Archive for Aibreán, 2008

The Ottaviani Intervention (Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci)

1 Aibreán, 2008
Author: Book Review
Issue: 24 – April 2008

The Ottaviani Intervention (Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci)
The central contention of The Ottaviani Intervention is that the New Rite of Mass teems with dangerous errors in doctrine and represents an attack against the Catholic teaching on the Mass defined by the Council of Trent.

The authors of the Intervention stated that their intention was not to present an exhaustive treatment of all the problems the New Mass posed, but rather to point out those deviations from Catholic doctrine and practice which are most typical of the New Rite. Among these the Intervention lists the following:

� A new definition of the Mass as an �assembly� rather than as a sacrifice offered to God.
� Omissions of elements emphasising the Catholic teaching that the Mass makes satisfaction for sins.
� The reduction of the priest�s role to a position approximating that of a Protestant minister.
� The change of the Consecration from a sacramental action into a mere narrative retelling of the story of the Last Supper.
� The fragmenting the Church�s unity of belief through the introduction of countless options.
� Ambiguous language and equivocation throughout the rite which compromise the Church�s doctrines.

The significance of The Ottaviani Intervention goes beyond mere historical considerations, however. Since 1969 we have seen the Mass progressively desacralised, made subject to countless aberrations and abuses, and emptied of doctrines essential to the integrity of the Catholic faith. The blame for this painful turn of events has often been laid at the feet of an increasingly �progressive� clergy. The Ottaviani Intervention, however, forces us to consider whether the prevalent liturgical abuses are but the natural outgrowth of principles imbedded in the new rite itself�and thus whether the officially-sanctioned reform did indeed turn out to be, as the Intervention warned, �an incalculable error.� Available from The Traditionalist Box 1 Moyne Co. Longford �10 inc postage. Please make payable to The Traditionalist. (No Stirling cheques or postal orders)

An tathrá

1 Aibreán, 2008
Author: Pádraig Ua Corbaidh
Issue: 24 – April 2008

An tathrá
Is minic a bh� s� ar aigne agam cur s�os ar tos� an athraithe im’shaol. Bh� s� ann i gceart i 1955. T� cuimhne na bliana sin go daingean im’aigne agam.

Anois cuireann boladh de chneasghall�nach m� i gcuimhne den bhliain sin. Is i L�nasa 1955 a nigh m� l�i den ch�ad uair. Roimhe sin is an Carbolic agus an Sunlight a raibh in �s�id agam. Sa mh� sin th�inig P�id Mac Bradaigh (RIP) agus a bheanch�ile, Bern�, chun ch�naithe sa teach liom. Bh�odar tar �is p�sta agus ag feitheamh ar a dteach f�in san am. � an 12� Aibre�n na bliana sin bh� m� im’aonar. Ar an mhaidin sin fuair Daideo U� Chorbaidh b�s, soils� solas na bhFlaitheas air.

Is ar an 4� Me�n F�mhair a fuair ‘Me�’ b�s. Bh� s� seacht� a c�ig bliana d’aois. Bh� Daideo aon bhliain agus ocht� d’aois. Rinne an d� ch�rsa sin athr� m�r dom.

Ach is � 1955 f�in at� go daingean im’aigne. Ag tos� na bliana bh� Daideo ag tabhairt an tighe dom tr� ghn�omhas. P�draig S�irs�al a bh� i mbun na hoibre dlisteanaigh. (RIP. Fuair s� b�s ag tos� 1962). Uair amah�in bh� s� ina sh�irsint Garda S�och�na i gCarraig �lainn Co. Liatroma. Gorta�idh � i dtimpiste ghluaiste�in agus chaill s� g�ag choise. Tar �is sin bh� s� ag feidmi� i gCill na Seanr�tha mar ghn�omhaire do chomhlacht dl�odoir� a riabh bunaithe i mbaile Chabh�in.

Ach ar ais do mo sc�al f�in. Thosaigh an tUasal S�irs�al obair ar an ngn�omhas ar an 8� M� na Nollag 1954 agus n� raibh s� cr�ochnaithe nuair d’�ag Daideo. Faoin am sin bh� oifig i gCill na Seanr�tha druidte agus bh� muintir Sh�irs�al imithe chun ch�naithe i mBaile �tha Cliath. (Ar an 20� Bealtaine bh� s� ag an Aer-Thaispe�ntas i Leamhc�n agus chas m� orthu ar�s. B’� sin le linn An T�stail agus bh� me ag caitheam deireadh seachtaine i mBaile �tha Cliath. Chuaigh m� go dt� an Gl�ir-r�im; “C� Chulainn” i bP�irc an Chr�caigh. Bh� s� ar si�il um Cinc�s agus bhain m� aoibhneas as.

Ar ais ar�s do 1955. Nuair d’�ag Daideo ar an 12� Aibre�n b’iad mo bheirt chara is fearr caillte agam. Bhraith m� uaim iad ag an am agus t� an chuimhne ann f�s sa l� at� inniu ann. Is deacair cur s�os ar mhoth�ch�in i bhfocail fhuair ar ph�ip�ar. Bh�odar im’aigne agus im’chro�. San am bh� m� gn�thach; – nach mb�m i gc�na�!

Bh� m� ag iarraidh Cumann N�isi�nta na h�ireann a chur ar bhun go daingean. Chun airgid a fh�il don ghn�omh sin bh� m� ag iarraidh Phost-tr�cht a chur ar bhun. (Sc�al eile at� anseo. Cuid againn a bh� ag obair i monarcha Fletchers a chuir an Cumann ar bhun. T� cur s�os air ar “An Angl�-Celt” den 20� M� na Nollag 2001).

Comh maith le sin rinne m� obair do Shinn F�in agus An Cumann Cabhrach. Dh�ol m� “An t�ireannach Aontaithe” agus “Ulaidh ar Ais�irghe” (nuacht�n � Bh�al Feirste. Cuireadh cosc air i M� na Nollaig 1954, ach i mBealtaine 1955 cuireadh ceann nua ina ionad – “Gl�r Uladh”. Ach ar�s i M� na Nollag 1956 cuireadh cosc ar “Gl�r Uladh”. I Meitheamh 1962 cuireadh “T�rghr�” amach ina ionad).

I Me�n F�mhair 1952 scr�obh m� litir chuig an “Sunday Independent” agus bh� s� foilsithe ach n�or foils�odh m’ainm l�i. Sr�obh m� cuid mhaith ach n�or foils�odh rud uaim go dt� sin. Scr�obh m� an litir sin mar l�iri� ar alt a raibh ar an bp�ip�ar c�anna 14� Me�n F�mhair. Bh� an t-alt faoi athbheochan na Gaeilge. Bh� an t-alt le P.A. � S�och�in (RIP). Tamall ina dhiaidh sin cuireadh C.A.R.A. (Society of the Friends of the Language) ar bhun agus chuir m� craobh ar bhun i gCill na Seanr�tha. Rinne m� mo dh�cheall � a choime�d beo ach theip orm. Cuireadh deireadh le “mo” craobh i M� na Samhna 1959 agus chaill m� airgead uirthi.

Idir Me�n F�mhair 1952 agus Meitheamh 1955 n� raibh foilsithe agam ach f�gra�, billeoga, tic�id agus leabhr�n a d’�oc m� f�in astu. Bhain siad sin le Cumann N�isi�nta na �ireann. I Meitheamh 1955 bh� alt agam ar “Gl�r Uladh”. Idir sin agus an t-am a cuireadh cosc air bh� roinnt mhaith alt foilsithe agam air. Bh� cuid acu foilsithe ar “Ais�ir�” freisin.

Ins an alt seo caithfidh m� cur s�os ar She�n Ua Cr�ag (RIP). Thug s� cabhair dom “An t�ireannach Aontaithe” agus “Gl�r Uladh” a dh�ol gach m�. Is cuimhin liom go maith maidin an 12� I�il 1955 nuair a thug s� cabhair do Sh�amus Mac Gabhann agus mise leis an mbratach a chur trasna na sr�ide i gCill na Seanr�tha. N� m� n� s�sta a bh� na hOraistigh leis sin. Ar an mbratach bh� “Armagh and Omagh Point the Way to Freedom” scr�ofa uirthi. Tagairt do na hionra� a rinne �glaigh na h�ireann ar bheairic� Shasana in Ard Mh�cha agus �maigh i 1954.

Th�inig Se�n amach go dt� mo teach go minic, c�pla uair nuair a raibh Daideo f�s beo. Tar �is sin thug s� cabhair mh�r dom timpeall an tighe. Rinneamar a l�n cainte faoi ch�is na Poblachta. Gach l� thug m� buid�al bhainne ghabhair d�. Is ar an 3� I�il 1955 a rotha�omar go dt� An Muileann Iarainn. Bh�omar ag smaoineamh ar chrainn a leagan trasna na mb�ithre chun bac eile a chur ar na hOr�istigh. Ach n� raibh an smaoineamh curtha i ngn�omh. Chuamar go dt� An Muileann Iarainn ar an rothar amh�in. Go dt� an l� sin bh� an aimsir an-dona ar fad. Ach tar �is sin n�or chuir s� fearthainn n� go raibh deireadh Mh� Mhe�n Fomhair ann.

Sula bhfuair Daideo b�s bh� c�pla gearracha phr�ta� curtha isteach aige sa ghaird�n. Le linn d� a bheith breoite bh� s� ag smaoineamh ar na pr�ta� sin. I rith an ama sin bh� tinneas orm f�in ach ‘d’fhan m� ar mo chosa.’ Rinne m� iarracht aire ceart a thabhairt d�. Thug muintir U� Mhaolag�in agus muintir Mhic Corr�in cabhair mh�r dom. (An chuid is m� d�obh marbh anois). Bh� subh sh� tal�n agam ag an am, agus le fada ina dhiaidh sin gach uair a raibh an subh sin agam chuir s� i gcuimhne dom den bhfuacht agus den imn� an ama sin.
Thosaigh tinneas Dhaideo ar an 28� M�rta (1955). An l� sin, l� an aonaigh mh�ir i gCill na Seanr�tha, chuaigh s� go dt� an baile m�r chun uisce mianra a fh�il dom. Bh� m� i leaba leis an bhfli� agus chuaigh s� go dt� an baile m�r leis an asal agus an trucail.
An l� ina dhiaidh sin bh� s� f�in dona leis an bhfli�. Bh� orm �irigh agus aire a thabhairt do ruda� – an t-asal, na gabhair, na circ agus adhmad a fh�il don tine.

Tar �is bh�is Dhaideo ar an 12� Aibre�n bh� m� gn�thach. Chuir m� an chuid eile de na pr�ta� isteach. Ar an 29� Bealtaine bh� m� ag caint le P�id Mac Br�daigh. D’iarr s� orm seomra a thabhairt ar ch�os d� nuair a ph�sfadh s�. An l� sin bh� na cluich� T�stail ar si�il i gCill na Seanr�tha. Bh� foirne ann � Bh�al Feirste. Bh� mise agus M�che�l � Raghallaigh (Neap. RIP) chun airgid a bhaili� do Sh�amus � Raghallaigh (Lipton RIP). Bh� S�amus ag iarraidh nuacht�n �iti�il a chur ar bhun. Ach bh� slua beag ag cluich� agus mar sin n�or rinneamar iarracht airgead a bhaili�. Th�inig deireadh do sc�al ar an 13� M� na Samhna (1955) nuair a fuair S�amus b�s.

Le c�pla m� bh� m� ag maisi� an tighe. Bh� m� ag obair air � 9� Meitheamh go 11� L�nasa (1955) im’am saor. Is ar an d�ta deireanach sin a th�inig P�id agus Bern� chun ch�naithe sa teach. Bh� athas orm an comhluadar a bheith agam. Tar �is sin n�or th�inig Se�n Ua Cr�ag amach �n mbaile ach go hanamh. Ar an 27� M� na Nollag bh�omar i gCarraig �lainn ag d�ol na nuacht�n. S�lim gur sin an uair dheireanach a bh� s� in�r dteach.

Chuaigh Se�n agus mise go dt� An Muileann Iarainn ar an 29� M� na Nollag (1955). Dh�olamar cuid mhaith nuacht�n ansi�d, in An B�bh�n Bh� agus sa cheantar sin. Ag teacht abhaile d�inn chas Garda orainn agus n� raibh solas agam ar mo rothar. Ag c�irt i mB�al �tha Conaill gearradh f�ne�il de 15/- orm ar an l� Feabhra 1956. Ar an 16� d’�oc m� an t-airgead do Gharda � Mear�in (RIP). Is m�r an r�-r� a rinne s� faoin rud. Gach duine (beagnach) a chas d� air d’fhiafraigh s� d�obh f�m; an raibh m� ann, srl. Ceapfadh aoinne gur d�nmharf�ir a bh� s� ar a lorg!

In Ean�ir 1956 Thug Se�n Ua Cr�ag cabhair dom ceardchumann a chur ar bhun ag an muileann (Fletchers). Comhchumann Oibrighte na Tuaithe a bh� ann. Se�n � Raghallaigh (�n charr�iste) agus Cr�ost�ir � Cadhain fir eile a thug cabhair dom, �n taobhl�ne! Thug Cr�ost�ir cabhair dom an t-airgead a bhaili�. Bh�omar ag lorg ard� ph�igh. Bh� Cr�ost�ir agus mise ar �r tsl� go dt� an C�irt Oibreachais ar an 12� Meitheamh 1956 i gcomhair �r gc�s le Fletcher. Is ansin a chonaic m� Se�n Ua Cr�ag don uair dheireanach. Bh� Cr�ost�ir agus mise ag feitheamh ar bhus i gCr�ag don uair dheireanach. Bh� Cr�ost�ir agus mise ag feitheamh ar bhus i gCabh�n nuair a shi�il s� suas chun cainte linn. Tar �is sin bh� ionadh ar dhaoine faoi cad a tharla d�. I 1958 th�inig s� ar ais go Cill na Seanr�tha ach n� fhaca m� �. Chuala m� � shin go bhbuil s� marbh.

I 1955 bh� cuairteanna agam � She�n � Taitligh, Feardorch � Maolag�in agus a mh�thair Bean U� Mhaolag�in Bh� m� agus P�id agus Bern� (Mhic Bhr�daigh) ag obair ar an bhf�ar. Bh� an t-asal agus na gabhair f�s agam. Dh�olas an t-asal do Fheilim� Mac an Phr�ora ar an 29� Meitheamh 1956. Bh� Fleadh Cheoil Chontae an Chabh�in ar si�il i gCill na Seanr�tha an l� sin. Thug m� na gabhair do She�n Mac Garach�in in Ean�ir 1960.

Anois cuid fhocal faoi m’obair i 1955. Bh� m� ag obair ar an ‘�il�ar’ i Fletchers i gCill na Seanr�tha. An obair a bh� ar si�il ansin n� tumadh scuaba� i gceallal�s. Bh� duine n�os �ige ag cabhr� liom – Se�n � Bl�r. Dh�anadh s� an ph�int freisin do na str�opa� ar na scuaba� url�ir. Bh� s� deacair � a choime�d ar an ‘�ile�r’. Bh� an saoiste (an tUasal Fletcher) i gc�na� ar a lorg. Mar a tharl�dh rachadh Se�n amach agus thiocfadh an saoiste isteach ar a lorg. Uaireanta tabharfadh m� cead d� dul go dt� an ‘leithreas’ agus uaireanta eile choime�dfainn � ar an ‘�il�ar’.

Na huaireanta sin d�arfadh s� go raibh pian ar agus go gcaithfidh s� dul go dt� an leithreas.

Den chuid is m� is le toit�n a chaitheamh a bh� uaidh dul as.

(Ar lean an mh� seo chugainn)

Mitchel: a most conservative of revolutionaries

1 Aibreán, 2008
Author: Cionnaoth Ó Muireagáin
Issue: 24 – April 2008

Mitchel: a most conservative of revolutionaries
In the nomenclature of Irish Nationalist figures John Mitchel stands as a colossus, but what was his contribution.

Any analysis of Mitchel must put him firmly in the political, social and economic context of mid 19th century Ireland. Additionally, it must also take account of his fiery, quixotic temperament. The Act of Union 1801 was in its first half century, O�Connell was basking in the glory of Catholic Emancipation post-1829, the population of Catholic Ireland was expanding rapidly and teetered on the edge of cataclysm whilst the British Empire viewed itself as the Liberal light of the world spreading its economic and political opinions to all parts of the globe. But a small group of Irishmen of incredible talent and vision called Young Ireland were making their dissenting views heard slowly but surely. Young Ireland was a �spectrum of nationalisms� with each aspect receiving varying degrees of emphasis from 1842 through to 1848. At different times the Young Ireland movement was constitutional, revolutionary, cultural and economic; held together by the belt buckle that was Thomas Davis. Mitchel�s career is inextricably linked to the beliefs and fortunes of this small group.

Mitchel�s contribution to the Young Ireland movement started in 1843 when he joined the Repeal Association where he advocated the use of constitutionalism and was bountiful in his praise and respect for O�Connell and his tactics. However this would all change and most notably from 1845 onwards when he was on an increasingly revolutionary path which would lead him to conviction and transportation in 1848. The spectrum of nationalism spoken of already can be seen clearly in Mitchel�s writings in the period 1843�1848; commencing with O�Connell�s constitutional Repeal of the Union and progressing to calls for violent rebellion.

One area in which Mitchel undoubtedly contributed to Irish nationalism was in both the high standard and vitriolic nature of his writing. First Davis and later Duffy felt the need to temper his writing style at �The Nation�. Without such restraints he reached his most volcanic at his own short lived publication �The United Irishman�. Heavily influenced by Shakespeare and Thomas Carlyle, his Biblical, apocalyptic denunciations of the British system and descriptions of the horrors of the Famine still make for striking reading, �Oh! Pity and terror! What a tragedy is here deeper and darker than any bloody tragedy ever yet enacted under the sun, with all its dripping daggers and sceptred palls.�

�what reeking breath of hell is this oppressing the air, heavier and more loathsome than the smell of death arising from the fresh carnage of the battlefield.

The level of invective and vitriol which Mitchel injected into Young Ireland through his writing is a subject on which his reputation has been both added to and suffered from. In his History of Ireland Mitchel cited with relish Tone�s confession that �my object was to secure the independence of my country under any form of government, to which I was led by a hatred of England, so deeply rooted in my nature, that it was rather an instinct than a principle.� Here Mitchel places himself in the apostolic succession of hatred of English oppression, a place which would be applauded by many later nationalists, most notably Pearse. On the other hand his contribution to the movement is demeaned by John Duffy who claimed that while �Davis loved Ireland, Mitchel hated England�. Indeed, Duffy claimed further that hatred of England was all that Mitchel had by way of reasoned argument in favour of his revolutionary appeal, discarding the nurturing, love of culture and history so important to Davis. Mitchel�s biographer, William Dillon wrote that, �from the opening of the year 1848 down to the day of his death, John Mitchel�s mind was dominated by a ruling passion. That ruling passion was hatred of the British Imperial system�hatred of the system in all its workings, but, above all, hatred of the system as it worked in Ireland.� In support of the theory that Mitchel had indeed nothing to offer but hate, he himself wrote, in November 1857, to a close friend that he was driven by a hatred arising out of his shame at the oppression of Ireland rather than by a positive love of his country. However in contrast to this image of the vitriolic prophet of hate one can see in his writings that there existed a deep love of both the people of Ireland and the land itself. During his time in Tasmania in Jail Journal dated 13th September 1848 he writes, �well known to me by day and night are the voices of Ireland�s winds and waters, the faces of her ancient mountains. I see it, hear it all � for by the wondrous powers of imagination, informed by strong love, I do indeed live more truly in Ireland than on these unblessed rocks.�

This constant longing for Ireland breaks out again and again throughout Mitchel�s writings in exile, �An exile in my circumstances is a branch cut from its tree, it is dead and has an affectation of life. Ever since that banishment from my own country and the sudden severing of all the roots that bound me to the soil, cutting off all the moorings that held me to the firm shore, I am conscious of a certain vagabond or even half savage propensity.�
�I wish I were at Tullcairne and could stroll down to the Lagan and wade a little.�

�Paris is a hateful place�after all you know Dublin is my real place of abode. All the world can�t alter that.�

Founder of Sinn Fein, Arthur Griffith, held that Mitchel�s �hatred of England was the legitimate child of the love of Ireland that glowed in the heart of the man who spent his leisure scaling her hills, tramping her ways and communing with her kindly peasantry. Out of the love he bore to all things animate and inanimate in that Ireland was born the fierce hatred of the insolent oppression that struck in his time its deadliest blow against her life.� Perhaps a more justifiable and balanced assessment of Mitchel�s motivation and contribution would be to paraphrase Duffy, �Davis struggled for, whereas Mitchel struggled against.�

A possible explanation for the hatred which is explicit in Mitchel�s writings is the notion of manhood. Mitchel felt acutely that Ireland had been robbed of its manhood through exploitation at the hands of the British Imperial system. He noted more aggressively with the passage of time that Ireland�s manhood had suffered most insidiously by the preaching of the power of moral force as practiced by O�Connell. Mitchel�s analysis of history provided him with countless examples of national emasculation and his famine experiences provided him with living, or more appropriately dying, evidence that the manhood and self respect of the nation could only be regained at the point of a pike. Mitchel�s logic was to lead him from shame through hatred to avowed revolution as the only redemptive option left to a desperate nation. For Mitchel violence had become an act of self respect, demeaned by over whelming power almost suicidal rebellion was a dire but redemptive act. Griffith acknowledged when he wrote of Mitchel, �the manliest man who summoned her (Ireland) to action in generations.� Perhaps an analysis of the psyche of young Palestinians in the face of Israeli might could throw up similar themes.

Mitchel made little sustained contribution to the political philosophy of Young Ireland for a post independence scenario. �On s�engage et puffs on voit (you make your move and see what happens)� was to a large degree Mitchel�s and Young Ireland�s philosophy. Duffy merely wanted the middle and upper classes to be in control so that they might not �meet on a Jacobin scaffold, ordered for execution as enemies of some new Marat or Robespierre, Mr James Lalor or Mr Somebody else.� (i.e. Mitchel) Such was the fire in Mitchel�s pen that it is unsurprising to read such fear in the ink of one of Mitchel�s own colleagues!

Mitchel looked to America in 1776 and France in 1789 and 1848 as shining examples of the assertion of national manhood. His admiration was more of the rhetoric of revolution than the socio-economic systems they aimed to put in place. Painted on the background of the Famine, the Poor Law, Coercion Bill, Disarming Act and Mitchel�s own fateful famine journey to Galway served as a catalyst convincing him that the only way to restore national manhood and erase its shame was through revolution. It is instructive to note that on two occasions Mitchel admits to an almost mental unhingment. Firstly, during his fateful famine journey to Galway and secondly while in exile. Indeed Mitchel even spoke of a personal humiliation at being born in a country that was oppressed by England. For Mitchel, certain death through rebellion as men was a lesser evil than life through degradation as slaves,�Peace indeed is sometimes beautiful but is often ignoble, corrupt, and ignominious. Not peace but war has called forth the grandest, finest, tenderest, most generous qualities of manhood and womanhood.� In Mitchel�s opinion, �ignoble, corrupt, and ignominious� peace was all that O�Connell had to offer and this was fatally illustrated at Clontarf and by the directionless, floundering of the Repeal Association in the face of the Famine and the pathetic, endgame begging of a once thundering, spectacular but ailing O�Connell in his last speech in the House of Commons. Mitchel noted that Ireland was won at Clontarf and was now being lost at Clontarf. And not only was it O�Connell who stood accused of emasculating Ireland but Mitchel spoke against O�Connell�s political and spiritual ally the Catholic clergy whom he considered to teach patience and perseverance even through the depths of the Famine, �die, die in your patience and perseverance, but be well assured of this that the priest who bids you to perish patiently amidst your own golden harvests preaches the gospel of England, insults manhood and commonsense, bears false witness against religion and blasphemes the Providence of God. Oh my countrymen look up, look up! Liberty, Fraternity, Equality.� A close examination of Mitchel reveals certain anomalies. Mitchel looked to the dates of 1776, 1789 and 1848 as examples as he saw it of a people struggling and he wanted the same for Ireland. However his post revolution prescription for rebuilding a society of �liberty, fraternity and equality� does not sit easy with his revolutionary rhetoric. Mitchel would later advocate slavery in the USA which I feel reflects more his innate social conservatism. Mitchel�s experience, as he saw it, of the rapacious British imperial system coloured any socio-economic policies he had. The gospel of this empire being capitalism was of equally little value which merely enslaved free people and filled poor houses, capitalism was �a machine for exploiting nations; an unmixed and unredeemed mischief whose fruits are torture in India, opium in China, famine in Ireland, pauperism in England, disturbance and disorder in Europe and robbery everywhere.� However, Mitchel�s hatred of capitalism did not throw him into the arms of socialism which he also detested, �Socialists are something worse than wild beasts.� He explicitly denied preaching �Socialism or Communism… or any system approaching them.� Instead, Mitchel�s prescriptions were of a most conservative nature, he advocated a system of national self sufficiency which he saw would remove any desire for conquest. He advocated independent artisans in towns and strong yeoman farmers in the country, regulated economic activity and looked with favour on the Catholic guild system of the middle-ages. Indeed Mitchel�s political philosophy was a loathing of both rampant capitalism, beastly socialists combined with a hatred of 19th century liberalism and modernism, not too far one would think from Rome�s position as expressed by Gregory XVI and Pius IX on each of these issues. Such contradictions in language and substance in Mitchel�s writings is not altogether surprising.

Mitchel�s account of government policy is damning and it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this famine would not have occurred in any part of England and should never have taken place a hundred odd miles from the richest country in the world. Mitchel proposed that just as the British Imperial system had the ideological certainties of providential Protestantism (this was God�s will) and classical political economy (laissez faire) the Irish peasantry had their own ideological certainties of divine and social justice. Mitchel�s argument is devastatingly logical. Given a choice between economic efficiency and Irish lives, the British government chose economic efficiency. Given a choice between doing God�s will by moralising the Irish poor and, on the other hand, simply keeping the immoral poor alive, the British government chose morality and mortality. Mitchel�s view of the Union as shambolic in the face of naked facts on the issue of the Famine has retained a good degree of historiographic validity. Any society to Mitchel which needed sustaining by force must in justice yield before more basic needs and wishes i.e. survival. To farmers during the Famine, he proclaimed �if it needs allyour crops to keep you alive, you will be justified in refusing and resisting payment of any rent, tribute, rates, or taxes.� Mitchel�s temperament naturally attracted him to the raging Jesus in the temple and he sought to convince the Irish peasantry that their anger in the face of genocide was justified.
Mitchel had great respect for the great Catholic champion Hugh O�Neill. His �Life of Aodh O Neill� appeared after the death of Davis and he dedicated it to him, acknowledging him as the source of his inspiration. The preface contains remarks in which he outlined his vision of Orange and Green blending into a unified nation, �when Irishmen consent to let the past become indeed history, not party politics and begin to learn from it the lessons of mutual respect and tolerance instead of endless bitterness ad enmity, then at last, this distracted land shall see the dawn of hope and peace and begin to renew her youth and rear her head amongst the proudest of nations.�

Mitchel�s individuality and irascibility did not make for a good leader and his self righteousness did not make for political compromise. His temperament allied to apoplectic anger at the death all around him led him to adopt the most revolutionary of language. However closer analysis reveals a different conservative Mitchel. He acknowledged that the Catholic guild system was the ideal socio-economic model and admired the Church�s position on Liberalism and Modernism. Within this body of work there were variations in the quality of analysis with much intemperate language for which he remained unapologetic and he was indeed heavily influenced by among others Shakespeare, Carlyle, Davis and Lalor however the impact of his writing style was always consistently high. Pearse was unambiguous when he wrote of the literary elite in the Nation in �The Spiritual Nation� 1916, �It was not Davis but Mitchel who was Young Ireland�s most powerful prose writer.� Mitchel was only a major political figure in Ireland for three years but in that short space of time he created a body of work which reflected a genuine, honest, fiery and Irish heart.

Josep Trueta

1 Aibreán, 2008
Author: Montse Corregidor
Issue: 24 – April 2008

Josep Trueta
Josep Trueta is one of the greatest patriots in the history of Catalonia.

After Antoni Gaudi and Pau Casals he ranks as one of the most popular and humanitarian Catalans; a man who worked to save many human lives.

I have the great privilege of knowing his eldest daughter, Am�lia Trueta, and I have asked her to write a biography of her father for The Hibernian Magazine. She has done so willingly and I sincerely hope you enjoy the read.

�I have been asked to write a short biographical sketch on my father, Josep Trueta, since I am his eldest daughter and therefore the one who remembers him best. He was born in Barcelona on the 27th of October, 1897 the son, grandson and descendant, as far back as the Napoleonic war, of doctors or chemists. However, when it came to the point of deciding upon his career, he was tempted to break the tradition and become a painter. Dissuaded by his father (luckily for the human race), he studied medicine becoming a graduate in 1921. In 1923 he married Am�lia, his life companion with whom he had one son (who died aged 5) and three daughters. In 1929 he was appointed chief surgeon of a large industrial insurance company, where he began experimenting with his biological approach to the treatment of open fractures treatment which was to make him world famous in the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War and is still now the basis for treating these kind of wounds.

When the Civil War ended in 1939, he went into exile, as so many thousands of Catalans and Spaniards, and was invited to London for a short lecture tour – which lasted nearly 30 years. He worked initially as a mere surgeon, then in 1949 became Professor of Orhopaedic Surgery at the University of Oxford. The number of lives and limbs saved by his treatment is immense as it became the norm during and after World War II. During the War, he did research on the kidney, discovering the fact that it has two blood circulations. For this, he was proposed for the Nobel Prize- unfortunately the work, although his name came first, was signed by the five of the team �too many for the Nobel Prize which limits the number to three. When the war ended, with the financial support of his friend Lord Nuffield, he brought research laboratories into the now Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre � the first time such research was introduced into the hospital concerned. He and his team did great work on poliomyelitis, osteoporosis, bone growth, scoliosis, osteoarthritis, etc. and he started working to try to prove his theory on the origin of bone. His fame travelled all over the world � and consequently he was constantly invited to lecture. In 1965, he retired from the Chair at Oxford becoming Emeritus Professor of Oxford University and Emeritus Fellow of Worcester College. This was at a time when Franco was still alive, and, although he was very reluctant to come back to his beloved Catalonia with Franco still in power, he decided to return mainly because he had no means of working if he stayed in Oxford. So he and my mother installed themselves in Barcelona, where he was allowed to see private patients (but not given any opportunity to do research , which was what he desperately wanted). His return was not happy � he was distressed by how he found his country – however he had been able to leave his opera magna published: �The Development and Decay of the Human Frame�. As he states in the preface: �this is not a text book but the fascinating story of the development of the human skeleton…. the structure that allows man to stand erect�and the price he pays for this privilege. �It is quite impossible to even grasp the personality of Josep Trueta without taking into account his intense, deep love of his country, Catalonia. It was the reason for his exile � as he said on a memorable occasion: I left my country because I did not want to see the freedom of my country die � and by this he also meant the Catalan language. His hobby was history � and he even wrote a little book which he called �The Spirit of Catalonia� in an attempt to try to make his English-speaking friends understand why he never liked to be referred to as a Spaniard � why his own language was not Spanish. Since Franco died, the book has been translated into the Catalan language and published in Catalonia � and has had some 20 editions. He is considered very much a Catalan hero � for instance, there is hardly a village, town or city in Catalonia that does not have a street, garden, statue � even a large hospital named after him. Not so in Spain. I am sure he would be the first not to mind this. He was once asked whether he was a separatist – and his answer was �I am not a separatist �I have already separated�.

The Spirit of Catalonia is the first book written in English by a Catalan during the Second World War. The Oxford University published it in 1946. Many people wonder how a surgeon could write this kind of book in the middle of the war. The answer is simple: �The love of his country, Catalonia�. He wanted to explain to the English-speaking people the history of a small country: Catalonia, which was his country and his love of it was a source of motivation for him.
It was difficult to find this book in the original English version but now it can be found on the Internet. The Trueta family published this book in on-line version and friends of mine: Mr. Daniel Carles, Mr. Josep Arnau (two Catalan who are living in Dublin) and also Mr. Marc Font and myself (we are living in Catalonia) helped to collect the excellent English version by Internet for everybody.

This book is now available in the following website address:
http://10anys.vilaweb.com/trueta/pdf/spiritofcatalonia.pdf

This book is a homage to a generation of people defeated militarily but never spiritually.

Finally, in January 1977 he died in Barcelona � 15 months after his beloved wife Am�lia. By then he had accumulated all manner of honours and in his curriculum vitae I have counted 66 distinctions from Universities etc. Some 200 papers and 15 books and monographs have been published worldwide. He had a vast number of pupils from all nationalities, all of whom have spoken with great respect and affection for him. As one of them wrote: �The eventfulness of Josep Trueta�s life was not merely the result of the geographical and historical accidents of his birth. He not only responded to history, he contributed to it.�

Beannacht De ort, go deo!!! (God bless you, forever)

The Family & Social Engineering

1 Aibreán, 2008
Author: Rita Moore Daly
Issue: 24 – April 2008

The Family & Social Engineering
In the war against the family the struggle against the ravages of divorce demands lifetime engagement.

Addressing a gathering in Madrid calling for the protection of the traditional family, the Holy Father noted that �the happiness of the individual and of society (is) strictly connected with the health of the family�.

A family dismembered and scattered thousands of miles apart needs no reminder of the life and death issues. Linking the health of the family with the health of society, however, should be heard far and wide. Bravo Your Holiness! It should be told because too many people, including professionals and religious people, apparently unable to see beyond their own comfort zone, do not see family destruction for what it is. Add poverty and the family problems harmonise with external ones. Bring in a crudely engineered subculture and hear it all transposed into a social dirge of sorts.
Poverty, never a simple matter, of course, is not what it used to be. It is brought up to date by the crude artificial culture that fosters it. Injected into the void of unmet human needs and wants, this is the culture that has supplanted the customs and traditions of family, and the learning and affections that flow naturally from faith and family and civilised human interrelations. This is what makes poverty a new kind of killer. You�ll find it on the outskirts of civilisation. Disseminated among those least equipped to resist its downward pull, it aims at easy prey, the lonely and the isolated, those harmed by loss and deprivation and psychiatric labels. It closes around its target like an adjustable wrench to pigeon-hole him into its comprehensive agenda.

Operating under cover of helping �the disabled�, its real business is alteration of human lives. In an all-out makeover, lives are distorted in an aggregate of disabling, dumbing down, behaviour-modifying methods. Needs are fabricated to accommodate counterfeit remedies. This is the cultural extension of outcome-based education.
Conditioning for subsistence is a major objective in this stultifying culture. From the outside in and inside out, a draftee is in for degradation beyond recognition. Alcohol and the other drugs, said to �reduce defences�, expedite the meltdown in what could easily be described as the psychosocial equivalent of plastic surgery. This attack upon the family and its members is not in view of the people. It is hidden in the secret and open manipulation of our lives. It is observable only in its consequences which are then exploited as causes. A glance at a few distinguishable elements in the brutish agenda may give some sense of its impact on its unwitting victims.

The adage about clothes making the man is not lost on the architects of �social change�. Clothing is the first thing to go. Dress and demeanour in keeping with family and peer group custom is replaced with the burlesque costume of the interlopers. Identity-coded garments, grooming and accessories signalling sexual and social status mark the wearer as a pawn of the cadres of change. Clothing decorated with morbid graphics produced by lit up minds make him the unwitting poster boy for the promoters and profiteers of the �new order�. A certain earring or cryptic tattoo brands him as an outlaw.
Social activities designed to distract, to stimulate or to suppress are substituted for education, productive work, religious observance and true recreation. Family functions and activities are aggressively crowded out. Mindless group meetings, video-watching, bonding sessions, rock concerts, exhausting spectator events, overnight gatherings and parties take over. Looking and listening are all it takes. Groupies call each other �Bro� and real biological brothers and sisters are pushed aside. In the pretence of equality, however, some have freer rein than do others. The guileless give way to the crafty and the well-connected.

Despite the rhetoric of career training, jobs don�t require much in the way of skills. A few large muscle functions are all that is needed for the drudgery that is sometimes available. Jobs cannot be counted on. They come and go, and the hard won earnings go into the costly lifestyle. On again off again employment, broken down cars or no cars, costly repairs, traffic tickets and auto insurance in an amount high enough to be a down payment on a house-complications churned up by arrogance and interference- present a running mess that no human being has the capacity to untangle. A man cannot succeed but achieve enough, just enough, to make him keep trying over and over and over again. He picks away at the wreckage of his life.

The risk of incapacitation is never far away. On the job injuries (combined with false income tax bills), punishment beatings, assaults with motor vehicles, surgical injuries leaving speech or hearing disorders, dental violence, are a few of the highlights.
Habitual networking perpetuates the chaos. Its pernicious effects are continuously propagated in an interlocking jumble of music. Junk food, appetite boosting or inhibiting substances, matchmaking, seduction or loneliness. The compulsions support or trigger one another in this headshop of sensations, juvenilia and group think, and the pounding beat and the spellbinding effect of mobile phones and beeping devices holding it all together. One gets hooked on the dope and everything associated with it.

There is only the present. The past is a broken dream. Memories are destroyed. Future prospects are extinguished. There is only the present, the unmitigated reality of it and the unquenchable hunger. It grows on one, this mockery, until it no longer distracts or stimulates. It grows until only more will do. In a life devoid of human satisfactions, isolated from one�s family, one comes to depend on it for the animal gratifications and analgesics it offers. It grows on the people until the outrageous becomes the ordinary and the scandalous no longer shocks.

�Substance abuse� gets one coerced into treatment (if not into prison) as millions are each year. The treatment, with mind-numbing drugs, at the rate of over a thousand dollars a day, is almost sure to be a program of recovery based on the pseudo-religious Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Attendance at AA meetings is required.

He has a disease, the now �client� is told, an incurable disease that makes him powerless over alcohol (or other drug). It�s in the genes, he is likely to hear. One drink could lead to another and sooner or later to disastrous consequences. If he doesn�t keep going to the meetings-for the rest of his life- he is at risk of death or insanity. And so it goes this cruel and costly culture of poverty, spawning ground of human misery. Decades long, as martyr witnesses can say, in its attack on the family, it threatens the foundations of society.

Invoking the doctrine of free will against the victims of this cultural concentration camp, while the powers that be keep silent, does nothing to protect the family or individuals. In the extreme frustration of it all, the never ending disappointment, youth slips away and family, faith and ethnic identity. Health is ruined. Lives tremble in the balance…and then one begins to see…as the family goes so goes the society.

US ELECTION UPDATE

1 Aibreán, 2008
Author: Karl Howe
Issue: 24 – April 2008

US ELECTION UPDATE
The U.S. primary election cycle continues going into April � for the Democrats. That being the case, though, there is a winner: Barack Obama.

As the final ten states prepare for their primary elections, Barack Obama has developed such a lead that Hillary Clinton can not possibly catch up. However, she can work to make sure that Senator Obama does not gain enough votes to receive a majority of delegates to the party convention and secure the nomination in late August even though Obama will have a plurality of delegates at the convention and a significant lead over Clinton.

What happens then? As they say: �all bets are off�.

The resolution and nomination will be decided when the so-called �super delegates� take the reigns and steer the party to nominate the candidate they feel is more likely to defeat Senator McCain. These �super delegates� are nothing more than party big-wigs and elected officials who automatically get a spot at the convention and do not have to pledge their nominating vote to any candidate. It is these officials that will decide the Democratic candidate for 2008 where all the arguments to persuade will be focused.

Obama will enter with that clear lead in elected delegate count from the primary process and will make the argument that the will of the Democratic voters be upheld by having the �super delegates� ratify his nomination. He will also argue that his candidacy offers the best chance of winning the election as the candidate who can unify the country, clean up the messes of George W. Bush, repudiate and end the Iraq War (which Mrs. Clinton voted in favour of), and rebuild America�s standing in the world by demonstrating its willingness to elect a candidate that can rise above the stereotypes of American prejudice and racial conflict.

Clinton will show a strong surge in delegates in the final state elections. While not enough to pass Obama�s lead, she will demonstrate her toughness and determination to fight to the end. She will also argue that she will be the candidate who can win in contrast to the fading Obama. Another argument for Clinton will be that she won the big, important states that the Democrats will win in November�s general election (such as New York and California). And, while Obama won more states and has more delegates, that won�t matter come November as the states Obama won (such as Louisiana and Georgia) will go to McCain.

The overall problem for both candidates will continue to be gender and race. As the Democratic Party has worked tirelessly to attract women and minorities to their party, they have always chosen the traditional white, middle-aged male as the standard bearer. This year will be different. This year will be the year when one of the constituent factions of the Party will lead the ticket and that is weighing heavily on the individual voters and will be eventually shouldered by the party insiders at the convention.

As the race enters April, the infighting and rhetoric continues to heat up. On March 21st, Democratic Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico endorsed and pledged his �super delegate� vote to Barack Obama to the cries of �traitor� and �Judas� from the Clinton camp. An unknown Congressman only nine years ago, Richardson was appointed UN Ambassador and Energy Secretary under Bill Clinton before winning his position as governor on New Mexico. To say he owes the Clintons his political career would not be an understatement � is it any wonder that they are calling him a traitor? On the other side, black elected officials who support Clinton have endured the taunts that they are betraying their race by not endorsing the only black candidate in history who has the chance of winning.

With the Republican nomination sown up, John McCain has begun the general election cycle by touring the Middle East and Europe to appear Presidential and demonstrate that the U.S. is set for a seamless transition of power. This display of statesmanship also puts the Republican nominee in stark contrast to the Democrats as their race gets more vicious. It will be a long grind until August.


On Meeting Mary & Learning to Pray… (Part VIII)

1 Aibreán, 2008
Author: Padraig Caughey
Issue: 24 – April 2008

On Meeting Mary & Learning to Pray… (Part VIII)
Contemplative Prayer

If there�s anyone out there reading any of this then please feel free to say so. If even one person has been following my tale then it�s worthwhile.

Prayer, like life itself, does not, nor should not sit still but like a river turns and grows as it pulls us to the source and sea of love and life, the Eternal God. In the Western Church we talk of stages of prayer, in the East they look at thinks more holistically. Here I�ll talk of stages, but I emphasise that I do not mean an immediate change from one prayer form to another, rather like moving from a bedroom to a bathroom. The change is usually gradual and we wouldn�t normally notice it in our day-to-day life as it happens. Also, though I speak of such stages in a particular sequence it doesn�t have to necessarily happen that way. Nothing quite sets my teeth on edge as writers on mysticism and mystical prayer being definite and positive about things that are fluid and full of mystery. A pseudo-scientific approach to such things can, it seems to me, be rather like trying to catch the wind in a test tube. Not that it�s not good to classify in order to understand, but to recognise that a Reductionist, Scientific approach to such things has its limits. Saint Thomas Aquinas is, some claim, the greatest of Catholic Theologians. Yet before he died he had a mystical vision that caused him to describe all his brilliant theology as just so much hay.

If there�s one thing I would recommend to any Catholic or Westerner interested in mysticism or prayer it would be to read the spiritual teachers of the East. Similarly those of the East could do nothing better than to read from the West. It�s a bit like having two lungs, or legs or eyes; East and West need each other in a similar way in order to give balance and insight.

Another thing about writers on this subject is that often they are writing about prayer forms they have never experienced themselves. I do not say this is wrong, I�m just saying its limited. Saint Teresa of Avila one time commented that she would rather have a learned Spiritual Director than a holy one. But given a choice the best thing of all would be a learned, wise and holy one, if providence can bless you with such a thing; bearing in mind that wise and learned are not always the same thing.

I�d like to talk about the start of Contemplative Prayer. Earlier we talked of us going to collect water of the Spirit to water the garden of our soul. This we do in conceptual prayer when we imagine scenes from Our Lord and Our Lady�s lives. But now the prayer, the water begins to well up a little of its own accord. How do we know this is happening to us? Well there is a much greater attraction to prayer; we more and more look forward to our times of prayer, as a real oasis in our busy lives. There is a deepening joy and peace in the presence of the Lord. Perhaps a greater quietness, a tendency not to feel the need to talk so much but to listen more.

Compare our prayer at the start to a radio transmitter; at first the messages we are receiving are garbled and full of static, but later they come through much clearer. Like a couple who have been married a while we no longer feel the hectic need for constant talk and exchange of ideas but are content for silence to break out. Not the silence of non-communication but silence of intense non-verbal communication.

This essentially is contemplative prayer in its beginnings. If we were to listen to two vast super computers talking to each other we might hear nothing but the sound of silence. For they might be exchanging information so quickly and at such a pitch we simply couldn�t comprehend it. So with contemplative prayer. It is the Holy Spirit taking over the controls if you like and flying the aircraft of your soul Himself. Let Him do so, trust Him, let go the controls.
A changing prayer like this can be challenging, even threatening, to the person experiencing it. Sometimes older folks can go to the priest and complain that they�re not able to pray anymore. When the priest asks them what they mean they explain that when they try to say the Rosary they can�t get beyond the first couple of words before their minds fly away. What has of course happened is that after having spent good and holy Christian lives raising their families they now find themselves, in their Autumn years, moving into the rich, fruitful harvest time of prayer. Contemplation itself.

To be continued…

The Spiritual Wealth of Eucharistic Adoration

1 Aibreán, 2008
Author: Martina Caffrey
Issue: 24 – April 2008

The Spiritual Wealth of Eucharistic Adoration
The Eucharist is one of the greatest gifts which Our Lord has given us.

Just as we humans are distinguished from the rest of the animals by our immortal souls made in the image of God, Our Creator, so too does the Eucharist distinguish us, Catholics, from the other religions as the One True Faith. We do not just have an earthly material symbolising and reminding us of the Sacrifice of Our Saviour. We have been privileged and honoured by Our Lord to have Him descend from Heaven to our sin filled world at each and every Mass, being as truly present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist as He was when He was crucified on the Cross on Calvary. He deigns to perform one of the greatest miracles which can be seen in this world by transforming bread and wine, earthly and inferior materials, into His Flesh and His Blood. This miracle is just a fore-taster of the splendour and awe inspiring glory which we will see in Heaven when we join Him at the Heavenly Banquet. How good is Our God to us, mere creatures, by giving us such a gift!

It is not just in Holy Mass that we have Jesus truly present among us in the Eucharist. Another great wealth of spiritual healing and grace is drawn from the Eucharist in every church especially where the Blessed Sacrament is honoured, exposed and adored. Eucharistic adoration is one of the best ways to heal our very souls which are so often wounded and bruised by the sinful world in which we dwell. Jesus is present there just as He is in Heaven and just as He is at every Mass. He is waiting there patiently for us to come and pay Him a visit. If we do take that time out of our busy lives to just be still and be with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, we open up our lives to be filled with His graces and blessings. We only have to ask Him for help and He will run to our side and give us all that we need and more. He will help carry our crosses if they get too heavy, He will soothe and console us if we feel run down, He will whisper into our hearts and souls His words of comfort reminding us that He is with us always even to the end of time. However it is up to us to make that first move. God has given us free will and with it we can choose to come near Him or to be far from Him. We can not imagine the joy it must give Our Lord when we choose freely and willingly to come before Him and ask for help. It is truly a sign of our love and faith in Jesus that we come to Him in the Blessed Sacrament and acknowledge that He is truly present there. It is in doing this that we open up our souls to Him because it takes true faith in Him to be able to see Him present there under the appearance of bread. This is the great gift and mark of our faith as Catholics which distinguishes us from all the other religions. We are able to look at the bread and wine and know and believe that they have been transformed and are no longer bread and wine but Jesus as truly present in the Blessed Sacrament as He was when He walked on this earth and as He is now in Heaven.

Since the beginning of the Catholic Church, even since the first Mass at the Last Supper, the importance and spiritual wealth to be gained from the Eucharist has been known and preached by the saints. When Our Lord appeared to Saint Margaret Mary, He told her that He had a burning desire to be honoured in the Blessed Sacrament. Saint John Vianney once said �if we really loved the good God we should make it our joy and happiness to come and spend a few moments to adore Him.� Even our more recent saints and holy people, have expressed how truly precious is the Eucharist and our need to come to Jesus there for healing and graces. Our late Holy Father John Paul II stated that �the Eucharist is our priceless treasure…Of all devotions, that of Eucharistic Adoration is the greatest after the sacraments�. Blessed Mother Teresa also emphasised this by saying, �What we need is for every parish to come before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in holy hours of prayer.� Archbishop Fulton Sheen would spend an hour every day in front of the Blessed Sacrament and longed to preach to the world and bring to all people a love and understanding of the Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. In parishes and churches where Eucharistic adoration has been established and practised fervently, great graces have poured down on the people and the parish. Wherever reparation is made for all the unworthy communions and sacrilegious treatment of the Eucharist, God will not cease to bless and uphold the True Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament by giving vocations to the religious life and priesthood, healing to our families and to our own souls and an increase in our love and belief in the Eucharist.
With the recent attacks on our faith and our Church and with the attempt by an anti-God agenda to destroy our freedom and our Catholic faith here in Ireland and around the world with laws such as the Lisbon Treaty, we have an ever greater need to turn to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. With a growing decline in the practice of our Catholic faith most notable to us here in Ireland, it is necessary now more than ever to turn to Jesus and ask for His help in bringing back His straying sheep. In God�s infinite wisdom, He has provided the means to do this. If you take a look at each family, it seems that there is at least one person who stays true to their faith and who becomes a �prayer warrior� for Jesus. This person becomes the means by which God sends His graces to our families and helps to bring back those who have strayed. Through Eucharistic adoration and the Rosary, we present ourselves and our families to Jesus and can gain so many graces and blessings for our families and for the world, which may even open their hearts to God again and bring them back to Him. If we run to Jesus there in the Blessed Sacrament and drop to our knees in adoration, we can not but know that our fervent prayers are being heard by Our Lord directly. Knowing this, how can we fail to join here on earth with all the angels and saints in Heaven, uniting them both, in worshipping Jesus truly present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament.


The Battle of Clontarf

1 Aibreán, 2008
Author: Gerry McGeough
Issue: 21 – January 2008

The Battle of Clontarf
Fought on Good Friday, April 23rd, 1014 Clontarf has acquired almost legendary status in the annals of Irish history.

In recent centuries, it has been portrayed as the defining moment when the Christian Irish, under their High King Brian Boru, finally defeated the pagan Viking horde that had terrorised Ireland since the late eighth century.

In reality, Viking power had been effectively broken by the mid-990s and the bulk of the ethnically mixed Hiberno-Norse had been at least nominally Christian for generations. Nevertheless, there is an element of truth in the romanticised version given that several pagan chieftains from around the Viking world aspired to re-colonise parts of Ireland and carve out sword-land for themselves just as some of their contemporaries were about to do in England.

Nowadays, it�s popular to view the Vikings as lovable rogues who engaged in the odd bit of plunder when not ploughing the high seas in their long-boats. This image is far removed from reality. Aside from piracy and ruthless slave trading (Dublin, one of their main centres, was a huge slave emporium holding up to a thousand slaves awaiting transportation at any given time) the Vikings were driven by a satanic hatred of Christianity, which led them to focus much of their fury on the rich Christian culture of first millennium Ireland.
So brutal was their impact on this country from the 790s onward that they gave rise to a medical condition that remains with us to this day. The so-called �Celtic gene� first appeared around the eighth century and may have been triggered by the mass stress induced by the heathen onslaught.

Affecting the body�s ability to absorb iron at certain stages, it is most prevalent in Ireland and in those countries around the world where the Irish Diaspora is to be found. It is also common in Denmark and southern Sweden where vast numbers of Irish slaves would have ended up over a thousand years ago.

Despite having sailed large fleets into Lough Neagh, from whence they sacked Monastic centres at Armagh and Ardboe, the Vikings appear to have met stiff, consistent and organised resistance in the North of Ireland from the very beginning, which explains the lack of Norse settlements in that region of the country, a fact that would have long-term historic impact vis-a vis the lack of towns there in later centuries.

Elsewhere, the Vikings succeeded in establishing permanent settlements in Dublin, Waterford and Limerick, thus affecting the local geo-political situations. Limerick is of particular significance in that resistance to the excesses of its Vikings led to the emergence of a minor East Clare dynasty, the Dal Cais, as a force to be reckoned with in north Munster.

Brian mac Cenneidigh was to become the most famous scion of the Dal Cais. Born the youngest of twelve sons around 941 A.D., Brian led a continuous struggle against the Vikings, once executing 3,000 of them in revenge for the enslavement of Irish children.

He succeeded his brother Mahon as provincial king in 976 and began his steady rise to become the overall ruler of Ireland. Along the way Brian dispensed with the customary niceties that prevented tribes like his from being eligible for the High Kingship by simply describing himself as the �Emperor of the Irish�.

Through military victories and shrewd political alliances, Brian had become de facto High King by 1002. He introduced the surname system to Ireland years ahead of other European countries and brought reforms that gave Ireland the potential to become a powerful island nation. A defender of the Catholic Faith and promoter of culture and learning he built up vast libraries for the benefit of Irish scholars. A new Golden Age for Ireland was about to dawn, but the Viking menace remained.

Brian�s success drew the envy of other Irish leaders and aroused a blood lust ambition to depose him among some of the less savoury elements in the Viking world. A combination of these elements led to the famous battle at Clontarf along the beaches just north of Dublin�s River Liffey.

The Icelandic and other Nordic sagas go into considerable detail about Clontarf and reveal a glimpse of the pre-conflict hysteria that erupted across the Viking world. Blood curdling visions and spine chilling dreams were very much the order of the day, with hags in the Orkney Isles conjuring up images of looms weighed with men�s skulls portending, not surprisingly, bad omens.

Viking warriors invoked the great demonic �gods� of Thor and Woden, while their shamans invested their black raven banners and other standards with �magical� qualities.

Things were hardly much jollier on the Irish side where visionaries were working themselves into a state with tales of Bean S� and vampires howling through the deep forests of the night.

No conflict in Ireland would be complete without its traitors. There were Vikings in Brian�s army and more than a few Irishmen aligned with the Norse, while even more elected to stand idly by.
Among these were a significant portion of the Dublin Vikings under Sigtrygg Silkbeard. Sigtrygg�s Irish mother Gormlaith, a problematic individual who also happened to be Brian�s estranged wife, had done much to encourage the battle. She resented Brian Boru�s hegemony over her brother, M�el M�rda mac Murchada, king of Leinster and had invited Sigurd Lodvesson, the Earl of Orkney, to usurp Brian. Brodir from the Isle of Man was also included in the assault.
The Vikings forced the battle on Good Friday, believing that the Catholic Irish would be reluctant to fight on that day. Berserkers, probably high on mead and magic mushrooms, were normally sent out first in order to get the fight started. This done, both sides weighed into each other over the course of the day. Brian, by now an old man, prayed in his tent surrounded by his personal body guard.
The battle ebbed and flowed all day, but by evening the Viking forces began to break and swarms of warriors fled the battlefield and sought to swim to their ships. The change in tide however meant that many of them drowned in the attempt.

Eager to see some action before the end, Brian�s bodyguard broke the shield wall around their King�s tent and chased after fleeing Vikings. Witnessing this Brodir, leader of the Manx Vikings, seized the opportunity and charged the undefended tent. Entering it he found the elderly Brian praying before the altar and slew him where he knelt. Yelling of this accomplishment he ran from the scene but was cut down by Irish warriors before he could reach his ship.
Clontarf was a bitter-sweet victory for the Irish. Viking power in the country had been broken for good, but Brian Boru and most of his sons had fallen in the battle. Had we had two more kings of Brian�s stature to follow after him, Irish history might well have been much different. As it was, without a powerful figure like him to rule, the Irish fell back into the old ways of disunity and, a century and a half later, proved easy prey for the invading Anglo-Normans, whose English crown rule remains a problem to this very day.

The Silent Majority needs to find its voice

1 Aibreán, 2008
Author: Brian T. Hickey
Issue: 24 – April 2008

The Silent Majority needs to find its voice
Michael McGrade, writing in a recent edition of Christian Order, touches on a theme familiar to traditional Catholics: the mainstream print and broadcast media�s strong left-liberal bias and hostility to traditional values.

The author quotes an impressive set of statistics, such as the fact that 74% of BBC staff who declared their political allegiance on the website Facebook described themselves as liberal, or that the media constantly downplay the numbers of homosexual men infected with AIDS, to avoid stigmatising the �gay community�.

The article is well-written and informative. Reading it, however, I could not help finding it rather depressing. Its tone is all doom and gloom. The author piles on example after example of left-wing propagandising in the BBC (or �British Bias Corporation�) and the American news networks, and concludes with the dreary recommendation that the best thing conservative Catholics can do is throw out their televisions. In essence, he seems to be saying �See how anti-Christian out culture is. Isn�t it awful!� He does not suggest that Catholics should push their cause forward more, perhaps by getting involved in the media themselves.

And this is one of the great weaknesses of conservatives today; a natural timidity, a fear of pushing our own case too much. Left-liberals, by contrast, have no such qualms. They are extremely aggressive with their opinions, likes and dislikes and do not hesitate to air them, even if it means harassing other people. I remember when the right-wing Austrian politician Joerg Haider came to speak to the Trinity College Philosophical Society in 2003. A rabble of socialists and Communists protested outside throughout the entire debate, screaming, chanting, blowing whistles and getting on the nerves of everyone present. There had been no such protests from conservatives earlier that year when a member of the Communist Party of Ireland addressed the same society. Nor should there have been – that kind of protest is really counter-productive. But the point is that if the leftists were not utterly sure of being listened to and heeded, they would not be able to disrupt public life with such impunity. (Certainly they do not have to fear a bad press; the day after the debacle, an Irish Times headline announced �Haider Heckled by Students at Trinity�, thus giving the impression that most of the students who came to the debate were hostile, even though far more came to hear Haider than to protest against him.)

Dr Karlheinz Weissmann, one of the leading intellectuals on the German right, divides conservative into two categories which he calls �Helmsmen� and �Passengers�. Helmsmen are the activists, action-men who canvass and campaign and get things done. But most conservatives are not of that type. Rather, they are �passengers�. They prefer traditional ways of doing things, value politeness, culture, and the family, believe in honesty and hard work, go to church. But they are not assertive about these values. They do not write letters to newspapers or go on demonstrations. If they vote at all, it is for phoney �conservative� parties like Fianna Fail or its European Christian Democrat counterparts. They do not seek to bring others round to the conservative cause because in their heart of hearts they think the conservative cause is doomed. Like those fatalistic Catholics who think the church should be ever more conformed to the secular world because �that�s the way society�s going�, these conservatives see their position as a personal decision, but one that is irrelevant to the great mass of men and not one which they should try to impose. I even know some conservatives who take a perverse pleasure in the fact that their way of life is so out of sync with society in general; it makes them feel part of a special elite.

But our opponents on the liberal left have a very different attitude. They are loud, pushy and dogmatic, and this is why with relatively small numbers they manage to have such a huge impact on the way the world is run. Over the last few years, poll after poll showed that a majority of people in the West were in favour of Mass in the Tridentine rite being available to anyone who wanted it. Even in strongly secular France, that figure was 55%. But the liberals in the Church had other ideas, and so it was only when the Holy Father stepped in with Summorum Pontificum that their stranglehold on the liturgy could be weakened and the Latin Mass made more generally available.

Speaking of France, the Irish Times (10/3/08) contains an article by Paris correspondent Lara Marlowe in which she reports a speech made in Rome by President Sarkozy which �raised an outcry� in France and proved �enraging to French secularists�. Monsieur le President�s crime was to praise Christian morality in his speech. �But� says Ms Marlowe, �his compatriots were most shocked to hear Sarkozy mention God 13 times in the same speech – something none of his predecessors would have dared.�

This is an interesting choice of words on Ms Marlowe�s part. She could have written that Sarkozy�s mentioning God was �something none of his predecessors would have done� or �something none of his predecessors would have dreamed of� or �something none of his predecessors would have wanted to do.� But instead she says it was something they wouldn�t have dared to do. That shows nicely how the liberal secularists rule by taboo rather than by argument, and how people give way to them out of fear rather than conviction. In Ireland, we�re not yet so far gone that we are enraged if our president mentions God in a speech. But few readers of The Hibernian will doubt that we are well on the way.

Now, however, Irish Catholic patriots have a golden opportunity to find their voice and take the battle to the liberals, rather than constantly being on the defensive. That opportunity is the upcoming referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. If we can get out in large numbers and make our voice heard in defence of Irish national sovereignty and in defiance of the liberals in government and in the media. we will have shown them that there is life in us yet, and that we are a force to be reckoned with. It could put us on the map and be the start of a whole new era in Irish political life. Let all Catholic patriots resolve to be as active as they can in this campaign. As Karl Marx wrote with something very different in mind, they have a world to win.