Atheist Ireland Group Challenges Ireland’s New Blasphemy Law

Within 15 minutes of a post about the website http://blasphemy.ie/ on the Irish Times website’s breaking news section, visitors (like myself!) received the message: ‘The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.’ I saw the blasphemy site late last night, tipped off by […]

Thoughts on the Death of Cardinal Cahal Daly – Peace, Ecumenism, & the Future of Irish Christianity

The former Catholic primate of Ireland, Cardinal Cahal Daly, died yesterday at the age of 92. On the eve of what promises to be yet another difficult year for the Irish Catholic Church, Cardinal Daly’s death seems to have created a brief pause during which politicians, church leaders, and others have taken to evaluating his […]

New Monasticism Comes to Ireland: Dublin Event with Douglas Burton Christie, 16 January 2010

If old forms of Christianity in Ireland are passing away, there are new expressions of this ancient faith emerging throughout the island. One of these expressions, ‘new monasticism,’ will be explored in a one-day conference in Dublin on 16 January 2010 with Prof. Douglas Burton Christie of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. ‘New monasticism’ […]

Terror in the Skies & Richard English Book Review: Terrorism – How to Respond

The story of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and his plot to bring terror to the American skies has been playing out over this Christmas period. Almost daily revelations of failures to communicate intelligence information, not to mention the apparent ease with which he passed through airport security, have revealed uncomfortable flaws in our systems. So much […]

Contemplating Ireland’s Apathy: Do Irish Citizens Want a Say in their Future?

There is a stunning lack of accountability in Ireland. It doesn’t have to be that way. Writing in today’s Irish Times, columnist Elaine Byrne recounts how an indignant and industrious Icelandic citizenry has peacefully and effectively achieved meaningful political change in the wake of the country’s financial crisis. Demonstrations and mass protests, many organised by […]

Iris Robinson Retirement: Depression, Family Dynasties, Gay Rights and the Battle for Northern Ireland’s Moral Soul

The DUP’s first lady, Iris Robinson, unexpectedly announced her retirement today. Mrs Robinson, a councillor, MLA and MP as well as the wife of DUP leader and Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, cited depression as the reason for her decision. Depression is doubtless rife in Northern Ireland. Societies transitioning from violence typically have high […]

Peter Rollins Book Review, The Orthodox Heretic: Reading ‘Impossible Tales’ at Christmas

At the centre of many Christians’ conceptions of Christmas is a story about how Jesus’ birth came to pass. The gospel writers supply different stories about Jesus’ birth and its significance – for instance, Luke emphasises Jesus’ humble origins and how his birth was announced first to the outcasts of society (shepherds), while John writes […]

A Victim of Clerical Sex Abuse Speaks Out

In all of Ireland’s current sex abuse scandals, it seems the perspectives of the victims keep getting lost as we focus on the bishops of the Irish Catholic Church, or on abusers like Liam Adams. Today an anonymous victim of clerical sexual abuse had a letter published in the Irish Times. It is heartbreaking to […]

Priest Tells Congregation to Shoplift

Shoplifting is a Christian option. So says Fr Tim Jones of St Lawrence and St Hilda Parish in York, who advised the poor members of his congregation to steal from large national businesses if they were desperate in the run-up to Christmas. Fr Jones’ comments have been roundly denounced by the police and by the […]

The Religious Education Debate: Does Religion Need the State?

Terror and wonder. Religious education has the power to instil such emotions in the young. Recent revelations have exposed the physical and sexual abuse that was rampant in many of the state-run, church-controlled churches on this island. On the other hand, in my own research in Northern Ireland I have spoken with people who cherish […]