Friday, May 27, 2005

Two weeks break

On Friday June 10th I will be sitting an examination. In order to concentrate on studies, I have decided I will not be doing anything with the blog until after it's all finished.

Please remember me in your prayers, especially on that date.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Watch out - priest impersonator about!

From Catholic Ireland:

A Dublin diocesan priest has gone public to expose a scam in which a con artist is masquerading as him in order to get money out of other unsuspecting priests.
Fr Tom Stack, well known for his writing in the Irish Catholic, spoke on RTE’s Morning Ireland yesterday about a scam that has been going on intermittently for some time.

Morning Ireland audio archive download page is here.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Happy St. Brendan's Day!

And best wishes to all Brendans throughout the world.

Don't worry - one day we will rule the world!!

Kudos to Fr. Ethan for his special greeting.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Vocations Report from Archdiocese of Dublin

A couple of weeks ago, at Mass, the parish priest gave us some information which I reproduce:

Approximately 650 priests hold appointments from the Archbishop of Dublin. (Note that the population of Catholics is just over a million.)

About a quarter of these priests belong to religious congregations or missionary societies; e.g., Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, Marists; etc.

One priest was ordained for Dublin in 2004 (Fr. Victor Fitzpatrick).

There will be no ordinations for Dublin in 2005; two seminarians entered in 1998, but, for one reason or another, left the seminary.

He said "We hope to have a number of ordinations to the priesthood next year", but he didn't say which number. (actually, zero is a number but I digress. . .)

Five seminarians were accepted into formation for the priesthood last Autumn.

The Archdiocese currently has twelve seminarians: five are currently studying philosophy, and seven are in theology. Eleven are in St Patrick's College, Maynooth; one is in the Irish College in Rome.

Who are they and where are they from originally? Well, they range in age from 19 to over 50, and like many large cities, Dublin has always had candidates from outside the Diocese; years ago this was because other dioceses had more students than they needed. Now it's mainly because the seminarians enter at an older age, and have already been studying or working in Dublin

The current students are from Donnybrook, Artane, Springfield, Hartstown, Rathmines, Saigon, Belfast, Newtownmountkennedy, Lagos, Waterford, Derry and Dungannon.

We also heard that fourteen men "have been in on-going discernment" with the Diocesan Vocations Centre, and a number of these have made a formal application to be accepted as seminarians.

He said that the number beginning formation this coming Autumn will be smaller than the five of last year.

The normal period of training is seven years; three years philosophy, three years theology, and one year on-the-job training.

The Diocese Vocations Director is Fr. Kevin Doran; read about him here. You may also notice that he is the long-lost, identical-twin-brother of Commander Ryker from Star Trek The Next Generation!! (OK, I made that bit up!)

Welcome to the Twenty-First Century!

A couple of years ago I said to myself that in 500 years time when people study the history of the Catholic Church in the 21st century, there will be special emphasis on two issues: one is the relationship with the Islamic world; second is the issue of the creation and protection of human life.

This week in Ireland, we had the latest round in a campaign which, frankly, has not yet got serious. The story is here, courtesy of the excellent Catholic Ireland website.

Here, when a Government sets up a Commission, or asks for a "study and report" about something, this is usually just a tactic to avoid making a decision. There is still a lot of water to go under the bridge this time.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

My analysis of the UK General Election

For what it's worth, here are my reflections on political events in Great Britain and Northern Ireland over the past few days.

Points in no particular order of importance:

1. I am surprised that there has still been no real forward move made by the smaller parties, such as UKIP, Greens, etc. UKIP did well in the European Parliament elections, but it was noticeable that, overall, Europe was not a major issue in the election. The Green candidate came third in one of the Brighton constituencies, and the BNP increased their vote slightly. But overall, most of the power remains with the two-and-a-half party system, and there is no sign of this changing.

2. George Galloway, on the RESPECT ticket, did win Bethnal Green and Bow, but I interpret this as mainly an anti-war vote. In fact, the two major issues, in my opinion, were the war, and Tony Blair himself.

3. I stayed up watching BBC, SkyNews, and ITV News until about 0230, just after the Sedgefield result was announced. The anti-war Independent, Reg Keys, polled over 4,000 votes, which, frankly, is an excellent performance by an Independent.

4. But I missed the TV Moment of the Night. Here is a transcript. Absolutely Classic.

5. In the North, the meltdown of the Ulster Unionist Party is a reflection of the frustration which many Unionist voters feel about the Peace Process; but especially the fact that Sinn Féin continue to grow, even though the IRA have not renounced the armed struggle, let alone "decommission" the guns. The prospect of SF/IRA "negotiating" with Ian Paisley and the DUP sounds interesting; though not as interesting as the look on Paisley's face!!

6. Throughout his political career, Ian Paisley has been on the sidelines making plenty of noise. But now, at 79 years of age, he has REAL political responsibility. I think it will be the making, or breaking, of him.

7. Following on from point 5, and the growth of Sinn Féin on both sides of the Border, I wonder: do voters know that SF is the most pro-abortion party on the island?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Proof that Mark Shea is a legend . . .

. . . just in case you didn't know already!

Here is his latest on Catholic Exchange.

Currently on a sabbatical from his blog, Mark Shea gives another lesson in how to write articles which are readable, articulate, a bit funny, but which hit the target.

I think I would like to be Mark Shea when I grow up!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

So who are "the weirdos"?

One of Ireland's best-known, and sometimes controversial, journalists and broadcasters, is Vincent Browne. Virtually everybody in the media world in Ireland can tell you a story about dealing with him, and it isn't always complimentary.

He had a famous on-air sparring session on his RTE radio programme with Dana Rosemary Scallon during her first European Election campaign in 1999; I admit I didn't hear the item, but people told me afterwards that he basically treated her with contempt, but she was well able to deal with him.

And he also once turned his radio programme, for several weeks, into a Bible Study class.

So it might seem strange for him to write this article in last week's Sunday Business Post. But cleverly he doesn't reveal his own feelings on the election of our new Pope.