The Catholic Irishman

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

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Maybe it is time to Bring back the Clans

clan4“Don’t make the same mistakes as your relatives” my mother would imply when she would say things like “Oh your uncle Tommy Joe will never be dead, as long as you’re alive” or “you’re just like your aunt Elsie you know”. Poor old Tommy Joe and aunt Elsie would get some touch week in week out, all in the aid of perfecting my defective character by instilling within me the fear of God that I would turn out like them. Yet, all and all, to be honest about it, Tommy Joe wasn’t a bad fella. He was a type of lovable rogue who might never have told a word of truth but he told great stories and he would typically leave a smile on your face at the end of the night. Aunt Elsie might have been a wee bit eccentric and prone to a little insanity now and then but she was a strong, faithful woman who ensured her children, nieces and nephews knew how to move their way around a rosary. For all their faults there was so much to these people that could be considered good and worthy even of emulation.

My mother had many ways of keeping us “way’ans” (wee ones) in line but despite all her appeals to our ancestral troubles we all had the sense to see in our many forefathers and mothers the definition between defect and virtue. We did not grow up to reject our kin but instead sought to embrace the quantities of qualities we admired and respected such as strength, wit, tenacity, integrity and much more. In many cases, we embraced the good and avoided the bad. What form of mental illness would we children have been suffering from if we had operated in the opposite manner? What form of sociological illness does our world live under today to in fact be operating in that opposite manner?

Between the 11th and 18th centuries, there existed a most admirable system of life, which to this day stirs  in Irish people a deep sense of pride. It originated and grew in Ireland before expanding across the sea to Scotland, the home of our Gaelic brothers and sisters and it cultivated some of the most respected names in our history like Bruce, Campbell, Armstrong, Cunningham or Hamilton. These names of the great Scottish clan system moved south across the Irish Sea and became integrated and accepted in Ireland also.

A clan was a noble community with a shared identity and descent from a common leader or chief. They had their own coat of arms and tartan design to distinguish them from their neighbors. They consisted of many families with multiple surnames, often unrelated, who lived in the territory of the clan chief. Because territories were small it was likely that everyone knew those who were members of their community. The rule of leadership would likely have been more personal compared to what we have today where people of Ireland have no choice but to obey unknown, distant and rigid faces of people who know them not and who make little effort to know them. Disputes were settled in the community and so decisions were made for the benefit of the local people rather than for the good of a governmental shadow hanging over their head.

Now, let me be clear. I am not advocating a full-scale return to the clan system because we know very well that it was a harsh and often dangerous time with many issues. However, I at least want it to be an option and at the very least I would like the opportunity to turn to it and adopt what was good from it rather than completely dismissing it altogether. Just because it is part of the past and is no longer operational, does not mean that it does not hold elements of value that could be utilized and found beneficial to our society today.

clan3There is a disturbing trend in our world today to dismiss or outright reject the wisdom of the past. People call for practical solutions to our societal issues and desperately we attempt to discover that new system, that new ideology, which will transform our world, renew us and place us on the path to utopia. People look forward to the latest fad or idea. Evolutionists will talk about how society has evolved, taking all the good from the past and becoming something more solid, more moral and great. They tell us we have come from a darker, unenlightened period and, although we are not there yet, we are moving in the right direction. “Our ‘collective organism’ is improving,” they would announce. That is what we are led to believe. The problem is that a collective is not an organism. People are organisms. Collectives do not evolve, but are shaped by the individuals within them. And those in power tend to do the shaping to benefit themselves while the real organisms, the people they lead, suffer for their supposedly enlightened practical decision making.

The old political line that we must look to the future is a lie. The concept of “new politics” is a lie. It is merely a catchphrase to appeal to people who desperately want something, anything to change for their benefit. I am saying, instead of looking to the future, let us look to the past; you know, the past that people are so desperately afraid of, those past practices that are considered no more. Should we reject the whole system just because it did not last? Or would it not be logical and make more sense to look at what has worked in the past, the good elements of our many tried human systems: of the clan system, the Greek system, the Roman system and so on, to find what we could today add or change about our current failing system to make it better?

It almost seems like cowardice that we do not look back because we are so afraid of not living up to the great minds that have come before us or we are scared to death of being faced with the reality that humans have failed and therefore we modern humans could fail also. It is much easier to write an idealistic future in our heads (or manifestos) because it can be anything we want and as successful as we want because it has not yet happened. My friends, all this is fiction. It is a big fictional story sold by politicians and theorists who want you to buy their book or vote them back into power.

clansmanIf I want to become a better person, I will look to my ancestors and discover what it is they have done which is good, noble, worthy and I will seek to emulate that good. I will be aware of those qualities, which are negative and I will seek to avoid them. But I will reject any notion that I must renounce them completely. In the same way we must, as a society, not be afraid to look back at our heritage to find out what worked for our people. If it worked we should seek to reintegrate those ideas and methods instead of rejecting them for some fictional future, which will, supposedly, lead us to a land of milk and honey. We all know it never will.

Be proud of your history and fight so that modern power mongers do not force us into their superficial future.

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Defending Innocence: Father Roland Calhoun

calhounOne of the nastiest forms of attack, which has spiraled out of control in recent decades, is the use of the media to form and shape the minds of the public. There appears to be no relenting as this machine of the state tramples over our freedoms and tears the pillars of our culture to the ground. A picture can express a thousand words. The way a title is worded can lead people to focus their thought in a direction deliberately designed by the agenda of the writer or the news outlet. The job of these corporate manipulators is to sell a product, to extract the money of the public and they do so by sensationalizing their story lines and appealing to popular trends in the culture. And no trend is more popular in our modern Ireland than tearing down the Catholic Church.

And so enters Donna Deeney of the Belfast Telegraph who wrote an article this month entitled “Yoga and Indian head massages lead to Satanism, says Northern Irish priest”.

Now I do not know Father Roland Calhoun and I have no knowledge of his personal life but the purpose of this article is to call out the deceptive nature of those who claim to be feeding our country fair and neutral information. In fact, if Catholic priests have committed crimes or have been involved in scandals I would be the first to accept they should answer for their actions. However, in this case, Donna Deeney has made every effort to turn the mind of the Irish people against an innocent man just because he is a priest. She has yet to write an article, which highlights the beauty and strength of Catholicism. In her cowardice she has become a conformer and has bought into the tide of anti Catholicism that appears to be sweeping the world. There is nothing brave about parroting popular opinion and packaging it as “journalism”. Real bravery is having the courage to stand up for age old Truths even if you have to pay the ultimate price. Father Calhoun is not giving his life physically but Donna Deeney has made every effort to destroy his reputation and paint him as an extremist. She has done this at no expense to herself.

Here is why this coward must be called out for what she is:

  1. She based her article off an interview given by Father Calhoun in the Derry journal. Here is the link to that article: “Derry priest warns of risk involved in yoga” . If you read the original article you will see that Father Calhoun never once mentioned the word “satanism”. Satanism is the religious worship of evil. Father Calhoun was in no way linking yoga to satanism. Yet Donna Deeney would have you believe that he did. This is dishonest. Donna Deeney is a liar.
  2. Father Calhoun is a Catholic. Why would anyone be surprised if he would attempt to teach what Catholics believe? Yet Donna Deeney attempts to paint him as a foolish or crazy man and in the process, due to association, she attempts to make the Catholic Church look out of touch with modern thought.
  3. Once again, Catholicism is what Father Calhoun has signed on for. The Catholic Church has clearly taught about the existence of a spiritual world were there are good spirits and evil spirits, souls and heaven and so on. When he speaks of these things it is because that is the role of a Catholic priest – to teach us about Catholicism. Donna Deeney appears to think this is an extraordinary idea to report about…or she is doing it deliberately to discredit the Church in the mind of Irish people.
  4. Yoga can mean several things in our modern world. Typically in the Western world it is related to stretching and breathing. If, in fact, that is all it is then there is no problem from the perspective of the Catholic Church. What the Catholic Church, who Father Calhoun represents, has an issue with is when yoga begins to incorporate the practice of other religions which the Church believes to be untrue. Donna Deeny may do well to read and review the Vatican document “Letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church on some aspects of Christian Meditation
  5. In Hinduism there is belief in many gods who are not the Triune God. If they are not the Triune God, then what are they? If they don’t exist then why bother worshipping them or involving yourself with them at all? If they do exist and they are not involved in directing the person toward God but instead direct us away from the faith considered true and holy, then isn’t it logical to assume they are bad? In yoga, a Hindu practice, a person postures their body in poses or stretches, which were originally designed as offerings to Hindu gods. You can then conclude what you want about its practice.
  6. In Buddhism, there is a belief in spirituality, which is fundamentally opposed to that of Christianity. The practice of Buddhism essentially focuses the individual inwards upon the self while Christianity essentially focuses one outward toward love of others.
  7. The question for any person who is Catholic, like the “good Catholic” presented in Donna Deeney’s article, is why would anyone want to substitute the beautifully Christ focused Catholic meditative practice of Eucharistic adoration for the inward self-focusing meditation of yoga? Yoga proponents must answer this.
  8. Father Calhoun is quoted out of context and his ideas are manipulated by the twisting of Donna Deeney to make his perfectly acceptable defense of his faith sound ridiculous and outlandish. She purposefully presents two versions of Catholicism – the poor, unfortunate tale of the “good Catholic” Evelyn Donnelly and the mean spirited out of touch priest Father Calhoun trying to stifle her. She creates this dichotomy deliberately to appeal to the emotion of the reader for it is in the emotion that a person is most easily swayed.
  9. Father Calhoun is not in any way stifling the freedom of Evelyn Donnelly as we are lead to believe in this pathetic piece. Ms. Donnelly is free to practice yoga all she wants. What is most disingenuous is that Donna Deeney makes it look like Father Calhoun is trying to stop her when he is simply explaining and teaching Catholicism as he is charged to do. If Evelyn Donnelly rejects what he says then that is her prerogative and Donna Deenys. You can see how Donna Deeney engineers her article to control the reader and turn them against the priest, an innocent man.
  10. The Catholic Church teaches exorcism. This should not be a shock. Therefore, Father Calhoun rightly believes, as his faith teaches, the very real possibility of people becoming obsessed and even possessed by evil. Gabriel Amorth, the Vatican exorcist, provides multiple testimonies to the existence of evil and the effect it has on the human mind if we allow ourselves to be open to the bad side of the spiritual world (An Exorcist Tells His Story; An Exorcist: More Stories). M. Scott Peck, a renowned psychiatrist testifies to the existence of evil and his experiences dealing with real possession in his book “Glimpses of the devil: A psychiatrists personal accounts of possession”. Read these testimonies if you doubt.

These types of attacks against Catholicism have gained frequency and popularity and represent one of the greatest and most insidious threats to Ireland in modern times. It is time that brave Irish men and women stood up and exposed these people for what they are even if it means losing your reputation and popularity, even if it means losing your life. The early Christians died for their faith, for Christ, even when they had an opportunity to save themselves by renouncing their Christian beliefs. Ireland must raise brave, strong men and women to give all they are, to become true Irish heroes and finally, when finished, to write their names in heaven.

For an excellent synopsis of the incompatibility of yoga and Catholicism please read “The trouble with yoga” by Michelle Arnold of Catholic Answers.

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Irish Men: Now is not the time to stop fighting

fighting handsMy uncle was a fighter. He has, in my time, always been a fighter. Even though he is older now, there is little doubt he still holds the fighter’s compulsion and fierceness, which has in his time encouraged many other men into a state of acceptance. As a boy I marveled at the tales conveyed by other men on work sites, and in hearth-warmed homes down country lanes about his strength and the ferocity of his passion to stand by his convictions and to force other men, in turn, who demanded he adapt, to leave him in peace. I derived great pride from those stories and they fed my young vision of masculinity as I became adamant to become just as determined, strong and, to my young mind, invulnerable, as he had physically made himself to be. He was a heroic figure to a boy and because he was of my own blood I therefore felt almost like his victories and temperament were mine also to be grasped.

“Bad tempered” some called him. “A raging mad man” others would scoff. Although these concepts also passed by my thought, it became apparent there was more to his case. For I have witnessed both bad temper and the raging mad man but my uncle possessed something each of those dispositions lacked, he had reason and direction. He had a cause, a philosophy, an ideology, which he held sacred and dear and for which he was prepared to fight, even to give his life. This may not have been apparent to other men. It may not even have been apparent to him. But my uncle was defending a most innate human hunger. He was claiming his right to be free.

On one occasion, in a local pub, he was sitting having a drink and talking with his brother (my other uncle) when some fella sitting on the other side of the bar challenged him. The fella was drunk and had some quarrel; he didn’t like the way my uncle had spoken earlier. The man was given several opportunities to air his opinions and his point was taken. On several occasions others spoke to him saying, “all right now you’ve said your pace” and “that’s enough now lave it”. Despite this, the sermon continued and became more abusive. After holding back for a good half hour, in two very quick movements my uncle expressed his opinion, once with his fist and second with his boot. The dialogue was concluded.

As the years rolled by, I came to realize that men in the community had adopted three methods of approach with my uncle. They chose to befriend him, to fight him, or alternately to outright avoid him. It was obvious nonetheless that whatever approach they adopted they came to develop a profound respect for his way. You see, although no man in that world was able to verbalize it, they knew in their own way that my uncle was fighting to maintain an age-old truth, that all men have an inherent right to their own personality and to have the freedom to operate within a culture unrestricted by the expectations of individuals. In other words, he fought for his right and the rights of others to just be themselves. There are always people, drunk or sober, who will claim right to stifle this freedom. They will make reference to social norm or their personal moral certitude. My uncle, like many men in the community, resisted this the only way he knew how, with his fists. This was his only recourse, for few might have understood or been willing to listen to a reasoned argument.

“Lave me in pace to be and I will lave you in pace. Obstruct my freedom to live in pace and I will resist you will all the strength I can amass.”

It was a simple way of settling a dispute and it was how men did their talking in those places, but it was also powerful and effective because not only did both men get their say, they knew exactly were each other stood. Those men surely fought out their disagreement but upon completion they both had expressed themselves fully and they both left with significant understanding and appreciation for the other.

In other circles life, is not so simple. Attempts to stifle freedom come packaged in a craftier and more obscured manner. It is a modus operandi of grander, loftier halls of universities and other intellectual institutions where the idea of settling a dispute with ones fists would be deemed archaic, savage or animalistic in nature. Indeed, those men who wear long flowing gowns to signify their dignified status or stand behind podiums preaching policy based on their “mandate,” would have you believe there is a much more elegant and civilized manner for settling a disagreement. Indeed they refer to this manner as “compromise” and the virtue they offer for achievement of this goal is known as “tolerance”.

Now these words “compromise” and “tolerance” appear, at first glance, exceptionally appealing to the untrained eye. Who in their right mind would not want compromise? Who in their right mind would reject “tolerance”? Well that is exactly how modern social information centers have been set up. Their message is designed to sway you to accept a particular way of thinking. And this, my friend, is they point at which we must fight back. Here is why:

If we accept compromise as the goal, it means we must in some way relinquish either some, or most of our convictions or beliefs in order for many incompatible ideas to be dispersed into some newly formed adulteration of a belief system. In those grand lofty intellectual halls they call this pluralism. We will be told that if we disagree with someone, we are intolerant and therefore we should hold our tongues. If we accept this argument, what happens eventually is that individuals begin to fear the true expression of themselves in case they invite ridicule from others. If it carries on long enough, we become a nation of many thoughts but no Truth. Truth becomes no longer visible but rather fades into a fog of polymorphic mess.

When two men argue a point to its end with no restrictions on their personal expression, it becomes one of the strongest foundations of a good friendship. If two men are afraid to express what they believe, neither of them will ever truly know each other. Instead, they develop prejudices or caricatures, not of who the other person is, but rather of what they think the person is. If you want to really know a person and develop a relationship founded on respect the answer is not compromise or tolerance, it is argument and honesty.

In Ireland if we seek to discover the ideal way to live as a person and in community, we must first begin by being open to a good old-fashioned, honest argument and debate. Now, there is a distinct possibility that we could be wrong in our convictions. No one can claim to know all Truth. But we must never cease searching for it, for that perfect way, the ultimate way of living most in tune with humanity. It is through the seeking that we will be satisfied, from being heard and from listening to the promptings of our hearts.

My friends, if we want true freedom in Ireland, we must never let go of that old Irish temperament to engage others and their ideas with honest appraisal. We must fight all forms of authority that require us to tolerate to the point that we give up our identity and our belief in Truth. Our convictions might need tweaked or changed, but compromising of identity should always be our own free choice. It should never be influenced, not by the media, not by a politician, not by a passing cultural fad. Truth is timeless and is the path to freedom. We can discover what it is. And it is something very definite.

How far are you willing to go?

I once asked my uncle “would you die for your family?” There was no hesitation when he emphatically replied, “I would”.

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Love/Hate: A good depiction of great evil in Ireland only

love hate oldWhen I was sixteen years old I got a kicking outside a nightclub at two o’clock in the morning. It would not be the last time I would be faced with such a predicament but on this occasion it taught me a strong, harsh lesson not only about being a man, but about being a man in Ireland, which I’ve come to understand is a wholly unique perplexity. As everyone in Ireland knows except, as it appears, the police, the drinking laws in Ireland are rarely, if ever, enforced and so that night my sixteen year old self wandered the halls of this nightclub, pint in hand, seeking out the company of some charitable female who would put up with me for a few hours.

It happened then that I chanced upon one young woman standing by the side of the dance floor moving here and moving there. I made my move. Up I dandered and said “hello”. She turned away so I figured she was shy. Not to trouble her much more, I turned to leave when I felt, to my surprise, a hard kick to the back and it wasn’t a new dance move either. I turned to spot a bulky fella with a cigarette dangling from his mouth staring through me, gorilla stanch and all. As it turned out he had developed himself a wee thing for the same wee girl I’d just wasted my “hello” on and he wasn’t impressed. Behind him stood a row of more empty looking fellas with more cigarettes dangling and more gorilla stances and very serious expressions indeed. They meant business it seemed but then, as I was to experience, those were fierce expressions not uncommon to the hallowed halls of Irish nightclub establishments. I just got better at avoiding them or confronting them I suppose.

Anyway, on this occasion I turned away and walked off. Still, as it turned out, a note had been made of my face and afterwards, outside the nightclub, as my futile search for female company continued, the same fellas from inside caught up with me and decided to initiate a game of football using my head as the ball. I consider myself young at that time and therefore inexperienced in peace negotiations with people who appeared to care little for my life or death so I remained with head in arms and waited out the punishment for my crime. Eventually I was prevented from dying by an older Good Samaritan who intervened because he couldn’t “stand seeing young fellas be treated like that”, so he said.

Now, as I said, I learned some invaluable lessons that night and two, in particular spring to mind. First, I learned never to lie down again, and I never did. Second, and the most profound, as I lay having several men attempt to remove my head from my shoulders with their feet, I realized then I was looking squarely into the faces of sincere evil. Consequently, it would be that stone cold stare emanating from their faces that I would encounter on many more occasions in many other settings.

Love/Hate is currently one of the most popular shows on Irish television. It is a fictional depiction of the lives of several characters operating within the criminal underworld of Dublin City. It is one of the most violent and emotionally disturbing programs ever created in Ireland and to me it is an excellent presentation of what true evil looks like. If you are under the impression that evil looks like what we see in “The Exorcist” or some other horror movie with spinning heads, deep raspy voices and red eyes, then you need to reevaluate your concept. Evil is much more subtle and the genius of evil is that it is less obvious, very crafty and often imperceptible to human minds which consider behavior a mere personal human choice.

In episode two of season 5 of Love/Hate there is a funeral scene where a priest reads a homily for a man who had been, without remorse, suffocated, forced into a suitcase and dumped in a canal. In the homily he reads scripture from Romans 3:13:

“Their throats are open graves;

Their tongues practice deceit.

The poison of vipers is on their lips.

Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.

Their feet are swift to shed blood;

Ruin and misery mark their ways,

And the way of peace they do not know.

There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

These are strong words, with a power I have rarely heard at a real Catholic mass but they are words that highlighted perfectly the nature adopted by those being portrayed by the show.

So what is this evil I refer to? The greatest evil of all, is when we look at another person and, in our eyes, we make them less human. We dehumanize. In almost every act portrayed by the characters of this show, dehumanization is the evil vehicle adopted to justify the most animal acts. Think of this and take time with this statement: if the devil hates humans, and he cannot physically distort our humanity, then the next best thing he can achieve is to distort and reduce the vision of our humanity held by other people.

When a person looks at another and considers them less than human they can then justify all forms of actions upon that person. They can murder or tear them apart in as many ways as their imagination allows. They can commit adultery against them ignoring the deep hurt that could be suffered by the other. They can reduce women to objects that gratify only their sexual demands, never considering that the person they objectify has a family, that they love and they have goodness and worth. To these people, friends exist only to keep them company, while the friend’s good is secondary and maybe irrelevant. Wives and children exist to satisfy a craving for familial life, a shadow of holiness to be returned to after gratification is received in other ways like drink, drugs, or sex.

Figures of authority become barriers to a freedom to satisfy every emotional whim as the person strives for wealth, power or physiological sensation. They must be either destroyed, or tolerated with disdain. Those who no longer provide some form of comfort or use are tossed aside or ignored.

Every evil act, and every sinful act for that matter, involves us making someone less human in our minds. The robbed is less human to the thief. The woman is less human to the pornographer. The child is less human to the abortionist. The talked about are less human to the gossipmongers. An employee is less human to the boss who treats them badly. The drug user is less human to the drug pusher. People are judged not by their human goodness and worth but by their function to you and their use to society. This is evil.

All the above evils and many more are displayed in full glory in Love/Hate. Yet for some reason it is a show, which attracts. We are drawn in by it mysteriously. Young men are attracted by the toughness and seeming impenetrable personas of what is presented as masculine. Young women are offered a vision of the woman who seeks out and can’t resist that pseudo power. It is all cleverly packaged material. We wonder how closely it resembles reality.

ward oldAnd that, my friends, is the point. It resembles evil and it resembles what humans are capable off. It resembles what we could become. It resembles the attraction we feel to evil and sin and how that attraction can catch hold of us, twist us and ultimately destroy us. There are men in our world who are so far gone no words can turn them back. This show exposes absolutely why we should, with all effort we can muster, reject this lifestyle being proposed and why we must return to the only salvation we have, the beautiful virtue of Catholic Truth. What is offered by our faith, which has been a rock in Ireland for centuries, is the only remedy to ensure we do not degenerate further into the cesspool on display in Love/Hate. It brings no joy, no satisfaction, no happiness. It offers only ruin. There is no middle ground in the battle for souls.

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Wisdom from the building site: A man for the future

Irish buildersIn my last article, “Modern political betrayal: All smiles and handshakes” I outlined how vitally important it is to understand what a good society looks like, before we are able to decide upon a political direction to move in, toward that good or ideal. We have so many politicians and leaders out there who throw out every year these grand ideas and policies designed to impress us with all the work they are doing. It is like they are baking a cake and throwing all sorts of mad ingredients in, hoping that the result will be a fine tasting cake. They do this however, without knowing first what a good and ideal cake should look and taste like first. These men sell us what society could be rather than showing us what society should be. As a result we never end up with a good and ideal society, but rather we have to settle for something much less acceptable and much less beneficial.

Today I would like to describe to you the type of man we should be looking for as a true leader, a man who knows a good and ideal society before he starts adding ingredients and selling us manifestos. These men seek to show us how great society should be, not how great they are. These are the men for whom smiles and handshakes mean nothing and for whom the only acceptable compromise is one that helps the people and society reach their potential greatness.

Some of the most valuable experiences I have had in my life where served on building sites throughout the lands with foremen good and bad and jobs dirty or clean. I have difficult memories of those times, for the work was hard and the expectations tough for a young man used to the comfort of the living room. I also heard much conversation that would unlikely have impressed my mother. Still, the experience I gained became invaluable. From the characters who laboured around me, I learned much about men, about being Irish and about being human.

It was fascinating for me to watch the interactions between younger apprenticed hands and older hardened heads as they exchanged, elaborated and embellished tales of weekend behaviors and encounters involving mostly fighting, drinking and women. I heard stories of past present and future, kinship, friendship and workmanship. It was not all bad but despite all this banter there was one interaction in particular that intrigued me the most. It often took the younger lads by surprise at first that no matter how much messing around might have gone on and how lightly the older heads appeared to take life, they still talked about and went about their work with the utmost seriousness and respect.

These men would be joking in one second and the next they would be focused intently on the job at hand. It came as a sudden change of character and it took me off guard when I first noticed. In time, I developed a strong admiration for those men because of their superior practical knowledge and their devotion to achievement in their area of expertise whether that was electrician, joinery, plastering or brick laying. Their trade was their pride, their life and their mission in those moments.

Now these men where not perfect men. They had many deficiencies, irregularities and vulgarities and they tended to harbour deep intolerances for defects or differences in the personalities of others. Also, even though they held themselves as men of knowledge and wisdom, it was more often the case that their scope of insight was fairly limited, though not always of course.

I remember once, three of four men, standing around staring for hours at a freshly dug hole in the ground having a smoke, scratching their heads and other parts, reciting the inevitable “boys o it’s tara” conversation filler every couple of minutes and discussing the weather occasionally. A pipe had burst, and though they knew they must move forward they were at a loss on how to proceed. They could hear the water running but no source could be found. After a while and a few more smokes they lifted the phone and called in another man. Now, this man was different in many ways. He appeared after fifteen minutes, took one or two looks and described very purposefully exactly what was wrong, how things should be and what they needed to do to move forward. After that, work started up again and the job was completed. That, my friends, is the way of the world. There is always someone else out there who sees the bigger picture. These are men gifted with vision and so can be aptly called visionary. They will know how things should be and they will outline them so the practical man can get them done. We must accept that we do not know everything, even though we may think we do.

This, then, is how I see modern day Ireland. Everywhere on television and at every major event in our community we see these practical politicians who can’t wait to think up and tell us what practical policy they are going to implement next to make life better. Apparently they think they know it all. Where oh where are our great leaders? Those men who envision a good and ideal society and who our practical men can follow to give us what we need?

Ireland is still running on the old “United Ireland” steam. While this issue remains important for so many it is not primarily what we need. It is no longer the most pressing threat to our freedom. It is not what continues to keep us enslaved. Today we must look to education for our children. Our system is failing them. We must look to economic prosperity. Our system is failing us.

When a politician thinks the answer to the education and economic crisis is to increase taxation and give the government more power to regulate, he is not a visionary working for the good of the people, he is a practical man who has run out of ideas. When a politician thinks abortion (the killing of our next generation) is good for women while ignoring all the evidence to the contrary he is not a visionary working for the good of the people, he is a practical man who has run out of ideas. When a politician thinks gay marriage is good for society despite all the evidence to the contrary, once again, he is not a visionary working for the good of the people. These are practical men who have run out of ideas, or worse, men working for their own good and not our good. These men all claim these policies are the way to go but they ignore the clear evidence that plainly show these actions are disastrous for families and individuals. Our politicians join the European Union looking to other practical men for answers and all they seem to get are more problems while they sell our liberty and the very soul of Ireland.

I am here to tell you – visionaries exist. They are in Ireland today. I am convinced they are there. Unfortunately, our political system is designed to suffocate their voice. The stranglehold that the same old faces and same old parties have on our media and the flow of information prevents these young minds from emerging. The current policies cause so much economic hardship, many young people are forced to emigrate for better opportunities. Internal party politics typically prevent young people gaining positions of influence as the old dogs greedily hold on to their positions of power and prestige. At no time have we needed more these young leaders than today, to use all resources available to them to get their message to the people.

Their message is that we need to build, or go back to an Ireland built on goodness, virtue and Truth. We must look to our strength in community, camaraderie and faith rather than looking to the worldliness of European governments or further, for it does not suit our culture. These young people must impel us forward and viciously resist all forces that present barriers to the freedom and peace of our people. It is no longer men with guns and balaclavas who threaten our peace but men with smiles, handshakes and practical quick fix policies; men who would sell their own souls for power, wealth or prestige. These men want us to believe they are our leaders but they have become stale. Their vision brought us to this point but they have no vision to bring us to the next step. They need to step aside but, selfishly, they refuse.

We need new blood, men with vision who know what a good society should look like, men who care nothing for power, wealth or prestige but only for the good of their people. That is a man worth following, a man who would give his life for us and a man whose vision we would give our lives for.

Let us pray for good Irish leaders.

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Modern Political Betrayal: All smiles and handshakes

graveyardOver a decade ago, after attending in Killarney, County Kerry, one of the most enjoyable weekend festivals, I’d say, I have ever experienced, I was making my way home in a car with a friend who happened to be prone to spontaneous and typically mad notions. This was one of those occasions he decided to have a typically mad notion and so, despite the concert being concluded, he declared he wanted to prolong our sense of satisfaction by taking a detour through Co. Mayo. And so it was, as we trudged along in his little red 1990s Ford Focus he announced his intention by stating “we’ll head this way” and instead of turning right, he turned left.

Predictably, I enquired “What? What are you on about?”

He repeated, “We’ll head up this way, see what happens.”

“Are ye wise?” says I.

“Sure why not, it’ll be a bit of craic” says he.

“Where’re ye going anyway, what about heading this way” says I.

“Ach sure we’ll know when we get there” says he.

“Fair enough” says I and off we went, on his compass, somewhere into the middle of “God knows where”. On the way, every now and then, I’d repeat my earlier enquiry “Do ye know where you’re for yet?”

“Ach sure we’ll know when we get there” says he.

“Fair enough” says I and this went on until get there we did and there turned out to be a wee pub in Ballyhaunis where we had ourselves a couple of pints of Guinness and a “feed of chips”. And sure what would be wrong with it says I?

Nothing at all, I suppose, except for the point I’m about to attempt here today.

Ireland, like most of the world, suffers from a unique form of multiple personality disorder. We vote in our politicians years after years to represent us for a variety of reasons and each set of politicians comes together with a nice, neat and well packaged manifesto to let us know their vision for the future and how they are the boys to get us there. You’ll get a knock on the door with a big smile and a handshake and if you turn the television on, at all, those same faces are there, smiles in hands and hands in hands, as they tell us the best way to fix our country.

Now this would be all well and good if one element of the equation was not missing. What is missing? Well, what is missing is the actual ‘fixing’ of the country. The country never actually gets fixed. Yes, we can change our mind and vote in the next man or next party but no matter how many years we vote in or revote in the same faces and the same parties we never end up anywhere significant. The people see this, I see this, the whole country sees this but yet we continue to choose the same people with the same tired boring rhetoric. These men all tell us what they want to change but they don’t seem to know what the country should look like if it were to become a good place to live. Here is one example of how ridiculous the whole thing is:

Taxes in Ireland have rocketed out of orbit. Not only are those few people with a job taxed to poverty but also we are taxed for fuel, cigarettes, property, cars, soon to be water, and plastic bags. More and more money comes out of our pockets while politicians vote themselves pay raises frequently and without apology or even guilt, I surmise. Now of course some might argue these taxes are necessary for good things to be provided. However, we are sure to find most people agree that the state of education and healthcare is not improving to any serious degree, our young people are still emigrating to find jobs and the welfare state is growing while less people are working to support it. These are only some of the small issues we can all agree are bad things. It is enough to drive you to drink but, of course, we can do little of that because the drink is taxed to the roof as well.

Why do things not get better? What is wrong with the situation that prevents us from initiating the action that could set our lives back on the course to good? Do things have to become so bad before we rebel? We moved to kick the British off our soil on multiple occasions, yet we allow our politicians to remain in positions of power that, in turn, appear to keep us in positions of economic slavery.

So you see, it is just like my friend in the car on the way to “God knows where”. Our politicians give us nice big promises with smiles and handshakes and we are supposed to accept that their plan is the way to a better place. However, we have no agreement about what a better place looks like.

The whole point of this article is to argue that we first need to agree on what an ideal country looks like. If we do not know what a good or right society looks like, then how can we possibly head toward it and how can our politicians possibly know the direction to it? It is simple. We need to know what a right, good society is before we make our journey towards something, and end up instead in another pub, drinking another pint of Guinness and eating another plate of chips. It might be very cozy in that pub, but it is not the place we should be and it certainly is not the place we want to be.

When the Black and Tans were rampaging our land, terrorizing and killing our men, women and children we knew something was very wrong. We wanted to just be left alone in peace to be free and grow our families as we seen fit. Maybe today we are being terrorized in a very different way? By men who smile and shake your hand and say everything will be okay down the road, but when we ask them what place we are going to, their thought is “Ach sure we’ll know when we get there”. Maybe it is time these men and their parties and their big government ideas left us in peace and freedom to grow our families as we see fit? Sure isn’t that the real strength of Ireland?

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Irish Men: Pick up your Weapons of War

knight2One of the most persistent memories from my childhood, which both evokes sentiment of reverence and harkens to connection with an element somewhere outside of time itself, is the gathering of my aunt and my cousins each weekend to pray the rosary. As children we often looked lightly upon the seriousness attached to and the significance of such a seemingly small event. I also recall my mother persisting and insisting upon the attendance of every family member in the living room, despite the obvious reluctance and inevitable protests. Still, to this day, I cannot fully explain reasons for the unseen force of repulsion that caused each of us to resist the recitation of such a seemingly good and holy prayer every night. Something so easy and so short (twenty minutes tops) required the greatest effort or strength for participation.

The big question though is not why it was so hard to pray but rather, where were the men? If the most vital of all pursuits is the spiritual pursuit, which will ultimately decide our eternal fate and the fate of the world, why were those who are charged with leading, protecting and providing for their family not taking front and center command in what appeared, for their children, to be a compelling battle. Why did they appear reluctant or even resistant themselves to involvement in a role that potentially impacted heavily the souls of their own flesh and blood? And what made them scorn a duty they were entrusted, as guardians of the holiness of their brides?

Research has found that men are absolutely essential for the health of their children’s spiritual lives (Dollahite, 1998). Investigators found that a woman alone can only be effective to a limited degree. They discovered that it mattered little how devout or persistent the woman in the household was, if the man was not living their faith overtly and was not as respectful in their duty to encourage faith, their children were most likely to fall away from their faith and live it at most in a lukewarm manner. Where are the fathers of Ireland? What great responsibility they have. Do not take lightly these words:

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come” (Matthew 18: 6-7)

Take heed of the words of Christ to Saint Faustina about lukewarm Catholics:

These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to flee to My mercy.”

The responsibility of a man is so very great. So why is that responsibility not embraced? The answer is because it is too difficult and they have not the power. They have not the strength to embrace the requirements of battle, and thus, they reject the calling of their own masculinity. Is this harsh?

Catholicism is not easy. As we know well it is as easy as passing a camel through the eye of a needle. This is the reason so many reject it or “lave it tae the women”. And yet, was it feminine for Christ Jesus to embrace a cross after being lashed to the point of death. Was it feminine for him to trail that cross to the pinnacle of a mountain being beaten and kicked every step, knowing that his death was imminent. His very example demonstrates the difficulty of the path for He clearly said to all men “pick up your cross and follow me”. In Christ’s masculine action the devil was defeated. In the same way it is through our masculine actions that evil will not touch our families.

KnightMake no mistake, men, we fight in a war. It is easier to fall into sinful behaviors, to ignore the needs of others, and our duty to those under our charge. Being bad is not difficult. The greatest war is obtaining perfection. It is almost impossible. Most men give up or become indifferent; how unmanly. If we are not struggling, we have been defeated. How detestable a man who succumbs to his base desires: anger, envy, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, pride.

Saint (Padre) Pio of Pietrelcina refused to be conquered. As he lay dying he beckoned:

“Bring me my weapon” (His rosary)

He understood that time when battle is most savage. It is at the moment of death, your last moments, when satan strives to snatch you away. With all his might, Pio petitioned the forces of heaven, all the angels and saints, to protect and enter combat for him. The devil hates the rosary. When you start to pray and seek to live your life in union with Christ your King you will find that the most ferocious of attacks, in the form of desires to sin, will seize you. It is at those times you must meld yourselves with heaven and employ all resources Christ has placed at your disposal, your weapons. Live them well, live them often:

The Rosary (The Blessed Virgin Mary)


The Holy Eucharist (Jesus Himself)

The Holy Angels and Archangels

Without these powerful intercessory vehicles you will be powerless to resist and you will fail. satan knows that if he can eliminate masculine presence he can defeat the family and the family’s destruction is his ultimate goal because the family is a reflection of the Holy Trinity and the building block for all society, physically, emotionally and spiritually. This is why we see so many voracious attacks upon the sanctity of the family in our modern world, and now sadly in Ireland, through abortion, gay marriage, contraception, divorce, infidelity, pre-marital cohabitation to name only six. It is the charge of the man to stand up and confront these evils with all their being. But do not be afraid for, in Christ, you have all the protection you require and Christ cannot be defeated. His promise to Peter:

“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.”

Strengthen yourselves, your brothers, your wives and children. Become the men you were born to be.

A prayer of protection:

“Spirit of our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Most Holy Trinity, Immaculate Virgin Mary, angels, archangels, and saints of Heaven, descend upon me.  Please purify me, Lord, mold me, fill me with Yourself, use me.  Banish all the forces of evil from me, destroy them, vanquish them, so that I can be healthy, do good deeds and think good thoughts.

Banish from me all spells, witchcraft, black magic, malefice, ties, maledictions, and the evil eye; diabolic infestations, oppressions, possessions; all that is evil and sinful, jealousy, perfidy, envy, lust; physical, psychological, moral, spiritual, diabolical ailments.

Burn all these evils in hell, that they may never again touch me or any other creature in the entire world.

I command and bid all the powers who molest me — by the power of God all powerful, in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior, through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary — to leave me forever, and to be consigned into the everlasting hell, where they will be bound by Saint Michael the archangel, Saint Gabriel, Saint Raphael, our guardian angels, and where they will be crushed under the heel of the Immaculate Virgin Mary.”


Dollahite, D. C. (1998). Fathering, faith, and spirituality. The Journal Of Men’s Studies, 7(1), 3-15. doi:10.3149/jms.0701.3

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Soairse! Give me “Real” freedom for Ireland?

FreedomIf I were to say to you, “I am your ruler”, what would be your response? Would you say “yes sir, of course”, and bend your knee in homage? Would you raise your voice in protest and maybe say “No man rules me, carry on your way?” No one likes to be considered “ruled” by anyone. We reject the mere suggestion that anyone would hold any sway whatsoever over our personal choice to act in any way we see fit. I would argue that this is even more so for the man who claims “Irish” as his title. The Irish are notorious for their cautious and suspiciousness of all forms of authority. Any person, group or organization are met with the strictest of scrutiny and if they are found to be, in any way, reducing the individuals freedom to choose, they receive swift and severe rebuke which may take the form of an angry retort, an uprising, or a simple box to the gob. So it is with no small intention that I pen this next piece as an indication to you, the Irish people, and a suggestion merely to encourage you to think a little about something that has been troubling me for a long time.

You see, Ireland is ruled. Since mankind arrived on the island, Ireland has been ruled. You may consider being ruled anathema, but collectively, north and south, rich or poor, Ireland’s people have been governed by someone or something. Of course it appears to be a natural facet of human society that there are always people who seek to have some form of authority over others. They increase their personal power to influence the thought, word and action of the other. They evolve in time from individuals into groups by uniting with others of like mind and desire for governance. These alliances increase their power and centralize authority into certain organizational structures. We call these structures government and we call the people politicians. The Vikings, the High Kings, the Normans, the English all had their go at ruling the Irish and today we have Fine Gael with good old Enda Kenny in the south and the Assembly with good old Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness in the north. And, as the centuries rolled by, the methods used to govern have transformed from “by the sword” to “by the gun” to “by the influence of information.”

Information has proven to be a very powerful tool, used by those who wish to rule, to get those they rule to accept them as rulers. It is very simple; say the right thing, smile at the right time, shake the right person’s hand and do it so the right people see you and you can make people very willing to vote for you to govern in their place. This is how a political system works and as government structures grow we watch as power is gradually settled into the hands of small, seemingly different, structures called parties. In the United States of America there are the Republicans and Democrats. In Great Britain there are the Conservative and Labour parties. In the south of Ireland we have Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil and in the north of Ireland, for nationalists, there are Sinn Féin and the SDLP. The parties typically take turns at being in power and if people become dissatisfied they tend to vote the other in. This cycle goes on for decades and even centuries.

The problem with this system, I believe, is that the more people give others the authority to rule on their behalf, the less responsibility the people take to rule themselves. They lose their own human identity in the midst of the collective. They become a function in society rather than an individual human being with goodness and self worth, they become dehumanized. The politicians begin to work, not for the good of the individual but rather for the will of the majority, which will vote them into power and help them maintain power. When this happens power sits with one or two parties or people and remains with them for decades. In Northern Ireland especially, the people have witnessed the same politicians in power since the 1970’s and those politicians remain in power, more or less, until they die.

The issues they work with change little. The old Catholic versus Protestant conflict is raised regularly and typically close to election times to stir the passions of the people to continue voting for the same parties and same faces. The debate continues on and on and meanwhile our economy never improves, our education system never gets better, thousands of young people continue to leave the shores for lack of opportunities, more and more businesses shut down, abortion gets closer to being introduced as a right and still the same politicians smile at the camera and shake hands and give inane statements or interviews all designed for one purpose, to keep them in power.

But just imagine with me for a second that government disappeared. Imagine there was no council, no welfare system, no television to advertise, no newspaper to sell you an opinion. What would happen? Would the world fall apart? Would we all shrivel up and die? Would there be wailing and weeping and grinding of teeth in the street?


There wouldn’t!

hearthWhat would happen, I believe, is that once again, in Ireland we would utilize our greatest and long dormant strength – our sense of community. Remember the days when doors did not require locks, when a neighbour could come in, without a knock, to sit by the hearth and sip a cup of tea? Remember the days when people who walked or cycled would stop in the road to chat for hours and know each other better? Remember the days when, if you needed a bit of work done around the house, the neighbors would gather together to help, knowing that when the time came you would do the same? Remember the days when everyone knew each other and no one cared for who was in government because people made their own choices and had the freedom to make their own way?

We, the Irish, are a people who do not need others to look after us. We can get by if we were just left alone to harness the potential of our community strength. The more government is involved in doing everything for us, the less we avail of the opportunity to help ourselves and help each other. People become less community focused, less focused on “what can I do for my neighbor?” and more focused on “what can the government give me?” Unfortunately however, as government increases and community decreases, people become sadder, lonelier, more depressed and suicide rates increase.

I write today not to push you but just to give you an idea. If you would not accept my rule, why would you accept being ruled by anyone? I am not advocating getting rid of government altogether. I understand organization and rules to keep the bad people from our door. However, I am advocating smaller influence of government in our lives and more rights for individuals to be who they want to be on their own. Little community organizations can keep those in need, hungry or sick. We would not have to worry about having policies that run contrary to our personal values being forced upon us by politicians who are voted in only because of family voting tradition and who bow to popular opinion which does not always mean “good”.

Of course we know that those in power would never allow this because it would mean they relinquish their own power. Still, unless we stand up and choose to say “no,” those who seek not our good but the maintenance of their personal position of power, will always rule us.


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Is Ireland still being repressed by England?

mass rockOver the past few years, the interest of the popular masses in Richard Dawkins has waned significantly. He is no longer the powerhouse of atheism that saw him rise to glorified heights of celebrity stardom in the first decade of this century. In the past year, he made comments about it being humane to abort the life of a child with Down syndrome out of their mother’s womb. This has unquestionably damaged his sterling reputation as a fine outstanding, intellectual, English, country gentleman with a renowned position as professor of evolutionary biology at Oxford University no less. The public outcry was shaming and damning, as the world appears to be pushing back with great effort against the rise of a secular “anti-truth”, an idea that all behavior is permissible as long as we choose it together. To these people most behavior is permissible. There is only one small condition however, you must agree with everything these people say, or else.

Irish culture and English culture, although there are certain similarities, are actually traditionally very different. We have an alternative historical makeup, which has shaped our personalities. Like the English, the Irish people appeal to an intellectual charm, but we have also developed a cautious and healthy suspicion of figures and ideas of authority. We are not afraid to question new or outdated theories and, if necessary, we will raise a forceful voice in favor of an alternative position. Irish people generally do not care if their demeanor or disposition is scorned. They tend to be most comfortable when they are allowed to genuinely be themselves. They tend to be most uncomfortable, and most energetic in rejecting anyone or anything, if their freedom to express themselves as they desire is repressed.

Irish people have never accepted being controlled. They demand freedom; liberty to be, and they have a tradition of fighting back against any aggression, with equal or greater aggression, that seeks to make them submit. The English have been attempting to gain Irish submission for centuries. Currently, they appear to be on hiatus from efforts to achieve this task militarily or politically. However, I speculate, they are infiltrating our people in another manner which is currently passing unnoticed and unaddressed by the majority, and yet it seems every bit as detestable, dangerous and threatening to our precious culture.

famine3I recognize this invasion as a war of ideas and, let me be clear, it is not only the English who are involved in this battle against us, but other political power creations, the European Union, the United States of America and further. It really has become a global endeavor, an attempt to unify the minds of all mankind into one way of thinking. This chosen way of thinking is a non-religious, socially manufactured, value system which is starting to be enforced (or forced) and must be observed by anyone who wishes to be labeled “good citizen”.

What am I talking about? Let me explain in very basic terms. Ireland is a beautiful family oriented, virtue focused land, filled with people who just want to enjoy their families and have a conversation without worrying about what people will think of them. In my family one of the qualities I hold dear is that I can speak my mind, people will listen, people will speak back or yell, some may even become offended, but after it is over we will remain friends and live to interact again another day. On the other hand, outside of Ireland, I have experienced group and family conversations were the mere hint of someone not agreeing with the status quo is deplored. The person or idea is shut down by a tyranny of silence. The subject quickly changes or eyes roll to the ceiling or to the wall for fear someone might be expected to respond. The individual who dares resurrect such an opposing thought is quickly moved to the sidelines, spoken to less, ostracized, fired maybe or worst of all treated as though their conversation is childish and unworthy of attention. Can you imagine anything worse than this? For an Irishman this is hell indeed. And yet it is becoming an ever-increasing reality of workplace or coffee shop banter throughout the world.

The point, however, is that it is creeping, slowly, but at an ever increasing rate into Ireland. Freedom of thought should mean that every view is welcome. This means that we are free to disagree with our leaders, authority figures and those who feed us information, like the television, the newspaper, and the man on the street. We should feel welcome to raise our voice and say, “no, what you are saying is wrong and I will not accept it.” This freedom should come without fear of reprisal, of being painted as a lunatic or unreasonable, without fear of losing social standing or your job. We should also be able, on our own, to read or listen to a source and make our own decision to agree or disagree, even if everyone else seems to have accepted one position. If we do not have that freedom then we are being controlled, repressed and we should oppose it with all the strength and determination we have as Irish people in the same way we have repelled the ideas of the English for centuries.

evictionIt is no lie that our world today has been infiltrated by a secular humanistic and relativistic ethic. This means that there is no right action or wrong action anymore as long as the masses agree with it. The problem with this is that those in authority can use media and powerfully persuasive speeches to convince people to accept their way. Individual freedom is eroded because media sources portray those who disagree with them as crazy and selectively choose the positions they highlight and the positions they diminish.

The two pivotal issues facing our homeland today are abortion and the possibility of gay marriage. The evidence of psychology is overwhelming. Abortion is bad for women, it destroys lives, it causes life long mental health crisis’, it increases risk of cancer and above all, most importantly, it kills a child. We are human beings and we know this instinctively. Yet, the messages we are receiving are overwhelmingly from the pro-abortion camp. Those who disagree with this camp are portrayed as “nutjobs”, enemies of progress, stuck in the past or too immersed in religion. This is a message being fed to us daily.

Same sex attraction is a concept that has been promoted for decades now as good. Despite this, what is occurring is a process of dehumanization. The natural complementarity of the masculine and the feminine is being distorted and humans are beginning to define themselves, not according to their God given humanity, but according to their sexual function. Children, no longer seeking out their vocation as human, fall into defining themselves according to the strength, quality and orientation of a physiological sexual feeling. There is an alternative voice but it is being portrayed as not worth hearing, or immature and even disgusting. Once again, the dispersing of information is finely controlled to ensure the people hear only one side in a favorable light.

famine2This is not the Irish way. It is a method of repression introduced from other political systems, other thinkers and other philosophies from other worlds that have proven to be unstable and unreliable as arbiters of what is good (Richard Dawkins). As Irish men and women, for the good of our children, we must resist this attempt to focus our minds upon one set of ideas because it goes against everything we have ever fought for, our freedom. Maybe the ideas I mentioned above are not correct, but at least let both voices be heard. Let us weigh up the evidence for us alone and make a choice free from the influence of authorities that have only their political and financial gain at heart. Our history speaks for itself. We owe ourselves the dignity of questioning every authority that claims sovereignty over us. That includes north and south of the border.

Pray for Ireland, for your children!

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The Lonesome Boatman: The Secret of the Song


It is one of the most well known Irish laments. There are no words to it and yet it is one of the most hauntingly, beautiful and engaging of melodies in the Irish repertoire. Few words can begin to describe the effect it can have when played in the silence of a home. It reveals to mind images of dark, mist covered mountains, lakes absent of life, of years past, of friends, family, and fellow country men once strong with life. We’re reminded of the hustle and bustle of crowded hallways, houses filled with laughter, children, warmth and song. We can’t help but be drawn in. It stills us and we dwell. There sighs an ancient voice in that melody, a voice that whispers across generations to allure us away from our contemporary concerns in our progressive world to connect to a language deep within us, a dialect comprehended only by our hearts.

I sat strumming my guitar tonight in our living room and I began to whistle the melody to the chords. Until then my five-year-old daughter had been jumping around on one of the sofa seats and throwing herself upside down and in all sorts of directions as little kids do. Yet as soon as I started to whistle I noticed something change in her. Within seconds she sat still and began to stare in the direction of our Christmas tree, off into some absent distance. This continued as I moved through verse to chorus to verse and she never moved but seemed to become lost in some far off thought or emotion. It got me thinking about what is was that made this music so popular and so powerful to so many.

In Ireland we are well aware of the fragility of life. Our history is filled with stories of love and laughter giving way to parting and sorrow. Dancing, singing and playing music often gives way to images of coffin ships, prisons, wakes and funerals. As a people, our families have been traditionally strong, virtuous, pure, and close with an unbreakable spirit. Yet we hold a history of happiness fleeting, momentary glimpses of what we could be and then, ultimately, what couldn’t be, at least not forever.

And therein lies the reality of the music and the reality of life. There is love, and a great love at that, in family and friends and sharing of moments together but, ultimately, it does not last and one moment gives way to the next and as time erodes our laughter we eventually come to the realization that we ‘have had’ and because of time we ‘have lost.’ As time passes, we leave behind good times and people, who grow older, move on and we are left with ourselves. It is a lonely thought and one that is captured well in this lament.

I am not here though to beckon you a message of doom and gloom. Despite the loneliness, there happens to be a great hope that should fill us with the greatest of all joys. This is a joy that is seldom realized by many men in Ireland anymore yet it is the most vital of joys to realize because it would inform every breath we take, every thought, word and action to drive us on to goodness and greatness. This is the joy of knowing that what is open for us to grasp, if we only accept, is an eternity of those joy filled moments we remember in life the most. Those moments are infinitely greater than what we have experienced on earth and, what more, the last forever. We will be with those we love forever. We will have everything we have had on earth and more.

It is no lie that heaven is real. In heaven we will have glorified bodies and we will live in a material glorified new earth with sky and land and sea. Those who make it there will be with us including all those we loved on earth. We will have music, songs, stories and the many things we enjoyed on earth, except that we will have a superior appreciation of them. There will be worship of the King and praise for His greatness and so much thankfulness for the mercy He has provided in allowing us to be there.

The idealistic beauty of Ireland, that we all love and identify with, the mountains, rivers, valleys and culture, are only a shadowy reflection of the perfection that will follow. This is open to us if we make it there and let me be clear – making it there can be the only option because the alternative is too terrible to even utter. Ireland is beautiful because its Christian heritage has made it beautiful. The union of the people, the love, the simple, humble way of life has emerged out of hearts united to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and a deep devotion to our Blessed Mother.

Christianity is for men. It is for is for young and old, male and female but men are especially called to lead their wives and families; this is our call and duty as men, to direct all our loved ones to heaven. If we fail in that mission, then we may very well fail to achieve that greatness of heaven and we may not see many of our loved ones there either. This is no trivial thing. This is life and death, nothing else matters on this earth and we must rise to the fight for the good of those we love.

As my daughter sat in silence staring into the distance I realized the great and grave responsibility placed on my shoulders. I realize that, though I love her and enjoy every second I spend with her, one day she would grow up and move on. I know that even though I am young I will one day also, with my wife, grow old and move on. I understand that though now I enjoy the times and memories we are making that ultimately all that is nothing but something that someday I will only look back on and yearn for. The only thing that matters on earth is my duty to direct my family to heaven. They must achieve eternity on my watch, because that is where we can be together and every tear will be wiped away. I cannot bear the thought of failing this mission and entering heaven to find that not all those I love made it. I never want my lack of action to result in that outcome.

The Lonesome Boatman, I believe, captures a raw truth of our existence. We live in a lonely world because time means that everything changes and ultimately ends. Heaven never changes, Christ never changes and He never moves away. It is the only constant and sure thing. He is all we can rely on. If only we realized what is to come we would never be off our knees.

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

(Click to Listen to The Lonesome Boatman)

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