The question arises in 2023 about the state of ecumenism and what precisely is meant by being ‘one’?

several assorted-color glass frames

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is observed annually from January 18-25, based on the prayer of Jesus “that they all may be one” (John 17:21), culminating in the feast of the Conversion of St Paul. The question arises in 2023 about the state of ecumenism and what precisely is meant by being ‘one’. It seems to me that the idea of organic unity is a pipe dream and we should not waste time pursuing it; as long ago …

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The ongoing revelations about sexual, physical and psychological abuse in schools gives rise to mixed emotions in many of us…

grayscale photo of people sitting on chair

I have previously written of my experiences in covering the child abuse issue for the now-closed Offaly Express. More recently, the coverage of events relating to the Spiritans, Dominicans, Vincentians and other orders has brought the matter to the fore once again. However, arguably less attention has been paid to physical and psychological abuse in girls’ schools, an issue explored in a recent Irish Times article. After I posted that article on Facebook, I must admit I was gobsmacked by …

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When it comes to getting a diagnosis, it is better late than never…

person sitting while using laptop computer and green stethoscope near

From my earliest childhood, I was aware there were medical issues which set me apart from my peer group. I suffered from asthma and infantile eczema in childhood, but largely grew out of them as I got older. They did lead to my missing primary school a lot, and not getting involved in sport, but I became a keen reader instead, which was to help me academically. However, as time went on it became clear that there were other issues …

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Why do clergy provide character references in sex offender cases?

church interior

The recent publicity regarding the controversial sermon by Father Seán Sheehy in St Mary’s Church, Listowel, has reminded the public of the previous controversy 13 years ago, when he provided a reference for local bouncer Danny Foley after he was convicted of sexual assault. The evidence given on that occasion, which included CCTV footage, led to a unanimous verdict from a jury of 10 men and two women, resulting in the conviction for the assault on the 22-year-old woman. Judge …

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Exposing the darkness at the heart of Irish Society…

Hope

I joined the staff of the now-closed Offaly Express in 1988 but did not begin to cover law courts in earnest until 1995, following the retirement of the late Eddie Rogers. That period coincided approximately with the first cases relating to child sexual abuse. From 1994 onwards, local and national media found themselves having to cover such cases as they began to come to light to a greater degree. That year saw the revelations of the Brendan Smyth saga, which …

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How should Irish Churches responds to racism?

bible, rosary, prayer

In recent weeks, we have seen the churches play a key role in the efforts to welcome Ukrainian refugees, with priests’ houses and convents among the buildings used to house them. This reflects a wider trend in which church leaders have urged Irish people to welcome migrants, just as the Irish were welcomed in other lands down the centuries. In this article, I wish to focus on the Catholic Church, though doubtless much of what I say applies to other …

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