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Posts Tagged ‘ Jesus ’

News In Brief: Healy-Rae’s Cross And Gerry’s Not Happy Either

Mmmm Michael-Healy-Rae (image: irishecho.com.au)

Mmmm Michael-Healy-Rae (image: irishecho.com.au)

This, was the week Gerry Adams used the word “bastards” and everyone went mental but he wasn’t the only one letting his mouth work before his brain had had a chance to turn on.

Gregory Campbell a DUP politician and “b**tard” really went to town when he decided to lay into the Irish Language, poor defenceless little thing that it is. “Curry my yoghurt can coca coalyer” he told the Northern Assembly, taking the piss out of the Irish phrase: “Go raibh maith agat, Ceann Comhairle” meaning “Thank you, Chairperson”. He couldn’t see the big deal though and also said any proposed Irish Language Act would be treated, by himself, as toilet paper. Charming. Anyone that didn’t get the joke he said, needed a humour bypass. NIB doesn’t know, maybe he thought he was saying something else entirely, like; A man walked into a bar …. Or maybe he was just pissed, you’d need a drink to face the Northern Assembly. Continue reading

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News in Brief- Tesco Launch Not So Eggcellent Trolley Deposit Scheme

jedward

For the day that’s in it and those of you that are in the office and in need of some NIB to brighten your day, let’s kick off with a catastrophe in Kerry.

A crucifix has the whole place divided as councillors can’t decide where to hang the thing in their local offices. Some councillors argue the inclusion of a crucifix, on their office wall; will promote sectarian divisions and religious inequality, while others think the mere presence of a little MDF son of God will make people more honest. Jesus, no pun intended (maybe a little bit); if a wooden statue could stop people lying we’d all be working under mini-statues of our mammies. Councillor Toirèasa Ferris, who labels herself a Christian, opposes the idea as she said; ‘where does religion come into pothole filling’. The councillors have obviously forgotten the real meaning of Easter which is entirely chocolate based.

Tesco in Ballymun understand, they know there are too many Easter eggs and not enough time. Just don’t grab too many, it’ll cost you a tenner for the use of a trolley. The new deposit scheme has been implemented after ‘massive trolley loss’. What constitutes ‘massive’ trolley loss exactly NIB wonders? Who knows though, they may rise again in a few days. Continue reading

News in Brief-Pope Exploits Nuns As Saviour Bono Celebrates Birthday

Aer Lingus passengers have dropped. Passenger numbers, passenger numbers. Don’t panic. The airline apparently blames the timing of Easter this year, for the decrease in 2.5 pc. Bloody Jesus.

If only the low cost airline had been around in 2345 BC when Ireland suffered twenty years of rain. Twenty years. Everyone would have been desperate to get away. Apparently a volcanic eruption caused the flood – tying in nicely with the dates for Noah’s grand cruise – loading the atmosphere with dust and cooling the earth’s temperature. Apparently these freak weather events occur every thousand or so years, with the last in 540 AD, so we’re overdue another. Continue reading

News in Brief-Reilly Stuck In A Moment He Can’t Get Out Of As Bono Labels Himself “Jumped Up Jesus”

pope_bonoThe papacy is empty, the red shoes are returned and God’s getting the engaged tone. Pope Benedict XVI has held his final audience during which he stated he no longer had “the mind or body” to carry on with the job – it’s never stopped the Rolling Stones – and so off he scooted in the ’Popemobile’. News in Brief has a sneaky suspicion the come back tour has already been planned with four dates at Slane in the Summer. You heard it here first. Continue reading

What Does Christmas Mean To You?

White-Christmas800-864365

George Reed (45) West Bromwich, England

It’s a time to celebrate the life of Jesus and everything he gave for us to be able to live the way we do today. Although in the past two decades the religious elements seem to have been forgotten.

Mary McEntee (36) Loughrea, Galway

Christmas for me is all about the children and making sure they have a good time, and a Christmas to remember. Christmas is a huge celebration for us and we enjoy large family gatherings, with our relatives coming from all over the country. The expression on the kid’s faces is enough to get us from one Christmas to the next.

Lucy Parker (54) Delaware, USA

Christmas is everything really. Spending valuable time with family, lengthy shopping excursions, many days out and lots of enjoyable food and drink. Never ending Christmas parties, a bit of snow, presents (good and bad) and no work. Think that’s everything covered! Oh no wait, can’t forget going Christmas carolling, it’s just so unique and good natured. Love it all.

Frank Carrick (21) Boyle, Roscommon

Christmas is Christmas, it’s the time of year we all need. A time to relax, cherish what we have, have a laugh and exchange gifts.. Do I wish it could be Christmas everyday? Hell yeah I do.

Dylan Keogh (18) Templeogue, Dublin

Presents, presents and more presents. Normally consisting of at least two selection boxes, two sets and some clothes. The bad ones always stand out.

Rory McNamara (27) Blessington, Wicklow

Driiiiiiink, sorry showing my Irishness there. Christmas is all about catching up with people you wish you could spend more time with. And of course it’s the one dinner you wait a while year for, does be worthwhile in the end although the bulging belly will say otherwise.

Andreij Stoparov (32) Riga, Latvia

I think Christmas is a time for getting together with your friends and family and remembering why we celebrate December the 25th. I do like to enjoy opening presents and having a delicious meal, but some people forget what the meaning of Christmas is.

Live Johansson (26) Malmo, Sweden

Christmas means holidays, a time for an extended break from work and to take to the outdoors and enjoy the snow. We have ski parties, if you would call them that, it’s just a time for celebrating Swedish heritage and lifestyle. We hit the slopes with our nearest and dearest and just party. It’s nice to be around family and friends and to see everyone is having a good time. We love listening to Christmas FM!

Nuala Nì Cathasaigh (31) Carrick On Shannon, Leitrim

I think Xmas is as much about giving as it is getting. I also think it’s a time for the whole family to get together and enjoy being with each other. I think that not only is Christmas about being with family but it is a time for giving and not only to your family and friends but to the less fortunate people in third world countries. Christmas is also about realising when Jesus was born and that he died for us.

Peter Carroll (42) Newry, Down

It meant a lot to me when I was a child. I couldn´t wait to get presents, learn and sing Christmas songs and have delicious food.

The meaning has changed a lot. I go to church and try to think of people who are not as lucky as I am. I don´t get many presents and I become more thankful for what I have got. So, I try to think of people living on the streets. I think this year I will help to deliver food to a soup kitchen for the homeless to make them happy and feel loved for at least one day of the year because they deserve it more than many others. I want to give them a warm smile and show that we are all equal no matter what our circumstances may be.

Lessons from History – the Eucharistic Congress

It has been 80 years of tumultuous change since the last Eucharistic Congress was held on these shores, way back in 1932. Ireland has a different visage, a new one with which to face the 21st century. The hegemonic power of the Catholic Church has been broken in Ireland, as has that of its bedfellow, Fianna Fáil. Secularism rather than religiosity is beginning to determine our course, as people look to themselves and others to guide their lives rather than to a higher power.

The Eucharistic Congress is a week-long event, organised by the Vatican every four years, sort of like an Olympics for the Catholic Church and its people, a gathering of clergy and the religious laity to celebrate the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. 12,000 devotees gathered at the opening ceremony at the RDS last Sunday, where events have been held over the course of the week, around 80,000 attending the conclusion at Croke Park. Of course this Congress has been somewhat tainted by the allegations and revelations concerning the priesthood and child sex abuse over the past number of years and amidst a general decline in faith among its once devoted members. Attendants come from all over the world to participate in the air of unity that the Congress brings to those who join; old and young, male and female, come to renew and strengthen their faith. The week-long celebration is over for another four years, and already the talk concerns the legacy of this year’s Congress; whether it is a new beginning for the Church in Ireland, moving towards the inclusion of a young population who feel alienated by the ceremony and rigour of Catholicism, and the disillusion over the scandals which have rocked the Church and its people.

Today, in the 21st century, outside of the Catholic Church at least, the proceedings are met with (outside of interested Catholics) either a polite interest of complete indifference. But roll back the clock 80 years and you would find a country practically quivering with anticipation, and for many different reasons. For in the life of the infant Free State and in particular the newly ruling Fianna Fáil party, the Eucharistic Congress had an indelible effect. Before Ireland’s independence came in 1922, the Catholic Church had grown quite powerful throughout Ireland. And, when the power and influence of the landlord class finally began to wane, the local priests took up the mantle of community leadership. Ordinary people were far less educated when compared to our time, and people would often look to their clerics for advice and guidance. And while the Catholic hierarchy had often been associated throughout Europe with the rich and the powerful, in Ireland the opposite was true; a priest was one of the ordinary people. Of course, it certainly didn’t hurt that the Church often supported the nationalist movements, barring the more violent ones, while their control over the education system ensured a generation of Irish who viewed Catholicism as more than simply their religion, but an innate part of their Irish identity. With independence came the support from the Church of the Free State, and they condemned the rebellion of the anti-Treatyites, and excommunicated them from the Church. As the years passed, Catholicism cemented its position in the new nation. A narrow vision of the events of the previous decades was propagated with citizens celebrated the freeing of a Catholic people from an oppressive Protestant state, ignoring the fact of the involvement of many Protestants in the nationalist movements. In 1929, elaborate centenary commemorations were organised to celebrate Daniel O’Connell and the achievement of Catholic Emancipation, and in the same year, the Pope finally agreed to send a papal nuncio to Dublin, and to receive in turn an Irish ambassador to the Vatican. Following the establishment of the Free State W.T. Cosgrave presided over the Irish helm, alongside a relatively neutral Cumann na nGaedhael government. Protestants were by no means discriminated against, and indeed many were promoted to positions to ensure the views of the Protestant minority were well represented. In 1932, Catholic bishops received a cause for apprehension with the succession to power of Éamon de Valera, one of those who had been condemned for his part in the Civil War a decade previous. However, they need not have worried as ‘Dev’, as he became known, and his Fianna Fáil government were strongly influenced by the Church and their teachings. Fortunately for the man from Clare, one of the perennial Catholic events of his time would be held only three months following his election, cementing his and his party’s place in Irish political history.

Overall, around one million attended the ceremonies that took place during the week in June of 1932. Following the concluding procession through the streets of Dublin, the papal legate, Cardinal Lauri, sent a telegram to the Pope, Pius XI, declaring that the Irish people were uttering the “cry which sums up the tradition, the faith, the very life of the whole nation: God Bless the Pope.” Dublin’s Congress and its success were very clearly appreciated at the Vatican and the official state newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano featured a favourable account of the week’s events. “Everyone is at his post from the Bishop to the clerical student, from the President of the State to the policeman on the street…It is really nothing short of miraculous – for here we see, after a century and a half of attempted laicisation, an entire people proud of its name, but prouder still of its Roman religion.” Triumphalism has been the word used by historians to describe the display of power on the part of the Catholic Church during the Congress and here was clear evidence that the Irish Free State was a Catholic state, and proud of it. Even at the local level, ordinary people were as much a part as the clerics and politicians at the top. Masses of bunting were strung up across the country, and groups and choirs practised and rehearsed for a year to ensure perfection, culminating in the enormous attendance at the week’s events. One can only imagine how the exclusionary feeling of anyone who had the misfortune to belong to another religion, or to none at all. It is hardly surprising that between this power and their already close-knit relationship with the Irish people, the Catholic Church ensured its hegemonic position in the country for decades to come.

But the good news wasn’t solely for the Catholic Church; in the political arena too were the benefits felt. Despite having been excommunicated for his anti-Treaty Republican activities during the Civil War, de Valera had remained a good Catholic, and had retained friendships with various figures throughout the Catholic hierarchy in the country. An impressive speech given in English, Irish and Latin during the state reception for the papal legate at Dublin Castle benefitted his image favourably, and he kept a high-profile throughout the week’s events. Eventually this helped to win him political appeal and when he called an election six months following the Congress, he was able to transform his minority government into a majority, and he remained in office until 1948 while his party was the largest at each general election from that of 1932 until 2011.

On the more negative spectrum, partition between North and South was further entrenched, and it is easy to see why, contrasting the Catholic Free State with the more traditional Protestant Northern Ireland who had fought for so long to ensure the Papists never gained a foothold in their own country. Some Catholics travelling from North to South were the victims of sectarian attacks, perpetrated by loyalist mobs. For Protestant Ulster, the lavish celebrations commemorated an alien religion; they who elevated individual choice and a personal relationship with God above all. The events in Dublin showed a radically different outlook in the Free State, with a high value placed on community and access to God through the clerical hierarchy. While reports from 1932 suggested that Ireland had never been more unified than during those six days, the reality is that the split between North and South was possibly starker than ever before.

Some 300 people who witnessed the events of 1932 gathered this week in a hotel outside Dublin to reminisce over archive footage of the events which helped to define a generation. Now 92 Liam Cosgrave, son of de Valera’s predecessor W.T. Cosgrave, recalled the celebrations with pride. “It was important for the State that we could do it and do it well,” he said. “It meant an awful lot to the country,” he said. “Remember we were only 10 years with self-government. There was a great turnout of Army and Garda and helpers. It was very well organised.” The effects of the 2012 Congress will unlikely be as far-reaching, considering we live in a nation attempting, to an extent, to shrug off its Catholic past. Machiavelli wrote “Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times.” In 2012, we are only now shaking off the legacy of the Catholic Church and the power Fianna Fáil held onto for so long. Hopefully, we don’t make the same mistake twice.

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