Thursday, July 27, 2006

Belated birthday greetings!

Someone once said that the best thing ever to come out of Scotland was the road to England!

This, of course, is absolutely false!!

The best thing to come out of Scotland is, of course, the ferry to Ireland!!!

But I digress! Because among the best other things to come out of Scotland is The Moral Highground.

Master of TMH, Jamie McMorrin, had a birthday during the week gone past. I won't say how old (or how young!) he is; go and see for yourself and wish him Ad Multos Annos!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bad news for Dublin's morally degenerates!!

Members of the Legion of Mary who joined the protests of local residents outside a Stringfellow lap dancing club in central Dublin, have expressed their delight at the recent closure of the club.

Read the full story here from

The best bit is the quote from the operating company:

"In addition to this, the ongoing protests outside the club, which have continued to date, resulted in a reluctance of the vital corporate sector to embrace the club," the company said.

By coincidence (or Divine Providence!?) this place was located not very far from the old red-light district of Dublin, which, in the early twenties, was shut down by the then-fledgling Legion of Mary. Frank Duff wrote about it in a book called "Miracles On Tap", which, I learned later, altered many of the street names in order to protect the innocent.

One of Dublin's daily tabloid papers last week put this story on the front page with the headline: "NO NUDES IS GOOD NUDES".

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Article definitely worth reading . . .

. . .from The Word, which is published by the Divine Word Missionaries.

It's by Fr. Vincent Twomey, one of Ireland's leading theologians. He especially became more famous (and in more demand from the general media!) after the election of Cardinal Ratzinger, because he's a past pupil!

Here is the article, on the touchy subject of In Vitro Fertilisation.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Springfield, Illinois

One place I visited on my recent American trip was Springfield, the capital of Illinois.

Sadly, in Ireland, the city is best known as the home of Homer Simpson and family.

I got the first train that Thursday morning from Chicago to Springfield; there were no left luggage lockers at the Amtrak station, but Amtrak staff very kindly allowed me to leave my bags there - otherwise I would have been up the creek.

What I could not believe about Springfield was the traffic congestion; there is none! The streets seemed unbelieveably quiet. This was a Thursday in mid-May.

Frankly, the only reason why I paid a visit to Springfield is that it was the home of Abraham Lincoln, and being a history enthusiast, this is a place I had wanted to visit for years.

My first stop was the brand new Abraham Lincoln Museum, which I thoroughly recommend. It uses audio-visual displays very effectively; the exhibition feature which I found most interesting was the display of cuttings and cartoons from contemporary newspapers; suffice to say that those who, in the darkest days of the Civil War, wrote rather "unflattering" words about Lincoln (and that's putting it mildly!), would be very surprised to come back to Earth in 2006 and discover that America has virtually "canonised" the man. It made me wonder: what will the American people think of George W. Bush in 140 years time?

Next stop was the restored Lincoln Home; I was particularly impressed by the fact that the National Park Service has not only restored the house, but the whole block, and the object is to have the whole block in the style of the 1850s and 60s.

As well as showing us the house, our National Parks Service guide posed a question: who was the first American President to be born in a hospital? The answer is Jimmy Carter.

Afterwards I walked around a bit, really looking for a bus or taxi to the presidential grave; on the way, I accidentally came across a good Catholic bookstore; sorry I can't remember the address.

I was now under a bit of pressure for time; I wanted to get to the Lincoln Tomb on the northside of the city before closing time, pay my respects, and then get back to the Cathedral in town for evening Mass, which was either 5 or 5.30 (can't remember now), but Springfield seemed to have no taxi-cabs whatsoever.

After over half an hour, I got one beside the Museum, and got out to the Tomb.

There was a mob of schoolkids inside ahead of me already. But I waited for them to move a bit before I went in myself.

Actually, he is not buried in the inscribed sarcophagus; he is about ten feet under this, under concrete, because years ago someone tried to break in and steal his remains. Behind my back when I took the photo is a wall, and behind this wall are the last resting places of his widow, Mary Todd Lincoln, and three of their sons. Their eldest son, Robert, the only one of the four to live to adulthood, chose to be buried at Arlington, Virginia.

After that I walked through the cemetery, knowing I wouldn't get to the Cathedral in time for Mass, but decided to pay a visit there anyway. I got a bus from the cemetery to close to the Cathedral; there are some nice stained glass windows, including one of St. Brendan!

And there is a stained glass window depicting Lincoln (needless to say!) and one depicting that fine Freemason, George Washington!!

One of the most memorable episodes of Bishop Fulton Sheen's series Life Is Worth Living is the one about Abraham Lincoln. He finishes: "George Washington will always be the father of our country; but Abraham Lincoln will always be its saviour."

Monday, July 10, 2006

Fr. Liam Lawton

Here is some information about one of Ireland's best-known priests, Fr. Liam Lawton. Rightly or wrongly, he is better known in Ireland as a musician than a priest. I have a theory that some person or persons in the music "industry" have told him to "tone down" the religious bit.

The above link is to a page from the official site of his diocese, the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. The cathedral town of this diocese is Carlow, about sixty miles south-west of Dublin. Curiously, most of County Kildare is actually in the Archdiocese of Dublin!!