The Government has given strong indications that it will hold a referendum on abortion next year. Truth be told, we’ve known for some time that politicians are minded to hold a referendum that would threaten the right to life of unborn children currently enshrined in the Irish Constitution. There has been a campaign, lavishly funded from...

I encountered a nun in a Dublin shopping mall last week – she identified me through a mutual acquaintance of schooldays. It took me a few minutes to clock that she was a religious sister, as she was dressed in civvies – indeed, very well-dressed in an attractive pink padded jacket, which is this season’s style.I realise that most...

It has been a bad few weeks for those of us who value life from conception to natural death. First, there was a huge backlash against the National Maternity Hospital being situated in the grounds of St Vincent’s Hospital.The perceived problem was that there might be any Catholic influence whatsoever in the place, particularly when it came to...

Nuns in Ireland have been so stereotyped in Irish public debate that they have been reduced to the role of the villain in an old-fashioned Hammer horror movie.The archetype of this villainous nun is the character played by Geraldine McEwan in The Magdalene Sisters, which Irish TV channels love to air. As played by McEwan the head nun, Sr Bridget,...

Eugene DuffyThe role of religion and the time allocated to it in the primary school curriculum continues to be a point of controversy in many quarters. At the Government level, the Minister, Mr Richard Bruton, continues the approach of his predecessors in attempting to curtail the influence of religion on the primary school system. He...

Brendan O’ReillyInfant baptism in the Church has been practised since apostolic times and prior to 1972 if an adult sought baptism the ritual used was the Rite of Infant Baptism. Such adult baptisms were often celebrated privately, with no parish involvement and the adult to be baptised did not answer for their own faith commitment –...

With the exception of scripture and a few Christian mystics, Christian spirituality, up to now, has been weak in presenting us with a vision for our retirement years. It’s not a mystery as to why. Until recently, the majority of people died shortly after retirement and so there was no need for a highly-developed spirituality of generativity...

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