The Catholic Irishman

I am human. I am a man. I am Catholic. I am Irish.

For Pete’s Sake and Poor Irish Men

imageLet me tell you about Pete, the everyday young Irish man. Just today I was conversing with a woman (we will refer to as Meg) who expressed concern about her daughter (Joan) and a relationship Joan has been in for three years to a thirty three year old man (Pete). She is understandably concerned about Joan because Pete is now an established professional, who receives a sizable salary with good career prospects. Still, despite all this, Pete refuses to commit to Joan. Joan is twenty-nine years old and longs to start a family. She wants to settle down, with a home and family to build, nurture and develop, with little voices filling the hallways. She has discussed her desires often with Pete but recently, in conversation, he replied sternly, “I am not yet psychologically, emotionally nor spiritually ready for marriage.”

So what is the dilemma? Although Pete is surely blameworthy here, the trouble with Pete’s words is not only a problem with Pete so much as it is also an issue with modern Western culture in general. Not to beat you over the head with it but we know, in the past thirty years, Ireland has experienced a financial boom where the citizens have enjoyed a flourishing economy complete with many wonderful entertainments and bourgeois style luxuries. Humans today live more extravagantly than the litany of kings of old. It seems to many that we will never have to struggle again.

The Irish have a long history of being poor. We have always been a nation of people who have had to rely on surviving on the bare minimum. There was scarce opportunity for advancement from one’s station and so we accepted and dealt with it by bonding together as family, neighbour, community or nation. Most people had to scrape and claw for every morsel of food that graced their timeworn tables. Our homes were rarely fancy, having just the bare essentials that a family might need such as a utensil here or a pot there. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters made do with sleeping in one or two room homes and youngsters were shifted off to school with holy shoes mended with cardboard. ‘Oul fellas still fondly yarn about these matters.

During evenings or on weekends, family would pitch in with the work that sustained them. They would milk a cow, harvest a potato crop or maybe haul hay. It was a beautiful interplay of partnerships united in a common purpose, connected in a dance of life. Each man, woman, boy or girl had their wee job and their focus was on survival, not only for the self, but for others they loved and cared about. Far from their thought was the wandering, experiencing, discovering and expecting that we see entrenched in the modern young soul. Entertainment took the form of a visiting friend or an evening of music in a neighbour’s home. It was rare you would witness a man or woman living only to traverse the country in search of stimulus to pleasure the senses. Yet, in the midst of all this, despite the hardships there were strong kinships and an argument can be made that the people were happier. Young people grew to love and appreciate outdoors and the friendship of neighbour. Husbands and wives understood and loved each other as partners with a direction and purpose.

And then, we became rich…

image 2Pete may be thirty-three, and of course by the standards of most cultures and eras he is a man, but he still likes to enjoy himself. Maybe it is his reward for all them years spent toiling through university, because we know how tough the life of a student is right? Maybe he is a delicate soul that requires nurturing, before finding true fulfillment in his forties or even fifties. Maybe he wants to develop his physique and psyche and spirit to their ultimate fulfillment before undertaking the grueling, horrible drudgery of home life. Or, alternatively, maybe he is still a little boy.

Today, we have food when we want, television and computer games when we want, the Internet with seemingly infinite knowledge, pubs and nightclubs to dance and drink the night away and an endless supply of men and women who are willing to fall into bed with each other without consequences. Sure what more would we want? Free love, abundant food, endless fun, cheap technology! Why would we need to even think of heaven and God when life is so good? Life is all about having the most fun possible for as long as possible.

This is the lifestyle of the rich. Filled to the gills, with luxury at their fingertips, they equate freedom with exploring the senses in all forms. They no longer see marriage as a commitment, as a partnership, to journey through life with another. Rather they view it as an outdated and no longer valuable venture. “What is in it for me?” they ask.

My answer? Freedom!

No matter how long young men pursue the lifestyle of an English aristocrat of the 1800s, the vast majority still feel the pull of the relationship, the desire to settle with one person, the inclination to be a father and the yearning to have a home to put their children into. It appears an inescapable drive. It is freedom because the home is the one place we can actually be truly free. It is our own little kingdom were we can cook what we like, listen to whatever music we like, plant whatever flowers or crops we choose and raise our children as we see fit. Despite the allure of the neon lights of the city, the essence of a man is to be united with a woman, to love, cherish and grow a fruitful relationship. The soul is free because it is completely satisfied. Today, our young men prolong or put off this urging because they are enticed by the sensual pleasures of the rich life, which will never resolve their ultimate search for peace. They ignore their calling, sometimes until it is too late.

The issue with Pete above is that he is stuck in a state of perpetual boyhood. He is not ready because he is unwilling to relinquish his attachment to childhood and what he perceives to be freedom. He is willing to have Joan continue to wait for him while he gets his life in order. This could be years. Joan must hold on to the fading hope as her childbearing years decrease, or she must go searching for another. It is a sad reality and why many women have settled for cohabitation with a boy, rather than the commitment of a grown man.

Ireland has changed indeed. Still, although we may consider ourselves wealthier, we are in greater poverty than our forefathers, who struggled physically and financially on their little plot of land with their families. We have become a nation of boys who know nothing of manhood and strive less to achieve it because we have no motivation to be responsible for anyone except ourselves. Alas, life will go on and work itself out, but the people of Ireland must sit up and pay attention to this very apparent crisis because it threatens to rid our land of authentically masculine men. Pray!

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The Dictatorship of Silence

silencedLast week I visited the home of my wife’s family for a gathering of sorts. Present at this gathering were my wife’s younger sister, older sister, mother and father. My wife and I had just been to Mass and were discussing the boldness with which a young priest had declared traditional marriage to be the only true form of marriage. It was this young man’s first homily at a new parish and he was exceptionally nervous but with great bravery he declared the true teaching of the Catholic faith and made known that it is not permitted for a Catholic to support any form of sexuality which deviates from what is ordained by God, namely that marriage is between one man and one woman.

After Mass, I waited for the congregation to disperse and I approached the young priest. I wanted to let him know how proud I was to witness men such as he speaking out courageously, in spite of the tidal waves of animosity and vitriol directed toward those in his ministry today. I asked if he would accept some advice from me on his nervousness, and he humbly replied, “Please, yes.” I said to him “Never be afraid of losing friends. For there is no doubt you will lose some, but you will not lose them all.” He affirmed that it was that very fear which had caused him apprehension that night.

Back at the family gathering, my wife expressed her admiration, but also her empathy for priests who place their popularity at risk through declaration of the beauty of Catholic teaching. She agreed that we need strong, brave masculine priests to lead us in these troubling times. In questioning our conversation, my wife’s older sister argued that no consequences would arise for Catholics or other Christians who objected to the mass acceptance of same sex “marriage” throughout the country. As my wife started to raise her point, her older sister yelled, “Stop, I’m not going to fight,” and the conversation was ended. The dictatorship of silence had settled and although the matter was left unresolved, all opportunity to resolve it had been forcefully shut down. Liberty expunged.

Now this phenomenon was not being displayed to me for the first time. I have witnessed the destructive evil of this new tyrant many times in multiple forums such as at work, in academia, in social circles and on Internet discussion forums. It occurred to me after this particular event that, to some people, there appears to be only two options in discourse: 1. Be quiet and avoid difficult topics, raising only superficial matters or 2. Yell and fight. Like my wife’s sister, it seems to escape many people that there is a third method of interaction, an in between communication, referred to as intellectual conversation where two adults can respectfully disagree and explore together the intricacies of a topic before arriving at a conclusion of either agreement of disagreement. Instead, the greatest fear people have today is the fear of being wrong in their worldview, of being shown to be unwise or unknowledgeable. This fear causes people to become desperate to avoid any form of intellectual reasoning. They use every method at their disposal to prevent logic from exposing their erroneous belief system. They become angry like my wife’s sister, they use humour to evade thought and they adopt silence in hope that the inquisitor will just go away. To them, it is unthinkable that another person’s opinion could ever be considered wrong. No one is ever wrong to them. There are only many opinions, all equally right. So we shout demands for tolerance, the new fake virtue of the modern world. “Tolerate me as I have tolerated you,” they plead. “Judge not,” they scream. “Go away please, just do not show me the lack of logic in my belief,” they mean.

One of the greatest evils of the modern world is the dictatorship of silence. It is the reluctance or outright refusal to engage with others who disagree with you in a reasoned, adult conversation. If you have tried to raise a point in a social gathering and have met with stares, or eyes being diverted to the floor then you have experienced it. If you have challenged a teacher or self proclaimed “learned” man and have met with a lack of response or a quickly changed subject you have been exposed to it. If you have been laughed at, belittled or reprimanded at work for honestly speaking your mind or if you have been bullied by threats, angry outbursts, ridicule or slander on the internet then you have first hand witnessed the new tyranny of the twenty first century. This anomaly results only in the alienation of Truth and is the only recourse of those who cannot back up or defend their false assertions. For Truth will always emerge from honest discussion.

The people who engage in this behavior are blinded by the secular culture, which grips the world. They are informed by a collective mindset and have formed in their minds what they perceive to be an independently chosen position. It is not independently chosen. They derive a heightened sense of self-esteem from being immersed in a group of like mind. They feel safe and supported by the crowd and they feel intellectually affirmed because their position is always agreed with. They cannot tolerate any form of evidence that contradicts their newly formed position because that would mean rethinking their commitment to their new group. It would mean the possibility of compromising their new social standing. It is unthinkable to them that they would face the prospect of giving up that social comfort, of having to disagree with others, causing conflict with people who have made them feel so welcome. They become so emotionally invested in their new friendship circles that any disruption or threat to it must be met with the greatest resistance. The more these people can no longer escape the clawing, scraping persistence of Truth, the more their efforts will escalate to avoid facing the harshness of losing friends, and even family members, merely for having a different opinion. Anger, humour and silence become violence, derision or resentment.

The person subscribing to this new tyranny has much in common with that young priest I heard at Mass, standing on the altar boldly declaring Truth. Both are scared of the consequences, of losing friends. The difference though, is that the priest battled through his fear. He refuses to avoid Truth. He engages it. He will not live an illusion for popularity. He cannot live a lie. It is so important now for us Christians to declare Truth courageously. We need valiant souls, true and convicted, unwavering in opposition. Please allow me to give you the same advice I gave the young priest: Please, “Never be afraid of losing friends. For there is no doubt you will lose some, but you will not lose them all.”

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The Tolling Bells of Coffin Ships Allure our Young Away

famine ship 2There is no power great enough to break the bond of family. There have been many attempts to do so by forces seen and unseen through the ages and yet nothing, not even death, could separate the secret ingredient that mystically holds families in union.

Famine ships, with their foreboding, creaking sides have ravaged the shores of Ireland scooping up brothers and sons, fathers and daughters into the wild and desolate dark of the Atlantic ocean as the cold, bitter rain howled and lashed with the most terrible silence while kin helplessly lay upon the shores, praying and witnessing, as the brutish coffins disappeared into foggy thickness and relatives faded off forever. Yet in spite of the old enemy’s historic attempt to divide, family remained centered and strong, unbroken even by the greatest tragedies or the most hellish laws or punishments.

There is something about the family that is impenetrable to any outside force. Ways of interacting and powers of making happiness and sadness take hold or depart are unique to every family. Often, I have looked upon the families of my cousins, my friends and neighbours and wondered at their peculiarities, their oddities that were so different from those of my own family and yet they held them together in a masterful way. Gestures, mannerisms, eccentricities, words, phrases and silent communications all melded to deliver a symphony, a sound they made work.

Everything emerges from the family. Every individual is shaped, formed and molded by the years endured within the circle of kinship. Character, strength, care, compassion, will, virtue and vice are stirred and solidified as the young float on the waves of sentiment dictated by the unpredictable sea of family interplay. This can be good and this can be bad but what is absolute is the truth that what happens within the family structure, as a child grows, is so vitally important for the good, not only of those individuals but for the good of the families they may one day form themselves, the organizations they may strive to develop or work within or the communities with whom they seek connection. The family is the rock of the world, the building block of civilization and unless it is given the utmost precedence in the lives of all humanity it could potentially become the downfall of our species.

famine shipIf one has become one, then nothing should preoccupy the mind of a man more than the good of the family entrusted to him. He may have his own wife and children or he may yet be one of many siblings but all men proceed from and give to others. They owe their own personality to those interpersonal experiences and their family members owe their personality to him. He can look at his family as a group of individuals who owe him some favour, some duty to help him move forward in life. Alternatively, he could look at those others as people in his care, surmising that with the right nurturance those others could flourish to be great and wondrous examples of humanity, who will then affect others who in turn will affect others. The decisive action of one man in a moment can ripple in effect through the ocean of eternity.

When we wake every morning we are called to complete a series of actions that if carried out according to the plan of our Maker will aid in His plan to create harmony throughout the world. This music making begins immediately, in our own families and within that structure we can choose to strike peaceful and melodious cords or we can choose discord. The man with strength will strive to understand the pull of emotion that tempts so many to break peace and they will work unceasingly to master it. The man of weakness will give in and allow noise to infiltrate and tear and destroy what God has ordained to be good. Man chooses, but the mark of strength, and for that matter the mark of true freedom, is resistance of anything that could hurt or deform the good of another. This is hard but our strength is not our own but comes from a source we must never break from.

Research is clear that fatherhood is the most essential ingredient is giving direction to the children within the home. Children take lead and follow even the slightest hint of guidance from a father. It is so very essential that fathers embrace their duty to be leaders. With the multitude of attacks forming unmercifully against the family in our modern world it is ever more urgent that fathers stand up and reject the evils, which seek to divide and conquer, the unending hordes of famine ships that beckon with enchantment our entranced young to their mortiferous doors. Collectivism exclaims that children belong to the community. Community begins to teach the false virtue of “tolerance” in the form of relativism, which seeks to teach our children what is good, yet even bad can be labeled good under that tyrannical belief system. Suddenly, pornography, abortion, contraception, divorce, pre marital sex, cohabitation, infidelity, homosexual acts and anything that had traditionally been universally known as evil has become good as long as it feels good. And as it is pushed through media propaganda mills our young people walk with arms outstretched toward it without question, without reason, without logic. Government seeks to redefine and distort the definition of family union but nothing will ever remove the truth that every person has a mother and a father and that the interplay of parental femininity and masculinity brings balance to the home.

God is the strength of all men. Draw strength from Him. The family is the ship of God. In every home seek to understand His will, His direction, for His will is always available. Sit in powerful, silent meditation and pray for guidance and accept the promptings of conscience moved by reason rooted in the teaching of His Church. Know that the good of others is the starting point. Know that anything that is opposed to the good of others is not of Him. We do not possess strength on our own merit. Any strength we have is given us through Him. The Holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is the greatest example of humility, acceptance of God’s will and perseverance through adversity in working for the good of another. It is the way Christ chose to be nurtured to adulthood and therefore it is the model for all children. We must never let go of this reality.

There will always be famine ships on the horizon, looming ever closer to snatch away our children from their homes but those bearers of evil will be powerless against the foundation of a strong, faithful family immersed in the only One who saves. No matter what form those ships take, if we remain in His will, the bond of our families can never be broken and we will sail to Paradise.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph we give you our hearts and our souls

Jesus, Mary and Joseph assist us in our last agonies

Jesus, Mary and Joseph may we breath forth our souls in peace with you. Amen

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Sinn Fein and the SDLP are now more anti-Catholic than the DUP

broken mary

One of my favourite classes at school was history and though I regret not having embraced more of that opportunity to learn about our forefathers, nationally and internationally, I still retained many pieces of information that come back now and then, as a thought over a cup of coffee or some book I periodically look up from. One particular idea emerged recently from my reflections upon the recent same sex marriage referendum and my thinking on what has become the modern Irish political climate. I remember being told by my teachers and others that if only the Irish had stuck together in history, then the English would never have been able to disturb us as they did. If only we Irish had combined our efforts and mutually worked toward an ideal then we could today have been free from all the struggles we endured together at the hands of unwanted rulers.

In my teenage years I noted the continued political party divisions north and south of the border as people aligned themselves with one party or the other and, absolutely and stubbornly, refused to compromise allegiances. The greatest example of this concept is the divide of Sinn Fein and the SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party) in the north. I reflected often on why these two “Catholic” parties could not just join together and form a united effort, making them the largest party in the north and therefore giving them political authority. It made sense to my young mind that these grown-ups could briefly set aside their differences for a common goal and the good of their people. To me, this stubborn refusal was a continued manifestation of Irish division, which has kept us enslaved to foreign influence for most of our history.

Today however, the climate is different. Another division exists but Sinn Fein and the SDLP happen to be more united than they have ever been. Their ideas are so similar now that it is often hard to distinguish between them. Despite this, they continue to maintain that they are different and they continue to present to the people of the north a fantasy that when voting for one party or the other they are freely choosing something different. But there is no choice. This unification is so clear it is amazing that more people are not aware of it. Both Sinn Fein and the SDLP are socialist, both advocate greater involvement of government in regulating the lives of the people rather than allowing the people to grow their own lives as they see fit with encouraged community liberty. Any difference in policy is merely a façade making it appear like the parties are still at odds. This tactic enables them to procure the same voters year after year, allowing their politicians to remain in power and to continue collecting massive paychecks on the dime of the unsuspecting people they represent. This deliberate power manipulation ensures that little changes and garantees the people continue to rely on government to run almost every aspect of our lives like care of our sick, education of our children and regulation of our businesses. From the fuel we put in our cars to the beer we order at our bars, our voted leaders have their way and we supply their pay.

broken crucifixAs for a United Ireland, it is further from us now than ever before. A significant, growing collection of people are becoming more and more marginalized and disenfranchised at no longer having representation. History repeats, for those people are once again, Catholics. Sinn Fein and the SDLP can no longer be known as Catholic parties. In fact, by their policy, they have transformed into parties more anti Catholic than even the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who have traditionally been known as the most virulently anti Catholic party in Ireland. But therein lies the deception. The DUP are not anti Catholic per se. Rather, they are merely anti nationalist or anti republican. The war in Ireland’s north has never been a religious war. Never, in Irelands history, has a Catholic killed a Protestant because they believe in sola scriptura and never has a Protestant killed a Catholic because they believe in Transubstantiation. Historically, our war has been geographical and cultural. Today however my friends, as we stand on the brink of persecution, a barrage of anti Catholic, anti liberty and anti human political policies, lawsuits and referendums are being forced upon our heads. Our war has finally become religious! Sinn Fein and the SDLP are now more virulently anti Catholic than even the Democratic Unionist Party.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP no longer represent Catholicism, and Catholics can no longer vote for them because to do so would be to choose compromising the laws of humanity, originating in God. The politicians of these parties may still claim the title “Catholic,” but this is deceptive. By claiming that title, their goal is to hold on to the Catholic vote. They want to convince Catholics that we can choose to believe whatever we want, to form a personal belief system by interpreting the bible as we wish or as we feel; to pick and choose the teachings we like and to reject the teachings that make us uncomfortable. Be aware! That ideology is reformation. That ideology is protestant! Sinn Fein and the SDLP are now protestant parties.

Sinn Fein embraces abortion (the direct killing of unborn children). SDLP support IVF (which leads to abortion). Both parties support same-sex unions being called marriage. Each party has no discomfort continually attack and ridiculing Irish Catholic priests and bishops and neither accept the idea that Truth is enshrined and unchangeable. They create confusion among Catholics by choosing anti Catholic principles and then inferring that it is okay for Catholics to choose those principles. This creates a deliberate oppositional disposition against the Irish Catholic Church. Uncertainty reigns. Who do Catholics choose? Should they follow the party leaders they have looked up to as idols for decades or stay loyal to their bishops and priests championing the teachings of an age-old faith. Sadly, media marketing has engineered the minds of most Irish people to turn away from Christ and to choose human masters once again.

It must be the most phenomenal ideological transformation in world history. Sinn Fein and the SDLP are no longer CatholicThey are now protestant. The policies of the DUP are more representative of Catholicism. How did this happen? What do we do? To whom do Irish Catholics turn to now in this cataclysmic climate?

“It can’t be the DUP,” you cry! Anything but that!

Fear not! The DUP has an evangelical school of thought still far from the Catholic ideal. It is true they are the best party to represent Catholicism and they may be our only choice currently but the real answer for us is leadership and it is leadership that must emerge now. We need strong, truly Catholic men and women to stand up and form an effort that will absolutely represent our Catholic voice, which is being marginalized and persecuted once again. This may mean the formation of a new party or it may mean the involvement in public discourse of passionate individuals willing to fight no matter what the consequence, personal or professional. We need heroes, saints, and warriors. We need strong, charismatic and determined men and women who our young people can be proud to look to, to follow, to emulate. We need people to champion objective Truth, who will never compromise that Truth, who will never compromise our Catholic ideal. We need you now. Whoever you are, I beg you, stand up! For the love of God, be brave and pray, pray, pray!

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May Ireland Rest in Peace

Séminaire de CaenPeace is a beautiful condition of the human soul. Mankind longs for and strives to obtain it. Every human effort is dedicated to the goal of making it ours. Every thought, word and action exercised by each person is done so to accomplish emotional contentment. Wars are fought for it, love is sought for it, poems are wrought for it and Guardian Angels are beckoned for guidance and protection against that which seeks, in any way, to disrupt or lead us away from mental serenity. Yet for some reason, what we seek is rarely found.


Think deeply for a little: Why are we attracted to nature? Why do we watch television? Why do we insist on having conversations with others? Why do we exercise? Why do strive for education and money? Why do we vote in elections? Why, pray tell, do we do anything at all? The answer is simple: we seek peace. If anything of Heaven can be known, we can know that He is peace and all longing will be satisfied.


Alternatively, why do we get angry? Why do we envy? Why do we lust? Why do we accumulate possessions and why do we sometimes step on others to obtain them? Why do we gossip? Why do we hurt? We do we do bad things and why do we suffer bad things? The answer is simple: we seek peace. If anything of Hell can be known, we can know it is the absence of Him. We will be unable to know peace for eternity.


Why can we not have peace? The land of eternal youth, Tír na nÓg, evades us. That place of beauty, abundance and joy is ever on our minds yet rarely in our lives. Occasionally, it appears, but it is brief and fleeting. How is it so Ireland that we cannot rest? So many questions and yet the answer is simple: because we flee from peace. Human beings never find emotional peace because, although we think we are moving toward peace with our efforts, in actuality, we are running away from it. We may not even realize, but we make every effort to avoid the very thing we crave. Such a paradox is hard to grasp so let me explain.


If we are not running toward Him, we are moving away from Him. If we are not focused on Him, we are focused on something else. If God exists (and he does) what is the point of being focused on something else? What logic in the world can deny it? If we are created by God and we are not striving to be completely immersed in Him at every moment then we are seeking fulfillment in something that is not him. That something, apart from him, can bring no eternal peace. So what is the point?


Already at this stage of the article, half the people who began reading have now stopped. For some reason we are conditioned to immediately turn away or stop listening as soon as ‘God’ is mentioned. When you think about it, it is lunacy that something which is affiliated with eternal goodness can be such an aversion to people. How many times when sitting in the pew at Sunday Mass do people listen to an interesting tale told by the priest during the homily, then as soon as he begins linking the story to Jesus we switch off? Something about God makes people try to escape, mentally or physically. Why? The answer is simple: Although the perfection of God leads to peace, the demands of following God require us to recognize and amend the imperfections in ourselves and we see that as limiting, rather than liberating. We want the choice to live as we wish, not according to the wish of God. We think we can do it all without Him. We try so hard.


priest2Fortunately for us, in this life, we cannot escape. He is always calling. Even those who are most lost are being called always and every person has this inner longing which pulls at them constantly. Some ignore it, some involve themselves in ever more activity and others get angry or envious or seek the aid of others through gossip and direct attacks against anything or anyone who represents that good God. Some rebel by insisting on doing the opposite of what he wills. People are not at peace and they seek to find peace by ignoring or fighting that which ultimately gives peace. It is insanity.


But the words of Saint Augustine resound like a gong through the ages:


“Despite everything, man, though but a small a part of your creation, wants to praise you. You yourself encourage him to delight in your praise, for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you”


Why is seeking God so hard? Peace does not always mean we will be without suffering. The hardships of living are inevitable with God or without Him. We cannot avoid them forever. There is really only one choice. Embrace them and give them to Him in union with His sacrifice on the cross. United with His sufferings, our sufferings will lead only to one place – Resurrection and ultimate eternal peace in Him.


When we eat, sleep, play, interact, develop, love, fight or fall we should be experiencing all these phenomenon in Him, with Him and through Him. Apart from Him these actions are meaningless. We would not have them at all because they and we would not exist. What is the point of doing anything apart from Him?


JesusWhen we eat do we consider that the food is given to us because of His Creation? When we learn a new skill or craft do we consider that the talents being developed by us could be used to glorify His Will? When we have time alone do we think of Him? When we have a conversation with another or in a group is our desire to talk about Him? When we go to Mass is our goal to worship Him or is there another reason motivating us like family tradition or social expectation? Our very desire, everything we do, think and say should be for Him. He leads to Heaven. If Heaven is what we want then we must become holy. There is no other way. We must turn to Him and embrace the life he wills for us. Every person was created for a great, unique and very personal mission. How long will we say ‘no’ to that mission? How long will we say ‘no’ to peace?


“Once I was at a dance with one of my sisters. While everybody was having a good time, my soul was experiencing deep torments. As I began to dance, I suddenly saw Jesus at my side, Jesus racked with pain, stripped of His clothing, all covered with wounds, who spoke these words to me: How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting Me off?

Saint Faustina of Divine Mercy


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A Simple Remedy for the Tyrant in Ireland

man1You know, there is nothing in Ireland like a rainy spring morning by an open window. Have you ever tried it? It would do you good to give it a go just once with a wee drop of ‘tay’ to warm the hand. I have no doubt it is how the world was intended to be savoured and it is about as close to the peace of heaven as you are likely to know in this life (excepting the Eucharist of course). Hearing patter of droplets hitting grass mingled with the medley of bird carols calling collectively for love and life is a contentment no man should omit, a peace no soul should be deprived. It makes you wonder why so many people have chosen to gift their precious hours to such superficial entertainments as found on television or computer screens, large or little, when so much human achievement awaits the man adventurous enough to advance his mind beyond his front door.  Notice, the operative word in that sentence is “his”. You see, what enhances significantly, the experience of sitting by your window looking out is knowing that you have a plot of land you have shaped or could shape with your own hands. It is reveling in the creative potential of that land and contemplating the many ways you can mould it to your own image. It just adds to the satisfaction.

The history of Ireland has been notably carved by a struggle for land. In that struggle is the desire to live, to lead, to protect, to provide for yourself and your family. It is the spirit of the father, the calling of the man to make provision for those placed in his care. To pull from the earth creation, to bear fruit for the good of those loved is a special accomplishment.

heaney1The great Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, delivered successfully in his work Digging, the profound concept of Irish ancestral connection with the land and the elemental masculine thirst to form, build, develop, create what you conceive. In the poem he relates his father digging with a spade and compares it to his own digging, except now, with a pen. Like his father, his father’s father and the many men who came before him, Heaney masterfully describes the human freedom to craft and create:


In the same way as Heaney looked down upon his father from his upstairs window, we too can contemplate ancestry from our spring morning windows and consider now the possibilities our imaginations offer the boundaries of our own land. There is no limit to what creation we can imagine springing forth from our soil. Every man should be entitled to the freedom to provide a life for his family from the land and be satisfied. This basic right to live should be divorced from all interference from outside parties. Yet alas, a weight hangs heavy around the shoulders of our young men with their young families and young dreams.

storm2The weight and the scourge of all those who just want to live at peace in Ireland are the selfish ambitions of those who acknowledge no limits and are willing to accumulate mountains of more. They seek this even if it means taking advantage of other humans. The world is filled with men who want more and can never be satisfied with what they have. Impoverished are the men who have so much but yet they always seek to add to their possessions. Politicians and bankers today work together to devise ingenious ways of enticing people to part with their money. Mortgages, which appear a wonderful invention at first, soon betray their deceit when they move beyond the financial grasp of the common man.

Paradoxically, this happens because we Irish people have this unwillingness to curb our own personal cravings for more. We reject limits on what we can own and so our hunger to buy means sellers will raise prices. The higher the prices rise, the more money we look for. The more money we need to buy, the more we need to be paid. We pursue education for better jobs and then the cost of education grows. We want the best cars and homes until even the smallest homes move beyond the financial grasp of the most educated. All we want to do is rest but we work night and day to achieve it…and it never comes. The economy grows but we become poor because we work harder and struggle more to pay off the many debts we accumulate. We think we have freedom to pursue dreams of wealth. In reality we become more and more enslaved to the debt manipulated by the bankers and politicians who become richer and grin wider.

man2So what are we to do? Simple! A man with his family could easily live a satisfying life on a small parcel of land and feel more free and fulfilled from crafting with his own hands and enjoying the fruit of his labour. Why do we exert so much energy fighting for a job and education when we could be happy and peaceful on our own land? Why not spend our energy fighting against the forces that keep us from owning and living our Irish land in freedom? 1. We should be fighting with revolution against those people who have pushed the prices of land beyond the reach of most men. 2. We also should be meditating upon our own human nature. Something is very wrong. The banks now own most of our Irish land and they have pushed the price of that land beyond our grasp. How is this any different from the landlords of the English in the 19th century? Something needs to change as we head toward another financial collapse.

Yet the answer to the whole thing is very simple and the power is always in our hands. Indeed, “simple” is the answer if only we had the strength for it. Simplicity itself will free us from slavery. Ireland’s ancestry of simplicity has always been our people’s most beautiful quality. Can we continue to allow that simplicity to be eroded by intemperate men? If only we could at least adopt once again the mentality of living simply from what we have and experiencing the beauty and joy of the paradise we live within. It should be enough. It should be everything we want. Only then will be content. Only then will we find rest.

However, the bankers are banking that we cannot. If we could meditate on simplicity and live it one person at a time, we can remove these financial tyrants from our midst. We can return Ireland to its beauty, the humility of simplicity where we will all sit by our windows on a spring morning and delight in the song of birds reveling in what we own and what our hearts have forged.

Our Lady Queen of Peace, Pray for us.

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Irish Hippies, Wrapped in the Flag of War

rainbow flagOne of the world’s most influential ideological forces to emerge out of the past one hundred years is the hippie movement. It emerged in the United States in the 1960’s and 70’s and its philosophical mass continues to dominate the mindset and mission of most people, organizations, governments and other institutions to this day. Formed as a strong reaction against repressed freedom of expression, the movement generally endorsed, practiced and spread an ideology of freedom to express in whatever form an individual’s emotion moved them to do so. “Freedom” was the catch phrase as people strove to break loose from the bonds of societal expectations such as rules, morals or behaviors. The mantra of the movement implied “I will do as I wish, when I wish, with whom I wish.”

Like most movements it began with good intentions and it is easy to understand why mankind is attracted to the ideal of freedom. Freedom is a beautiful thing and every human has an intrinsic right to be free. However, the hippie idea of freedom is absolute obedience to emotional desire. On the other hand, true freedom is being able to feel emotion and yet with intellectual reasoning having the ability to say yes if the emotions lead to a good or no if the emotions lead to a bad. Emotions, being very human can be misleading. We may desire something very much but that something could be harmful to self or others rather than beneficial. Being unable or unwilling to say no to emotion is slavery, not freedom and that is why hippie freedom is a cleverly crafted lie, which may mimic the good but leads to a dangerous consequence. Let me explain…

From the center of the hippie movement ascended the sexual revolutionary, for in their mind no freedom of expression would be complete without the ability of a person to express their sexuality in any way they felt moved. Instead of sex being about the unity of persons and nurturance of life, sex became about deriving individual pleasure for the self. People sought out sexual sensation and arousal and they wanted it without the responsibility of commitment to another, be that spouse or child. To satisfy this ambition, the idea of contraception was further developed to enable “sex without consequences”. As a contraceptive mentality grew, abortion naturally and intentionally followed to prevent those young consequences from seeing the light of day. Sex became less about the giving of oneself as a life long gift to another person body and soul, and became more about what could be derived from other people for personal benefit or pleasure. Relationships started to become measured by the questions “What use is this person to me?” “Are they making me happy?” “Are they providing for my needs?” On the other hand, questions such as “How can I give myself to make this person happy?” or “Am I giving to this person what they need to become fully human?” declined in popularity because they infringed upon individual freedom. A steady process was set in motion that would gradually lead to extreme dehumanization and objectification.

Throughout the world, hippies graduated to more influential positions in society. They became our politicians, business managers, church group leaders, primary and secondary school teachers and our college professors. Through these positions they began to form the minds of the next generation of young people into accepting this new ideology. No institution was immune. Lay leaders in the Catholic Church began to incorporate eastern spiritualties such as yoga, centering prayer, the enneagram and prayer labyrinths into group gatherings. These practices fundamentally shifted the focus of prayer away from God and more toward the individual growth of the person. Priests and nuns began to adopt the ideas and teach them in their parishes while shying away from or outright refusing to teach or preach objective moral Truths of Catholicism. All this occurred because hippie ideology considered moral Truth a social construct that repressed freedom. As decades progressed it became intolerant to even mention that Catholic moral Truth exists. Those who professed the ancient teachings of Christ through Catholicism were ostracized, defamed and today these brave souls who still speak out receive the strongest vitriolic attacks and even death threats. The circle is complete. Those hippies of peace who formed for the soul purpose of freedom of expression have now become and trained others to become the hippies of war, now stifling and destroying the freedom to voice opinion contrary to theirs with hatred and vengeance.

gay2The hippie ideology was foundational for the growth of the homosexual agenda. This agenda now in full force has as its goal to have distorted sexual behavior become accepted as a good by everyone. Not content to just engage in those behaviors in their own lives, they must have it accepted as good by all of society. Anyone who does not accept homosexuality as a good are pursued with hostile determination and shattered personally and professionally. This was displayed recently in Ireland, with the case of Ashers bakery being sued in court for daring to exercise their Christian voice. Catholic adoption agencies are being forced to close in the United Kingdom, politicians who reject pro-life party lines are forced to resign, and families are being targeted as child abusers simply for raising their children Christian. This situation continues to escalate at a rapid pace and the media in multiple forms continues to portray the sexual revolutionaries as victims and Christians as bad people.

Divorce, separation, infidelity and marital disharmony are all symptoms of the hippie ideology of “free love.” Intimate human relationships have become unions designed only to serve the goal of personal benefit or pleasure and if that goal is no longer being satisfied, the relationship can easily be discarded with little thought for the other. Where once love was a choice to commit to another person in sickness and health, for richer for poorer until death do us part, it is now a commitment only as long as the relationship feels good (or the other looks good). Cohabitation or “trial marriages” became a substitute for real marriage as young men opted for the “get out” clause. They became willing to live with a woman, as if married, but without the commitment, allowing them the option to walk away at any time if the flame of desire fizzled out or if they encountered a situation or event they did not like. In turn, those young men forfeited the very quality that made them men: their inclination to give for their bride even unto death.

Ireland was in no way immune to the destruction of this movement. In many ways, the strong Catholic character of the Irish culture slowed the movement down significantly. However, this has, today, lead to a more rapid and rabid, dictatorial expansion and integration effort by proponents desperate to have Irish society catch up with the rest of the world. The foundations have been laid for decades. Almost everyone in the land has bought into the idea that people should be free do whatever they please as long as they desire it and it feels good. People accept no alternative and anyone who attempts to engage them by arguing an alternative is immediately torn down.

What we have, in effect, is a very real and active war brewing in Ireland. The weapons are words and the destruction of personal and professional reputations is fair game. This war will only intensify. The people who espouse the ideology of the sexual revolution will never stop until their opponents are silenced completely or have accepted their ideas as good. Believe that this May 22nd referendum is only the beginning.

Ireland has a new enemy, which has moved to its shores and has become entrenched in the lives of its people. The old hope we had was Irish openness, the tendency to be willing to listen and engage all thoughts and ideas, to learn. That tendency has all but been eliminated, as the debate now appears closed. Any disagreement and you are labeled a bigot and not worthy of being listened to. Dialogue is only permitted if the side agreeing with the sexual revolutionaries is the dominant voice.

Remember today, my friends, the definition of bigotry: “stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own” ( Now ponder the question: “Where does bigotry lie?” This Irish age is going to require brave men and women to stand up and fight this evil. Where will it end? The consequences are eternal.

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On Gay Marriage: An interview with The Catholic Irishman

couple 1I suppose it is time to weigh in. It is now or never. So here it goes: There is a significant movement in Ireland today driven on by most governmental parties, the media, television personalities and almost anyone who has been awarded a public voice. The movement, which appears to account for only one side of the issue, encourages Irish people to vote “Yes for equality”. A “Yes” vote would result in the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland being amended to redefine marriage to include the union of same sex couples. Currently, it is defined as union of only opposite sex couples.

In this interview with The Catholic Irishman he attempts to outline the very logical case why voting “Yes” would be a mistake for Ireland. Many people believe that arguing against gay marriage is bigoted and based on outdated religious ideology. Contrary to that myth, the Truth could not be more logical.

Based on your writings a lot of people are going to want to know what your thoughts are on gay marriage. Could you elaborate?

 I know a lot of people will want to know so they can batter me over the head with them. Others will ask for more altruistic reasons and out of a genuine seeking of knowledge. But the views that I hold are the views of Catholicism and by “Catholicism” I don’t mean the views of random clerics who provide their personal opinion separated from Church teaching. It seems that if priest opinions are in agreement with the “Yes” camp, they will get painted over every newspaper and political public forum in Ireland, which is what happened recently with Father Iggy O’Donovan. I am referring to the two thousand year body of Church teaching, enshrined as doctrine, infallible and unchangeable. If a priest does not hold to those principles he has abdicated his role as teacher for Christ.

So what are your views then?

 It is very simple and very logical. Homosexuality is sexuality distorted. It is not what sexuality is. It is something other than what sexuality exists for. Even the least logical of human beings can determine that sex between two men or two women is not the true function of sexuality. Sexuality exists to unite two individuals and its purpose is for procreation. If sexual feelings of any kind are divorced from that fulfillment then those feelings are distorted; that does not make the person feeling them bad, it just makes the feeling misdirected. Sexual emotion can become misdirected for any number of reasons. The point is, when they become misdirected, they should be called misdirected. It is logical. It is sensible. So let’s move forward.

But people have no choice in being homosexual.

 I agree with that. Homosexuality is an exceptionally deep-seated emotional experience. It is a physiological feeling derived from chemical and neurological interactions in our brains and bodies. It is absolutely likely that people who experience these attractions have no choice to feel them, but that makes no difference to the argument because they are still a distorted form of sexuality. The emotions are being directed toward an object that sexuality does not exist for. You really can’t get around that fact.

But so what? Should not people with these feelings be allowed to live any way they wish?

 I believe strongly in free will and choice. People certainly have the free will to do as they please. There is little I can do to stop people engaging in whatever behaviors they wish. If two men wish to direct their sexuality toward themselves then that is their choice. But it is still a misdirection of sexuality.

So why do you have a problem?

I have no problem with people who experience same sex attraction. It is when they seek to engage in behavior that is contrary to their human nature that I must speak up, especially when they then attempt to force the concept that homosexual behavior is normal. It is not. I am always going to say that their actions are misdirected and that their sexual experiences are not ordered in the direction sexuality exists for. I will always explain the Truth, for that is my duty as a Christian. What people do once I have explained the Truth is on them. I also will never stop reaching out either – just to clarify.

So why have you set up a forum telling people that homosexuality is wrong?

Feeling same sex attraction is not wrong. It is misdirected sexuality, but if it can not be helped then it is not wrong. Homosexual behaviors freely chosen are wrong. I have a forum because people need to know. The whole country, in fact the whole world, through news organizations, governments, Hollywood, television shows and multiple other public forums is set up to deliver a message that homosexuality is normal and okay. That is plainly a lie and yet these mediums of information have been hugely successful in convincing most of the world, including most Catholics, that same sex attraction is part of “who a person is” rather than something a person experiences. A person is not defined by what they feel, by a function, and so, I believe deliberate attempts to define a human being by what they feel, including when people do it to themselves, is dehumanizing. They are denying their own humanity and the humanity of others. They are also attempting to redefine an objective Truth of what is human. Sexuality is an objective, intrinsic, human quality. It is ordered. To disorder it or argue for a disorder of it is essentially dehumanizing the person and dehumanizing the whole human race. I cannot accept a distortion of Truth. It is my duty for social justice to let people know these portrayals are false and misleading. Truth screams out to be known.

But you have no problem with two homosexuals living as homosexuals?

ring 2 No, I never said that. I certainly have an issue with the sexual behaviors that flow from homosexuality but, if two people choose them freely, then that is their choice and I will not force them otherwise. I will always inform them that their choice is misdirected but if they still choose it, then that is on them and they shall accept the consequences of their choice whatever that may be.

So what should a young person do who is experiencing same sex attraction?

 Even heterosexual persons experience misdirected sexuality. That is why pornography is such a scourge in our world. Pornography is also misdirected sexuality. Sexuality finds its fulfillment in the uniting or two minds or spirits, the masculine and the feminine, the yin and yang if you will. This unification of love is ordered toward the creation of love and the development of love manifested biologically as a child. Masculine and feminine are two different concepts, but real, with different but complementary attributes. Not only does the male complement the female physically but this also translates into emotional and spiritual complementarity. What occurs is a spiritual dance or relationship of giving and receiving that all humans experience individually and crave in their relationships. A child requires this complementarity in their parents for affirmation of their individual experiences of the masculine and feminine, the giving and receiving they experience individually, internally, intrinsically. A male is the biological manifestation of masculinity and the female is the biological manifestation of femininity. Both male and female experience masculine and feminine but the male is more disposed intrinsically to the masculine and the female is more disposed intrinsically to the feminine. Like the ebbing and flowing of the ocean tide so too is the gentle swaying of the masculine, feminine spirit together. It is really a beautiful philosophical and biological, spiritual reality. A young person should know these Truths and be enabled to understand them. A young person should know what sexuality really is rather than being bombarded by the agenda of today’s secular information mediums, which seek to distort the true vision of sexuality.

How can you say that homosexuality is not normal when it is documented since the beginning of documentation in humans and even in the animal kingdom? For example we see how species of dogs display homosexual attraction.

I don’t deny that this is the case but homosexuality is still a distortion of sexuality. It doesn’t matter if it is practiced or felt by every human and animal on the planet, it is still a distortion of what sexuality is logically meant to be. Even if they discover the elusive homosexual gene to show humans are born with the attraction (which, by the way they have not discovered yet despite what you have heard), it is still a misdirected emotion toward an object other than what sexuality finds true fulfillment in.

If you have no problem with homosexuals choosing to engage in the behavior you refer to as distorted…

No, I have a problem with it. I just cannot prevent them if they choose to exercise their free will.

Okay, would you then be okay if the country chooses in the referendum, through free will to allow gay marriage?

Ireland will have what it has based on whatever the political power mongers push on us, but I will never support enshrining in our constitution an action or feeling that is intrinsically disordered. I do not want disordered sexuality forced on my head politically by the weak elites of this country. In effect, that is what a referendum does. It is where potentially 51% of the country can enforce their view upon the heads of the other 49%. I can’t stop individuals who have chosen disordered sexuality freely and go off to their behaviors alone. However, when you intend to force that disordered sexuality upon the heads of all Irish people and you propose enshrining it in the constitution, a document which is meant to represent us and natural human order, then at that point I will oppose you absolutely and completely.

wedding 1First of all, a “Yes” vote is significantly manipulated by people in positions of power. So people are never getting the true picture as all they hear is the propaganda of the “Yes” camp who selectively keep those same people from ever hearing the true voice of the “No” camp. Those powers also go out of their way to destroy the reputations of people who argue “No” or at the very least they make those people seem foolish and weak, outdated and bigoted. Their means of promoting their cause is therefore immoral and unethical because the deck is stacked. Second, marriage is a reflection and fulfillment of true sexuality. Gay marriage is not marriage at all but a twisted, deformed version of human union. It should be opposed at all costs.

Any last words?

People need to understand the Truth of this debate. They need to get this message out to anyone who is willing to listen because it is vital to prevent a destruction of the beauty of sexuality and human nature, humanity and Truth in Ireland and the world. Forget the bad the Catholic Church has done. That is not even the argument. The main focus should always be, “is this right?” And logically we can clearly see that gay marriage is not right at all. It is very very wrong.

Thank you

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Ireland, Graveyard of the Unfinished Idea

graveyard-bearaA friend of mine, I will call Joe, is a nurse by trade. He and his wife have a large beautiful family of six children, four girls and two boys. Their family is the pride of our whole community for they are a wonderful faith centered family and they display everything that should be a Christian family. Personally, every time I meet Joe, no matter how tired or busy he feels, he stops what he is doing to hear me. He goes out of his way to give me his time and he never rushes the conversation, allowing it to conclude in its own natural way. He listens and takes time to respond as he draws his answer from the deep tradition of moral Christian truth, his education and experience that he has immersed himself and his family in all their lives. You never leave without the sense that you are a better person for having spoken with him. At Mass on Sunday, it is often his first wish that you join he and his family for dinner that afternoon. My wife and I always look forward to those occasions for the food is generous, the conversation wholesome and nothing gives more peace and joy than when the eleven of us gather around his living room to pray the rosary.

Not only is Joe friendly and inviting but he also displays a fatherly firmness that has a profound effect on those who encounter him. His faith is in no way superficial. In one of our many meetings our conversation turned to heaven. My wife had recently had a miscarriage and Joe, whose father had died several years earlier said “you know I often think about what it will be like the day we get to heaven when all those we loved on earth come to greet us, the child you lost, my father and all our relatives that have gone before us”. Jokingly, I laughed and said, “Yeah if I ever get there”. Joe suddenly became very stern and responded frankly “well you better, I’m telling you that you better, because the alternative is too horrific to even contemplate”. I will never forget that response.

Now Joe, like every Christian or non-Christian, man or woman on the planet, has his faults. One of those, which we joke about often, is his tendency to leave a job unfinished. He is an avid handyman and he loves to tell you about his latest project around the house as he built himself a nice little storage shed or he would be fixing up old cast iron electric saws from back in the day for sale at a pretty profit. Though I know little of these pursuits, I find his enthusiasm fascinating and I love to discover what exactly it is about his work that moves him. When I first met Joe five years ago on my first visit to his home I noticed the banisters of his stairs. They were squared at the top with four jagged edges. I have worked in the world of construction and I developed in my time a tendency to notice things that needed fixing so I pointed out to Joe that jagged edges could pose an exceptional hazard especially in a home of six children all running around and going crazy. It was my turn for being firm. Indeed, with eyes to the ground, Joe admitted to me his weakness that day and vowed that he would get around to rounding those edges soon enough. Five years later the edges remain jagged but the children are fine, healthy and dandy and you can put that down to the power of prayer, I suppose, if you like.

Joe’s ability as a handyman is unquestionable. He has built that little storage shed into a fine illustration of craftsmanship. It still requires painting but you can imagine how perfect it could be with a little finishing touch. His home is three storied where once it was two; his garden has one flowerbed but could do with a few. Still, once again, with a little inventiveness you could see in the minds eye how beautiful the home has the potential to be, and yet it remains a dream unfulfilled. Alas, I have arrived at the point of revealing my point.

Like Joe, our human race appears to be in a similar dilemma. Since the beginning of time we have built great citadels and bastions of brilliance in the form of cities, communities, ideologies, political systems and our love of building ensured we endeavored for larger and greater ideals. We wanted bigger places to live. Our villages became towns and our towns became cities. Our families became communities, communities became counties, counties became provinces and governments became masters of larger and larger groups of peoples. Ideas of individuals became the ideas of the many and philosophies shaped the foundations of our human institutions; socialism, capitalism, conservatism, liberalism, relativism, secularism and ism after ism arose with great promise to the heights of the heavens. Indeed it is not unlike a famous tower of old:

“Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4)

Yet despite all these immense efforts, perfection remains elusive and what is left behind are graveyards of lonely, forgotten ideas left unfinished, and therefore, untried. So what is wrong? Why does this happen? Why do we always search for the new instead of finishing what we started?

MaryThe answer, my friends, is human nature. We humans mess everything up by our inability to be Him, Jesus, the One Creator of all that is good. We come up with these grand ideas, try them, find out we can’t finish them and we give up. Take for example, Catholicism. It is clear that the rejection of this great belief system occurs most often, not because the system itself is wrong but rather, because the people who profess to follow it rarely live up to it’s ideal. In fact, most become so disillusioned by their own inability and the inability of others to follow the teachings of the Catholic faith that they step away from it completely and give up trying. They begin to claim the system is flawed and refuted when really it is the weak humans following it that are flawed and failed.

Ireland cannot give up on Catholicism. We cannot give up on it because we have not yet experienced what the world would be like if we tried it to it’s fulfillment in society. It’s beautiful teachings of virtue and reverence for God have created great saints like Mother Teresa and Saint Pio. Saint Maximillion Kolbe gave his life in a German concentration camp, taking the place of another man chosen to die, because that man had a family. That is true goodness, courage and strength. That is action worth emulating. And let us not forget our Blessed Mother Mary, a woman the Church places above all other created beings. All these people knew the power of Catholicism fulfilled. It would be folly to dismiss our faith just because so many weak Catholic leaders in Ireland have failed to live it.

There are so many people in our media and in secular positions of leadership who mock our faith daily and want to eliminate it from the public. They scoff at the religious and seek ways to distort and silence us. They introduce and attempt to legislate ideas that are the antithesis of Truth and distortions of goodness. As a people we must not allow it. We are for Christ and He is always by our side. These people reject Catholicism and use the scandals of religious to push a total rejection of the faith. However, those scandals were the actions of men (and women) who were not living what the Catholic faith truly is. Catholicism has never been successfully fulfilled on earth. It has never been properly attempted and we must keep striving for the ideal.

Let us not seek for new culturally popular fads and untried belief systems concocted by smiling liars. Let us hold fast to the rock of Christ, Saint Peter, His Church. We know it works because Christ is its head. Let us finish the job`. Let us carry our cross to the hill of Calvary with Christ and in union with Him utter the words of true peace – “It is finished” (John 19:30).

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Only those who suffer become men

croagh patrickWhich of these activities would you consider to be more masculine: an eighty year old man struggling with bare, bloodied feet over rocks and stones to reach the summit of Croagh Patrick, or the man who calls that old man “a fool” and spends most of his time comforting himself in the local while his wife and children wait for him at home?

Who has a greater strength of character: The woman who lives on bread and water for several days as she drags her knees across Lough Derg island or the man who denounces Mass, priests and anything to do with religion while garnering support, laughs and pats on the back from the lads in the pub?

Is it a difficult choice? When put like that, it would seem obvious what the answer is right? However, in our modern world the picture of a human being giving themselves to God has become an image of weakness in a sense and even “feminine” to most men.

In our world masculinity is expressed in many other ways. I have witnessed men randomly starting fights with other innocent people just to impress the other males (and females) in their company. I participated in drinking games and, on many occasions, I sat in the company of people who became victims to harsh, biting conversation from people who may have referred to themselves as friends. In reality, those people had their own interests in mind when they went out of their way to make others in their company feel small or less than them. I also witnessed the effects of infidelity, adultery and chronic pornography abuse, as young men desperately attempted to demonstrate or to just feel what they thought was “being a man”. Stealing, hurting animals, destroying property, extorting, objectifying… all forms of debauched behavior was fair game in the pursuit of showing the world their version of manliness. Through the eyes of hindsight, I see now it was a pathetic cycle, for no matter how much or how often my companions engaged in those activities, the further from satisfaction they fell. Consequently, they also sought more and more self-pleasure as they endeavored to compensate for the obvious emptiness that had grown to consume their joy, to rob them of their childhood.

So today, to any man who would for a second, consider me something other than foolish, I have a message to transform your life:

“A man is never more a man than when he is on his knees before God”

For some, however, getting to your knees seems to be the most difficult task on earth. The reasons are here presented: Suffering is not easy. It takes courage and strength. It is an alien concept to most modern men. They cannot or will not suffer for others and even for themselves. Prayerful suffering is something all human beings are capable off but in our world with so many technologies, modern conveniences and options for comfort it is an activity that has become one to avoid rather than one to embrace.But why would anyone want to embrace suffering, I hear you ask. Shouldn’t we actively seek to avoid it?

croagh patrick 2It is true that every time we seek out, for ourselves, emotional or sensory comfort as an escape from the realities of everyday life, we are rejecting suffering. On the other hand, every time we give ourselves for the good of another human being we embrace suffering. Whether you are a father on his knees playing with his child or a nurse on her knees giving comfort to the dying, whether you are a member of Saint Vincent de Paul offering time to collect money for the poor or the teacher comforting the crying child, you can give yourself in small ways for others. Even something as small as a smile can echo in eternity especially if we do not feel like smiling. We cannot avoid the fact that if we give of ourselves for others in any way we make a sacrifice or a little suffering. Saint Therese of Lisieux’s famous words sum suffering up well:

“I prefer monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul”

This statement is profound. Therese is a doctor of the Church. But how can picking up a pin save a soul? Well, this is a deep theological reality. Take some time with this paragraph and the concept will enlighten your soul:

Firstly, Saint Paul writes “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, which is the Church” (Colossians 1:24). He says that Christ’s afflictions are “lacking”. What could possibly be lacking in the afflictions of Christ Jesus? The answer: Christ is the head and His Church (our Church) is His body. Anyone who receives the Holy Eucharist is assimilated into His body, the Church. If you receive the Eucharist you are a member of His body. This is a mystical and physical reality. We literally become one with Christ when we receive the Eucharist. Therefore, when Christ was nailed to the cross in His eternal act of sacrifice we also were nailed to the cross with Him because we are His body. Secondly, Christ gave everything He had on the cross and so His afflictions could not possibly be lacking in any way. What was lacking was us. We were what was lacking in His afflictions because we, today, refuse to suffer with Him. In the same way as Christ’s ultimate masculine act on the cross accomplished the redemption of mankind, so too do our sufferings, when united with Christ’s, participate in that redemption of mankind. If we refuse to suffer, we are refusing to participate with Christ to redeem mankind. We are refusing to love others by helping them obtain heaven. By suffering, we have the ability to redeem those who are unable to suffer themselves, who are unable to carry their own crosses.

This then, my friends, is why suffering is an act of true love for others. We are literally offering ourselves to redeem nameless and faceless others whom we have never met. We do so because we choose to love. Love is not merely a superficial emotion to make us feel good. Real love is an act of the will, a choice to give of yourself for the good of another, especially those we would not typically be likely to love. When we refuse to suffer for another and we instead seek out an escape to comfort ourselves we reject love.

loch derg womanThat, in a nutshell, is why suffering is the most admirable of all pursuits. Suffering is not easy. That is why most people cannot accept it and choose instead sensual, emotional comforts for themselves. It is also why so many scoff at the religious in a desperate attempt to justify their choice to reject suffering. It is often the reason why many people refuse Catholicism and why they become so vehemently opposed to it. Catholicism mirrors to them their inability or unwillingness to live up to its Truth.

Catholicism is not easy. It is not for the weak. It can break most men and it will ultimately bring us all to our knees. However, praise your God, praise your King, because it is on your knees in humble recognition of your weakness that you find the answers to everything your heart desires. You will find Him kneeling right there with you, the man for whom all men are made. Jesus.

Now go out into the world and embrace the miracle of Lent.

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