It’s a strange old thing how many people seem to have difficulty distinguishing between circumstance and design. This was a feature of last year’s marriage referendum. A key argument of opponents of the referendum was that, on average, it is best for a child to be raised by his or her own mother and father.Straight away we were told...

Whenever we have been at our best, as Christians, we have opened our churches as sanctuaries to the poor and the endangered. We have a long, proud history wherein refugees, homeless persons, immigrants facing deportation, and others who are endangered, take shelter inside our churches. If we believe what Jesus tells us about the Last Judgment in...

Fr Conor McDonough OPIn the far-east of Switzerland – la Suisse orientale, as the French speakers in the West charmingly call it – lies a town bearing the name of an Irish saint: St Gallen, a disciple of Ireland’s single greatest contribution to Europe, St Columbanus. The abbey that gave the town its name is now empty of...

According to the proverb, it’s better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness. Sometimes I think we forget this and can allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by things going on around us.In the Church, we can get caught up with the problems rather than trying to do what we can. We can spend endless hours at meetings worrying about...

Dissatisfaction with political consensus is hardly confined to the US. At the funeral Mass of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey in 2006, his son Seán quoted his mother to the effect that “everyone hated Charlie, except the people”.There can be no doubt that it was by and large what is loosely termed ‘the ordinary people’ who...

I received an email recently from a woman who wrote: “Whenever they can take a knock at the Catholic Church, they will.” Well, no institution is blameless, but I have seen the Catholic Church blamed for problems which are frankly quite outside its scope. (In the 1960s, the Catholic Church was blamed for causing schizophrenia. We now...

Finance Minister Michael Noonan recently described the water charges debacle as a “dead cat” to be got off the pitch as soon as possible.Similar thoughts may have struck Minister for Education Richard Bruton when he saw the final report of the National Council for Curriculum & Assessment’s (NCCA) consultation on a proposed...

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