Monday, 23 April 2018




By: Maureen Woods. The Oratory. Larne.

When Pat asked me to talk about what God thinks of women initially I thought where do I start? But once I gave it some thought I wondered where do I stop? I realized that we could spend a week and not even skim the surface. I could not even begin to cover all that God thinks about women so I’m just going to talk about a few of the thoughts I have had during the week. The bible is full of stories of what God thinks of women, but even more so what he thinks of us women is shown by his presence and influence in our lives on a daily basis. This shows what he thinks of us in meaningful and practical ways. In the world today there are many inequalities and women in some places are still regarded and treated as second-class citizens. God has shown that he regards women highly and with great respect.

God thinks women are capable and can be relied upon to do what is needed, he thinks we have a can-do attitude and although maybe initially reluctant we will step up to the mark and do what is required. This is clearly evidenced in choosing a 16-year-old girl to give birth to his son. Today in the 21st century that would be a big that would be a big ask, how much more so all those years ago when the world’s view of women was much more conservative. But Mary did step up and although we probably don’t think about it much women today all step up each and every day and do their best to do the right thing. All the daily things we do and say have an impact on others, be it a smile or hello to the stranger me meet, the time we make available out of our busy lives to enrich the lives of others such as making that telephone call or visit or Carole baking her lovely cakes and buns week in week out.

I think the story of Mary also shows that God thinks women are special and can be trusted to carry out vital roles. He values women respects women and hold women in high esteem. It is hard to comprehend a more crucial job than Mary’s of giving birth to his son. Likewise, I think the fact that women have been given the privilege of carrying a baby for nine months and be one of the key people in that child’s life shows that God thinks women are special and the trust that he has in us to look after his children on earth. As all mothers know the first time we hand over our children into someone else’s care is a moment we never forget, God places his children on earth into our care, how special and trusted we must be by God to bear children and then have the honour of having such a significant place in their lives.

Again the story of Mary shows that God thinks women are resilient and courageous. She was there at the start his life, at Calvary and his Resurrection. Although women were regarded as unreliable witnesses in court, Jesus gave women the honour of being the first to witness the Resurrection. This again highlights that God thinks women are special and holds us in high regards, like us I imagine that Jesus would have wanted special people at his happiest and saddest occasions. The courage Mary must have had to bear seeing her son crucified is hard to get one’s head around. But she showed great courage and resilience and likewise so do we. God thinks women are strong and have the endurance to deal with what comes our way. We all have our mountains to climb, sometimes it’s not a big challenge, it’s maybe a gentle slope or one we’ve climbed before and are able to so with ease. But sometimes it can feel like we’re facing Everest, depending on the circumstances getting out of bed and facing the day can in itself be the greatest of challenges but we have all persevered in the most testing of situations and have arrived at the peak eventually albeit a little battered and bruised sometimes physically, sometimes mentally, sometimes both. Many women I know do not give themselves enough credit for the courage and resilience they have, they listen to that inner voice that questions their abilities and erodes their confidence. I think God would want us to acknowledge that most of the time we try to do our best, we are not perfect but we try to learn from our experiences and do even better next time. God wants us to remember what we are worth, he will never forget our worth. He would want us to give ourselves a pat on the back, instead of beating ourselves up. We have all had our share of burdens and will continue to do so, we just need to remember that God does not just think that women are strong, he knows that we have the endurance to deal with what comes our way, we just need to own that thought too.

Contrary to the thinking of the time God did not think women were inferior, he treated women with equality. This is shown in many of the bible stories, such as in (Luke 10:38-42) the story of Martha and Mary shows Jesus’ acceptance of Mary’s wish to learn. She sat at his feet while Martha carried out the role of providing hospitality. The way Jesus responded to women was in an inclusive way. Yet today in many churches many women feel invisible and unheard. Thankfully that is not the case at the Oratory, we are all encouraged to voice our opinions, so thank you, Pat, for the opportunity to speak today.

I’ve mentioned just a few key things that I feel that God thinks about women, it’s only the tip of the iceberg, there are so many more. God thinks women are unique, special, courageous, resilient, trusted, worthy, capable individuals. We are unique, exceptional people and should value ourselves as God does.

 I’d like to finish with a poem which I feel helps to sum up what God thinks of women. It’s called Women of Courage and was written by Kathy L. Goings:

Women of courage, women of strength,
Women of faith and devotion.
Mothers of children with spirits so strong
Who may have unbridled imaginations.
Women with losses, women who love,
Whose strength and whose courage comes from above,
Whether they're mothers; or loving Aunties,
It's plain to see Jesus’ love shines through them.
Women I work with, women I know,
Whether at church, or other places I go.
Women whose spirits are battered by pain,
But Christ lifts them up, and they go on again.

They are women, women of courage
They are Christians, towers of strength.
They are women who put Jesus first in life
Show’ring His love on all those they greet. 

Saturday, 21 April 2018


Mr. Nicholar Perry - Dept of Justice N.I.


18th April 2018

Mr. Nicholas Perry CB
Permanent Secretary.
Department of Justice.
Northern Ireland.

Dear Mr Perry,

Ecclesiastical visits Maghaberry Prison

You may or may not be aware that I was recently refused an ecclesiastical visit to a long-standing parishioner of mine who is a prisoner in HMP Maghaberry? I have looked after him as a clergyman for well over 20 years now. He is Xxxxxx Xxxxxx Xxxxx and his prison number is XXXXX. He also has mental health issues and I know that he has presented the prison staff with very difficult challenges since he went there on remand some weeks ago.

He had made a formal request to the prison authorities for an ecclesiastical visit.

That visit was refused by Resident Governor David Savage.

My local MP, Mr. Sammy Wilson, called Governor Savage and was quite shocked when Mr. Savage told him that he had refused the request for an ecclesiastical visit having been asked to do so by the Roman Catholic chaplains at Maghaberry!

Mr. Wilson has since appealed the refusal to the Prison Governor Mr. David Kennedy and to date we have had no reply.


I am no longer formally a member or a cleric of the Roman Catholic Church and I have no expectation that the Roman Catholic chaplains would facilitate ecclesiastical visits from me.

I am however a clergyman of 42 years standing – 40 in Northern Ireland and during that time I have regularly visited all the prisons.

Upon my rupture with the Roman Catholic Church in 1985, the then Roman Catholic chaplains immediately refused to facilitate ecclesiastical visits for me.

At the time I contacted the late Dr. Ian Paisley and he spoke to the N. I. Prison minister at the time – Mr. Nicholas Scott – and an arrangement was set up whereby I was able to have my ecclesiastical visits.

So, there is a political and religious precedent to me visiting N. Ireland prisons as Bishop Pat Buckley of The Oratory Society.


The Oratory Society was established in Larne in the mid-1980’s as a “religious body”.

Other government departments regard The Oratory Society as a “religious body” – for example, The Oratory Society is regarded as a “religious body” by the Registrar General of Marriages for Northern Ireland.

It would be most strange for one branch of government to recognize The Oratory Society as a religious body – and another branch of the same government to refuse to recognize it.


For the N. I Prison Service to refuse to allow me ecclesiastical visits to my parishioners is an act of religious discrimination that contravenes not the Human Rights legislation but the Code of Good Practice of the N. I. Prison Service.

Article 9 says:

Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion

1.    Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

2.    Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

The Code of Good Practice of the N. Ireland Prison Service says:

Examples of good practice

The prison service has a duty to provide for the pastoral needs of prisoners of other faiths and a register of pastors and ministers of minority faiths, willing to provide pastoral care for prisoners, is maintained.

When the need arises, prisoners registered as other faiths for which no chaplains are appointed, may on request receive a visit from a Pastor or Minister of their own religion.

In the context of Article 9 and the prison Code of Practice Governor Savage was clearly in contravention of both the spirit and the law. I am at a loss to understand how he did not realise this.

I respect the N. I Prison Service and the important work they do. In my 40 years of prison visiting, I have never once made any problem for the service.

It would be a great pity if circumstances forced me to take a judicial review or a European court case in order to solve this very simple matter. I have no wish to do this and would want to sort it out amicably and at the earliest stage.

In fact, I believe my ecclesiastical visit to Mr. Xxxxx would enable me to persuade him to fully co-operate with the prison staff and authorities in such a way as they could then help him. And that is my firm intention.

Can I reiterate I have no desire to irritate anyone in Maghaberry Prison, including the chaplaincy team? I simply want to have an ecclesiastical visit as the senior pastor of The Oratory Society to one of my long-term parishioners.

To achieve this, I am prepared to contact anyone I am directed to contact to arrange such visits and to behave impeccably, as I always have, during prison visits.

I would be most grateful if you could look at this matter for me urgently and help me to resolve it.

I hope to hear from you very soon on the matter.

Sincerely yours,

(Bishop) Pat Buckley
Presiding Bishop. 
The Oratory Society.

Mr. Sammy Wilson MP




Dear Mr. Perry,

I wanted to draw your attention to the following rule from Prison Rules Northern Ireland 2010- Rule 62:

Visits by other ministers:

62. –(1) Where a prisoner belongs to a denomination for which no chaplain has been appointed the governor shall do what he reasonably can, if so requested by the prisoner, to arrange for him to be visited regularly by a minister of that denomination.

This rule was brought to the attention of the Maghaberry Governor yesterday by a member of the Independent Monitoring Board.

Warm wishes,

+Pat Buckley


As promised I am keeping my Blog readers up to date on this Human Rights / Religious Discrimination story and will continue to do so.



I have no desire to see a UNITED IRELAND. But I would be quite happy to see a NEW IRELAND.

I am not a Republican or a Nationalist - and I am not a Unionist or a Loyalist.

I think that many of these terms hark back to the divided past. We cannot live in the past. We must live in the present and look forward to the future.

Recent polls have shown that the "Catholic" population is increasing and the "Protestant" one decreasing.

Some experts say that by 2021 Northern Ireland will have a majority of "Catholics". But that does not mean that all those "Catholics" will vote with Sinn Fein for a United Ireland.

As the two largest parties in Northern Ireland Sinn Fein and the DUP have a huge responsibility to lead all of us away from the divided past and towards a better future.

Unfortunately, there are still many dinosaurs on bother sides that are wanting to yell: "NO SURRENDER".

To achieve a better future each side needs to show a great generousity towards each other and stop laying down red lines.

Sinn Fein is holding out for A STAND ALONE IRISH LANGUAGE ACT.

That is not really necessary.

I think that a new, modern Culture and Language Act would be fine.

Such an act could safeguard the languages and cultures of all - Irish, British and all those other minority cultures that now exist in Northern Ireland.

People should be allowed to set up and run viable Irish language schools - and many others will be happy to continue supporting the English language schools that are in the majority.

But we must be practical and recognize that English is the everyday language of the vast majority of people all over this island.

I think it would be madness - and very expensive - to have every street and road sign in Northern Ireland in both English and Irish.

I would much prefer to see that kind of money put into our health service.

I studied Irish for the 14 years I was in primary and secondary school and have a fondness for the language.

But I do not need to see the signs in the town and street where I live in both English and Irish.

If you want to pay homage in Irish to the place in which you live then call your house by an Irish name and let that form part of your address.

And the DUP is not helping anyone by banning same-sex marriage just because many of their members are from some kind of fundamentally Protestant background - even though the rest of the UK - which they say they love - has same-sex marriage. 

We must get away from parish pump politics and develop a politics that is in tune with the global world we are all moving towards.

If there was a poll about a United Ireland tomorrow I would vote "No".

And I would vote like that because:

1. We have a better standard of living as part of the UK at the moment.

2. I prefer to live in a diverse society than in a one culture society.

3. And for me personally, I think that the Roman Catholic Church still has a little too much influence in the Republic - even though that influence is on the wane.

However, that "subtle" influence is there - especially in a party like Fianna Fail which has been traditionally the party of the farmers and the RC Church.

In the past, the Unionists were right when they said: "Home Rule is Rome Rule".

Of course, at the same time, "Ulster" was a Protestant statelet for a Protestant people.

All these models are now outdated. 

Saint Patrick was accredited with ridding Ireland of snakes.

Perhaps we need to pray to him that he will now rid Ireland of the dinosaurs - on both sides.

Friday, 20 April 2018


Communion for Protestants has split the German Church – and now it's the Vatican's problem
Jon Anderson Catholic Herald

The German Church has been thrown deeper into controversy after seven bishops appealed to the Vatican against new guidelines that would allow Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Holy Communion. If adopted, these rules would significantly relax the existing ones.
Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne, Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg and the bishops of Görlitz, Augsburg, Eichstätt, Passau and Regensburg have signed a three-page letter to Archbishop Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and Vatican ecumenical chief Cardinal Kurt Koch. They have asked for a ruling on whether the text approved at the February meeting of the German bishops’ conference (DBK) has exceeded the national bishops’ competence and breached canon law.
Notably, the letter was sent without prior consultation with DBK president Cardinal Reinhard Marx. Five of the seven bishops are also from dioceses in Bavaria, where Cardinal Marx is president of the state bishops’ conference. For his part, Marx has rejected the seven bishops’ questions and stressed that the guidelines were only a draft and could yet be altered. He had previously said that the new document was merely a “pastoral handbook” and that “we don’t want to create any new dogma”.
The seven bishops’ letter is not unprecedented, but such an initiative is unusual. The last time Rome was formally asked to intervene in the German Church’s internal disputes was in 1999, when the majority of bishops voted to remain part of the state pregnancy counselling service. Cardinal Joachim Meisner appealed directly to Pope John Paul II and secured a Vatican ruling overturning their decision. But that was a solo effort from Meisner, the leader of the German Church’s almost defunct conservative faction. An appeal to Rome by seven relatively centrist bishops is a dramatic development.
Non-Catholic spouses receiving Communion isn’t, of course, an issue confined to Germany. Tony Blair famously received Communion regularly before his conversion, despite it being against the rules (as Cardinal Basil Hume later reminded him). In Germany the practice is quite common, just as it is common for civilly remarried divorcees to receive Communion, and there is a clear link with the Amoris Laetitiacontroversy. But, as we saw with Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on the family, there is a difference between having an important rule that is widely disregarded, and changing the rule – even just to allow exceptions, because exceptions have a way of becoming the new norm. And, where the sacraments are concerned, the stakes are high.
The new German guidelines are framed as providing for exceptions to be made on a case-by-case basis, after the communicant has gone through a process of discernment under the guidance of a priest. Ultimately, it would come down to the individual’s conscience – that is, Protestant spouses wishing to receive Communion should decide for themselves whether they should be able to. There is an obvious similarity with the proposal for allowing Communion for remarried divorcees put forward by future cardinals Walter Kasper and Karl Lehmann in 1993, which was the basis for Cardinal Kasper’s intervention at the two family synods preceding the publication of Amoris. The superiority of conscience over the law is a common German Catholic position.
Why has the opposition been much sharper over intercommunion than over Communion for divorcees? There was resistance to Amoris from Cardinal Gerhard Müller, then prefect of the CDF, but he had very little support from German bishops. One reason could be that the arguments over divorce have been well aired since the 1993 proposal, and so the ground had been prepared. Or it could be that the case for admitting Catholics in irregular marriages seems more plausible than that for admitting spouses who aren’t Catholic at all, since the conditions under canon law for non-Catholics are both more explicit and quite strict. It could simply be that, as often happens in the Church, the modernising faction has gained the upper hand and pushed its agenda further and faster than the centre ground would bear.
The guidance on Communion for Protestant spouses is supposed to rest on Canon 844 (4) of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, which states that “If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.”
This does, however, raise the question of whether someone’s distress at not being able to receive Communion really counts as a “grave necessity” under the meaning of 844 (4). And “manifest[ing] Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments” is not obvious in the case of spouses who have not become Catholic and do not wish to do so.
Canon 844 (4) does soften the language of the 1917 Code, which stated bluntly that it was “forbidden to minister the Sacraments of the Church to heretics and schismatics, even though they are in good faith and ask for them, unless they have first renounced their errors and been reconciled to the Church”. This isn’t very diplomatic, but it does make clear that participating in the sacraments is a sign of unity within the Church.
The more fundamental problem with intercommunion is that, even if the form is similar, different religious communities often have very different understandings of what Communion means. The same issue can apply with other sacraments like baptism or marriage. For example, the Catholic Church recognises baptisms as valid if they are in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – but, crucially, this has to involve an actual belief in the Trinity. The Church doesn’t recognise Mormon baptism, even though it uses the same words, because Joseph Smith’s theology denies the Trinity.
The same issue applies with Communion. Either the sacrament is the Body and Blood of Christ, or it is not. If it is viewed simply as a symbolic remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice, that is another thing entirely.
This is why, under established Catholic teaching, intercommunion is possible with the Orthodox Churches – though limited in practice – but not with most Protestant denominations, simply because they don’t agree with the Catholic view of what Communion actually is.
Many other religious communities practise closed communion, restricting the sacrament to their own members. However, some large Protestant denominations practise open communion – crucially including the EKD, Germany’s main federation of Protestant churches. This means that the Catholic spouse in a mixed marriage can receive communion in a Lutheran church, but not vice versa. That creates a social pressure, which is part of the context for the German bishops’ decision.
Probably a larger motivation is the long-term decline of Christian life in Germany. Thanks to the country’s church tax system, both the Catholic and Protestant churches are extremely wealthy, but largely empty of worshippers. The current rate of Mass attendance in Germany is around 10 per cent, and the Lutherans, who have gone much further in accommodating German secular culture, have even lower rates of observance.
The shortage of vocations is so severe that, despite importing large numbers of priests from India, the German Church is now pushing for parishes led by lay pastoral workers to fill the gap.
Nobody in Germany seems to have a clear idea of how to arrest the decline, except for further relaxing the Church’s expectations of the faithful. This approach has been tried for decades with little success, with observance and vocations continuing to decline and record numbers of Catholics formally leaving the Church in order to opt out of paying the church tax. Ironically, although the German Church is making it easier for non-Catholics and those in irregular marriages to receive Communion, the sacraments are denied to Catholics who don’t pay the church tax.
The Vatican missed an opportunity to clarify the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia by not responding to the dubia (“doubts”) submitted by four cardinals. The dubia on intercommunion from Cardinal Woelki and the other six German bishops provide another opportunity to clarify whether historic Catholic teaching still applies.
Either a positive or negative response will be revealing, and have an impact well beyond Germany.

This is a very interesting dispute in Germany but it affects the Catholic Church in every country including Ireland.

When Jesus Christ celebrated the First Eucharist at The Last Supper - he as the celebrant was a Jew and all those who received the Bread and Wine from him were also Jews!

Over time - and with manmade laws and thinking - the Eucharist or Holy Communion in the RC Church was reserved for Catholics only - and those Catholics had to be in the state of grace and not in "mortal" sin.

Every Sunday at my 12 noon Mass at The Oratory in Larne the congregation is comprised of people who used to attend Mass in "official" Catholic church and is also comprised of others who used to be members of "Protestant" congregations like Anglicans and Presbyterians.

And EVERYBODY who wishes to comes forward and received Holy Communion in the form both of the "Bread" and the "Wine".

I have never in my life, thank God, refused anyone Holy Communion.

We bishops and priests do NOT OWN the Eucharist. It belongs to God and therefore I think it is a most serious thing for a priest to refuse Holy Communion to anyone who sincerely wishes to receive it with all due respect.

And at all the Wedding Masses I celebrate all over the country and the world I invite all who wish to receive Holy Communion to come forward - pointing out that Holy Communion is a gift from God, a way of uniting us with God and a source of spiritual healing and nourishment.

The RC Church does not OWN the Eucharist. God owns it. 

It is not a reward for BEING GOOD.

It is food for the spiritually hungry and healing for the spiritually and physically infirm.

Some people say: "Let's wait for Christian unity before we share Holy Communion".

I say: "Let's create Christian unity by sharing Holy Communion".


Thursday, 19 April 2018






Dear Bishop,

I have read your blog with interest over recent months and was wondering in your travels have you ever heard of a Fr Seán Maher who is currently a priest in the Kildare and Leighlin Parish. at present he is out on leave- he was the parish priest in Stradbally. There has been a lot of disquiet recently over the way he has acted in the parish and especially that he denounced the principal of one of the local schools- Timahoe ns from the pulpit. He is due to return to the parish in the next few weeks. 
A very concerned parishioner

A Laois parish set to welcome Romanian priest
 13th January 2018


The Parish of Stradbally is all set to welcome a new priest this weekend.
Fr Marcelin Rediu, from Romania, will replace Parish Priest Fr Seán Maher who is set to travel overseas after Sunday mass where he will continue his studies.
Bishop Denis Nulty welcomed Fr Marcelin Rediu to Kildare & Leighlin diocese towards the end of November where he took up residence in the Cathedral Presbytery in Carlow.
While staying at the Cathedral parish he has become a familiar face at Cathedral where he has celebrated Mass regularly.
Fr Marcelin comes to the diocese having spent the last sixteen years ministering in parishes in Norway.
He was originally ordained for the Diocese of Iasi in Romania in 1998.
Fr Marcelin is the second priest from that diocese to serve in Kildare & Leighlin, he follows in the footsteps of Fr Eugen Dragos Tamas who arrived last August.
Fr Eugen currently resides in Tinryland and helps out in Askea and surrounding parishes as the need arises.
Last Sunday Bishop Denis introduced Fr Marcelin to the people of Stradbally at masses in Vicarstown, Timahoe, and Stradbally itself.
Fr Marcelin will cover the couple of months study leave which Fr Sean Maher commences this coming weekend.
While Fr Sean Kelly will take charge of the administration of the parish, Fr Marcelin will be a huge presence in every aspect of parish life.
Bishop Denis also envisages that Fr Marcelin will also cover some duties in neighbouring Portlaoise parish as the team there also assist in the programme of duty in Stradbally during Fr Sean Maher’s study leave. 


Dear Xxxxxxx,

Thank you for your letter.

Does any reader have any more information on this matter?

Did Father Maher condemn a school principal from the pulpit? And for what?

Apparently, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin announced in January that Father Maher was going away for FURTHER STUDIES.

Now the parishioner tells us that Father Maher is coming back from those studies three months later in April.

That seems to be a very short academic course - three months?

In Father Maher's absence, the parish has been run by the retired PP - Father Kelly PE, CC and by a Romanian priest on loan to Kildare.

On this Blog before we have discussed about how priests seem to "disappear" either for a while or permanently.

The sequence of events in Stradbally are strange:

1. Father Maher appointed PP.

2. Alleged condemnation of school principal from pulpit.

3. Father Maher sent "overseas" for 3 months study.

4. Romanian priest appointed.

5. Father Maher is now, allegedly returning.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018



These two men have been found legally not guilty and therefore from the purely legal perspective they must be regarded and treated as not guilty.

Of course, we must also remember that when you go to court you do not always get JUSTICE. Very often you just get LAW.

There is a world of difference between justice and law.

Many guilty people have been found innocent by the law. And many innocent people have been found guilty in law.

I suppose all that proves is that human justice is flawed and that all human legal systems are far from perfect.

Personally, I was very disturbed by the vicious cross-examination had to endure at the hands of the defense barristers in this case. I imagine her time in the witness box was at least as painful as the time in the bedroom.

She seemed like a piece of meat being torn asunder by the highly paid, flesh-eating barrister hounds.

It's like the old question: "What is 2 + 2"?

"The mathematician says it is 4.

"The philosopher says: "Let us reflect on these concepts".

And the lawyer says: "What would you like it to be"?

It makes us understand how few raped women - and men - come forward and make a complaint. Why would anyone, recovering from a rape, put themselves forward for such treatment?

Those genuine rape victims who do come forward are to be congratulated for their utter courage.

I am hoping that the women in this case, who I believe was a medical student, can find healing and go on to have a happy and productive life.

And I am not without sympathy for Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding. Its so easy in the rough and macho world of rugby to get yourself into bad places - especially when alcohol becomes involved.

I do think that the Rugby authorities in Ireland and Ulster were right to withdraw their licence to play.  Leaving legal guilt and innocence aside, the whole episode did bring their game into major public disrepute. 

In fairness to Paddy Jackson, he did say after his licence was revoked that he had fallen well below certain standards.

Maybe the playing ban injects a little bit of justice into the equation?

I hope that these five young people - the young lady and the four young men - manage to get over everything that has happened and that they all manage to secure a happy future.

And I hope that they will all learn important lessons from what has happened - especially the lesson that they will not make the same mistakes in the future.

"It's not what happens to you in life that is always important. It is how you handle it".

Monday, 16 April 2018


Repealing Eighth ‘could lead to euthanasia and eugenics’
Bishop says there are effects if society decides ‘human life is disposable’
Barry Roche The Irish Times 

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Repealing the Eighth Amendment to allow for abortion in Ireland could pave the way for the introduction of euthanasia and eugenics, two Catholic bishops have warned.
Bishop of Cork and Ross Dr John Buckley said the debate about repeal had failed to make any mention of “the rightness” or “wrongness”of human behaviour despite all authorities on moral matters agreeing the deliberate taking of innocent human life was always wrong.
“We can be sure that if a society decides that human life is disposable at its beginning, it will not be too long before it decides the same for human life at its end...human life is sacred and precious...this is true in every moment of life from its first beginning to its natural end.”
In a pastoral letter on the right to life read out at all Masses in all 68 parishes in the diocese on Sunday, Dr Buckley said there was a danger people may confuse abortion with necessary medical intervention, which, he said, has never been denied to any Irish woman as a result of the Eighth Amendment.
“In 1983 the Irish people voted into the Constitution an amendment that would give the unborn child the same legal right as the mother. Under its provisions no life-saving treatment is ever, or legally can ever, be denied to an expectant mother.
·         Abortion: The Facts
 “The Catholic Church has never taught that the life of the child in the womb should be preferred to that of the mother. A doctor may give any treatment that is necessary to either mother or child without deliberately intending harm to the other.”
Abortion, on the other hand, was a “deliberate medical intervention to end the life of an unborn child”, said Dr Buckley. He pointed out that the Supreme Court had ruled that the unborn baby enjoys only one constitutional right, namely the right to life, thanks to the Eighth Amendment.

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Dr Denis Nulty warned that repealing the Eighth Amendment would create an “abortion culture” in Ireland which could lead to the advent of eugenics, with serious implications for those with disabilities.
In a pastoral message read out in all 56 parishes in the diocese which covers all of Carlow and parts of Laois, Offaly, Kilkenny, Kildare and Wicklow, Dr Nulty said he could not agree with those who hold the view that a pregnant woman has “an absolute right to choose the fate of her pregnancy”.
He said he believed that life begins at conception, and it did not serve the truth to minimise the reality of abortion and how prevalent it can become. The “hard truth” was evident in statistics on abortion from the UK and elsewhere, he said.
“Once we deny the right to life of the unborn we can no longer defend ourselves from what flows from an abortion culture. For instance, we are in deep denial if we cannot recognise that an abortion culture fundamentally alters our attitude towards disability.
“I believe that a culture that permits abortion cannot be separated from a culture that seeks full control over the gift of life. In recent years I have the sense that we are walking with our eyes closed into an era of eugenics, unwilling to look where we are going but still continuing on.”

Expectant mother
Meanwhile, the Bishop of Raphoe, Dr Alan McGuckian, has said in a message to Mass-goers in 33 parishes in his diocese that abortion was never justified, and an expectant mother, particularly if her pregnancy posed a serious crisis for her and her family, deserved the support of everyone around her.

“A mother may be informed her baby faces serious challenges or is perhaps terminally ill. She might be pregnant as a result of rape. In such cases recommending abortion might seem like a gesture of compassion. Even in those tragic cases the unborn child needs to be loved and cherished.”


I believe that because of the widespread abuse of children by Roman Catholic bishops and priests - and the widespread cover-up of that abuse by Roman Catholic bishops and priests - that these people have absolutely no moral credibility when they pontificate about sexual and reproductive matters!

If they had an ounce of decency in them they would remain silent about a matter where they have found to be the most guilty of all.

I am opposed to loose abortion laws but I am also aware that many people find themselves in very tight corners - people like victims of rape and people like mothers pregnant with a non-viable baby.

The Irish people are ethical and moral enough to make their own decision on this matter without the help of the organization that has been a historic abuser of women and children.
The picture below says more about their hypocrisy than I can say in words: