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22nd Sep, 2017



It's amazing what an old eighty-five year old like me reads about nowadays. This morning I was reflecting on what real beauty is, whether it is attainable, and how? During the week while on my evening stroll I saw young fifteen-year-olds heading off to celebrate the results of a state examination. My, oh my, a page or two from the evening newspaper would have over-dressed the young girls!

Apparently France has recently banned underweight girls and child models (under 16) being used on catwalks. Young people's health is now becoming a priority and will require a doctor's cert for those on catwalks.

What’s more, the new decrees will also affect the way models are perceived by the general public. Any digitally altered image destined for commercial use will have to be labelled with "retouched photograph".  Now we’ll know that the "perfect" image we see on the catwalk and in magazines is not quite what it seems.

In a society where a man's or a woman’s image has been reduced to a single aspect of the body, the youngest are the most vulnerable. Adolescents, especially those who don't have much self-esteem, want to identify. Our little imperfections are a reflection of our true selves. We can’t erase the parts we don’t like.

19th Sep, 2017



Talking about spirituality and religion. This afternoon I attended the funeral of a Religious Sister whose convent is just across the road from me. She had spent 76 years in the enclosed convent and received the full liturgical Christian burial ritual of the Catholic Church.

  I have never had the experience of attending the funeral of a non-believer. How and where is such a funeral   'ritualized', if at all? Is there a standard procedure? I presume many take place in a crematorium. How is the life of such a non-believer celebrated on his/her death?

18th Sep, 2017



We hear this often in Ireland now - but what does it mean? It certainly signifies an aversion to being called ‘religious’. To be ‘religious’ has connotations of being a ‘Holy Joe’, or being regimented and of being unwilling to think for oneself, or of being ‘dogmatic’. But who would want to be considered any of these things?

Being ‘spiritual’ is a way of saying you appreciate there is more to life than the merely material, that there are higher things you should be in touch with, but at the same time you are not hidebound with dogma.

Calling yourself ‘spiritual but not religious’ is, no doubt, a product of a highly individualistic age in which people are very reluctant to admit or imply that they have given up any part of their freedom to something bigger than themselves, something that has rules and expectations such as a religious community or a political party. A kind of floating voter!

If a person rejects much of what the Catholic Church believes and only attends Mass for weddings and the like, and belongs to no other religion, then they should tick the ‘none’ box in a Census form. Can someone who rejects much of what the Catholic Church teaches, and almost never attends Mass, still consider oneself to be a Catholic as some do?

Was Jesus Himself religious?  Many would say that he wasn't. He certainly wasn’t hidebound, nor did he seem very ritualistic in his habits, and he stood up to the religious authorities of his day.

One might sum up, I suppose, by saying that when someone says they are not religious, it doesn’t mean they have rejected religion per se. What it seems to mean is that they have rejected or are uncomfortable with a certain form of religiosity.
This, I think, would describe the position of many modern Irish 'Catholics'.

14th Sep, 2017



10th Sep, 2017



This life will go by fast! Don’t criticize your body so much; don’t complain so much! Don’t lose sleep over your bills. Look for the person who makes you happy.
Don’t worry so much about buying luxuries and comforts for your home, and don’t kill yourself trying to leave an inheritance for your family. Those benefits should be earned by each person, so don’t dedicate yourself to accumulating money.
Travel; enjoy your journeys; see new places; give yourself the pleasures you deserve. Don’t put away the fine glassware. Use the new dinnerware; don’t save your favourite perfume – use it, even when you go out by yourself; wear out your favourite sports shoes; repeat your favourite clothes. So what?
Why not now? Take this challenge that is life, and do it now…….. love more; forgive more; embrace more; love more intensely and leave the rest in God’s hands.

28th Aug, 2017



Excellent homily yesterday from our  Bishop in which he discusses five things Christians must publicly witness to:

1. The sacredness and dignity of all human life;
2. The uniqueness of love and marriage between a man and a woman that is open to the gift of children as fruit of that love.
3. The need for a fair distribution of the worlds goods
4. Welcoming the stranger and those who are persecuted
5. The importance of respecting the environment and caring for the Earth.

25th Aug, 2017


Nella Fantasia

I wonder will we ever see these words realised?

"Nella Fantasia" is a song sung in Italian based on the theme "Gabriel's Oboe" from the film The Mission (1986). With music by composer Ennio Morricone and Italian lyrics by Chiara Ferraù, "Nella Fantasia" was originally released in 1998 by Sarah Brightman. It has since been covered by many artists. Sung here by Nathan Pacheco.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPL-MIKgGPk (English Lyrics):

In my fantasy I see a just world
Where everyone lives in peace and honesty
I dream of a place to live that is always free
Like a cloud that floats
Full of humanity in the depths of the soul

In my fantasy I see a bright world
Where each night there is less darkness
I dream of souls that are always free
Like the cloud that floats

In my fantasy exists a warm wind
That breathes into the city, like a friend
I dream of souls that are always free
Like the cloud that floats.

22nd Aug, 2017



I hate tattoos. I feel that powder and paint and cheap jewellery destroy the true beauty of a girl (or boy). They are artificial. Even more so do I hate tattoos!

Originally tattoos were used by sailors from the east and were a male-only domain. Now everyone seems to wear them - horrible! Like rings in the nose or elsewhere on the body, they are thought to be decorative or symbolic. But beautiful - definitely not! I can understand when small tattooing is used to convey medical information (blood group, medical condition, etc).

Because tattooing requires breaking the skin it must carry health risks like infection and allergic reactions, not to mention the use of unsterilised equipment by the tattooist. Has he/she to be licenced? Are tattoos permanent? Is it expensive to get a tattoo?

Is getting a tattoo accepted by religious authorities? I'm sure it is hardly encouraged, although it frequently involves using religious images.

21st Aug, 2017


The Rose of Tralee

The "Rose of Tralee" Annual Festival is in full swing here at the moment. It's largely a beauty contest which brings young women of Irish descent from around the world to County Kerry for a global celebration of Irish culture and based on the line "It was not her beauty alone that won me" from the traditional song sung by the great Irish tenor, John McCormack (1930)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UjhVYn_Y9M  This is the 58th year of the festival.

20th Aug, 2017



I find the readings in Church this morning (Is 56:6-7, Rm 11-13,  Mt 15:21-28) very relevant for what is going on in Charlottesville in the US at present.

Irrespective of our race, religion, colour, or nationality there must be a dynamic tolerance that can help us embrace the other as brother or sister.

We live in paradoxical times. Inspite of growing globalization we face the reality of growing narrow-mindedness, ethnocentrism, and tribalism. Religious fundamentalism, cultural intolerance, and national jingoism, are on the rise.

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