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13th Jun, 2017


"My body, my choice"

"If a lie is repeated often enough, it's believed." P.J.Goebbels (1897-1945) - Hitler's propaganda chief.

"We do not want to be a movement of a few straw brains, but rather a movement that can conquer the broad masses. Propaganda should be popular, not intellectually pleasing. It is not the task of propaganda to discover intellectual truths. Those are found in other circumstances. I find them when thinking at my desk, but not in the meeting hall".

"The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative".

"My Party is my church".

10th Jun, 2017



I’m neither a liberal nor a conservative. I’m a Catholic.

7th Jun, 2017


"And peace comes dropping slow"

"And peace comes dropping slow."  Yeats in Lake Isle of Inishfree.

What the hell is this peace we hear so much about?

At a personal level, I suppose, it's a state of spiritual tranquillity, harmony and emotional calm.

At a world level it would be a period in which there is no conflict or war. This kind of peace involves compromise and requires active listening and communication to create genuine mutual understanding. Isn't this ideal of world peace an impossible dream? The First World War was supposed to be the “war to end war”. But warfare is very much still with us in the 21st Century.

Does the ideal of world peace need to start with personal peace, or is there really no connection between these two? If so, how move from one to the other? Can the achievement of world peace be lead by any existing religious or secular organization?

6th Jun, 2017


A Strange Desire in us

"When you think about it, a wholesale attack on religion is actually an attack on human history, human nature and the human race because the religious instinct is so natural to us and so universal and has such various forms and is so old that you can't separate religion from humanity itself and pretend you can attack one without attacking the other as well".  (David Quinn)

"Even Sartre acknowledged as much when he claimed that man's absurdity is that he desires God, but there is no God". (Paul Rhodes)

5th Jun, 2017


(no subject)

I thought this interesting. Source unknown.
"Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigdew Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteeter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe."

30th May, 2017


There is no good medicine without ethics!

There is a great activity going on in Ireland at present in an effort to get the Church out of any form of public life, schools, hospitals, law, politics etc. The Sisters of Charity have had hospitals - both private and public on one site in Dublin for many years. The Government wanted to add a maternity hospital on the same site but the Sisters were afraid of a change  ethos this might bring with it.

The Sisters have finally decided to quit their hospitals alltogether. But society still needs to decide what kind of ethos will govern these hospitals. Should the ethos be one that allows doctors to kill the unborn, the old and the infirm in certain circumstances or not? An ethic that allows doctors to kill is a corruption of real medicine.

What is the best kind of medical ethics? There is no medicine without ethics. Hospitals don’t need to be under church or religious influence but they cannot exist without an ethos.

Medicine has three main purposes: to prevent and cure diseases, and to take care of patients. There is an intrinsic good (health) that we discover through science and we preserve and re-establish through practice.This understanding of medicine doesn’t require a particular religious faith but it is nonetheless intrinsically ethical. It is inspired by a certain conception of the good (health) that we find in human nature through the correct use of reason. The principle of “do not harm”, which has guided health care since ancient times, has the form of an ethical imperative.

Not everything that happens in a hospital or a clinic is medicine. Not all interventions that alter our bodies surgically or chemically are medicine. Getting your facial features surgically changed to look more like your music idol is not medicine. Killing the unborn because he/she was unplanned or is disabled is not medicine. Augmenting your muscles through drugs to win a weightlifting contest is not medicine. Facilitating suicide is not medicine.

There is no good medicine without ethics. Hospitals don’t need to be under church or religious influence but they cannot exist without an ethos, without values. When their core value is not health – an intrinsic good indicated by human nature- they don’t serve medicine anymore but trends, ideologies, business.

27th May, 2017


(no subject)

One of the best proverbs in Irish.

"Is minic a bhris béal duine a shrón."

(It's often a person's mouth broke his nose.)

20th May, 2017



Coptic clerics are at present visiting Dublin. I wish them a Céad Míle Fáilte. Over the years I have developed a special grá for the Coptic Church.

Coptic Orthodox priest Fr Tom Flanagan and his wife Bay lived here in Wexford. Sadly Tom passed away last May. Born in Plymouth, Fr Flanagan grew up with Irish roots. His father was from W
aterford and mother from Ringaskiddy.

He studied for the priesthood in Egypt and later went to Spain where he became coach to the national Spanish rugby team. He served as a referee for 18 international rugby games. His sporting interest also spread to the world of tennis. He was a tennis coach to many renowned players, including champions Virginia Wade and Sue Barker.

In Ireland he ministered to the Egyptian, Ethiopian, Sudanese and Syrian communities. Being from the ancient Coptic Orthodox religion, he often jokingly said that he was the only 'real' priest in Ireland.

Fr Flanagan was a great friend of ours and visited us. He had a witty nature and sense of fun and is sadly missed on the streets of Wexford.

18th May, 2017



I'm reflecting again! Many people today, it seems, speak of the primacy of conscience and the right to follow one’s conscience, when what they’re really arguing for, isn’t conscience as understood in the natural law tradition but in terms of a noble-sounding excuse for moral relativism. Once a person invokes the word “conscience,” we’re all expected to fall silent, and neither criticize nor question a person’s moral actions (or inactions).

This is a poor view of conscience. It reduces "morality" to one's personal feelings about this or that moral action or issue. It ignores the absolute obligation to do good and avoid evil, and some actions are,  by the their very nature, good or evil.
The work of conscience is to judge whether actions are good or evil. Some people follow the prevalent, distorted, view of conscience claiming that actions don’t have true moral qualities, but are only good or evil when I name them to be good or evil. But that’s not the proper work of conscience.

I must recognize the truly good as good and the truly evil as evil. “I’m following my conscience" as the basis of morality, is really no morality. The appeal to conscience, and the insistence on following one’s conscience, only make sense if we can know with assurance the true moral qualities of actions and can live our obligation to do what we know is good and to avoid what we know is evil.

Of course there are legitimately moral areas about which honourable people may disagree. There is a right to follow one’s conscience if we equally insist on our duty to have a well-formed conscience. At a minimum, that duty will include informing ourselves about ethical norms, acting according to it, and taking responsibility for our actions.

13th May, 2017



There was a great brouhaha in Ireland last week about Stephen Fry's 'blasphemy' on a TV programme. It set me thinking about the ancient Ten Commandments of Judaism and Christianity. For thousands of years they provided a code of conduct that honoured family, protected life, secured property, defined boundaries, enhanced trust and secured a sound foundation for cohesive and productive social interaction. They seem to have endured because they offered a blueprint for navigating the human struggle to live well with other humans.

Have they anything to say to us in this digital age? Could you name them?

They still talk to us about healthy relationships (parent-child relationships, adultery). They remind us to slow down and reflect (Sabbath). They help us to use social media well (engaging rather than lurking on social media). They point us outside ourselves (no selfies, we aren’t the centre of the universe). They help us express our values (profanity, taboos). They help protect our personal property (hacking, plagiarism, theft). They set out the value of human life (innocent life, violent crime rates, war, murders).

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