At the Vatican press office on Friday morning, dozens of journalists waited patiently for the script of what Pope Francis would say to the Irish bishops present for their ad limina visit. It wasn’t so much that the journalists were particularly interested in the Irish situation (many were). But, it was more the fact that Pope Francis had not...

Irish bishops have been in Rome meeting with Pope Francis and senior Vatican officials as part of the ad limina process. In theory every bishop in the world makes the trip to Rome every five years to report on the situation in their respective dioceses. In reality, however, it’s tending to be every 10 years. I was with the bishops after...

Frances Fitzgerald, the Justice Minister, has a huge  task before her in bringing legislation before the Oireachtas to define sexual consent.The intention is excellent, and has been striven for in codes of conduct throughout the centuries, from the Renaissance chivalric efforts to instil ‘gentlemanliness’, to the Victorians...

Another report of another child abuse inquiry was published last week. This time, the inquiry, the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry, chaired by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart, dealt with abuse in institutions in Northern Ireland. These institutions were run by the Catholic Church, by the state, and by other voluntary bodies such...

Early Christian monks believed in something they called acedia. More colloquially, they called it, the noonday devil, a name that essentially describes the concept. Acedia, for them, was different from ordinary depression in that it didn’t draw you into the dark, chaotic areas of your mind and heart, to have you diseased before your own...

When it comes to education policy, Fine Gael seems to have adopted the policy of diversion as the best form of defence.In seeking to ban parish-owned schools from prioritising Catholic children when the school is over-subscribed, the party is caving in to a small vocal lobby which really aims to try and push religious faith from public view....

One of Education Minister Richard Bruton’s proposals – in removing what is called the “baptism barrier” from faith schools – is to base schools more on a neighbourhood model, so that a child has an entitlement to attend the nearest school to her home. Sounds so basic and sensible, doesn’t it? A child goes...

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