January 1, 2017 · 9:20 pm
Pauline and I watched Ken Loach’s film Jimmy’s Hall on Friday night. It was very emotional: we were both in tears at the end, and Pauline said to me ‘Think how great Ireland could have been!’ The film is based on the true story of Jim Gralton, the only Irish person ever to be deported from Ireland.
It is set in a small rural community much like our own, in the 1920s and 1930s. Gralton, a socialist, returns to Ireland from the US, having left in the aftermath of the 1919–21 war here. His friends and neighbours ask him to reopen a hall for use as a community centre, where people can meet for cultural, social and educational activities. He duly opens the hall, with assistance from the friends and neighbours, but the local parish priest resents its existence, believing that the Roman Catholic Church should control everything. Continue reading →
September 28, 2010 · 9:17 pm
An 81-year-old woman named Jennifer Sleeman organized a boycott of mass in Ireland last Sunday, in protest at women’s lowly place within the Church. The Church authorities claimed that it had no appreciable effect on mass attendance, although priests told a different story.
As it happened, I was due to sing in the choir at my local church (we sing every second Sunday from autumn through spring, and I usually go along; those are the only times I attend mass). I stayed away to support the boycott.
Today I read an article in the Irish Times that showcases rather starkly what women have contributed to the Church, and how they have been treated by its exclusively male power structure. Sister Mary McKillop is to be canonized by the organization that excommunicated her in her lifetime. Continue reading →