Not exactly the sort of thing that a young girl has to worry about every day of her life but I suppose it was going to happen sooner or later.
A bloke in India called Jugal Kishore, was epileptic and he had kept the information secret from his bride, Indira, and her family. While Mr Kishore was taken to hospital, the angry bride decided to switch husbands. She asked a member of her brother-in-law's family, who was a guest, to step in and marry her instead. He agreed.
You have to admit, as they say in Yorkshire, ‘there’s nowt as queer as folk.’
When the original intended groom’s family called the police and asked if they could do anything the officer said that as the woman was already legally married the game was up. You have to admit, it was a relatively short courtship, the length of time it takes a guest to walk from the seat to the altar.
Of course the suspicion arises as to whether or not these couple knew each other before. It may be that they were already in love and the demise of the poor groom into some sort of epileptic seizure may have been a struck of good luck.
I’ll bet there is many a man and woman reading this who is saying, ‘why didn’t that happen to me?’
Staying on the subject of churches have you ever heard of the Norfolk and Suffolk Medieval Graffiti Survey Volunteers?
Norfolk and Suffolk is that bit of England that sticks out towards Holland and Belgium and is above London on the map; it contains the towns of Ipswich and Norwich. Anyway, the Norfolk and Suffolk Medieval Graffiti Survey Volunteers have been finding some wonderful examples of graffiti in the churches and graveyards of the area.
“Heart-breaking graffiti uncovered in a Cambridgeshire church has revealed how three sisters from one family died in a plague outbreak in 1515. The names Cateryn, Jane and Amee Maddyngley and the date were inscribed on stonework in Kingston parish church. The family lived in Kingston, seven miles from Cambridge, and were tenant farmers who rarely turn up in parish records.” (BBC News)
It appears that a bit like us, the medieval people liked to record bits of history in their own way. There seems to be something natural in mankind to mark the passing of friends and relatives.
I have been at funerals over these past few years where the children or relatives of the deceased know nothing of Catholic tradition or what the symbolism of a Christian funeral is all about. Yet at these funerals the young people had organized their own ritual for the dead person.
Mostly a group of people stay behind and play some music that the person liked. This is perhaps the most simple and easy way to remember a friend but it does show us that there must be something deep inside each of us that wants to mark important rites of passage.
Another rite of passage was carried out last week when the Swiss police raided the offices of the HSBC bank in Geneva. What has the world come to when banks are now being treated like criminal organizations?
Remember when we were young and you had to treat the bank manager as if he were royalty, now any person would be almost ashamed to say that they work in a bank. The assumption abroad is that the banks are no longer businesses that can be trusted.
“The police said they were investigating HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) and persons unknown for suspected aggravated money laundering. The investigation could be extended to people suspected of committing or participating in money laundering. HSBC said it was "co-operating with the Swiss authorities."
The raid comes more than a week after allegations first emerged that HSBC's Swiss private bank may have helped wealthy clients evade tax. HSBC published a full-page advert in several weekend papers containing an apology over the claims.
The chief executive of HSBC's Swiss private bank, Franco Morra, said last week it had shut down accounts from clients who did not meet our high standards.” (Guardian)
Don’t you like that phrase, the banks had closed down the accounts of “clients who did not meet our high standards.”
Imagine you are a bank manager and some respectable politician or businessman comes in with a few million and wants to make a deposit. Are you going to tell him that he is shady looking and that you would like him to go and take his money to the opposition down the street.
I would hardly think so; but the worst bit of all this news was that HMRC, Her majesty’s Revenue and Customs, had done very little to retrieve the tax owed.
Of course we have to admit that these people are too rich to be named and shamed; such things are only for the poor, the people who cannot be trusted.
Mind you, the Germans made it quite clear at the weekend that they didn’t trust the Greeks. An article in Reuters revealed:
“Discussions with Greece on a six-month extension to its international bailout are about European countries being able to trust each other, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on arrival for talks on the bailout extension.
Euro zone officials have said that Greece's stance has undermined their confidence in whether the nation's new left-wing government can be trusted to deliver what it agreed to in talks with the other countries sharing the euro.”
Who do you trust? Here is another example of shady goings on in the banks:
“A former trader from Royal Bank of Scotland was arrested east of London on Friday in connection with a criminal investigation into allegations that bank traders tried to manipulate currency markets, according a report in the Financial Times.”
To a large degree trust has broken down in society. We do not expect businesses to be honourable or ‘straight’ any more. Hidden charges are shrugged off as typical. We all know that bills from utility companies are difficult to read and we believe that they are designed to confuse.
One of the problems with trust is that once it is gone it is very hard to win it back. But even more, when Germany speaks of trust they do not speak of the virtue of trust in the real sense; it appears that they mean trust on their terms. For the German trust means ‘German control.’
“Trust is having faith in someone or something. It is a positive attitude about life. You are confident that the right thing will happen without trying to control it or make it happen. Even when difficult things happen, trust helps us to find the gift or lesson in it.” (52 virtues.com)
Compare that definition of trust with what we are seeing the Germans demand of the Greeks. They are making sure that they see every document, every penny spent and that they, the Germans, even have a say in the social laws that are passed by the Greeks.
This is also the case in Ireland. The Republic of Ireland cannot pass any law without the permission of the Europeans, which in effect means the permission of the Germans. It would cause you to wonder how many of the laws in Ireland that have been passed in these past few years have been at the behest of the Germans.
The idea of Europe as a community of equals has been shown to be a farce. There is, as in all things, a hierarchy of….well, whatever you want to call it actually, but one thing you can be sure of the Euro and the European ideal shall eventually fall, and the reason is there for all to see:
Northern European attitudes are not the same as those of Southern Europe.
We have spoken of this before but it is something we should always keep in mind. In the US these northern European peoples, and the US include themselves in this, are called WASPs, the White Anglo Saxon Protestant.
Their world view is totally different to that of the European Catholic. For the WASP it is the letter of the Law that is important while for the European Catholic such things as hard and fast rules are for someone else.
We see this very clearly in the German attitude: you stick to the rules no matter how many people die of hopelessness or despair; if a few thousand Greeks die of suicide because Germany demands its money then so be it: the rules have to be kept, people are not important.
It is a bit unfortunate that the term WASP is used because we have the same mental attitude in many Catholics. Take, for example, those ultra conservative Catholics who believe that they and only they, know what is right for people.
Notice that in both cases it is the rules that count, not the people!
The unionists are going to try and use the rules to suit themselves come the election.
“The DUP and UUP are continuing to hold talks about forming a unionist pact ahead of the general election on 7 May, DUP MLA Arlene Foster has said. Mrs Foster said many unionists wanted the two parties to work together. She said they had held lengthy talks ‘to attempt to maximise unionist co-operation and return as many pro-union candidates as possible.’
The SDLP's Alex Attwood said calling for electoral pacts was clinging to the past. ‘The SDLP reject pacts,’ he said. ‘We say to nationalism and to unionism that May must be about the character and content of our politics and a future different from the past and present.’” (BBC News)
Are the unionists right to be holding electoral pacts? I think they are, and I also admire them that they have the ability to say that they will do whatever it takes to make sure that their point of view rules the roost.
And they like to own a bit of land. The Spotlight programme last week was all about the Orange Order and property. It all started back in the 1920s with the ‘Clogher Fund’ and has continued down through the years in hosts of other funds. It appears that the Ulster Land and Property Company is a big player in the whole issue.
Drew Nelson of the Orange Order was interviewed and he spoke his piece with openness and displayed no sign of embarrassment or shame. I laughed when I heard him say that ‘republicans’ have access to money made from diesel laundering.
The men that I have known of who have been into this game put the money in their own pockets!
According to the Spotlight programme over the years the Orange Order has been helping people buy farms and property throughout Northern Ireland. They even bought houses along the routes of contentious parades in Belfast in order to stop anti marching Catholics getting their hands on them.
One source on the programme said that they owned approximately fifteen such houses.
However, it now turns out that some people who put cash into these funds in the good times are having difficulty finding out what happened to their money and if ever they will get their money back.
I suppose that in any group that has a lot of investors there are going to be people who will disagree. But the principle was sound: buy the land and keep the fenians out.
The Germans are lording it over the Catholics of Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece in the same way as they are lording it over the former Catholic country of Ireland. The unionists are holding talks for election pacts and the Orange Order is buying up property to keep the land in Protestant hands.
As a Catholic I think they are wrong, but at least they have some sort of principles, they have some sort to truth that they are holding on to.
Us Catholics cannot run away from our principles fast enough. We would rather have the handy English pound than build a country, we don’t even mention Irish Unity anymore. The rush of Irish politicians and leaders into secularism is embarrassing and our people, not just our young, will support anything that makes them feel modern.
It is not that the Catholics have accepted the British identity or given up on certain aspects of the faith, it is much deeper than that.
We have no idea anymore what we are. In the tide of secularism many of us have not been able to hold on to our Catholic and Irish identity, we have sold ourselves for the latest fad. But all that this is doing is showing that we had no real identity in the first place, we had no understanding of what the Church taught or what it was to be Irish.
When the Queen’s shilling came along we had no defence against it.
We are heading out into the wilderness where we shall languish for many years. Eventually when we realize that the desert is no place to live we shall look back and understand that for all its faults, and there are many, Catholic Ireland had some good points and we will regret not holding on to them.
In the meantime let the Orange Order buy the land: truth is never about external things, Truth is about what goes on in our hearts, the relationship between us and our God.
There are no fields, votes or Euros in heaven, and the WASP shall have no privileged place.
The views expressed are not necessarily those of
the editor but are the views of the writer.
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