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  • Church matters

    October 18, 2010 @ 10:47 am | by Pól Ó Muirí

    The autumn issue of Studies is out and is entitled “Healing a broken church? Catholicism after the reports.” Contributors include Nuala O’Loan writing on “Transparency, accountability and the exercise of power in the Church of the future”; Gerry O’Hanlon, SJ, on “The Future of the Catholic Church – a view from Ireland” and David Quinn on “The Irish media and the Murphy Report”.

    Editor Fergus O’Donoghue writes that there is a “need for profound change in attitude at the highest level of the Church, resulting in more than cosmetic changes. The Church is administered by a Curia badly in need of reform; some departments are headed by men who are narrow in outlook, advanced in age and incompetent. Too many Vatican officials have received all their formation in Rome and cannot understand the problems of the local churches. Fear needs to be replaced by participation and consent.”

    Meanwhile, the September/October issue of History Ireland also contains articles on Catholicism with Maurice Curtis writing on militant lay Catholic organisations in Ireland in the first half of the 20th century in “Miraculous Meddlers: the Catholic Action movement”. Catholic action of an entirely different sort is the subject of Robert Doyle’s piece on “The pope’s Irish battalion, 1860” in which he marks the 150th anniversary of the war in which Irishmen fought – and died – for the Pope. Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann, you suspect.

  • ‘I blessed it’

    @ 10:43 am | by Pól Ó Muirí

    The old ways never die. My youngest daughter, five, was eating some sweets when one fell on the ground. Quick as a flash, she bent down – waste not, want not – and popped it in her mouth. Horrified, I told her never to eat anything from the floor again. She just looked at me with her big blue eyes and said: “Don’t worry daddy, I blessed it.”

  • Ó Domhnaill abú!

    October 12, 2010 @ 4:41 pm | by Pól Ó Muirí

    Aodh Ó Domhnaill’s latest play, Na Leabhra, will debut in The New Theatre, East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, on Thursday 21st October and will run until Saturday 23rd October (inclusive). Aisteoirí Bulfin – cé eile? – are staging the work which is described as “a very black comedy set in the near future in a country under military rule”.

  • Clannad rock

    @ 4:37 pm | by Pól Ó Muirí

    There have been many innovative groups in traditional music but I suspect Clannad will always be at the top of the queue and i mbéal an phobail when it comes to their early work. Gael Linn have released, as a two CD set, Clannad’s 1974 album, Clannad 2, and their 1976 collection, Dúlamán. The CDs include Coinleach Glas an Fhómhair, Siúil, a Rún, Dúlamán, Éirigh Suas, a Stóirín to name but a handful of tunes.

  • A job for W.B.

    October 11, 2010 @ 11:02 am | by Pól Ó Muirí

    I was reared on the rattle and hum of British army helicopters. If I hear a clatter in the air, I assume it is part of the RAF zoo – Puma, Lynx, Gazelle, – going by. Imagine my surprise then to hear a clatter and see not a helicopter but a man flying above Lough Neagh on a microlight – a bit like James Bond and Little Nelly. He was floating above the lough shore just as casually as I was cycling. I know that human kind has had powered flight for a hundred years and that a man has walked on the moon but there is something very wondrous about watching a single man in his microlight buzz around the waters of Lough Neagh. We are so accustomed to jet travel and travelling at the speed of sound that we sometimes forget just how odd it is for us to fly. Perhaps it was the juxtaposition of pilot and water that made him stand out so much for me. For aeons, people have fished the lough for its eels and fish. The secret of its wealth lay beneath and that is where fishermen and their communities have looked for sustenance over thousands of years. Yet here was a man defying the water and its riches for a little sky ride. No dug-out wooden canoe for our airman and no Heaney poem for him either. He would do better perhaps with Yeats?

  • German genitive

    @ 11:00 am | by Pól Ó Muirí

    This time of year is to the mind what the New Year is to the body – self-improvement. I began a German course over the weekend and hope to improve my very rusty Deutsch in the coming months. So far, so good – a great teacher and classmates and the excuse to spend Saturday mornings learning rather than driving the children around to Irish dancing, the swimming pool or drama classes.

    It is over 25 years since I finished my A-Level in German and my one year of studying it at Queen’s. I have managed to keep a grip of one kind or another on the language and found out that, what little I have, is now considered quite posh German. Apparently, those little phrases we learned at school – Mir is wohl; Ich stamme aus Belfast – are a bit altmodisch, old fashioned and seanfhaiseanta.

    However, another development over which I shed no tears is the fact that the genitive case in German is dying out. So, it is not just Irish that has problems with the genitive. Time and language, it seems, wait for no man.

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