Need we dump budget fashion?

One of the most cheerful developments over the course of my lifetime has been the advent of cheap clothes. In my mother’s generation, elegant garments were beyond the reach of most people, and especially most women, who often yearned for pretty things. Look at the photographs of yesteryear: people of means did have decent clothes,…

Faith conflicts in marriage

It is often said that the bias against ‘mixed marriages’ – between partners of different religions – was cruel, and that the Ne Temere decree of 1908 was destructive of community and familial relationships. Yet it would be illusionary to pretend that no conflicts arise when a couple have different religious backgrounds or convictions, and…

We owe a lot to the dear little cow

I had my first hip replacement surgery when I was in my 40s – the youngest person in the hospital to have had that particular operation. It arose from a congenital joint defect I’d been born with, but had gone undetected, except for an increasing limp through my adult years. I was warned that a second…

A disability campaigner is a welcome face

I hear the words “Marie Antoinette” increasingly used about Meghan, Duchess of Sussex – invoking the late (largely naïve) Queen of France as a symbol of privilege without responsibility. “Doing a Marie Antoinette” is shorthand for availing of every entitlement possible while play-acting at being just a simple milkmaid or shepherdess. Duchess Meghan’s latest caper…

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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