Showing posts from March, 2018

Is it time for Pope Francis to apologise to the Irish people?

At an estimated cost of €20 million to the Irish people, the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland in August promises to be a very different affair from the emotional 1979 tour in which Pope John Paul II seemed to capture the hearts and minds of a generation.

Given how poorly the Vatican has dealt with a litany of scandals involving the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, many people are now beginning to ask whether the current pontiff has a duty to offer a full apology to the Irish people.

Who should he meet and what should he say during his August visit to the island?

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has told the Irish media that he would like to visit a prison during his August trip.

“He’d like to go to a prison,” Archbishop Martin said last December. “Everywhere he goes, he goes to a prison.”

The Papal visit looks set to be a pivotal moment for the Catholic Church, recovering lost trust after years of scandals involving clerical sex abuse, the enslavement of women in …

'Japa Ireland' and an appalling abuse of trust

“Go to India,” they said, over and over again.

“It will change your life.”

With all we heard about the imprisonment of women in Magdalene Laundries, the appalling treatment of women and children in Mother and Baby homes, and the criminal cover-ups of sex abuse by members of the clergy, it was inevitable many members of my generation would turn our backs on the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland.

And yet there is such a huge spiritual side to our ‘Irishness’, so evident in the traditions and rituals which pre-date the arrival of Christianity to our island,  that many of us have set out in search of new outlets far removed from the Catholic traditions we grew up with.

But is it the case that in some cases we have swapped one group of abusers for another?

And that some people have turned a blind eye when alerted to abuse by colleagues or ‘teachers’, just as the Bishops used to move child rapists from one parish to another without any concern for the welfare of future victims?

This week, I…

For Peter and the families, it's personal ...

Imagine you are 70 years old. Throughout your life you have dealt with the stigma of being branded as ‘illegitimate’ and your long quest to find your birth mother had ended in a Magdalene Laundry, where she had lived for over 30 years.You used to visit her every fortnight, after managing to track her down, although the nuns warned you to pretend that she was your aunt. They told you they would prevent you from visiting if you told the other inmates the truth about your relationship with your own mother and it used to pain you to see the defeat, the lack of sparkle, in her eyes.Together with the other inmates, she washed and cleaned the clothes of the great and the good around the city and county. For years, she never ventured outside the laundry walls even though she was just minutes from the heart of the city.But you kept the relationship going, and enthused about how her spirit lifted just a little after you married and she met her first grandchild. You saw flickers of her spirit on…

When pro-Government 'spin' erodes trust in our media

How much do you trust the news you read?

Do you trust the newspaper you buy or website you visit for the latest updates to tell you the truth and hold the powerful to account?

Do you expect journalists to report accurately, to investigate the truth behind the news, and sometimes to annoy those in power in the course of carrying out their duties?

Or have you become disillusioned or cynical about what you read in your news feed?

Laughing at 'fake news'

In Ireland last year, we laughed with bewilderment at President Donald J. Trump and his obsession with “fake news”.

Already shocked by his election the previous November, we were fascinated by the dispute which arose over the size of the crowd at his inauguration in January 2017.

How did something so trivial, so unimportant, become headline news for days? Why did it become such a bone of contention with the new leader?

It was amazing to see the new President of the United States claim that the crowd went “all the way back to the Wa…