The Angel of Illinois

What’s the latest batshit crazy religious news?  Well how about this American story that’s gone viral?

In broad outline, it goes like this.

A girl is trapped in the tangled metal of a car crash and the rescuers are about to give up.  Their cutting equipment simply can’t cope with the  degree of damage. The trapped girl asks the rescuers to pray with her as she fights for her life, but the fire chief has little or no hope of saving her.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, a mysterious man in clerical garb appears, even though the perimeter is secured and no civilians are allowed beyond the cordon.  He anoints the girl, says some prayers and assures the rescuers that they will indeed be able to cut the victim out of the wreckage.  To everyone’s astonishment, that’s exactly how it works out.  The girl is removed from the car and rushed to hospital.  But when the rescuers look around, the mysterious priest has vanished.

It’s a miracle.  He’s an angel.  Everyone is astonished and their faith is renewed.

katie lentz miracle priest angel rescue

You think I’m making this up, don’t you?  I am not.

Here’s an insane story from KHQA, a radio station in Missouri, entitled Mysterious priest performs miracle at site of Mercedes crash.

This is what the New London Fire Chief, Raymond Reed told reporters about his efforts to rescue Katie Lentz, who was trapped between the steering wheel and the seat, having suffered multiple injuries.

It was a very well-built car, and when you compact materials like that one, they become even stronger because you’re cutting through multiple things instead of one layer.

This is another way of saying that he didn’t have suitable cutting gear on his fire truck.  It also indicates that Mr Reed hadn’t the slightest idea how to use his equipment, because this is not a situation demanding cutters.  This is a job for a spreader.  Even after 45 futile minutes trying to cut the victim out of the car with inadequate gear, it doesn’t seem to have occurred to Mr Reed that maybe he should send for better gear or call in somebody who knew what they were doing.  Instead, he decided that the victim was going to die.

Suddenly a man appeared out of nowhere.

He came up and approached the patient, and offered a prayer.  It was a Catholic priest who had anointing oil with him. A sense of calmness came over her, and it did us as well. I can’t be for certain how it was said, but myself and another firefighter, we very plainly heard that we should remain calm, that our tools would now work and that we would get her out of that vehicle.

The tools did work after all, but they weren’t Raymond Reed’s.  Luckily, a crew from the Hannibal Fire Department turned up, led by a man who knew exactly what he was doing and they rescued Ms Lentz in no time at all.

So here we have the alternative reality which reads as follows:

A girl is trapped in a car.  The fire crew trying to extricate her are grossly incompetent but luckily a more professional team turn up and save the victim.  To avoid being exposed for the idiots they are, the team get together and declare that a rescue was completely impossible.  They then invent a mysterious guardian angel who obligingly disappears after the incident is closed down.

Nobody saw him arrive and nobody saw him go.  He appears in no photos.

Really?  It must be a miracle.


What the story really shows is a bunch of ignorant rednecks out of their depth.  Chief Raymond Reed, of course, is talking unmitigated horseshit in order to deflect attention from his own incompetent handling of the incident, but at the same time, isn’t it amazing how readily people are prepared to accept a supernatural explanation for things?  We haven’t moved all that far from witch-burning, really. Have we?

What’s most worrying is that the USA is the most powerful, most aggressive, most heavily-militarised country in the world, and they still believe in magic.

Be very afraid.




Priest identified.  No mystery.  No miracle.


Should Bishops Remain as Patrons of Our Schools?

This is a post from a new contributor, Mairéad, who normally writes here.


I have been a primary teacher for 28 years, so I think that I am qualified to write about this one.

I have heard many commentators in the media calling for the church to cease their involvement in our schools and hospitals, especially since the publication of the Ryan Report and the Murphy Report.

Some people are saying that Bishops and priests only have titular roles now in our schools. These people are inferring that the church has no power and therefore, can do no harm, so should be left in situ.

In my experience, Bishops and priests do not have merely titular roles in our schools. Let me explain, and then you can tell me what you think.


* The local Catholic Bishop is the Patron of the vast majority of our primary schools.

* The Education Act (1998) made the role of the Patron a legal one, with rights and responsibilities enshrined in law.

* No principal can be appointed to a school, without the Patron sanctioning the appointment.

* No teacher can be appointed to a school, without the Patron sanctioning the appointment.

* The Bishop determines the ethos of the school, and is allowed by law to discriminate against certain teachers. For example, he is allowed to withhold sanction for an appointment if the teacher does not belong to the right religion, or happens to be gay / lesbian / bisexual.

* The Patron has the power to remove someone from the Board of Management, or indeed to dissolve the entire Board of Management.

* The Bishop sends out Religion inspectors (now called “diocesan advisors”) every single year to every single Primary school in Ireland. This, despite the fact that teachers are not even paid to teach religion.


* Until very recently, the local priest was the “Manager” of the local school, and answered to nobody at all. Many still act as if there has been no change.

* Nowadays, there are eight members of the Board of Management, but in reality the priest is still “the boss” in the vast majority of schools.

* I have met many, many priests in my years of teaching, and most of them have not been competent to “run” schools, but every single one of them has been the boss.

* Usually the priest is the Chairperson of the Board, and is the person with whom the Department of Education corresponds. This is a huge piece of power. Some priests I have known said they have written to the Department e.g. for funds, but they have not. In one case, children were left traipsing in the mud to outdoor toilets for nine unnecessary years, because the priest had refused to ask the Department for funding, but claimed that he had done so.

* The chairperson of the Board (the priest) is also the chairperson of any panel to appoint a principal or teacher. There are three usually on the selection board – the priest, the principal and an outside party taken from a list. That list, however, is compiled by the diocesan office and the priest gets to choose whoever he likes from it! In effect, then, the priest has two out of three votes, because that “outside” person is paid a fee, and will not be chosen again if they don’t play the game.

*Teachers must get a reference from their local PP and enclose it with any application for a teaching job. That reference had better say that the teacher is a regular mass-goer, or they might as well save the stamp. Did you know that?

* The priest makes sure that religion is taught in the schools, but doesn’t teach it himself.

* The priest insists that children are prepared for three sacraments (Reconciliation (confession), Eucharist (communion) and Confirmation) in the primary school – 2nd class and 5th / 6th class – but does not teach himself.

* 2nd class is almost completely taken over by two sacraments. If you’re not a Catholic, you miss out on weeks and weeks and weeks of your education.

* 5th / 6th class is the same, only maybe a bit worse, because the Bishop comes to this sacrament, so the priest wants to impress him – without doing any of the work. Again, non-Catholics are sitting there losing out on their education. Let’s face it; the Catholics are losing out on their education too!

* In other countries, including Catholic countries, religion is taught after school, so there is no loss of education, and people can choose to opt out if they wish. Not so in Ireland. In Ireland, parents have an entitlement to withdraw their children from the religion class, but as already outlined, they’d have to be at home for most of 2nd and 5th / 6th classes! In addition, many parents work, so they can’t be up and down to the school to remove their children during the religion class. Plus there is nowhere for children to go in the school, and no-one free to supervise them if there was, so these children have to sit in the classroom, absorbing the religion that their parents do not want. Worst of all, the Bishop / priests insist that religion is taught at 12 noon every day. If it were scheduled as the last lesson of the day, then the children could be collected early, but no! It is made as difficult as possible.

* Some priests go in to schools and ask the children to put up their hand if they were at mass that Sunday. Did you know that?

* Priests gather their altar servers for daily mass from the primary school, especially rural schools. Did you know that? So those children miss more of their education, not to mention what might happen to them in the church and walking unsupervised to and from the church.

* Priests often go into schools to hear the children’s confessions.  Did you know that? One to one, on their own. Did you know that? Without parental permission.  Did you know that?

This is merely a taste of the role of Bishops and priests in our primary schools.

So, what do you think?

Should Bishops remain as Patrons of our schools?

Should priests remain as Chairpersons of our Boards of Management?

Should priests and Bishops choose our teachers and our principal teachers?

Should teachers be regular mass goers only?

Should teachers be heterosexuals only?

Favourites Religion

Saint Paul’s Bones

They drilled a small hole in the wall, said the Pope, and they put in an automatic probe.

I like that, somehow. Here’s a guy who makes a living from being infallible, and from ordering all those bishops around, but just like the rest of us, when the plumbers arrive, they’re in charge, not him.

Now admittedly, these aren’t actual plumbers. These are the people who explored a tomb and found some old bones, which the Pope believes are those of Saint Paul the Misogynist. But still. In the final analysis, they’re a bunch of guys doing a bit of work around the house for the Vatican.

Excuse me, Mr Pope, I’ll have to ask you to to stand over there, if you wouldn’t mind.

And he does. The Pope steps out of the way like we all do when the guys arrive with the toolboxes and the ladders.

They drilled a small hole in the wall, said the Pope. But at least they fixed the light, and now the washing machine works again.

No. That’s not what he said, but it’s what I expected him to say.

They came with a Milwaukee 24-volt cordless, the Pope went on, and a metre-long 10mm SDS masonry bit. Personally, I prefer DeWalt.

I don’t know about you, but for me, somehow drilling holes in walls is not something I expect the Pope to be discussing. I thought Popes were big-picture guys, not detail people, but no. Not this Pope. Not Ratzo.

They drilled a small hole in the wall, and they put in an automatic probe.

So far so good. The Pope was sticking to the facts, but his sense of logic deserted him a little when he went on to interpret the results. You see, it’s widely believed that the tomb contains the bones of Saint Paul, and sure enough, when they inserted their little probe, it did indeed find some strands of linen, some gold thread and some bone fragments from a person who lived between the the first and second centuries.

Therefore, the test confirmed that somebody was buried there, and that the person could possibly have been Paul of Tarsus. Or it could have been somebody else who lived in the first century. Or the second.

What the probe did not find was a passport or a driving licence, or for that matter, an inscription saying

Here lie the bones of Paul the Misogynist, killed in an unfortunate beheading accident, 24th Feb, 0063.

No. What they found were some bones of someone who is still unidentified, unless of course, they have a close relative of Saint Paul for the DNA match, or maybe his dental records.

But they haven’t. All they got was some dust and yet this is sufficient for the Pope to claim that his plumbers have found their man.

This surely confirms the unanimous and uncontested belief that the tomb contains the mortal remains of the apostle Paul, says the Pope.

No it doesn’t. The Pope should stick to things he knows about, like cordless drills, and leave the logic to others.

It confirms that the thing is a tomb from the same century as Paul, and what’s more, the belief is neither unanimous nor uncontested.

Don’t get me wrong. I hope the tomb turns out to be Saint Paul’s, because if it is, it might be where they hid all his letters and postcards that the Mexicans and the Iranians and the Canadians sent back.

Not known at this address. Return to sender. Go away. Police notified.


Also on Bock:

Saint Paul’s Letters
Looking at Saint Therese’s Box

Bock's People

Islamic Suicide Bombings Down by 90%

I bumped into old Cap’n Purplehead the other day.
Bock, he said, did you hear that there’s been a collapse in the number of Islamic suicide bombings.

No, I said. Why’s that?

Well, he said, it seems they broadcast Britain’s Got Talent to the Middle East and the Muslims realised what a virgin looks like.
What awaits the Muslim Suicide Bomber
What awaits the Muslim Suicide Bomber


Previously on Bock:

Imagine being a dead Muslim

Favourites Humour Religion

The Mobile Consecrator Rises Again

Looks like time to wake up the Machine.

All this talk of religious bigotry and madness reminded me of an old project that got shelved last year, and I suppose it would be no harm to tell you about it again. Especially since I came up with a few tweaks.

You see, it all started when I heard of a truly insane idea to bless the roads by some fool in a local Council .

Eh, what?

Yeah. That’s what I said too. Some idiot responsible for safety promotion decided to get the fucking roads in his area blessed as a kind of a PR stunt.

I know. I know. Sad.

I know.

There’s your witchdoctor, out on the road with his dress and his little wand-thing in a bucket, and he’s flicking holy water at the fucking road and going Hubba Hubba Jesus Jesus Hubba Hubba Jesus Hubba Jesus Hubba. That’s really going to keep down those accident statistics, isn’t it?

Especially when some demented seventeen-year-old coked out of his head comes zinging down the wrong side in a fifteen-year-old souped-up Honda Civic with dem speakas pounding out some ear-bleeding Unce Unce Unce horseshit, and before you know it, Father McDingbat is just one more pile of roadkill.

Not a great plan, though it has its obvious good points in ridding the island of priests.


We needed industry to deal with this problem, and that was why I set my research teams to work in the caverns beneath the mighty Bockschloss. We laboured long and hard. We tore up blank sheets of paper. We tore up blank computer screens.

And eventually, we came up with the Mobile Consecrator.

Here it is.


You see, the great thing about this is that it can be towed behind a Council truck, blessing the roads at high speed. The blessing penetrates the road surface to a depth of about 15mm, making it much more resistant to wear, which was a problem with the old manually-applied blessings.

Not only that, but you can reverse the Consecrator over a grave and set the dial to whatever religion you want. It will consecrate a perfectly rectangular patch with no overspray at all. This used to be a bit of a problem in the past, with our non-denominational burial grounds. You know, you’re planting your relative, and your priest might be a bit shaky after the party, and before you know it, he’s overblessed the Muslim next door. Or the Jew up the way got a little Catholic benediction drifting in the wind. Not good.

It comes complete with a built-in Mecca-Checka that that ensures people get buried facing true Mecca, and not magnetic Mecca, which was a bit of a problem in the past.

So this is a real technical advance. One Council driver can bless thirty or forty graves a day in every known religion, correctly orientated, without overspray.

Of course, it was only a small step from that to developing a military version. By fitting it with huge speakers, it became possible to fire loud curses horizontally at your enemy, while at the same time defiling the ground beneath your wheels with filthy abominations concerning his tenderest beliefs, his womenfolk and his work-ethic. We call it the Mobile Desecrator, and Halliburton are testing it at the moment in Iraq.

I’m working on the latest version, which will come with a Sacrilege-Finder. If it detects that someone has disrespected any religion, a giant arm shoots out of the side and delivers 200 high-speed lashes. Then it empties half a ton of rocks over them before anyone can object.

I’m exporting four dozen to Saudi Arabia and I’ve sent an evaluation model to the Iona Institute  with one of the speakers permanently set to lecture mode.


Ratzo — First Blood


My Plan for Ireland VS England


Religion World

Islam and Christianity Find Something in Common

I wrote a post called Islamic Savages a few days ago, and some people thought I shouldn’t.

Don’t know why.

Some people said I should write about George Bush instead, as if I’d never expressed a view about that warmongering cretin. As if, somehow, I’d strayed off their one, true, right-on fucking path. And you know something? It pissed me off.

You see, not only have I written constantly about America’s involvement in appalling activities around the world, but I have also comprehensively taken the piss out of the lunacies of Christianity. And still you have these people coming on here and saying Well, what about this, and what about fucking that?

Well, what about you fuck off if you don’t like it?

Do you know something? I couldn’t give a fuck. I’m no longer a Christian, if I ever was one, but I’m — I suppose — a collapsed Catholic, in the sense that I rejected all that nonsense when I was about eight years old. And by the way, if any of those critics think I didn’t write about Catholic savages, they haven’t read this site very deeply, but that’s another story.

Nevertheless, nutty and abusive as Christianity is, it moved on from its insane medieval phase where it believed in fucking murder. And that’s the big difference with Islam today. If I lived in the fourteenth century, and if there was electricity (other than static, just in case you feel like being a smart-ass tech-fucker), and if there was an interweb, I’d probably have been writing about Christian savages.

So. What do you make of these Islamic savages in Sudan?

A female teacher had a class of kids who all agreed that their teddy-bear mascot should be called Muhammad after one of the popular kids in the school. That teacher is now facing forty lashes for disrespecting the prophet. Arrested! And men are out in the street demanding this well-meaning woman’s execution for such a dreadful crime.

I’m sick of these hypocritical Islamic bastards. Fuck off the whole lot of them. They’re just the very same as the mad catholic priests of my childhood: they hate women. Why don’t they just fuck off and admit it? They’re demented. They’re sexually fucked up. They have a big psychiatric problem, all to do with sex, and they call it Islam.

For fucksake! How the fuck can these people expect to be taken seriously when they wander around the streets beating themselves on the forehead and demanding death to everyone they don’t like?
If their Prophet was around today to see how his followers are behaving, he’d rise up in disgust and cut the heads off the whole childish fucking lot of them.

Finally, Islam and Christianity are united: the words of both their prophets are defiled by stupid, mad bastards, led by frustrated sex-crazed hypocrite priests.

Common ground at last.

Humour Religion

More religion

Since we’re on a roll with this religious thing, let me just remind you that today is the Feast of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist.

See? Those Catholics will celebrate anything as long as there’s a few drinks involved, though I’m not so sure about the Baptists. I don’t know if they celebrate the Holy Beheading. In fact, I’m not sure if they celebrate at all. Ever.

Poor old John the Baptist. Just your average religious maniac who happened to get involved with the wrong Latvian hooker and got whacked by the Russian Mafia.

I’m going to the pub right now to get off my head. It’s my little collapsed-Catholic way of showing solidarity with Saint John the Unskulled.



Fired up with religious zeal, Mr Darwin sends us this tosh and piffle:

Little Nellie of Holy God

Mr Darwin goes on to make some valuable suggestions :

What about Little Nellie of Holy God? demands Darwin. What’s that all about? She was only four years old but she become a saint. So why not three or even two?

Why not make a fetal saint? That would sort out the pro-choice crowd.
Some poor indoctrinated and brainwashed child spouting Catholic pap gets to be a saint and a poor old Einstein, Lincoln, or Helen Keller won’t get a look in coz they’re just atheists!

Good man, Darwin. That’s the spirit.


Limerick Churches

When I was small, my auntie used to take me to the churches around Limerick . It was great being a kid in those days. Spooky exorcist shit: plaster saints and candles and all that Hollywood stuff, but almost free. No entrance fee except you had to put some money into a shiny box if you wanted to light a candle.

I remember them so well. The Augustinians – the church with the best drainpipes in Limerick. It was easy to climb them because they were square and easy to hold on to. The church had a flat roof you could play football on it, like Brian Crowley did,wherever he lived,, and fall off and got paralysed as well, like he did. I nearly did that once, leaping over a parapet and gazing down into a forty-foot drop. I still don’t know how I seemed to just stop myself and fall back. Frightened.

Let’s not forget the Franciscans. The good old Franciscans, the humblest of them all, in open-toed sandals and simple friars’ robes just like Saint Francis, their team captain. Songbirds landing on their hands: hello St Francis, can I have a nut? So fucking humble that when a nearby block was being redeveloped, they vetoed an upper floor on the building because they didn’t want their views of the River Shannon obstructed.

Let’s see now. Where else? Oh right, of course. How could I forget the Redemptorists, or, as we serfs knew them, the Holy Fathers? The Holy Fathers. The saintly, wise Holy Fathers with their arch-confraternity. The good, decent Holy Fathers who were behind the only pogrom in Ireland that I’m aware of. Maybe you know of another, in which case you can email me and I’ll be happy to publish the details. I’m proud to say that my parents never sent me to the confraternity because they held the fuckers in contempt, and so I was spared that quasi-fascist shite, but sadly, my home town of Limerick was not.

Moving right along here, you had the new churches that looked like crashed aeroplanes, and we won’t talk about them. They were designed by a fucking fool called the Chevalier Sheahan, a sort of architect with a plume of feathers on his head for special occasions. He was called the Chevalier because he got some kind of a kiss on the back of the bollocks from the Pope of his time. (Hey: I told you this used to be Albania!) He was a sort of architect, though he had no formal qualifications at all except for a loud mouth, a thick neck and the ear of some fucking bishop. A miser and a good Catholic who treated his staff like shit, I’m told. A Christian man. We’ll come back to this guy some day, I promise.

Saint Michael’s was great. It has the real Saint Michael on the roof still to this day, killing the Serpent with a lance. Take that, you fucking serpent, he’s saying in Latin. He was one of the Archangels: the guys with special powers. I think Saint Michael’s special power was that he could curse in Latin.

But my special favourite was the Dominicans. Not because of the paintings on the ceiling, though they were impressive. Old naked guys with beards waving at each other: how’s it goin’ Boss? Not even because of the side altars they had, full to the brim with spooky plaster saints. No. What I loved was a piece of plumbing outside the church. A steel tank, rectangular, proto-cuboid, perhaps two metric feet by two metric feet by one deep. Grey-painted and not much to look at. With a small tap at one extremity, about two metric inches from the bottom.

I nearly forgot to mention that the Dominicans were the people behind the Inquisition, a fact that leaves me feeling a little uneasy. What if they should take exception to anything said here? Would it be the Iron Maiden for me? Probably not, as they were forbidden to shed blood, out of Christian mercy. More likely, it would involve multiple dislocations, breaking on the Wheel, and perhaps a bit of racking, followed by the Boot. Since childhood, I’ve admired the evil ecclesiastical genius who came up with the Boot. Saint Plumbum, perhaps?

Where were we? Tank. Tap. Yes. Holy water. A tank of holy water, that my beloved auntie could use to replenish the Baby Powers bottle for the font in the hall, without disturbing the tranquillity of the saintly fathers. Glug glug into the bottle.

In those days, people went through a lot of holy water.

Well, here comes the chemistry. You see, in my childish error, I thought that every night, one of these saintly gentlemen appeared on the roof and zapped some holiness into the tank for tomorrow’s pilgrims. It’s the least you’d expect, isn’t it? A crash of thunder. Some lightning, and there he is on the parapet. Spiderman! Or Dracula.

But no. Not a bit of it. It seems the tank worked the same as a toilet. When it was empty, a ball-float simply dropped down and let more water in, just like the cistern in your bathroom. Nobody ever went near the fucker.

So, I asked my little nine-year-old brain. How, who, what, when, what the fuck?

Simple. The good Fathers’ reasoning was impeccable, befitting a community of their erudition. The two inches between the bottom of the tank and the tap meant that there was always some holy water in there. The knowledge of ullage, you see, gleaned in college. Glowing H2O particles forever transiting in Brownian serenity. And because you can’t dilute holiness, they just let the blessed molecules mingle with the mortal.

Do you remember a chap by the name of Avogadro? Maybe not, but it doesn’t matter. Avogadro did the scientific groundwork that allowed scientists to quantify the number of molecules in any small amount of stuff, and it works out to be precisely one metric fuck-load. You see, there are so many molecules in even the slightest quantity of water that they irradiate the whole lot with their holiness. Brilliant. That’s productivity.


If I called up to the Dominicans today, filled a Baby Powers bottle with their holy water and then tossed it into the majestic River Shannon, thereby to convey it to the sea, wouldn’t it be safe to assume that in short order the entire Atlantic would be holy water? A weapon of mass-sanctification.

Or perhaps the salt would neutralise it.

Favourites popular culture Religion

The Working Class

It’s a strange expression, isn’t it? Working class.

What does it mean?

I’ve always had a problem with it, even though I’ve always vaguely understood its thrust.

It’s very British. Here in Ireland, we don’t really have a well-defined class system, as they do in England or India. We all curse and swear. None of us has table manners to speak of, and only the most arriviste poser would dare to lecture you about wine or cheese. Or wine and cheese, for that matter. No. Here we have rich Paddies and poor Paddies. Very rich and very poor.

[Caveat: that’s provided you exclude the ludicrous RTE people who inhabit Planet Duncan.]

We never had an aristocracy in the British sense, or at least we didn’t have a native aristocracy once the local rich guys had been driven out by the Brits.

Over the years, we tried to create a new class of knobs in the form of the Catholic clergy, and there’s no doubt whatever that they certainly managed to grab the levers of power, but in the end of it all, you really couldn’t take them seriously, could you? I mean, how could you take a crowd of farm-boys seriously, even if they had been sent off to some college for a year or two to learn some dodgy theology by rote and a bit of spurious Latin? You couldn’t. They were still Seamus and Pat, even if they were wearing ludicrous bishop-outfits and spouting insane bishop-nonsense. We Irish are very good at spotting our own and laughing at them.

What a ridiculous pompous crowd of fools we lumbered ourselves with in the form of the Catholic clergy, and what a ridiculous crowd of fools we became by deferring to them. But at least we rebelled against the fuckers, and now that they’re on the wane, all we need do is remain vigilant.

Ultimately, the class system didn’t mean much here in Ireland, because we didn’t have Lord This and Lord That – or maybe we did, but they weren’t our Lord This and Lord That, so we kept rebelling against the fuckers, unlike our English cousins who were happy for generations to be sent off to foreign wars and to be killed so that Lords This and That could become even richer than they already were.

No. Here in Ireland, we were a much more homogeneous bunch, including the rapacious robbing bastards we call business people. We speak the same language. We have the same lack of graces. We all say fuck and bastard and we’re not embarrassed in front of each other.

That’s why concepts such as class didn’t matter here so much.

In Britain, to describe someone as working class was to distinguish them from the aristocracy and the merchant classes. In this country, working class used to mean what it says: the class who work, as opposed to those who don’t.

I’m from a working class background, as are most of my friends, and I’m proud of it. When I grew up in this town, to be working class was to have aspirations, to be honest, to be determined that you would make the best possible outcome for your life and for your family. To be working class was to take part in the cultural, sporting and social life of our town and to feel a part of our community.

We also had a clergy who handed down religious orthodoxy. This was the dark side. In my parents’ time, though not in mine, anyone who resisted the Catholic Taliban felt their heavy hand. Dissent was not tolerated by these zealous and intolerant men. It was a dark time in our history, and I’m glad to say it’s over thanks to people more courageous than I was, though I also resisted the fuckers in my own small way.

Isn’t history great, the way it has of repeating itself as farce? Did any one of us think it would all happen again?

[Correct answer: No, Bock. We didn’t.]

Well fuck me sideways, but today we have a brand new working class and a brand new clergy, complete with their own brand new dogma.

Today, to be described as working class, you need never have worked a single day in your life, nor your parents nor your grandparents, nor theirs before them. Today, in order to be called working class, you must be dependent. You must be helpless. You must claim off the State for everything you could possibly want.

And if anyone should point this out, the new clergy will rise up, the new Taliban of the PC world we live in, and denounce you for thought-crime. You can poke fun at Pope Ratzo if you want. You can tell Jesus jokes to a Reverend Mother. But you’d better not question the new PC orthodoxy. Talk about lazy, dishonest thieves fucking up the the people who really deserve welfare? Oh Christ no. Such thoughts are not permitted in Sociology 101 – our new Homeworld.

Watch here for the replies. I guarantee you they’ll be on to call me a fascist.

Food & Drink Religion

Great Friday

For years, we have celebrated Good Friday by heading up to Lough Derg and going across the lake on boats, from Garrykennedy to Mountshannon. In keeping with tradition, we bring large amounts of beer, several musical instruments and a firm intention to have a bit of crack which, you’d have to say is a lot better than that miserable old religion shit.

Well and good. What a fine way to celebrate the springtime resurrection of Nature.

Yesterday went according to plan and we travelled across on three motor-boats. We settled in on the quayside at Mountshannon and, in the usual glorious Good Friday sunshine, we stayed there all day and all night long singing songs and slugging beer.

How bad?