Bishop Eamon Casey Dies

Yes, it’s true. Bishop Eamon Casey was a hypocrite. And it’s true he represented everything that was wrong about the Ireland he inhabited, from his self-important speeches to his personal ego-trips on the Late Late Show where he found himself fawned upon by Ireland’s half-squire of smugness, Gay Byrne.

It’s true that Casey was a true Father Ted stereotype, long before the series hit the screens, with his love for strong drink, fast open-top sports-cars and a combination of the two, leading to his multiple  convictions in Britain for drunk driving. In many ways, Casey was Father Noel Furlong.

Of course, if he had been stopped in his own country with a strong smell of alcohol, things would have been different in those days, because that was the Ireland Casey and his confreres inhabited. A land of abject deference to the collar. A land that still has not fully disappeared.

It would be unfair to ignore the fact that Casey took a strong stand against American foreign policy in Central America on purely moral grounds. Indeed, he was one of those who stood in the hail of bullets that killed Archbishop Romero in San Salvador, fired by supporters of the savage right-wing Arena party backed by the CIA. Casey was one of those who opposed Ronald Reagan’s visit to Ireland in 1984. But somehow, Casey’s outrage never extended to his home country, where women were illegally  imprisoned and enslaved by his church. Indeed, Casey continued to condemn women who had children outside of marriage, long after he himself had produced a child with Annie Murphy.

In so many ways, that makes him an even worse hypocrite, since he knew full well how wrong it was to oppress these women, and yet he knowingly ignored their plight.

He knew this was going on and he failed to intervene, preferring the rock-star notoriety of his campaigns against Reagan and the CIA.

Casey abandoned the slaves of the laundries because he did not care about them. Casey preferred singing on the Late Late Show before a grovelling, uncritical, unquestioning host. The same host who prostrated himself in front of Bono many years later.

Furthermore, Casey took emotional advantage of a vulnerable young woman, even though it’s true that Annie Murphy was 24 years old and therefore a grown adult. But Casey was at the very same time using his public profile to lecture the Irish people on their sexual mores. He and his colleague, Michael Cleary, both of whom had fathered children, had the utter cheek to talk down to Irish people as if they were infants.

And that was when the authority of the Catholic clergy in Ireland finally collapsed.

That was when the Irish people, who had for a century and a half been treated like children, finally realised how they had been duped by a bunch of hypocritical charlatans. How they had been deprived of love and intimacy by sexually-inadequate old men. How they had been cheated by a bunch of witch-doctors.

It wasn’t the shocking revelations of child abuse that alienated Ireland from the Catholic hierarchy, though of course, those exposures deepened the hurt.

It was Bishop Eamon Casey. We were the innocent spouse and he was the cheater. We’d been lied to, and there’s no forgiving a lie.

Ireland, Casey’s loyal Catholic spouse, had lived a chaste, joyless life for 150 years and now we learned that he and his crusty old friends had been fucking all around them. Is it any wonder the Irish people wanted to string them all up?

As for Brendan Smyth and all the other child abusers, that was just piling insult on insult.

After Bishop Eamon Casey cheated on Ireland, the details of the clergy’s disgrace hardly mattered.

A lover scorned is a hard enemy.


Crime Religion

Ireland overtaken by an evil cult of sexually-disturbed nuns

They sold human hair to English wig shops.

Think about that.

With the collusion of the State, they enslaved young girls, imprisoned them, tore their babies from their breast and imprisoned them.  They called those children the Spawn of Satan. They regimented the children of those poor girls, humiliated them, paraded them in front of the town children, dressed them in smocks and made certain sure that they would never have the slightest shred of dignity.

That was what these fine Christian nuns did.

That was what these Brides of Christ achieved in our fine new Catholic independent republic.

That was exactly what these disturbed, frustrated, demented religious women inflicted on the young people of this fine republic.

How many hundreds of babies were flung into a sewer in Tuam?

I want to puke. I want to throw up. I really want to finally express my revulsion at the sort of state these so-called revolutionaries created, when all they managed to do was put our children in the hands of religious lunatics.

The nuns sold human hair to English wig shops, torn from the heads of the poor girls they imprisoned against the law. The nuns sold babies to America and Australia, against the law. The nuns used girls as slaves in their laundries against the law.

And now those same nuns thumb their noses to the law by refusing to release information about the babies they stole, leaving heartbroken mothers bereft.

It’s time these nuns were dragged before a court to answer for themselves instead of issuing callous, dismissive press statements, but of course, what could one expect from people who have never experienced close personal human relationships?

People who might be experiencing extreme personal anger as a result.

People who might be very damaged and unsuitable to look after anyone else.



French Fashion Police overruled as Burkini ban lifted

Did we ever think the Fashion Police would become a real thing, with a gun on its hip and a sneer on its lip as it instructs sartorial offenders to take their clothes off in public?

Even though a French court has ordered suspension of the burkini ban, the utter stupidity continues.

This week the world endured the degrading spectacle of French police forcing a female French citizen to undress in public, on the grounds that her clothing covered too much of her body.

Four armed men forcing a woman to undress.


Think about that for a minute. You’re not naked enough. Take off more clothes or we’ll arrest you.

Was the woman wearing a niqab, that vile dehumanising mask, that symbol of female oppression rejected by the majority of Muslim women?

No. The lady was simply overdressed, in the opinion of the police, and her clothing was of an unapproved style.

Of course, when the image of a policeman standing over the woman hit social media, the French authorities issued threats of prosecution for anyone reposting the image which is one sure way to get yourself right up there where you don’t want to be, as Barbra Streisand discovered when she tried to prevent publication of a photo of her house.

The Streisand Effect is now a recognised phenomenon and the French cops are its latest victims.

I think it’s safe to say that there would have been a huge public outcry in France if the police had ordered a nun to undress in public, and yet the argument they put forward against the burkini applies equally to the nun’s habit. If anything, the nun’s habit is more religiously-based than the burkini, so why exactly is one illegal while the other is not?

burkini nun swimming

Unwittingly or otherwise, these policemen have removed the veil (so to speak), exposing the naked (so to speak) xenophobia behind these laws.

A woman can cover up as much as she wishes, provided the woman is a Christian, an atheist or a Jew. But if a woman is Muslim, she must bare more flesh than she feels comfortable with or risk being called a terrorist, arrested and fined.

That, in anyone’s words, is Islamophobia.

But it’s worse. This is hatred and oppression of women. Of all women. This is a state telling women what they may wear and what they may not wear.

Masks are another matter. No civilised society should tolerate the niqab and I agree with the French ban on it. We need a similiar ban here in order to begin the emancipation of those women who are oppressed in such a manner, but the burkini has nothing to do with this. The burkini is simply a woman’s choice of how to dress, and no civilised society has any business interfering in that choice.

Today, I heard a magnificent lunatic on Liveline trying to justify the ban on security grounds. Explaining that a woman on a beach might be able to hide a bomb under her burkini, this individual proved that ISIS have truly captured the hearts and minds of idiots.


Religion Sexuality

Maynooth sex scandal – Archbishop pulls out

maynooth seminary

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has had enough of all these sexual shenanigans in the National Seminary at Maynooth.

He’s pulling his students out and sending them to the Irish College in Rome where he hopes they’ll get greater exposure to cosmopolitan European culture and they won’t be shagging each other.

Who could blame him? If Maynooth wasn’t good enough for Ireland’s first Cardinal, Paul Cullen, nearly 200 years ago, why should it be good enough for Diarmuid Martin’s vulnerable young protegés? Admittedly, of course, Cullen’s father had a different reason for sending his lad to Rome. Hugh Cullen wasn’t letting any son of his attend a Catholic seminary provided by the perfidious English oppressors whereas Diarmuid Martin is more concerned about The Gay.

That’s right. I said Gay.


There’s a seminary full of men, sequestered away in a monastic environment and some of them turn out to be  gay.

Not only that, but some of them turn out to be sexually active.

Who knew?

One way or the other, Archbishop Martin is worried and to be fair to him, his concerns are probably not based on the fact that the activity is homosexual. That’s more or less a given, since  it would be hard to see how anyone would engage in heterosexual activity in a place where there are no women.

I know. It  doesn’t have to be heterosexual. You could point out that there are sheep in Kildare and no doubt the occasional frog but from what he said, Martin seems to be more troubled by what he perceives as an atmosphere of coercion. Martin thinks Maynooth is a place full of abusers preying on emotionally-vulnerable young men.

Who could have imagined that the seminary churning out Ireland’s priests would be sexually abusive, especially when you consider how balanced and emotionally complete Ireland’s priests have proven themselves over the centuries? It’s astonishing.

But apart from the sexual aggression, Martin also seems to be worried about the shagging. By the sound of things, the lads in Maynooth are getting laid like jack-rabbits using social media, and who could blame them? Their final vows will include not only celibacy but also chastity, so why not make hay while they can?

Te morituri salutant.

Martin doesn’t think his priestlings should be getting laid and of course, he’s the boss. But given the consequences of that policy over the centuries, perhaps he’d be better off just saying nothing. Let them get on with it. Let them use dating websites, gay or straight and who knows? He might even end up with emotionally well-adjusted priests and what a difference that would be, although of course it’s too late to change anything. The damage was done a long time ago and the Catholic church has already lost the hearts and minds it needed to survive.

Now, it’s true that Diarmuid only has three seminarians to educate this year when in times past his predecessors might have had dozens. That’s why he was sending them to Maynooth: Clonliffe College closed years ago due to lack of interest but let’s not focus on numbers.

Diarmuid Martin must be feeling pretty despondent. The institution he devoted his life to no longer enjoys the confidence of the general public and here he is, the Archbishop of Dublin, saying that he has no confidence in the national seminary.

Nobody trusts the clergy, and the top cleric doesn’t trust the place that makes the priests.

Artificial seminarians, so to speak.

That leaves him in a difficult position, wouldn’t you say?


Marriage equality referendum — one year on

It’s a year, one full year, since Ireland voted in a referendum to make all our citizens equal, and the Irish people voted overwhelmingly to do the right thing.

As a veteran of previous referendums, I wasn’t sure they would but I’m glad to say I was wrong.

As somebody who didn’t have a dog in the fight, I was glad that my LGBTQ friends were vindicated.

As an Irish citizen, I was proud to have contributed whatever small thing I could.

The Irish people decided to do the decent thing. Marriage equality is now the law of the land and yet there are many who fail to accept the democratic will of the Irish people. The Iona Institute lobby group have pumped out one self-pitying article after another bewailing the fact that the Irish people voted the wrong way in a democratic referendum. One authoritarian ideologue after another has berated us for failing to obey their instructions.

If you thought oppression disappeared in 1922, you made a big mistake. They haven’t gone away, you know, and the oppression only got worse. After independence, Ireland was delivered into the hands of an overbearing elite of wealthy people who, of course, had always been in control but who now held the levers of power.

It comes as a shock to most of us who didn’t share in the privilege and the wealth of these people for generations. When we see them shuffle out of the darkness, as we saw last year in the Marriage Equality debate, we are genuinely shocked. We gaze on them and we ask ourselves how we could not have known about this layer of society. This layer that holds so much wealth and so much entitlement. This layer that considers itself superior to the rest of us, even though there is no objective reason to justify such an opinion.

I went to the radio debate held by Newstalk and of course the attendance was as diverse as you might expect. There was the lunatic fringe, represented by John Waters. There was the idealistic group of committed youngish people. There was a bunch of battle-worn old skeptics like myself.

And over there in the corner was a crowd of sour-looking, prosperous-looking elders (sad to say) dressed like the audience of the Late Late Show and clearly outraged at the notion that anyone would have the gall to disagree with them.

Otherwise known as The Rich.

I found them hilarious, but the louder I laughed at John Waters, the deeper became the scowls of the ladies in the twin-sets until eventually a stern-looking old fellow in a suit walked up to the young people in front of us and gave them a harsh stare, like a teacher from the 1960s threatening physical abuse on a class of six-year-olds.

I got the blame, naturally, for laughing at John Waters but I’ll wear that badge with pride. The rich old people might well have never heard of him but they seemed happy to take any lunatic they could get, given the utter stupidity of their cause. In fairness to them, the older I get, the stupider I get but at least my stupidity isn’t aimed at depriving my fellow citizens of freedom. That’s where religious madness comes in.

It’s a full year since our brothers and sisters won full recognition but at least it happened. Ireland legalised same-sex marriage and the people who voted for it included elderly aunties, raving Commies and quiet-minded religious people who understood the notion of decency.

As I said, I had no dog in the fight, but  that might have been a little inaccurate. Of course I have LGBT friends who might wish to be married, but more importantly, the dog I have in this fight is the dog guarding us all against intolerance and religious extremism.


Ancient longing for power behind religious opposition to same-sex marriage amendment

Same-Sex Marriage — Anti-Equality Lobby Recruit The Brady Bunch

Lawyers For Yes tear apart every last Opus Dei lie about marriage equality

Father Ted meets Monty Python as Brother Dougal hits Limerick in the fight against the evil gays


Politics Religion

Pope takes Syrian Muslim refugees to Rome

The Pope has taken three refugee Syrian Muslim families back to Rome from Greece, and many commentators have accused him of tokenism for doing so.

Guess what?  They’re right. It is tokenism.

Guess what? The Pope is right, because his tokenism beats my tokenism any old day of the week. I agree with the Pope. Some people might think we have no basis for agreement on anything, but of course they’d be wrong, since we share the same values of human decency and the Pope seems to be just as appalled as anyone else at the treatment of the people trying to escape the slaughter in Syria.

There is much that I would disagree with the Pope about, which is hardly surprising  since he is, after all, the head of the Roman Catholic church while I on the other hand am an atheist. I don’t accept that his god exists and I don’t accept that he has any moral authority in society at large simply for being the Pope. What’s more, I found some of his recent utterances repugnant to my sense of fairness, but in this instance, the Pope has done a thing that might resonate across the world and might perhaps achieve some good.

It’s easy to see how his symbolic rescue of a dozen Muslims could be troubling, but the Pope has at least confronted the bigots in a way they can’t avoid and by doing so, he has laid down a challenge to those people who call themselves Christian.

Perhaps one of the most shocking things about the refugee crisis has been the vitriol directed towards the refugees. If this is Christianity, then I’m glad to be an atheist but I suspect it is not. I suspect the likes of Pegida and our own pathetic home-grown Identity Ireland are no more Christians than the deranged killers of ISIS/Daesh are true Muslims. I suspect that the Pope knows it.

I have yet to hear an atheist demand that refugees be sent back to the place where ISIS/Daesh will murder them but I have heard many Christians doing so and here we have Pope Francis confronting such intolerance in a hugely symbolic act.

If the Pope, of all people, is embracing Muslims as his brothers and sisters, how can bigots continue their ignorant tirades against a full quarter of the world’s people? There is much I disagree with the Pope about, but I can find no grounds to quibble with him on this. He has given the decent people of the world something to hold out in front of self-described Christians.

Something to point at.

Look at this.

Your most prominent holy man is comfortable with Muslims.

What’s your problem?




The story of Easter

In the beginning there was one God, who was three gods. God was his own son and his own father, and the two of them had a relative called the Holy Ghost, who was also God, but who didn’t say much. He was the bass player.

The three of them created pets they called people and they spent millennia torturing them, smiting them, drowning them and making them fight wars with each other, but then God’s conscience began to prick him so he said to himself (in the form of his son) You’ll have to go and get murdered by this crowd. I’m going to sacrifice my only son to save them.

How does that work? God the Son replied reasonably enough. I’m you. You’re me. We’re both that guy over there with the bum-fiddle. And anyway, how can I be your son? I have no mother, we have no bodies. And how can it be a sacrifice? You’re all-powerful. We’re all-powerful. We can’t lose. And even if I do get killed, how exactly does it save that crowd of lunatics?

The Holy Ghost said nothing but stood in the shadows running through his minor scales on a nice upright bass.

Just do it, said God the Father.

Or what? said God the Son.

Or else, replied God the Father with a menacing nod. Or else. Get down there, possess a human and get him killed. Get yourself a mother and get back up here, pronto.

Oh Jesus, all right, said God the Son. Anything for a quiet life.

Dum dum dum, said God the Holy Ghost.

And so they impregnated an Arab child and when the baby was born God the Son possessed it and it grew into a man who went around causing enough trouble to get himself killed by the Romans.

Good Friday

When God the Son was sure nobody was looking, he reactivated the shell of the human he had possessed for the previous 33 years and transported it back to outer space.

Previous Good Friday posts

Battlestar Catholactica

Christian Science and the Zombie Jesus

Saint Bock’s Gospel

Jesus Forgets the Safe Word

Holy iPhone Apps



Well? said God the Father. How did you get on?

They murdered him, said God the Son. Horribly. How did that save mankind? I don’t like what we did to that poor guy.

Shut up, said God the Father.

Dum-dum de-dum dum dum, murmured God the Holy Ghost.

And that is the Story of Easter.

Religion Society

A letter to an Irish priest from a parishioner, 1902

Father Sheahan letter 001

A friend discovered this 1902  letter from “A Parishioner” to a Limerick priest in an old book recently. A useful reminder that we have always had our self-appointed moral police, for anyone who thought the Iona Institute was a recent phenomenon.



26 /2 /02


Rev. Father Sheahan

Dear Sir

Pardon me for troubling you, but the matter I have to deal with is one of vital importance to many. in that part of the parish known as Dunganville, there are some parties getting up what they term a ball, but which is, in reality, a porter party of from twenty to thirty couples contributing something above 3/ a head. I need not explain the sin and ruin to so many souls occassioned by [such] practises. I will leave the matter to your own discretion but I think its only right + just to tell the parishioners from the altar on Sunday next not to lend there houses to such disgraceful purpose. for such a kind act you will have the blessing and gratitude of many a parent in the parish

Your very humble servant

A Parishioner

Father Sheahan letter 002


Weren’t the people of Dunganville lucky that this good citizen was watching out for their eternal souls? Who knows what fine work he’d be doing if he happened to be alive today? He might even have his own Institute.

History doesn’t record how Father Sheahan reacted to the letter though if he was anything like his fellow priests of the post-Cullen tendency, he probably took firm action, perhaps involving a blackthorn stick. But on the other hand, he might have groaned and reached for a stiff whiskey. Who knows?

Thanks to information from the wonderful academic resource, Limerick’s Life, here he is in the 1901 Census, as head of household.

Father Sheahan census 001

And here’s poor old John Sheahan’s death notice, not long after he received the letter from his outraged parishioner.

death of father sheahan

This is his will. £1,388. Quite a sum for 1902.


Can we deduce anything about the writer? In the frugal spirit of the time, the letter is written on both sides of a single sheet. The handwriting is very much of its time as taught in the schools, and the grammar is more or less correct, though there are a few mis-spellings and a peculiar tendency to begin sentences with lower-case. All suggestions welcome, though I have a nagging suspicion he might have been a disgruntled publican.

Father Sheahan 001

Father Sheahan 002

Father Sheahan 003


Education Religion

Rule 68 finally abolished after 50 years

Poor old David Quinn is having a meltdown. Fresh from his humiliating defeat in the Marriage Equality referendum in which the people of Ireland rejected him and all that he stands for, he now faces the removal of the absurd Rule 68, and he sees that as an attack on his cherished “faith schools”.

Dave, of course, being no stranger to bending reality, fails to mention that Rule 68, along with all its fellow rules, was only introduced in 1964, and that his clerical school managers got on fine in the years leading up to that. Indeed, those same school managers managed to abuse so many children we ended up with statutory investigations to find out what they were getting up to.

Let’s see exactly what Rule 68 says.

Of all parts of a school curriculum Religious Instruction is by far the most important, as its subject matter, God’s honour and service, includes the proper use of all man’s faculties, and affords the most powerful inducements to their proper use. Religious Instruction is, therefore, a fundamental part of the school course, and a religious spirit should inform and vivify the whole work of the school.

No it’s not. Religious instruction is not by far the most important part of a school curriculum. Only an idiot would suggest such a thing, but isn’t vivify a great word? Would anyone except a bishop use a word like vivify? I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone using this word but of course, that’s probably because I haven’t been mixing with lads from Maynooth.

Vivify. As someone who loves language, I must admit I would never use such an inflated, self-important word, but then again, I’m not a bishop.

Doesn’t Rule 68 have McQuaid’s creepy fingerprints all over it? And doesn’t it betray the craven attitude of the civil servants who allowed McQuaid and his fellow priests to dictate to this independent republic what its educational policy should be?

Is there a huge difference between the mindset that vivifies modern Muslim madrassas and that which created our current primary school system?

Not being a man with a great grasp of logic, Dave Quinn has been spinning all day about the loss of protection for his personal faith delusion, even though our national schools were originally set up as a non-denominational system. Dave has been suggesting, with no logic at all, that the removal of Rule 68 will somehow remove his power to inflict religion on children. Dave, somehow, appears to be unaware that religious indoctrination carried on just fine prior to 1964 when Rule 68 was first written.

It’s over.

The days are gone when John Charles McQuaid told the government what to write into law and poor Dave, who in many ways is a likeable sort of fellow, needs to realise that.

Over the years Dave has demonstrated a semi-detached relationship with rational thought, thereby turning his ludicrous political lobby group into the Guantanamo of logic. Iona: where common sense goes to be tortured.

I don’t care what fetish people cling to. If feet are your thing, that’s fine. If you like bicycles, so be it. If you want to hang on a cross, that’s ok too, but really, the cross Dave likes to hang on defeats all logic. Let Dave fantasise all he likes about being a victim while he hangs there on his cross, but meanwhile Irish parents need to get their children educated in real subjects like science and critical thinking instead of Dave’s magic.

Here’s one thing you will never hear David Quinn talking about: the Catholic bishops’ determined efforts to obstruct the creation of multi-denominational schools in Ireland. And there’s a good reason why Dave will never talk about that nasty little period in our history. It doesn’t fit in with his false narrative of tolerance.

If Dave wants to indoctrinate our children in his magic, he’s free to do it on a Sunday when the taxpayer isn’t footing the bill. We’ll even pay for the classrooms. We’re good like that.


Rule 68. Revising Ancient Guidelines for Primary Schools


Priests to hear confessions in shopping mall

No. You didn’t imagine it and no it isn’t Father Ted.

Priests are going to set up a grotto at Skycourt Shopping Centre in Shannon offering absolution to repentant sinners.

Sit up here on my knee, you grand little middle-aged man, and tell me all your sins.

Seriously. What on earth do these lads think they’re doing?

Father Santa Grotto

Here are these clerics, setting up a stall in a shopping mall, offering absolution from sin, as if they have any credibility. As if they shouldn’t be lying on the floor, face down, begging forgiveness of every shopper who passes instead of offering absolution.

Who do they think they are to be forgiving anyone for anything?

Have they even the slightest clue about the symbolism of what they’re doing? Do they not realise it was barely yesterday the country realised what their pals were getting up to, what their bishops were hiding?  And now here they are, as oblivious to reality as any Ted or Dougal, behaving like religious chuggers  in a shopping centre at Christmas.

What were they thinking?

Did it ever dawn on them how sinister that might appear to many of the people whose faith in their bona fides has been so rattled that they will probably never trust a priest again? Any priest.

What on earth were these guys thinking when they decided to set up a parallel Santa’s grotto?

Do they not realise how creepy that looks? We can only hope they don’t get lost in the lingerie department.