Columbans Ireland

Nov 24th
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Old Labels, New Culprits?

As nations began to rise up against the prevailing colonial powers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the media outlets of those powers depicted those who led such uprisings in as derogatory language as was media-correct at the time. General descriptions given by the prevailing colonial rulers against the ruled disobedient judged them as ungrateful, ignorant, indolent, feckless, uncultured and lazy. In describing their former colonised in such light the colonial powers were justifying the terrorism, oppression, depravity and slavery used against them for the promotion of their own aristocratic interests. Those undeserving, rebellious, rioting mobs who sought their self-rule deserved punishment which was then meted out in the form of reparations, trade restrictions and levies. Haiti is a prime example. In other words, people seeking freedom, democracy, dignity and self-rule, like their rulers enjoyed, deserved reprisals

Faith and the Hungry Grass

I do not know whether or not this book will prove to be a classic over the coming years. It does deserve a new audience. It might be that the first publication of this book and now the reissue can form the opening and closing of a parenthesis after which a new work of Church re-foundation can begin."

This book was first published in Dublin in 1990. It has been re-issued as a Columba Classic. A classic is a work which transcends its own time and finds a new readership which derives profit and pleasure from it. Its becoming a classic indicates it has something to say to a new generation and a new cultural context. The work itself is esteemed to have almost the same relevance and importance as it had at the time of its first appearance. 


Greening Christmas

Greening ChristmasIt must be one of the great ironies of modern times that our annual celebration of the one who had “no place to lay his head” should be such a burden for planet earth. In her guide to greening Christmas in the magazine, The Ecologist , Ruth Style writes that in Britain, the annual festive jamboree is seriously bad news for the planet with the week long celebrations producing around 5.5 per cent of the UK’s total annual carbon emissions. And it isn’t just emissions that are a problem. The Royal Mail will deliver 150 million cards every day over the Christmas period – the equivalent of 17 for every man, woman and child in the country – but up to a billion will end up in landfill. 50,000 trees will be cut down to produce the 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper needed to brighten up the gifts we hand out to our family and friends.

Leaving Home, Coming Home

Leaving Home, Coming HomeJoseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left that night for Egypt. (Mt.2-14)

For many emigrants the heaviest burden is isolation, the loss of family and friend networks, of community, an alienation that is felt particularly in times of crisis. (Irish Times,1/11/12)

Over the past several years many new people have arrived in Ireland from countries throughout the world in search of a better life like the Irish who emigrated in the past. Now, young Irish people are leaving, like their forebears, to seek a better life elsewhere. Economic failures throw people out of their usual habitats in search of an opportunity to be creative and be contributors to their own wellbeing. For both those coming and going, particularly in modern times, there is a strong hope that the outward journey, filled with hope, will eventually lead to a return journey home.

The situation of these people and their children who have to leave home find themselves betwixt and between. They are border people, looking back over their shoulders. They have left comfortable lifestyles, jobs they thought were secure, mortgages on family homes, children’s schools, social familiarity, faith communities and the comfort of the familiar. Now, they have to cope with new skylines, strange signs and symbols, in a new learning curve trying to make the unfamiliar comfortable to themselves and family members. Like many emigrants with young families, initially they assume that their children will be like their counterparts back where they left. Liminality, being neither here nor there, has become for many temporary normality.

Vincent Twomey on the future of the Irish Church

Vincent Twomey on the future of the Irish Church"I am convinced that the time has come to take a look at the life of the Catholic Church in Ireland as a whole, not just aspects of it taken piecemeal. This broad enquiry must be undertaken in such a way that the major areas of concern can be examined in the light of the immediate past and against that broader vision which theology is meant to provide. It is time, in other words, to take a long, hard, and above all, critical look at where we are, how we got there, and how we might face the future."
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