Something struck me very forcefully and I think it is the first time we have really seen evidence of it: the emergence of a new superpower.
The people of a superpower come to believe that the whole world revolves around them. Think back fifty years when we still had the last vestiges of the British Empire and the attitude of the Englishman to everyone around him. He was superior in his mind and he thought that all races were beneath him.
Then we had the loud mouthed Yanks that we all loved to hate. One of the big problems of the Catholic Church that I experienced in the US for the short time I lived there was that some Americans thought that Rome should turn to them to ask what the Church believed. This attitude was particularly evident in American nuns.
For the next 100 years we are going to have to put up with a new arrogant race before they fade away and another country takes their lace. It is just the nature of being a superpower.
At least Ireland will never become a superpower, thank God. We all witness the arrogance of the Free State elite when they are broke and begging; can you imagine what they would be like if they actually did have a few bob?
Finally a few cracks are beginning to show in the cosy little mob in Dublin 4; the Garda commissioner has had to resign. Oops, sorry, the Garda commissioner is going to spend more time with his family.
Families are a handy thing. A politician can ignore it while he is building his career and when his career begins to backslide he can decide to make amends and spend some time with his loved ones.
The idea that his family should have been his priority all along never seems to dawn on politicians.
Back to the Garda commissioner; he is out of a job and sitting at home reading the papers.
“The commissioner had been under severe pressure for the past two months since his appearance at the Public Accounts Committee.
At the committee meeting, he had described as ‘disgusting’ the actions of garda whistleblowers in downloading and disseminating personal and sensitive data from the garda's PULSE computer system. There had been ongoing calls for Mr Callinan to withdraw that remark.
Garda whistleblowers Sergeant Maurice McCabe and retired garda John Wilson were responsible for bringing the penalty points issue into the public domain.” (RTE News)
It appears that if you were ‘in the know’ down there you could get your penalty points dropped. I have no idea whether or not this was done in genuine cases where a degree of latitude would be appropriate or if it was another example of Free State cronyism, but the fact that it was not open and above board was the main issue.
Immediately upon the resignation of Callinan, the minister for justice, Alan Shatter, came out with a speech about the great Garda and Mr Callinan:
"As Commissioner and throughout his very distinguished service in the Force he has made an enormous contribution to fighting crime and I believe that this contribution will be seen as a legacy of which he can be very proud and for which the community he served are in his debt.”
"The high reputation of An Garda Síochána has been gained down through the years through people's experience of dealing with members like Martin Callinan, often at times of great difficulty.”
Alan Shatter is entitled to his opinion about the Garda, but there are many who would disagree with his assessment. I wonder how many Northerners had their penalty points taken off.
Callinan had shown no hint of resigning and was insisting that he would not resign. Then Enda the Red sent a senior civil servant, no less than the Secretary General of the Department of Justice, to visit Callinan late at night but we are not told what he said. Whatever Callinan heard from the civil servant, he decided to resign the next morning. That afternoon the news about the recording of conversations broke.
Now I don’t know what the truth is but you have to admit that it appears that Callinan was told to get out before the questions became too awkward. As David Dunseith used to say, ‘perception is everything.’
Imagine a country where the legal process is held in such contempt by the very people who are supposed to be upholding the law. Suspect/solicitor confidentiality is one of the cornerstones of any legal system but the Garda admit to having a system in place for recording their conversations.
The bit that annoys me is that Shatter and Co speak the same dribble that we used to hear Unionists at during the troubles; the police can do no wrong and anyone who calls their behaviour into question is a subversive.
The experience of the people of Ireland, north and south, is that police are as liable to corruption and wrong doing as any other section of the community and they need to be held closely to account. This does not mean that we believe all police are bad but their position and the inability of anyone to hold them to account can lead to abuses of their position. Human frailty hits every sector of life.
Did you ever wonder what the real problem is with the Free State? It is like a spoilt child that never seems to have grown up. Perhaps it suffers from some sort of post imperial syndrome that prevents it from being able to function properly as a society.
If you look at Africa and all the corruption in the post British colonial countries, where democracy has never really been able to gain a foothold, you see a lot of similarities with the Free State: corruption, a dominant caste, super rich and super poor, huge regional inequality, foreign companies taking all the natural resources, cronyism between the bankers, developers and the politicians and most of all, when all goes wrong, they run begging to their old masters.
It appears to me that a democracy has to grow up and mature. The Free State is at that rebellious stage where they want to leave home but can’t afford too so they spend their time causing problems in the home (the EU) by overspending and using the family credit card or good name.
At that age it is everybody’s fault bar theirs, they don’t believe in God and all respect for people and their property is gone.
“There has been a significant increase in the number of kidnappings, burglaries and robberies over the five years between 2008 and 2012, according to figures published by the CSO today.
Murder, manslaughter and other homicide offences recorded an overall decrease over the five-year period, but increased by almost 20% in the year between 2011 and 2012.The Central Statistics Office also said the garda detection rate for that final year fell by 9%. The figures show that kidnappings increased by 31%, robberies by 24% and burglaries by 14%.”
The rich live a life where all these things, Garda recording telephone conversations and most of the crime, does not affect them. They live far away from where these events take place; Dublin 4 wouldn’t have that many burglaries.
We all know that the nice people of South Dublin look down on the poor people in the north of the city. It gives rise to the old joke about the two ladies sitting in a posh coffee shop in Dublin 4 and one says to the other:
“What separates us from the animals?”
“The Liffey,” says the other lady.
But I was down in Bray recently and I went to Mass on the Thursday evening and Friday morning in the chapel on the main street; both times the chapel was well filled. We are still a good nation. Then when I was browsing the internet looking for a retreat to go to this summer I read this about a retreat for young people taking place in Donegal this July:
“The institute invites the youth of both the United States and Ireland to experience an awareness of the spiritual depth of the Catholic culture of Ireland that has enriched and determined much of the history of Europe, the United States and the world. With its Gaelic roots, Ireland remains the culturally dominant English-speaking Catholic civilization in the world.”
The institute in question is St Columcille Institute of Christendom College, USA. The aim of the college is to educate the Catholic leaders of tomorrow. It is good to see Ireland and its faith held in such high esteem.
America would need some good Catholic leaders. I wonder if Obama is thinking of turning. Well, at least he went to visit the Pope; you never know. The Church’s communiqué after the meeting was slightly different from that of the media.
"In the context of bilateral relations and cooperation between Church and State, there was a discussion on questions of particular relevance for the Church in that country, such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection, as well as the issue of immigration reform," the communiqué stated.
The big point for discussion is that nurses and doctors should be able to refuse to do an abortion on grounds of religious belief; Obama’s new health bill in America denies them that right. The problem here is that when we say a person cannot object on religious ground then we are making human law more important than God’s law.
That is never the case!
Archbishop Romero knew this. He died for it and soon he is to be made a saint. He was shot dead on March 24th 1980 because he believed that God’s law came before man’s law. Humans are always trying to make themselves greater than God. But I got a surprise on Saturday morning.
Let’s be clear, if the state wishes to change the law and redefine marriage from being between a man and a woman to simply being between two people, then fair play to it; the state can do that if it wants.
But what was the surprise I got on Saturday morning?
Well, I went to Mass in Magherafelt and to my surprise God was still God; he had not gone away, you know. The secularist never seem to learn this.
From the very beginning of the Catholic faith the world has tried to destroy it: the Jewish authorities tried to kill Jesus but he rose again, the Roman Empire tried to suppress the faith and in the end had to embrace it, Henry VIII tortured and killed anyone who wouldn’t follow his new faith but the Catholic Church is still strong in England while history now sees Henry as a figure of scorn.
The English brought in the penal laws in Ireland and the French made their country the first totally secular state in the world. In both countries the Catholic faith is still strong.
So here I am sitting in the chapel with an image in my head of four men standing smiling and having photographs taken as they all hold flowers; who was marrying whom I don’t know.
In front of me was an altar and on that altar was the Holy Sacraments and in a moment of clarity it all became clear to me.
Let man’s law be man’s law. If the state legalises homosexual marriage then so be it. They have done worse, they have legalised the killing of the unborn and still God is God.
President Obama and his office shall pass away; secularism shall come to an end, the human race shall eventually die out and even this world will pass away, and still God will be God.
Only then will we see and fully understand the foolishness of man!
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