A shortage of priests? The answer is obvious…
I heard yet another sermon last Sunday in which the priest, speaking about the need for evangelisation, lamented the current shortage of priestly vocations. His sermon was well-constructed – this was in the Dublin diocese – and he spoke well, but he was old, and there was a perceptible note of weariness in his voice. He…
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New report or old stereotype?
A new report issued by the Central Statistics Office claims that Irish Protestants live longer than Irish Catholics – comparing 563 Protestant deaths per 100,000 persons as against 660 Catholic deaths. One historian, Dr Ida Milne, attributed this trend to Protestants probably having a thriftier and more frugal lifestyle. Protestants see thrift as a virtue –…
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In this attitude, Ireland was by no means unique
What happened to former Garda Majella Moynihan – pressurised into yielding her baby son for adoption, back in the 1980s, after she became pregnant out of wedlock – is distressing and upsetting. And it’s certainly unjust that women were stigmatised when this happened while the fathers were seldom held responsible for a pregnancy they had…
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Let’s hear it for dad’s day
Mother’s Day is a very old tradition – linked both with ‘Lady Day’, being the Feast of the Annunciation, and ‘Mothering Sunday’, when apprentices had time off to return to their mother-village. Father’s Day is of more recent coinage, launched in America in 1910, by one Sonora Smart Dodd, wishing to honour her father, who…
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An exam test when bereavement strikes…
A relative of mine lost her father – to whom she was especially close – just as she was about to face her Leaving Cert exam. There was no option at the time but to proceed with the exam, despite her grief. She got through with distinction. Possibly, having to do the Leaving Cert gave…
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Is there a moral dimension to the Maria Bailey saga?
Is there a morality lesson to be drawn from the saga of Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey and her episode on the hotel swing? As is widely known, Ms Bailey sat on an indoor swing in a Dublin hotel, fell backwards and suffered hurt to hips, lower back and head from the fall. In consequence,…
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A more spiritual treatment of divorce
The streets have been plastered with posters for this week’s divorce referendum, bearing the words: “Help reduce financial distress – vote Yes” and “Help reduce emotional distress – vote Yes”. All advertising is effective, so I daresay this sells its message successfully enough. Though I found myself thinking sceptically that it might be more honest…
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Life isn’t always rosy, but Que Sera, Sera
I don’t think I ever really understood loneliness when I was younger. Feeling lonely? Then join a club, develop an interest, get involved with a social project. The solution is in your own hands! But perhaps we grow more understanding with age – hopefully so, anyway – and I have come to empathise, much more than…
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The quiet referendum
I have been surprised by how quiet the national conversation has been about the coming divorce referendum – if there has been a meaningful national conversation at all. In 1995 (and during the two previous divorce referenda), the newspapers blazed with contesting opinions and the airwaves filled with heated debate. Perhaps louder debate will be engaged…
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Sex education is just 
not that easy to teach
When people of my generation look back at the subject of sex education, I think many would conclude that it was frankly woeful. Basically, there wasn’t any ‘education’ in what was then known, euphemistically, although not untruthfully, as ‘the facts of life’. It was considered indelicate to explain too much, and much energy was expended…
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