No respect for Irish indentity or culture

Did you guess the culprit? Yes, it is elements of the Catholic education sector in West Belfast.

As reported in today’s Andersonstown News (not online yet) at least four schools in West Belfast will be expecting pupils to attend class on St Patrick’s Day. This year the Saint’s day falls during ‘Holy Week’ and the rules say no Saints days are to be celebrated, instead there is an unofficial St Patrick’s Day on Saturday. Why unofficial? The rules say no moving a Saint’s Day. This all means the 17th is not a Holy Day of Obligation and the schools have decided to remain open.

For those who think St Patrick’s Day is about much more than religious observance (if that), who believe it is an important family occasion, a National day of importance, a day for developing and maintaining Irish identity and culture the decision has provoked outrage.

Does this raise broader questions about how the Nation celebrates identity and culture in 21st century Ireland? Is it possible to have a truly inclusive and secular National day?

(btw: my son won’t be going to school)

  • Mark, the story’s been around for some time.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Mark

    Should’ve sent the lad to my school- we respect the National holiday!

    Hope you and the young ‘uns enjoy the day.

    It does strike me as bizarre, given that schools have discretion to organise their Exceptional Closure dates.

  • Turgon

    May I ask a question purely for information and not to start a row.

    What is a Holy Day of Obligation?

  • Mark McGregor

    Chris,

    When his principal reads the letter he is going in with tomorrow and takes my phonecall later we may just have to send him.

    Any places for a P3? ;0)

  • CS Parnell

    Turgon, it is a day when Catholics are obliged to attend Mass otherwise it is a cardinal sin.

    Of course, as has been remarked here before – the current St Pat’s day is about as authentically Irish as a leprechaun hat. It comes from the States, via Britain.

    In my youth in the 70s St Patrick’s Day was marked in West Belfast by people going to Mass mainly.

    Not that I am defending that. When the last protestant minister is strangled with the guts of the last priest Ireland might have a chance of freedom.

  • Turgon

    CS Parnell,
    Thank you. Sort of obvious next question, again genuinely without ulterior motive: what is a cardinal sin?

  • CS Parnell

    A Cardinal sin is a sin that guarantees you go to hell. (Until you get absolution, of course)

    Most semi-practising Catholics don’t like it when i tell them that the Sunday Mass they’ve just missed means, in their own world view, they are set for the big fry up.

    But probably would be best if a real True Believer explained all this.

  • Turgon

    CS Parnell,
    Thank you

  • Mark McGregor

    CS,

    You sure? I’m not a great one on religion but I thought cardinal sins were also called the ‘7 deadly sins’. All pretty much based on character not action. Though, they’re the least of my worries if that god thing turns out to be true.

  • SlugFest

    St. Pat’s isn’t a Holy Day of Obligation in the states — I went to Catholic primary school and we never had that day off. We only had the big eight (or was it six? or seven? five?)

    Not sure if it’s only Ireland/NI who consider it an HDO, but I would assume so — it being more of a national holiday than a holy one.

  • Rapunsel

    My daughter’s school ( an integrated school ) is also open on Monday whilst the creche the rest of the children attend is closed . I’m off work, but big deal. St patrick’s day is typically none of the things you mention Mark, although it can be some of those things for some people. For most people it has turned into an opportunity for total drunkenness. And whilst I am a somewhat fan of drunkenness myself the last time I went out for a bite to eat with my parents and family in belfast on St patrick’s day it was embarassing. Drunken young men lying in doorways and urinating openly along the Ormeau Road the streets strewn with rubbish and in my experience the situation in the town i now live in is similar.

    So I’m glad to gete the day off and think I’ll take a walk on the beach and have guinness and stew in the house!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mark,

    If you wilfully prevent your kid from going to school on a school day, aren’t you technically breaking the law ? And if you write a letter bragging about it, won’t that be admissable in court ?

    Jesus, and people make Alliance out to be holier-than-thou.

  • CS Parnell

    You are right, Mark. But what I meant to say is mortal sin – in the words of the Catholic encyclopedia: Mortal sin cuts us off entirely from our true last end; venial sin only impedes us in its attainment

    So it is a mortal sin, not a cardinal one.

    Gluttons for punishment may read this here: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14004b.htm#III

  • SlugFest

    Mortal, venial, or honest slip, if St. Pat’s is only considered an HDO in Ireland, doesn’t that mean that only the Irish will perish if they don’t take the day off?

    Well that settles it: even God is sectarian. 🙂

  • Mark McGregor

    CS,

    You think pointing out my technical illegality makes me seem more holier-than-thou than you? ;0) (they’ll never take me alive)

  • pith

    St. Patrick’s Day should be a full public holiday. What is the practice in the south?

  • aquifer

    But a public holiday for what? Getting slobberingly drunk and worse?

    Young adults and their brain cells may be much safer in school.

  • Mark, the Catholic Church is primarily interested in… er… Catholicism. What’s the surprise? You know your Irish history, don’t you?

    The very early date of Easter probably plays merry hell with the school calendar, so they’ve probably saved an exceptional day of closure for later in the year when the weather is better. I do take your point, especially given that the parades etc. aren’t later in the year.

    As for a mortal sin, when I was in school a mortal sin was defined as “something you clearly know is seriously wrong”. I don’t think unabsolved mortal sins damn one to hell, just a little longer in purgatory.

  • pith

    Aquifer,

    On that rationale we wouldn’t have weekends. Most people don’t get out to get hammered on public holidays and those who do don’t need a holiday as an excuse anyway.

  • Mark McGregor

    Sammy,

    I thought maybe you would have addressed the final section of my blog. The bit everyone seems to be ignoring.

    Is this just a manifestation of how the day doesn’t address the realities of an increasingly secular and multicultural Ireland? If the parents of children attending Catholic run schools can face interference to enjoying the broader aspects of the day, how can it ever be a truly inclusive day celebrating all Irish identities?

    A church day or a day for the people? And yes, I recognise many younger people (and others) see it as a binge day. I see a mass I don’t attend, a club match, a family lunch, a parade, a walk in the country and a few swift ones when the kids go to bed – all the things that make life worth living.

  • Mark, I understand the last time this problem arose was about 1940 so the next one may well be a long way down the line.

    St. Patricks Day 2008

    This year St.Patrick’s feast Day has officially been moved to Saturday 15 March by the Vatican. The reason for this is that Easter is very early this year and as a result the 17 March falls on the Monday of Holy Week.

    No liturgical feast takes precedence over the days of Holy Week so St Patrick’s feast day will come two days earlier on Saturday March 15th to avoid such a conflict.

    The last time this happened was in 1940 and it will be probably be another 68 years before it happens again. St Patrick’s Day will return to the 17 March in 2009

  • kensei

    Sammy

    As for a mortal sin, when I was in school a mortal sin was defined as “something you clearly know is seriously wrong”.

    I think, to be clear, that to commit a mortal sin you must know it to be wrong, aware of the gravity of it and make the conscious choice to do it anyway. Effectively, it amounts to the rejection of God by a well formed conscience.
    This will indeed damn you if you die. Though I wonder if the gravity of missing Mass is truly understood these days 😛

    Turgon, the wiki article cites I John 5.16 -17 as the scriptural basis:

    “If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin, you will ask, and God will give life to such a one – to those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin that is mortal; I do not say you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal.” (NRSV)

  • “Though I wonder if the gravity of missing Mass is truly understood these days”

    I don’t know about the gravity, Kensei, but your comment reminds me of a weekend trip to Dublin circa 1970. A friend and I met up with two lovely damsels from Carlow on the Saturday evening and arranged to drive out to Howth the following afternoon. We arrived back in Dublin around 6pm and one of them wanted to go to Mass as she hadn’t been earlier. We searched high and low but couldn’t find an evening service. She was very distressed but her friend (and mine) couldn’t see what all the fuss was about.

  • Mark McGregor

    Nevin,

    They may have moved it but it doesn’t retain its status as a Holy Day of Obligation, a cosmetic move.

    The 17th remains a public holiday in the 26 counties and a bank holiday in the 6 counties. The secular festival seems set to continue while a few schools insist on making it a purely Catholic day or not, as I said before with attitudes like this how can it ever be truly inclusive in an increasingly secular and multicultural society. Just like Christmas, St Patrick’s Day is now much more than a day for the religious.

  • Rory

    For a sin to be defined as mortal three conditions must apply:

    1. Grievous matter – the action taken in the commission of the sin must be grievously wrong.

    2. Full knowledge – the sinner must have full knowledge of the wrong that he was doing at the time of its commission.

    3. Full consent – the sinner must have given his full (knowing) consent to the commission of the act which constituted the sin.

    If any one of the above conditions is missing the sin fails to be defined as mortal by default.
    So really, one needs to be a bit of a ruthless, unfeeling bastard to commit such a sin.

    Clearly, despite the terrors that were drummed into us as boys, masturbation for example, hardly fits the bill.

    All clear now? Go then and sin no more.

  • 0b101010

    I still don’t understand why any deity claimed to be omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent is also claimed to be so petty as to demand that you worship them at all, let alone on specific days of their choosing.

    One way or another, right or wrong, I’m ending up the same state: self-exclusion from this petty little Demiurge. If you believe they knew that already, they could’ve saved us all the hassle by not bothering with this existence malarky in the first place.

    Guinness noster, qui in stomachus erit, sanctificetur nomen tuum.

  • Cant wait for the twelfth if everyones gona make paddys day in2 a republican propaganda spectacle.
    What a let down

  • St Patricks Day – The only cross community event event worth celebrating… if only the republican element was removed. Ah we’ll dream i suppose

  • willowfield

    … instead there is an unofficial St Patrick’s Day on Saturday.

    No. The official St Patrick’ Day is on Saturday.

    For those who think St Patrick’s Day is about much more than religious observance (if that), who believe it is an important family occasion, a National day of importance, a day for developing and maintaining Irish identity and culture …

    You mean a day for going out and getting absolutely hammered? Increasingly for most people, St Patrick’s Day is a day to lie low and avoid the drunken scum out on the streets: as someone once said – “a Fenian Twelfth”.

  • smcgiff

    ‘She was very distressed but her friend (and mine) couldn’t see what all the fuss was about.

    Nevin, I’m guessing right about then you were thinking along the lines*…

    Sorry dear Carlow lass, there be no mass,
    I’m sorrier still this goes against thou will
    If such stress is caused by this timing mess
    I’m sure there’s a hex on premarital sex

    Apologies for lowering the tone!

  • Paul

    Willowfield:

    Increasingly for most people, the Twelfth is a day to lie low and avoid the drunken scum out on the streets: as someone once said – “an Orange St Patrick’s Day”.

    Happy enough?

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    You mean a day for going out and getting absolutely hammered? Increasingly for most people, St Patrick’s Day is a day to lie low and avoid the drunken scum out on the streets: as someone once said – “a Fenian Twelfth”.

    Ah, the ubiquitous drunken fenian papist scum; for if only we upright, uptight, god fearing, clean livin’ folk were not surrounded by the perpetual scourge of our dear little old Ulster….. sniffle!
    FFS, Have a Guinness, wear the green and enjoy youself! Begorrah! (What you probably do when you cheer on the NI soccer team.)

  • Old Patrician

    I think there is some confusion over catholic school holidays and holy days of obligation. When I was growing up catholic schools, including my own, were always closed on such days. In recent years however the school my children attend (the same school) has been open on some holy days, but with the children attending mass in school.They are closed however on Monday for St Patricks day.
    I know there has been some talk in Aquinas on the Ravenhill Road at their discontent that they will be attending lessons, whilst over the wall in Ravenhill, two “non-catholic” schools will be celebrating the rugby final.
    One other issue is the ongoing problem of uncoordinated holidays, which leave many parents with one child at school and the other off, which happens right throughout the year.

  • willowfield

    Paul

    Increasingly for most people, the Twelfth is a day to lie low and avoid the drunken scum out on the streets: as someone once said – “an Orange St Patrick’s Day”. Happy enough?

    Whooosh!

    Greagoir

    Ah, the ubiquitous drunken fenian papist scum; for if only we upright, uptight, god fearing, clean livin’ folk were not surrounded by the perpetual scourge of our dear little old Ulster….. sniffle!

    Whoosh!

    I don’t think there are many “drunken fenian papist scum” out on the Twelfth.

  • dublin Exile

    You’ve gotta hand it to the Romans!

    Apparently the Paddys Day parade in New York is the only ‘ethnic’ parade always held on the relevant date. All others have been moved to the nearest Sunday. Moving it to the 15th this year would have given the City the precedent to move it in subsequent years and so in steps Benny and the lads in Rome and gave the New York Diocese a ‘dispensation’ to proceed on the 17th as usual! And some people wonder how that organisation has lasted two Millenia? We’re only trottin’ after them lads.
    So heres to St Patrick, the first in a long line of Englishmen to add to the general havoc and hillarity of Ireland!

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    “I don’t think there are many “drunken fenian papist scum” out on the Twelfth.”

    Na, coz “the Twalfth” is for members only. St Paddy’s Day is for all Irish folk on the island of Ireland. Else, maybe you’re not Irish then.

  • Dewi

    “the first in a long line of Englishmen to add to the general havoc and hillarity of Ireland!”

    English??? He’s from Banwen!

  • Ms Wiz

    Not being native to these shores I remember my first Paddy’s Day in Belfast 8 years ago. I was a little taken aback by the mass drunkeness on what I thought would be a religiously themed day. But there was no malice in the air and I suppose it is a ‘Catholic 12th’ of sorts – but without the sectarianism. For a start the pubs are all open so you can at least go out for a drink.

    I have always wondered though why St Pats isn’t a bank holiday in the North. Is this for political reasons? It’s a no-brainer surely, I mean no-one’s going to actively campaign not to have an extra day off work!

  • ulidian

    moved to Saturday 15 March by the Vatican

    So does this mean anybody celebrating St Pat on Monday are defying the Holy See and thus are really protesting against his Temporal powers?

    Surely that makes them – yes “Protestants”!!

    So not only is there a question about Holy Days but there is a much more fundamental issues – clelebrate St pat on Monday 17th March 2008 makes you a “prod” – bring on the sashes

  • CS Parnell

    Guinness noster, qui in stomachus erit, sanctificetur nomen tuum.

    Great motto 🙂

    So, all you deathbed repenters out there – how do you feel about burning in hell because you couldn’t be arsed to go to mass on Sunday.

    All this discussion has just got my dander up about the living hypocrisy that is the Catholic Church.

    Of course, like all true Irishmen, if those Orange B*s start slegging I’ll be singing Faith of my Fathers like the rest of them…

  • CS Parnell

    I have always wondered though why St Pats isn’t a bank holiday in the North

    It is a bank Holiday. Ie the banks are required to close. Due to the sectarian nature of the illegal failed and occupied entity of so-called “Northern” Ireland (aka the (temporarily) occupied black six) them uns get a public holiday for the 12th and we only get a bank holiday.

    Seriously (or more seriously): thirty years ago the day was pretty much dominated by religion in catholic areas. The mass boozing is a recent phenomenon.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    “So not only is there a question about Holy Days but there is a much more fundamental issues – clelebrate St pat on Monday 17th March 2008 makes you a “prod” – bring on the sashes”

    Indeed most Catholic folk on the island of Ireland could be described as “Protestant” for their non adherance to the Catholic canon code. To be a Catholic one must be a devout practising Catholic, obeying all the tenets and utterances of the pope. No half measures pleeze. So that excludes nearly everyone on the island. So much for god, the pope, his church and St Patrick. But at least St Patricks Day has become a day for the people to have a day off work and take a bit of pride in this little old island and her attributes on the edge of Europe, sniffle…..

  • slug

    St Patricks Day is celebrated by both traditions albeit in different ways. I am surprosed to see so many people thinking its for one side only.

  • CS Parnell

    By the way, nothing made me feel more like a second class citizen as a child than the way in which kids TV programmes were taken off air on the 12th so we could watch a bunch of sectraian scumbags (yes, that’s what they are) parade up and down to celebrate how they were our lords and masters.

    If any Irish nationalist is true to the tradition of the United Irishmen (and above all in Ulster where presbyterians were the first to rally to the flag of liberty) they would be doing all the could to ensure that St Patrick’s Day was not some mirror image of the above.

    I know the fashion these days is to stick it back to the other lot as hard as they gave it to us in the past – but that’s nothing to do with creating a united Irish nation.

    So endeth the homily.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    “If any Irish nationalist is true to the tradition of the United Irishmen (and above all in Ulster where presbyterians were the first to rally to the flag of liberty) they would be doing all the could to ensure that St Patrick’s Day was not some mirror image of the above.”

    I agree. And sure it twas the Irish Presbyterians (with their streak of republicanism and independant mind) and who had settled in America that started the St. Patricks Day parades and celebrations.

  • willowfield

    Greagoir

    Na, coz “the Twalfth” is for members only. St Paddy’s Day is for all Irish folk on the island of Ireland. Else, maybe you’re not Irish then.

    That’s how it should be, and used to be, but – as I said – the drunks are increasingly spoiling it for many people – so perhaps it’s becoming a day for all Irish drunks on the island?

    Ms Wiz

    I have always wondered though why St Pats isn’t a bank holiday in the North. Is this for political reasons? It’s a no-brainer surely, I mean no-one’s going to actively campaign not to have an extra day off work!

    I thought it was a bank holiday?

    ulidian

    moved to Saturday 15 March by the Vatican So does this mean anybody celebrating St Pat on Monday are defying the Holy See and thus are really protesting against his Temporal powers? Surely that makes them – yes “Protestants”!!

    It’s moved in the Church of Ireland calendar, too.

    CS Parnell

    Due to the sectarian nature of the illegal failed and occupied entity of so-called “Northern” Ireland (aka the (temporarily) occupied black six) them uns get a public holiday for the 12th and we only get a bank holiday.

    What’s the difference between a bank holiday and a public holiday?

  • CS Parnell

    A bank Holiday is a day banks (and only the banks) are obliged to close. A public holiday is a day where businesses are obliged to close and/or give their staff a day off in lieu/pay them miore money.

    In the nineteeth centry (and much of the 20th) working people had no rights to holiday beyond these statutory holidays as legislated for by parliament/the dail.

  • “Sorry dear Carlow lass, there be no mass,”

    Is this a Devon dialect, smcgiff? 🙂

    The ‘hex-sex’ reference reminds me of a decision taken by Presbyterian elders in North Antrim a few generations back. A couple were married in their church, a baby arrived a few months early, so they were hauled before the church court and found guilty of prenuptial fornication. I don’t know what the sentence was in this case but in other cases offenders had to sit (in shame) at the front of the congregation for three successive Sunday services.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    “That’s how it should be, and used to be, but – as I said – the drunks are increasingly spoiling it for many people – so perhaps it’s becoming a day for all Irish drunks on the island?”

    So, do you lie low and refuse to wear the shamrock and celebrate St. Patricks Day then solely because of the the drunks?

  • Ms Wiz

    Yes I thought it was a bank holiday but there seems to be some ambivilence about its observance.

    I used to work in a catholic secondary until a couple of years ago and the school was always closed for St Pats, even if it fell at the weekend. I work in a state school now and what seems to happen is for an INSET day to quietly arranged on St Pats, or if it falls at the weekend as it has in the last few years, simply ignore it.

    But Slug’s right, St Pats isn’t a one-sided thing and never has been. If ‘marketed’ correctly it has the potential to be a wonderful all-inclusive day. And that’s something long overdue in NI.

  • willowfield

    CS Parnell

    A bank Holiday is a day banks (and only the banks) are obliged to close. A public holiday is a day where businesses are obliged to close and/or give their staff a day off in lieu/pay them miore money.

    I don’t think so. I think they are the same.

    http://www.berr.gov.uk/employment/bank-public-holidays/index.html

    In the nineteeth centry (and much of the 20th) working people had no rights to holiday beyond these statutory holidays as legislated for by parliament/the dail.

    Yes, Parliament legislated for bank holidays (not public holidays)! (There was no Dail in the 19th century.)

  • willowfield

    So, do you lie low and refuse to wear the shamrock and celebrate St. Patricks Day then solely because of the the drunks?

    I certainly avoid town, yes. I might go out for a drive somewhere. We went to the Ulster-American Folk Park a couple of years ago, which was good.

  • kensei

    Ms Wiz

    But Slug’s right, St Pats isn’t a one-sided thing and never has been. If ‘marketed’ correctly it has the potential to be a wonderful all-inclusive day. And that’s something long overdue in NI.

    When I was at school (which isn’t that long ago) St Malachy’s gave us St Patrick’s Day off. My friend who went to BRA generally didn’t, though I think that might have changed near the end. Unionism also had many, many years to arrange St Patrick’s Day parades in Belfast to their tastes, and never did. It might not be totally unimportant to Unionism but it has always been much, much more important on the Nationalist side. God knows I was forced to wear enough lumps
    of turf on me.

    So no objection to anyone celebrating St Patrick’s in any fashion I want. But what i demand is simple – roughly what everywhere else on the planet has. You may deride it as “plastic” but I enjoy it minus the fights at the end, which I can happily drop. If by “inclusive” you want to suppress what makes me happy about being Irish and produce multicoloured shamrocks, then you can bugger off and ruin someone else’s day.

  • willowfield

    But what i demand is simple – roughly what everywhere else on the planet has. You may deride it as “plastic” but I enjoy it minus the fights at the end …

    You mean getting hammered, don’t you?

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    “I certainly avoid town, yes. I might go out for a drive somewhere. We went to the Ulster-American Folk Park a couple of years ago, which was good.”

    That sounds like a nice day out Willowfield, good one. Presumbably you do the same on the Twelfth then?

    But regarding boozing on Paddy’s day this year, there’ll be plenty of ‘ceol agus craic’ but no hard drinking by all as Tuesday is back to work day and hang overs and work are a killer.

  • kensei

    willowfield

    You mean getting hammered, don’t you?

    I am tee total. But I like going out with my friends and I like the atmosphere if you get somewhere good that’s busy. I don’t like the odd mini riot that I’ve seen break out at the end of the night though.

  • Mark, sorry for the delay in replying.

    As I said, I see your point but I also see the Catholic Church’s point. You are entitled to your view, but I would be disappointed if the Catholic Church or any other Christian body did not put Holy Week, the most important week of the Christian year, ahead of any secular festival. A major feast cannot be celebrated in Holy Week; it is liturgically stupid to do so. Let’s see, Jesus rides on to Jerusalem in lowly pomp to die, and the next day, St. Patrick chases the snakes out of Ireland, before we get on to Jesus being betrayed at the Last Supper? What is this, the Christian story for Pulp Fiction fans or something?

    I was talking to a (very nationalist) priest last week who was moaning about how trendy secular Taigs were happy to have benefited from the church in more difficult times but now want to put it in a cosy little box for christenings and weddings in more prosperous times. It’s slightly strong wine for my taste but he does have a point. Don’t expect a Catholic school to water down the faith to suit secular Nationalists. If you don’t like it, send your kids to Vere Foster.

  • Mark McGregor

    Sammy,

    I’m not the only parent in our family. While i’m an atheist, my wife isn’t. The compromise on schooling was she got the school of her choice and I get to provide an alternate view in a manner which doesn’t undermine the school. When my children get older hopefully they can make informed choices themselves after hearing the competing viewpoints. My problem isn’t with how churches organise their Saint Days but they fail to accept and respect the fact this day in particular has taken on a broader significance having effectively been adopted as a national and cultural day.

    If the churches and schools can’t respect this aspect then I’d like to see a discussion on providing for a inclusive and/or secular day for celebrating identity and culture.

  • Dec

    Kensei

    When I was at school (which isn’t that long ago) St Malachy’s gave us St Patrick’s Day off.

    That’s possibly a recent development because I’m pretty sure when I was there in the 80s, wedidn’t get a day off (unless it fell on the weekend).

    I was talking to a (very nationalist) priest last week who was moaning about how trendy secular Taigs were happy to have benefited from the church in more difficult times but now want to put it in a cosy little box for christenings and weddings in more prosperous times.

    Bit rich considering what the Church was covering up in that period. And exactly what does ‘benefitted from the church’ entail in presumably less-prosperous times?

    Don’t expect a Catholic school to water down the faith to suit secular Nationalists.

    Adapting to a more modern era shouldn’t be too much to ask. As far as I am aware First Confession is now referred to as Reconciliation.

  • My problem isn’t with how churches organise their Saint Days but they fail to accept and respect the fact this day in particular has taken on a broader significance having effectively been adopted as a national and cultural day.

    No, you’re missing the point. It’s not about organising saints days, it’s about organising Holy Week. Easter is the central focus of the Christian year. The passion, death and resurrection of Christ is the central element of Christianity (not to mention the institution of the Eucharist). It may not be more important than St. Patrick’s Day for you, and that’s fair enough, but it bloody well ought to be for a Church. What you’re basically doing is asking a Catholic school to say that Catholicism should be subordinate to secular cultural demands. I’m afraid in that context the school is right.

    Bit rich considering what the Church was covering up in that period. And exactly what does ‘benefitted from the church’ entail in presumably less-prosperous times?

    I presume he meant in penal times, standing up for the Irish people in the 19th Century, providing an education pre-Butler Act and all that.

    Bit rich considering what the Church was covering up in that period.

    Dec/Kensei – when I was there in the late 80s and early 90s, we did get a day off. I remember, because I was at the Schools’ Cup Final on most of them and I wasn’t the type to go on the beak. But why, oh why, is this blog so full of St. Malachy’s old boys.

  • Mark McGregor

    Sammy,

    You are misunderstanding me. I’ve no complaints over moving the Saint’s Day or respecting Holy Week. My problem is they aren’t repecting the secular, national and culture aspects that are now part of St Patrick’s Day by making it a school day. The day, like Christmas, isn’t owned by Christians and has grown far beyond the narrow confines of religion.

    I don’t want them to put a Saint’s Day in the middle of Holy Week, I want them to let my son have a day off school for reasons of family, community, culture and identity. Something any rounded school should be happy to support.

  • willowfield

    Don’t be taking him into Belfast to be frightened by the teenage drunks, Mark. He’d be better off in school.

  • Dec

    But why, oh why, is this blog so full of St. Malachy’s old boys.

    It’s especially tough for Mick who went to a St Malachy’s-wannabe.

  • CS Parnell

    Yes, Parliament legislated for bank holidays (not public holidays)! (There was no Dail in the 19th century.)

    Believe it or not i was aware there was no Dail in the 19th century, but as my comment explicitly referred to both 19th and 20th centuries and I have no idea if the 1871 Act of the UK Parliament is in force in RoI atm, I thought it best to include.

    I discovered you are right though. In a typical piece of FCO sodomite Fenianism, 12th July is only a public holiday in Our Beloved Ulster and so OWC only gets it off by accident, wheras the Papist bank workers get 17th March off anyway.

    In fact, bank holidays became public holidays because businsses were disinclined to trade on the days banks were closed.

  • CS Parnell

    But why, oh why, is this blog so full of St. Malachy’s old boys.

    Because the feckers get everywhere. And don’t even start me on those ***** from Rathmore.

    Real revolutionaries were on the Glen Road.

  • Sammy (once Catholic now lapsed and Anglican) is perfectly correct.

    There is no reason why Catholic Schools even anywhere on the island of Ireland should be off on Monday 17th March 2008 unless they are off for the Easter holidays; and that is another matter.

    This year, due to the date of Easter, St Patrick the Apostle of Ireland does not get celebrated on his normal day. The Bishops’ Conference in Ireland has, I believe, received permission for St Patrick to be celebrated on 15th March. Incidentally, St Joseph, foster-father of Our Blessed Lord, should be being celebrated today (14th March). So Happy St Joseph’s Day to you all.

    With Easter on 23rd March, even the Feast of the Annunciation to Blessed Mary the Virgin normally celebrated on 25th March has to be put off until the next available day (the week beginning on Easter Day is also not possible for other celebrations). So the liturgical celebration of the Archangel Gabriel greeting our Blessed Lady and the conception of Our Blessed Lord in her womb will be on 31 March (and thus 16 days later than normal). Even I would not thus suggest that this year the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas Day) should not be transferred to 31st December 2008 – that is nine months after the Annunciation this year.

    However, all of this is not really the point. Accept it. The Church says many things and most people – even purported Catholics – do not obey what is stated. Even many priests in Down & Connor do not obey what Rome says – so don’t be surprised that the laity get confused.

    Perhaps the Bishop-Elect Noel Treanor will start reeducating Catholics and then start evangelising the rest of the Diocese. – and yes I do mean everyone.

  • CW

    It looks like the only people with a genuine reason to celebrate St Pat’s day will as usual be the directors and shareholders of Diageo plc.

    http://dreamingarm.wordpress.

  • CW

    It looks like the only people with a genuine reason to celebrate St Pat’s day will as usual be the directors and shareholders of Diageo plc.

    http://dreamingarm.wordpress.com

  • My problem is they aren’t repecting the secular, national and culture aspects that are now part of St Patrick’s Day by making it a school day.

    Fair enough, as I said I do see where you are coming from. But perhaps the school/ecclesiastical authorities felt that detracts from the religious aspects of St. Patrick’s Day? In any case, I left so am not in a position to lecture anyone, but don’t be surprised or upset when a Catholic school makes Catholicism a priority.

    It’s especially tough for Mick who went to a St Malachy’s-wannabe.

    You bitch! 😉

    Real revolutionaries were on the Glen Road.

    Yes, but why would one want to go halfway across town to some sheugh on the side of Hannahstown Hill? Bloody Andytown plastic marxists!

  • Phil

    My national day (St George’s day) can also coincide with Easter as it did in 2000 when it fell on Easter Sunday. As it is not a public or bank holiday (no English government to take care of such things you see!) does that mean that at such times I am celebrating on the wrong day (as far as the church is concerned anyway) and that it can fall on a day other than 23rd April?

    BTW Enjoy your St Patrick’s day, whenever it is!

  • does that mean that at such times I am celebrating on the wrong day (as far as the church is concerned anyway) and that it can fall on a day other than 23rd April?

    Yes, if St. George’s Day falls on Easter or the week after, it is transferred to the Monday week after Easter.

  • Phil

    Thanks Sammy. I’ll probably ignore such conventions in future though. It’s difficult enough for many of my countrymen to remember when St George’s day is most years without confusing them by changing the date-)!