her brilliance. After what she described as her “long apprenticeship” in the world of secular liberal intellectuals, it was careful reflection on the central moral questions of our time that led her first to doubt and then to abandon both liberalism and secularism. Needless to say, this did not endear her to her former allies."