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‘Going Deep, Going Forth, Going Together’ Part 1: The Catholic Church in Ireland, Vatican II, and Pope Francis
In a 1975 newspaper interview, Cardinal Conway spoke of the many changes and developments going on in the Church and society both in Ireland and worldwide. He described the situation as humanity going through ‘the birth pangs of a new civilisation’ and he foresaw it would involve a trauma that would last well into the next century.
‘The Queen She Came to Call on Us’
The rituals of state visits rarely excite much interest beyond the narrow range of those obliged to participate. Their set format is designed to standardise expressions of esteem between the host country and that of the visiting dignitary.
The state visit of Queen Elizabeth in 2011 burst the constraints of routine formality. As the first state visit by a British monarch, every detail was invested with a significance, which was reflected in the careful preparations.
A Human Being Fully Alive
Pádraig Ó Tuama
Growing up we said a decade of the rosary in Irish every night. Me, my six siblings, my parents. Each of us, kneeling into a chair, turned away from whatever was in the centre of the room. ‘Sé do bheatha a Mhuire’, we’d recite. The nightly prayer time started after my parents joined a charismatic Catholic prayer group, around the time I was eight or nine. They made lovely new friends. Top of the Pops was suddenly banned because the American mother-group of charismatic Catholics didn’t approve of popular music. It was the smell of sex that was objectionable in pop music, as other music was sexless.
Abbé Edgeworth de Firmont- Confessor to the King
On the 21 January 1793, as he faced the guillotine, Louis XVI, King of France, was attended by an Irish-born priest, Henry Edgeworth, known in France as Abbé Edgeworth de Firmont. Writing of the grim events of that day, René de Chateaubriand wrote bitterly, ‘a foreigner sustained the Monarch at his last hour – it seemed as if there were not a single Frenchman left who was loyal to his sovereign’. There was, however, somewhat more to the story than that.
An Irish Dante, Part 1- Possible Precursors to the Commedia
2021 marked the septicentennial celebrations of Dante’s death in Ravenna. Despite the restrictions brought about by the global pandemic, scholars and creative practitioners around the world ensured that the anniversary did not pass unnoticed, with online and in-person conferences, seminars, readings, performances, adaptations, translations and dialogues taking place on a daily basis.
An Irish Dante, Part II- A Dantean Afterlife
In Part I of this essay on an ‘Irish Dante’, I noted that Ireland’s unique relationship with the Florentine poet begins with the possibility that medieval Irish vision literature may have influenced the Commedia profoundly. Literary representations of the afterlife, especially in the narratives of the knights Owein and Tnugdalus and in the voyage narrative of St Brendan, find echoes in Dante’s work. In Part II, I want to examine instances from modern Irish literature in which the stream of influence flows in the other direction. Just as Dante himself drew on earlier medieval vision narratives in order to bring forth a monumental and original composition, so too we find a translational and creative engagement with Dante’s legacy in the leading literary figures of twentieth-century Ireland.
Behold a Pale Horse- Horrors and Heritages of Famine
Cormac Ó Gráda
In late January 1849, a woman in her sixties was bludgeoned to death in her own home in Rooskagh, not far from Athlone in the Irish midlands. Margaret Kelly, née Doran, was by all accounts an unpleasant woman.
Christianity for Grown-Ups
Kieran J O’Mahony
Enjoyable is the wrong word to describe Derek Scally’s The Best Catholics in the World (the book is too salty for that), but I did appreciate the constant and genuine effort to understand and to contextualise an evil which infested the Church, accelerating an already gathering decline.
Democratic Backsliding and the Unravelling of the EU Legal Order
The political world of the EU has often been accused of being a Potemkin village. It had a flag, a parliament and elections, but behind this façade the voters were not really engaged. This has fueled a tendency to easily perceive existential crises for the Union.
Dynamic of Encounter: The Samaritan Woman at the Well
This essay was written to accompany a reproduction of the author’s own painting De Profundis, which was given to people who entered the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) programme at St Basil’s Catholic Parish Church, University of St Michael’s College, Toronto, Canada, in 2020. The painting is reproduced on the cover of this issue of Studies.
Going Deep, Going Forth, Going Together’, Part II- Seeking Meaning in a Transformed World
In the first part of this article,1 I looked at the reception of the Second Vatican Council’s teachings, indicating briefly how Pope Francis’s papacy is marking a phase in that reception. I want now to offer a reflection on how three of the social and cultural developments in Ireland of the past decades, when read in the light of Vatican II as reflected in Pope Francis’s teaching and actions, indicate directions for our deeper reception of the Council in Ireland.