Category Archives: Ireland

Abortion-Human Right For Whom?

The ever divisive issue of abortion once again surfaced as to whether or not it is a human right of women. The European Court of Human Rights agreed with the petition of three women from Ireland that their nation’s restrictive laws which make an abortion a crime punishable by prison to be a violation of their inherent human right to decide what happens to their bodies. Irish Attorney General Paul Gallagher challenged the court decision because it ignored “profound moral values deeply embedded in Irish society.” As one who has mixed feelings concerning the issue of abortion, it is also clear that an individual has a right to decide what happens to her body. Much as I would prefer that abortion not be performed, the bottom line is there is no right for a man to tell a woman what she can or cannot do to herself when it is an issue of health.

A law passed in 1861 has at least to be rethought in light of contemporary issues of human rights. There are women who abuse the fetus by obesity or by use of drugs and we allow such behavior. If the fetus has rights as claimed by opponents of abortion, why don’t the support laws that prevent a pregnant woman becoming obese or using drugs?

Vatican Rejects Action Against Priests

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland, was informed by the Vatican that he could not compel the resignations of two auxiliary bishops who had been requested to leave their posts after revelations they were involved in the Catholic Church cover-up of child abuse. Martin informed priests and other church officials, “following the presentation of their resignations to Pope Benedict, it has been decided that Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field will remain as auxiliary bishops.” He did not they would be assigned some “responsibilities within the diocese,” whatever that means. Martin had worked with secular authorities and provided them thousands of previously secret church documents in their investigation of child abuse.In March, Pope Benedict published a letter to the Irish Catholic people in which he condemned abusers and defended their victims.

One is left wondering why one sends a letter to a nation and then when the nation initiates action to carry out your desires they are told not to continue pursuing the path to logical resolution of problems.

“Bloody Sunday”Admitted On Tuesday

Thirty eight years ago Irish people were marching when British soldiers began firing and when the day was over, 14 Irish citizens were dead in the city of Derry. A senior judge issued a report on Tuesday in which he concluded the murder of the marchers was “unjustified and unjustifiable.” Within hours, Prime Minister David Cameron issued the first apology by a member of the British government. Cameron told Parliament, “what happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable.” and that all who died were innocent. None of those murdered were armed with firearms an no warning was given by soldiers before firing. He stated bluntly that soldiers were guilty of “losing their self control.” The Sayville inquiry claimed “many of those soldiers(who testified) have knowingly put forward false accounts in order to justify their firing.”

It remains unclear if any who participated in the massacre will be prosecuted. Soldiers who testified were granted immunity, but anyone who lied could be prosecuted for perjury. As far as this reporter knows, the nation of Great Britain has not collapsed because its government admitted mistakes. President Obama continues to avoid an inquiry into the invasion of Iraq which resulted in the deaths of over 4,000 Americans on grounds it would be divisive. Prime Minister Cameron apologized to his nation and to relatives of those who were murdered. Certainly, parents and wives of those who died in Iraq are entitled to a similar apology.

Pope To Irish Clergy –Get Back On Bandwagon!!

Church attendance has declined among Catholics at an ever increasing rate which might cause those in charge to explore the meaning of this shift as to why more and more Catholics in Europe are not regular church goers. But, this is the church, not of Jesus Christ, but of Pope Benedict XVI who believes if there are any problems they undoubtedly stem from either –failure of priests to be more forceful in spreading church doctrine, or due to lack of Catholics going to church on a regular basis to confess their sins. A special nine man(God forbid appointing a woman) investigator group has arrived in Ireland to spread the word that it is time to get back to basics and cease all these modern ideas about priests actually discussing issues with members of their parish. Priests will be told under no condition are they allowed to publicly question church teaching or whatever the Pope says or does. They must adhere to church doctrine on birth control and abortion and end secular attitudes.

Let me get this straight. Catholics in Ireland have been dissatisfied with their church doctrine and have ceased going to church. According to Pope Benedict XVI, the solution is to make certain what they dislike WILL be taught by priests. There is no question following this approach will witness millions returning to the Catholic Church. I wonder if Pope Benedict has considered volunteering to assist the Israel Cabinet. His ideas on problem solving come across as though uttered by the Israel government.

Can People Hate Gays And Lesbians?

It was not that long ago when gays and lesbians were verbally and physically assaulted by those who hated anyone whose sexual ideas differed from mass opinion. Dale McAlpine is a Christian street preacher in Ireland who was sounding off on a street corner about evil gays and quoting the Bible to support his views on sexuality when he was suddenly arrested by police on grounds he violated the Public Order Act which forbids using abusive or insulting language to other people. I was raised on the streets of New York where we spent our days devising insults to friends and foes alike. Mr. McAlpine has views which are contrary to my own which means I have views which are contrary to those of this street preacher. He believes the Bible does not approve of same sex relations. And, he was arrested in his home town for speaking his views. “I had been arrested in my own town and treated like a common criminal in front of people I know.”

The police trotted out the argument about the need to protect public order. Hogwash. He was talking with strangers, who most probably passed him by and went about their daily business. No one was disturbed but the police. God made each human unique. Let us respect the uniqueness of Mr. Alpine because he has a right to hate gays and lesbians just as I hate those who hate gays and lesbians.

Phoebe Prince Killers Charged With Crimes

Phoebe Prince and her parents arrived in the United States last year after leaving Ireland in quest of a new life in what supposedly was available in Massachusetts. Little did Phoebe know what awaited a sensitive young girl who is thrust into the vicious world of teenage hooligans. She apparently made an error in dating a popular football player for a few weeks which somehow translated into an assault upon the sacred world of S. Hanley High School “in crowd” girls. They began a blatant campaign to drive Phoebe from the school. As District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel described it the process culminated in a “nearly three month campaign of verbal assaultive behavior and threats of physical violence.”

Football player Sean Mulveyhill has been charged with statutory rape and violation of civil rights along with other boys and girls. The unanswered question is where were school officials? As one who has taught for fifty years, all I can say is there is no excuse for teachers failing to pick up on such behavior toward one of their students.

It would be beneficial if the district attorney charged school officials with assisting criminal behavior.

Anti-Pope Feeling Growing In UK

As the saying goes, there is something rotten going on in European nations as increasing anger towards the Catholic Church rises. More than 10,000 people in the UK have signed petitions opposing Pope Benedict’s proposed visit to their nation. Perhaps, even more ominous is an investigation by some British lawyers as to whether the Pope could be charged as an accomplice in a systematic cover-up of sexual abuses by priests. Universal jurisdiction– a concept in international law– allows judges to issue warrants for nearly any visitor accused of grievous crimes, no matter where they live. British judges have been more open to this concept than most judges in the world.

Geoffrey Robertson, a former UN appeals judge, notes, “unlike in the United States, where the judges commonly uphold what the executive says the British courts don’t accept these things at face value.” However, most probably few would dare to open such a can of worms in the United Kingdom. In the end, it is necessary for the Catholic Church to monitor its own system.

Archbishop Of Canterbury Blasts Irish Catholic Church

There are times in life when a visit is ill timed and best could be delayed to a more appropriate time, but Pope Benedict XVI is not delaying his trip to England to meet with bishops of the Church of England. Even as he prepared to leave Italy, Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church let loose some bluntly critical remarks concerning behavior of the Irish Catholic Church regarding cases of sexual abuse of children. He said leaders of the Irish Catholic Church had lost “all credibility” and the events represented a “colossal trauma” for all involved in church leadership. His comments were greeted with scorn by Irish Catholic leaders. “Those working for renewal in the Catholic Church do not need this comment on the Easter weekend and do not deserve it.” If not now, when?

Rowan Williams does not expect many Anglicans do be attracted by offers from the Pope and returning to the bosom of the Catholic faith. This is not the right time for Catholics to reach out to other Christians and seek their return to the Church. Another time, another leadership, might result in a different reaction.

Indict South Hadley H.S. Along With Bullies!

The death of 15 year old Phoebe Prince who arrived in America about a year ago from Ireland should be compulsory study in every high school in America. The fifteen year old arrived in the United States and assume attending high school would not only be a learning experience but fun as she met new friends. From day one of her arrival, a group of girls at the high school decided Phoebe was not their type and began a daily constant program of verbal abuse not only in her presence but on Facebook. Girls followed her in school shouting, “Irish slut,” and other insults, but apparently, no teachers ever heard their shouts. She undoubtedly committed a terrible crime by briefly dating a popular football player. As anyone who has taught in American high school knows, football players are reserved for the cheerleaders.

The Massachusetts legislature has passed an anti-bullying law, but there are unanswered questions. As one who taught high school for ten years and has worked with 12,000 teachers it is impossible for me to believe that teachers and school administrators did not know what was happening to Phoebe. There should be a police investigation of the faculty and criminal charges brought against any educator who allowed such behavior. We hope the family will sue the school district in order to send a message to teachers and administrators that children at a school have a right to personal security.

Is A Papal Apology What Is Needed?

Pope Benedict XVI apologized to the people of Ireland for increasing revelations of sexual abuses caused by actions of members of the clergy. He admitted there had been “grave errors of judgment” on the part of those in charge of the Catholic Church. He appealed to priests to “openly acknowledge your guilt and submit yourselves to the demands of justice.” However, many critics are concerned at failure to open the files and allow secular authorities to investigate any and all claims of abuse on the part of clergy members. There is also a sense the Pope simply lacks a grasp as to the extent of what occurred in Ireland, let alone understand what must be done.

The issue of celibacy remains one that is not examined. Celibacy was NOT a practice among original members of the Catholic church and was added hundreds of years after the death of Jesus Christ. It is time to reopen the topic by asking a commission representing a cross section of views to examine the topic and make recommendations.

An apology today will simply require another one tomorrow unless changes are made in celibacy,