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A Love Divided

FethardAll last week we had a scandal here in Ireland and in Greece about abducted children. I am reminded by this of a film (1999) called A Love Divided about a real-life scandal between Protestants and Catholics that took place in a small village near me here in Co. Wexford in the '50s.

Seán Cloney, a Catholic, married his Protestant girlfriend Sheila Kelly. They had two daughters, Eileen and Mary who Sheila agreed to baptise in their local Catholic Church. In the case of a mixed marriage like this the Catholic Church demands that the children of the marriage be brought up and educated as Catholics. Some years later Fr. Stafford the parish priest reminded them of this and insisted Eileen attend the Catholic school. Sheila disagreed and all hell broke loose leading to a boycott of the minority Protestant community in the area. Seán tried to uphold his part of the bargain and Sheila, feeling betrayed by her husband for supporting the priest, ran off with her girls.
Was she a little naïve when she agreed to that pledge to raise the girls in the Catholic Church?

Anyway, in this case, there was a happy ending and love won out. The pair came together again and the children were educated at home. Sheila died only a few years ago and Seán a few years previous.


I'm a child of a "mixed marriage" and was raised "sort of Catholic". My father had no objections as he didn't much believe in religion.

Maybe that still goes on in Ireland. Here people raise their children as they see fit no matter what.
I didn't realize the Catholic Church wielded such power.
See my comment below.
I don't think she was naive at all as such a pledge had and has no legal binding whatever and I know the Catholic church still tries to extract such pledges as it happened to a friend of ours of no particular faith who had the courage to say no with the agreement of his Catholic wife who was given a hard enough time that she left the faith- I can't see that as being particularly constructive.
Do pledges of any kind mean nothing anymore? Why make them if they mean so little?

I referred here only recently to our Deputy Prime Minister, a professed Atheist, swearing on oath to uphold our Constitution which begins:

"In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred, . . ."

Edited at 2013-10-28 09:26 (UTC)
One of the things about Quakers is that we refuse oaths (swearing on or by a holy book for example) and this is one of the reasons why.

Edited at 2013-10-28 11:49 (UTC)
But do ordinary promises mean anything, then?
Does the promise of "I do take you . . ." etc in any wedding setting mean what it says?
A promise means only what the person sincerely believes and agrees to.
Other people's imposed "promises" mean nothing.
You can't ascent to something you don't believe.
People say set words because it is easier just to say them that make a fuss about words.
I refuse to say "one nation under god" in the american pledge.
I usually stand mute when the pledge is said as it is done all the time everywhere here. Usually no one notices.
When I was president of an organization that started every meeting with the pledge i called upon other members to lead it. They thought I was being charmingly inclusive by having members be part of the opening.

As to weddings - where it is permitted by the officiant, people increasingly write their own promises. These can be a bit strange but they are heartfelt.
The next time I promise to return a loan I'll keep my options open!
it's why we have a worthless mortgage crisis
An ordinary promise has no legal binding, but legally binding oaths seem to suggest a dual standard of truth. Truth is truth. When I made my commitment at our wedding (which was civil, not religious) that was a personal commitment, which isn't quite the same thing as a vow or oath.

Edited at 2013-10-29 12:28 (UTC)