• -
  • irishtimes.com - Posted: April 25, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

    Everything changes except politics

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    Watching the film, Stella Days, one had to reflect that everything has changed in Ireland except politics. The movie, which is well worth seeing, stars Martin Sheen as a priest in a small country town in the 1950s who decides to open a cinema to raise funds for the  building of a new church.

    Sheen’s performance is brilliant as always and the cast in general, including the child actors, give a very good account of themselves. Stephen Rea stands out for his portrayal of a local politico – probably Fianna Fail, but he could just as easily be from “the other crowd”. Tom Hickey gives a fine rendition of a hungry, ambitious but fundamentally-conservative bishop who gives wary approval to his priest’s project.

    The period detail is well-done although the bus to Limerick should have “Luimneach” instead of “Luimnigh” on the overhead banner-sign: nominative case, not genitive. Pardon the pedantry. Also, I don’t know if even now priests go into pubs – maybe they do, since I don’t drink myself.

    The Stephen Rea character is on the narrow-minded dogmatic side of the political spectrum. Not so much a “cute hoor” as a “Holy Joe”. He disapproves of the cinema project on moral grounds.

    We still have Holy Joes and cute hoors. The political system is broadly the same as it was then and, until that changes, we haven’t much chance of a different style of politics.

    The Church, of course, doesn’t have anything like the same standing that it had in the time of Stella Days. On a Newstalk programme last Sunday, myself and other panellists were asked about the Ray D’Arcy remark on his radio show, that the Church had “f—ed up” the country.

    My view was that the Church was unwise to make a formal complaint about it but D’Arcy’s comment was an over-simplification. The Church has a mixed record: it did some very good things in the sphere of education, for example. The record on protecting children from abuse was, of course, lamentable.

    It’s a pity there always have to be Good Guys and Bad Guys in this country with no in-between. Maybe the ‘meeja’ are to blame. In that context, I am sure people are enjoying the spat between Anne Harris and Vincent Browne. Is it too much to call it a ‘vendetta’? 

     

    • barb.ie says:

      I know you’ve moved on to a new post Deaglán (I realize that statement has meaning X 2) so I’ll continue my PS here re the last post @16 where I mentioned the fiskalpakt and I’m only sayin’ because yer man over there on Opinion/Analysis is saying that a yes vote could be FATAL………well janey I’m not ready to die yet

      So (as basically posted elsewhere), my suggestion is that if the KGB (Kenny, Gilmore, Burton) want our YES vote they should first sign a Promissory Note or ratify a PRE-FISKALPAKT treaty with the Irish people to the effect that austerity will be from the TOP down…! Basically what I’m suggesting is that a separate treaty should first be prepared and ratified between this coalition government and the people of Ireland whereby this pre-treaty treaty would outline in detail a FAIR austerity regime which would secure an end to “fatcat” salaries/perks of all in government and the closing of the gap between the privileged and the underprivileged in our society in terms of the dishing out of austerity measures. I wouldn’t mind “going forward” (cliché du jour) under those circumstances…………

      Re Ray D’Arcy’s expletive — let’s call it what it is — very bad form. How very dare he and as for Vin B………I’m really getting tired of him now……he is almost physically unable to control his own biases and prejudices at this stage

    • JOD says:

      Looking forward to seeing that. Great actor Martin Sheen wasn’t he brilliant in The Way and as for Apocalypse Now words don’t do justice.

    • JOD says:

      http://www.movies.ie/interviews/martin_sheen_interview_for_stella_days__the_amazing_spiderman

      Seems ”Stella Days” is actually based on a true account of events that occurred in Borrisokane, where Martin Sheen’s mother comes from, back in the fifties. Sheen has his own take on the character of the priest and I’d say one that will be welcomed by many hungry for a positive portrayal of Catholicism and priesthood and starved of such of late. With good reasons perhaps. But an honest acknowledgement of what occurred isn’t long coming either from Mr Sheen who has never hid his own faith under a bushel. Struck me there that ”Stella Days”, ”The Way” and ”Apocalypse Now” are all films about spiritual journeys, what the old Irish would call imbás forosnaí, the old Australians ‘dreamtime’; medieval authors a ‘grail quest’ and in two of these the quest is for Light and in the other it’s for the heart of Darkness. Interesting. Wonder is that a coincidence of three?

    • Stephanie Kiely says:

      I remember when the film was being shot. There was great excitement in our family because my grand daughter Sunday, (Sunny) got a small part as one of the school children in “Stella Days”. We howled with laughter when she said that she could not visit as she was on location with Martin Sheen. I must now put the photos up on my FB page.

    • jaygee says:

      Re D’Arcy’s comment, the language was appalling but the assessment was correct, at least for the thousands who fled the RCC’s baleful influence in those days.
      Read a report the other day of a TD ranting and waving his rosary beads at the opposition during a debate.so the Holy Joes seem to be represented at the highest level. As for the ‘cute hoors’, like the poor they are always with us.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      As ever you’re the master of understatement Deaglán.

      The sexual, emotional and physical abuse of generations of men, women and children in Ireland by priests and nuns, with the abusers then given the full protection of the Church (and the State) was a bit more than ‘lamentable’.

    • RPE McCarthy says:

      I was educated by the Spiritan fathers (Holy Ghosts) and have nothing but good memories and deep affection for their influence on my life (all positive). They were broadminded enough for me (an atheist) to be able to have it out with them on a scriptural basis and once they were satisfied that I had genuinely thought it through, I was allowed to attend the study room during religion rather than religious instruction. I don’t think they did this as a rule – I had genuinely done my homework so to speak.

      The Catholic spokesperson, if one were to flip your argument, was also tarring the media with a single brush. D’arcy’s comment is at best reductionist, at worst crass and a slightly inane expression of frustration on a serious topic. I am not sure a man in his mid-40′s needs to get down with the kids that much.

      The issue really is cultural as you point out. Our entire system is run on the grounds of who you know and what you can get around rather than doing the right thing. This, incidentally, is the same for almost everyone but given the massive over representation in Ireland by politicians it is exacerbated here. There were circa 100 MPs for the whole island of Ireland. Now we have 166 TDs, 60 senators and approximately 60 MLAs in Norn Ireland.

      Add to this thousands of councillors north and south of the border you can see how all this arises. An Taisce’s fascinating report last week is a tribute to the utter failure and folly of our model.

      I think the core issue with the Catholic church is ultimately credibility. Their actions, in helping to cover-up a crime that Brendan Smyth was later convicted of, is so contrary to the central teachings of the gospel as to be laughable.

      Everytime I hear Fr. Sean Healy on the radio, knowing the actual orders that make up the conference of the religious in Ireland (the people that brought you the Christian Brothers, the Magdalene Laundries, the Rosminians (Fr Smyth anyone) etc.) I feel like getting very violent indeed – and I am quite certain that he is a very good and decent man.

      That is the problem. They cannot credibly get across a message of witness of Christ in daily life while they continue to appear to prioritise the institution of the church over the message of the faith.

      I remember Brian D’Arcy having a real set-to with Cathal Daly on the Late Late which was on Bowman’s sunday archive programme on RTE radio and being singularly impressed by the gumption and courage he displayed in doing that in the late 1980s or early 1990s. It is no wonder he is still a priest.

    • Scarecrows of the Stipe says:

      @ 1

      I found ” The Way ” to be far too sentimental . That Dutch tourist character was a bit silly too. Where have you seen him before, pray tell ? Well he’s the guardian who raped Lisbeth Salander in the US version of ” The Girl With The Dragon’s Tattoo ” !

      No denying Sheen is magnificent in ” Apocalypse Now ” though…………

    • Paul says:

      IF VB is right and the biggest paper in the country is just a vehicle for rich folk to make more money at the expense of democracy where does that leave us?

      Everything changes but politics….You’re right there, but If Sinn Fein becomes the largest opposition party that might shake things up. As much as it pains me to say it, I’d vote for them.

    • @6: I looked-up a dictionary definition of “lamentable” and found the following: “wretched, deplorable, or distressing”. Hardly an understatement. Your real problem is my suggestion that the Church did good as well as bad things. You are the intellectual equivalent of the “One-Eyed Reilly”:-)

    • @7: For the sake of accuracy and completeness, these are Cori’s Member Congregations

      LIST OF CONFERENCE MEMBERS

      ALEXIAN BROTHERS
      AUGUSTINIANS
      BENEDICTINES (male)
      BENEDICTINES (female)
      BLESSED SACRAMENT SISTERS
      BON SAUVEUR
      BON SECOURS OF PARIS
      BRIGIDINES
      BROTHERS OF CHARITY
      CHARITY (Daughters of Charity)
      RELIGIOUS SISTERS OF CHARITY
      SISTERS OF CHARITY OF JESUS AND MARY
      SISTERS OF CHARITY OF NEVERS
      SISTERS OF CHARITY OF OUR LADY MOTHER OF MERCY
      SISTERS OF CHARITY OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE
      SISTERS OF OUR LADY OF CHARITY
      CAMILLIANS
      CAPUCHINS
      CARMELITES
      CARMELITES (Discalced)
      CHRISTIAN BROTHERS
      CISTERCIANS (Melleray)
      CISTERCIANS (Mellifont)
      CISTERCIANS (Moone)
      CISTERCIANS (Portglenone)
      CISTERCIANS (Roscrea)
      CONBONI MISSIONARIES
      CHRISTIAN INSTRUCTION (Sisters of)
      CHRISTIAN RETREAT (Sisters of the ) SCR
      CROSS AND PASSION (Sisters)
      DAUGHTERS OF MARY AND JOSEPH
      DAUGHTERS OF OUR LADY OF THE SACRED HEART
      DAUGHTERS OF THE CROSS OF LIEGE
      DAUGHTERS OF THE HEART OF MARY
      DAUGHTERS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
      DAUGHTERS OF WISDOM
      DE LA SALLE BROTHERS
      DIVINE WORD MISSIONARIES
      DOMINICAN PRIESTS
      DOMINICAN SISTERS OF CABRA
      DOMINICAN SISTERS OF ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA
      DOMINICAN SISTERS OF KING WILLIAM’S TOWN
      FAITHFUL COMPANIONS OF JESUS
      FRANCISCAN BROTHERS
      FRANCISCANS (Conventual)
      FRANCISCANS (Order of Friars Minor)
      FRANCISCANS (Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood)
      FRANCISCANS (Franciscan Missionaries of Mary)
      FRANCISCANS (Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady)
      FRANCISCANS (Franciscan Missionaries of St. Joseph)
      FRANCISCAN (Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Africa)
      FRANCISCAN (Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Littlehampton)
      FRANCISCAN (Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception)
      GOOD SHEPHERD SISTERS
      HOLY SPIRIT CONGREGATION
      HANDMAIDS OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS PM
      HOLY FAITH
      HOLY FAMILY (St. Emilie de Rodat)
      HOLY FAMILY OF BORDEAUX
      INFANT JESUS SISTERS
      JESUITS
      LEGIONARIES OF CHRIST
      LA RETRAITE SISTERS
      LITTLE COMPANY OF MARY
      LITTLE SISTERS OF THE ASSUMPTION
      LORETO
      MARIANISTS
      MARIST BROTHERS
      MARIST FATHERS
      MARIE AUXILIATRICE (Sisters of)
      MARIE REPARATRICE (Sisters of)
      MARIST SISTERS
      MEDICAL MISSIONARIES OF MARY
      MERCY SISTERS
      MERCY (Northern Province)
      MERCY (South Central Province)
      MERCY (Southern Province)
      MERCY (Western Province)
      MISSIONARY SISTERS OF OUR LADY OF THE OLA APOSTLES
      MISSIONARY SISTERS OF ST. COLUMBAN
      MISSIONARY SISTERS OF THE ASSUMPTION MSA
      MISSIONARY SISTERS OF THE HOLY ROSARY
      MISSIONARY SISTERS (Servants of the Holy Spirit)
      NORBERTINES
      NAZARETH (Sisters)
      OBLATES OF MARY IMMACULATE
      OUR LADY OF THE CENACLE
      OUR LADY OF SION
      PALLOTTINE
      PASSIONISTS PATRICIAN BROTHERS
      PRESENTATION BROTHERS
      POOR SERVANTS OF THE MOTHER OF GOD
      PRESENTATION SISTERS
      PRESENTATION SISTERS (Northern Province)
      PRESENTATION SISTERS (South East province)
      PRESENTATION SISTERS (South West Province)
      REDEMPTORISTS
      ROSMINIANS
      RELIGIOUS OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
      RELIGIOUS OF JESUS AND MARY
      RELIGIOUS OF THE SACRED HEART OF MARY
      SACRED HEARTS (Congregation of)
      SACRED HEART FATHERS
      SALESIANS OF DON BOSCO
      SERVITES
      SOCIETY OF ST. PAUL
      SOCIETY OF THE DIVINE SAVIOUR THE SALVATORIANS
      ST. JOHN OF GOD (Hospitaller Order)
      SACRED HEARTS OF JESUS AND MARY
      SACRED HEART SISTERS
      SALESIAN SISTERS
      SOCIETY OF THE HOLY CHILD JESUS
      SOCIETY OF THE SACRED HEART
      ST. CLARE (Sisters of)
      ST. JOHN OF GOD SISTERS
      ST. JOSEPH OF ANNECY (Sisters of)
      ST. JOSEPH OF THE APPARITION (Sisters of)
      ST. JOSEPH OF CLUNY (Sisters of)
      ST. LOUIS (Sisters of)
      ST. PAUL OF CHARTRES (Sisters of)
      URSULINES OF JESUS
      URSULINES OF THE IRISH UNION
      VINCENTIANS

    • Rpe McCarthy says:

      Sorry smith was a norbertine. I note the breaking news on fr darcy

    • arbera.o says:

      I suppose this country is not unlike the UK in that instead of a constitutional monarchy operating in tandem with a parliamentary system, we have a mogul monarchy operating in tandem with a parliamentary democracy……….our last high king, ruaidrí ua conchobair (rory o’connor), marked the end of the official monarchy (high-kingship) here; but more recently we had developed a mogul monarchy; with his mogul majesty, sir tony o’reilly, king of the INM empire here, and who vincent browne is suggesting, was friend to the last main political party in power viz. FF; and now that we have the other main political party FG in power (Troika notwithstanding) we observe the “friend” of this political party, his mogul majesty, denis o’brien bidding for high-kingship of the media empire……so my question is, if as vincent browne is suggesting, INM under his mogul majesty o’reilly was biased in favour of FF how did it come about that FG are now in government……oh, don’t bother, it’s all so obvious…but you just need to write it down sometimes…..anyway, I’m sick of the o’reillys and the o’briens……….any o’connors left out there…….hmmm de Bréadún has a nice ring to it…..

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      @10 – I still don’t think lamentable is a suitable word to have chosen especially given you had to look up its meaning after you’d used it.

      Did ‘the church’ do good things or did people in the church do good things as the system of ‘the’ church doesn’t seem set up to do good things but there were people who did good despite that system not because of it and how do you quantify how much ‘good’ a person needs to do to balance out the evil they’ve done to a child. The evil done doesn’t stay with just that person, it affects the rest of their life and impacts on everyone around them and through the generations.

      But you’re right. I don’t particularly have much time for the structure of the church. I think most people live their lives the best they can and are loving and kind and compassionate and would still be whether or not there was a church.

      So I don’t really fear growing secularism, nor do I think it’s in any way a threat to Christianity but rather a compliment to it and will in turn make it stronger because it’s a sign that the zealots are losing control and perhaps then the people of the church and their compassion and humanity will shape it instead of it being shaped by old men who wear dresses and seem overly fond of bling paid for by the work of others.

    • @14: I foraged out the definition of “lamentable” for you, as you clearly don’t understand the word if you think it is an “understatement”. I smiled at your espousal of kindness, compassion and humanity: not a huge amount of evidence of those in your writings here. It also takes a particular and, frankly, somewhat twisted mindset to suggest that the clerics who do good are paedophiles on the side. I don’t know where you went to school but a lot of people in this country owe their education to the Christian Brothers and the nuns. That’s not to excuse any misdeeds by members of those congregations. It’s a balanced view, but of course you don’t do balance, do you?

    • barbera.o says:

      I’m a Loreto educated damsel have nothing but praise and much appreciation for those dedicated religious who put up with a little “tearaway” like myself for seven years (Entrance Grade through Secondary) and although I didn’t appreciate it at the time or during the “rebellious” late teens and 20′s, I am eternally grateful for the wonderful education provided by the Loreto nuns and in particular religious knowledge instruction, especially Apologetics.
      I have to say I was never in the slightest bit impressed by Fr Brian D’arcy and am delighted to see dissident priests silenced. Obedience to the teaching authority of the Church is the most important thing for a RC priest and I have no time for priests that go their own way and lead people astray.

    • jaygee says:

      I have just read, with some astonishment, the list of Orders in Cori’s member Congregations. All that along with the Bishops, Archbishops, and Cardinals. What a heavy load for a small population to carry. No wonder the politicians were frightened of them.

    • bb says:

      @17 jaygee — what is striking (and indicative of some “liberal” agenda) is the small percentage of “abusers” amongst the religious that the media has highlighted in contrast with the extent of the great good that was carried out and is still being carried out by the vast majority of religious in this country. Given modern research re understanding paedophilia and with stringent guidelines and strategies now in place, the Catholic Church in Ireland is one of the safest place for children to be in this country.
      I think it is now high time that media focused on abuse of children that is vastly prevalent in the lay spheres.

    • jaygee says:

      @18 bb – I hadn’t mentioned child abuse in my comments on this thread. My astonishment was genuine, and was
      because I was unaware of the existence of so many religious orders in such a small country cheek by jowl with such a small population.
      The influence of the RCC on the politics of the State is a matter of historical record. Politicians and Parties were fearful of attracting the censure of the Church, and thousands left the country for many reasons not least to seek a more humane environment .
      I had always thought that the description “priest – ridden” was an invented slogan by our detractors, but it is not difficult to see how it came about.

    • bb says:

      @ 19 jaygee — be further amazed. Take a look at the list of religious orders in just one Archdiocese — the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York for example (see link below) and as you will see there is no need for “quotas” for women in religious orders as they are exceed the numbers of men in religious orders to a large extent.!
      I sense your attitude towards religious in general is negative, however.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_orders_in_the_Roman_Catholic_Archdiocese_of_New_York

    • JOD says:

      Read an interview in which Mr Sheen mentions this guy Pierre Teilhard de Chardin quoting ”Discovering love is like discovering fire” or words to that effect was a few days ago I read that but have bee reading about this guy Teilhard – allegedly the saint of the internet – since on and off very interesing believe never heard of him before yet his ideas see to resonate with a few random thoughts one has oneself Interesting he was censured by the RCC also. Jesuit. Thought they could parse anything down to nothing and still wonder how many angels can dance on the head of a pin surprised he wasn’t able to microtome his arguments to the point where the Church wouldn’t bother to sensor the for it not being worth the effort so few would understand them uncensored. V. interesting guy though conceived of the Universe as a ”Living Host” and thought of a universal intelligence evolving or progressing towards a point at which It becomes self-aware and encounters Its own Maker. In a way that we’re all on that same quest towards higher forms of awareness. Those 3 films of Martin Sheen’s well 2 I’ve seen would have that theme imo.

    • Scarecrows of the Stipe says:

      I think we should bring in a rule here that a person shouldnt be allowed change their user name numerous times throughout the course of a topic…..

    • @21 Teilhard de Chardin used to be big in this here town. His name has fallen into the shadows in more recent times. Good to hear him mentioned again.

    • JOD says:

      really? I’m kind of amazed. I don’t know very much about the guy just been reading about him on and off past few days but I’d have thought Irish-RCC theology/eschatology/spirituality (miserymiserymiserypo-facednesshypocrisycondemnationcensuretotallackof imagination/creativityetc) would have been alien to the sort of exotica he seems capable of? Would have thought he’d have been run out of town on a rail round these parts. Anyway I’m going to find out more it’s VERY interesting.

    • barberettaVonGuessWho says:

      @ 22 Scarecrows of the Stipe — even if you abbreviated your pseudonym to SS we’d still know it was yerself..!

      @ JOD (kynos, etc)………if your’re only at the “de Chardin” stage of rebellion against the RCC then you’ve a bit to go yet before you start going to Sunday Mass again and pay your Easter dues..!

    • jaygee says:

      Missed my usual May Day greetings to all the usual suspects yesterday .
      So to all you Socialists, Communists, Anarcho – Syndicalists, Wobblies, Trade Unionists, Protesters, Challengers,Dissenters, and bloody – minded scallywags belated May Day greetings.


Search Politics