National Maternity Hospital protestors know no better

It fascinates me that whenever there is a street demonstration in Ireland against the alleged influence of nuns – as there has been in connection with the proposed National Maternity Hospital adjacent to St Vincent’s – protesters come out with the catchphrase, often painted on banners: “Get your Rosaries/Off our ovaries.” This snappy campaign cry…

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Football: It’s a metaphor of life…

I’m not sure I could give a coherent description of the protocols of association football, were I quizzed on the subject: the ‘off-side’ rule has been explained to me many times, but I still don’t quite grasp it. It was lovely to see the euphoric delight expressed by the Italian fans in celebration” And yet,…

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Kindness: Christian virtue or health advice?

I’m fascinated by the way that old ideas often return wearing new livery. The latest health advice against Covid-19, and other ailments is – ventilation. That is, a dose of fresh air which Florence Nightingale was advocating back in the 1850s, and which every convent school practiced, before the era of the (less healthy) air…

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Don’t scold – explain the facts

The World Health Organisation has been issuing advice to women: do not drink any alcohol during your childbearing years. Because most women, from adolescence to menopause, are likely to become mothers, and boozing mothers can produce infants with the distressing Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. I wonder if I had been given such advice, when I was…

Our unforgiving world…

One of the most comforting aspects of Catholic Christianity is that its ethos is forgiving. Whatever sins or transgressions you may have committed, they will be forgiven (after due repentance). We have the words of the Saviour himself that it is a faith for sinners. Worldly practices How different from many of the worldly practices…

Life stories…

“Will you watch the new film, The 8th, about the 2018 referendum?” I asked a friend who had canvassed for the pro-life cause in that plebiscite. “Through gritted teeth,” she replied. The film was, as the film critic Donald Clarke put it, “ecstatic” for its’ natural constituency – that is, the pro-choice side. (It is…

Diana really wanted to do ‘that’ interview…

Over the past week or so, the BBC’s globally-famous interview with Princess Diana in 1995 has come back to haunt the corporation. Accusations – and evident proof – of underhand and deceptive methods of gaining access to Diana have emerged. Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, has shown that the interviewer, Martin Bashir, used forged documents to…

Individuals and communities…

England was merry this past week as bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and art galleries opened up – Church services had been available for weeks. But people were urged to be cautious. The message from the authorities was insistant: “don’t think as an individual: think of how your behaviour may affect others.” Cultural nudge In its…