O Ireland, what has happened to you?
Pentecost Sunday is meant to be amongst the most joyous of the year, long held as the feast, which marks the birth of Holy Church. Because fifty days after our Lord’s Resurrection, the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles, enkindling their hearts with the fire of His love. Enkindled with that fire, they found the wherewithal to go and spread the faith to all nations.
I am sad to say that I found it difficult to be joyous this last Pentecost Sunday. For only the day before did we definitively learn that Ireland voted ‘Yes’ to same sex ‘marriage’, so called.
It is a tragedy, that modern Ireland has further signed away her incredible faith in the truth of God’s law.
The ‘Yes’ vote at the referendum seemed inevitable. Huge governmental resources and finances were employed in all their might. So, too, was the power of the media – a media which is already awash in the programming of the Anglo-American world.
Moreover, millions of euros were pumped in from liberal American ‘charities’ abroad.
Yet whilst all this was distressing enough, it was the response to the ‘Yes’ campaign by the Irish Catholic Church that was most disheartening.
Recently, Roger (my husband and co-blogger at this site) and I took a long trip through the country. We saw the full strength of the ‘Yes’ campaign.
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In one diocese, we witnessed firsthand a bishop give a homily about the referendum, which seemed utterly feeble to me. We were likewise alarmed by Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s lack of solid Catholic counsel to voters, speaking on a news broadcast. Our own bishop in the northwest made a blunder – I hope – for he seemed to suggest it was fine Catholics vote ‘Yes’.
And as far as I can see, there were few exceptions to this dismal pattern of episcopal guidance.
Only one constituency in the whole country voted ‘No’! In that diocese the bishop was apparently very outspoken against the proposal. No wonder the rest of the country voted ‘Yes’, if this is the guidance from the shepherds. It really seems a sham.
As I say, it was greatly disheartening.
When Roger and I returned to Ireland, just over two years ago now, I was struck by two things.
One was the strength of the faith I still encountered in Ireland, particularly after living in parts of Europe where the faith is almost extinguished.
But paradoxically, the second is something quite the opposite, for which I will give an image.
I am a regular walker. The weather has to be extremely severe to stop me going out, early in the morning with my dog and my Rosary. I find it incredibly special to walk and pray in the early hours of the morning.
So doing, when first back in Ireland, I discovered a derelict house. One of many I see around our small village. It is easy to peer into the windows of this house, and I noticed many things that touched me.
In every room there are religious images, the Sacred Heart, the Divine Infant of Prague, the Holy Father of that time (now Pope St. John XXIII).
And in one room, there is a chair pulled up before a fireplace, facing a Crucifix, with a small bottle of Holy Water and a set of Rosary beads next to it.
When I discovered this house and saw all these images within it, I felt deep, deep sadness. For, whilst I was experiencing the continued strength of faith here in Ireland, this house symbolised the very opposite. It represents all that has been lost. An old, simple, humble, piety, which used to fill Ireland. The country was imbued with a spirit of grace, bestowed through such acts of piety.
What saddened me was not simply the fact that this type of piety is being lost. But rather, it is left to rot. For it is no longer valued.
This house is one of many in our area, filled with such religious images, once highly valued, for the graces they brought upon households and the members therein. And now they are simply left in these old houses, to rot with the memory of the time they evoke. For they evoke a time where Irish people placed our Lord and His Blessed Mother at the centre of their lives.
A few days ago, Roger and I assisted at a small Latin Mass for Pentecost Monday.
It was celebrated by an old priest, in a humble makeshift chapel (as the main chapel is being renovated).
We were both deeply moved by the simplicity and piety of this priest and the Mass he celebrated. In fact, we felt in some way transported to an Ireland that hardly exists anymore. Or rather, is ever more fading into oblivion.
It was as though we were taken to the time, evoked by the house I described above. An Ireland that was simple and pious and knew the faith. An Ireland that knew how living the faith was not only crucial, but central to human life.
The same day, I spoke to an English friend, who, if able, would have voted ‘Yes’. My friend was curious why I am so opposed. So, I began talking about the terrible implications I envisage coming from this referendum.
After explaining my position on marriage, between one man and one woman, I spoke of the fact that only a woman and a man together, can conceive a child. I spoke about the horror of the child production industry, of sperm banks and the freezing of human eggs. I spoke of how science is proceeding with what it calls, three-parent embryo research, where scientists are splicing DNA, so that a child can be conceived from three parents.
In the meantime, the human beings they create and are unwanted are simply discarded, like any other waste.
Science is playing with human life in a way that is absolutely grotesque. It is horrific and totally unnatural.
My friend listened and said, ‘I have never looked at it like that.’
How many people who voted ‘Yes’ have never looked at it like that – have never thought of the implications of what they have voted for?
In the attempt to end discrimination towards homosexual people, Ireland has paved a way towards a society that is becoming monstrous – the creation and marketing of human beings in a way that resembles Doctor Frankenstein.
To add to this, is the equally horrific attempt to neutralise the respected traditional and beautiful titles used for parents. For it has been suggested that ‘Father’ and ‘Mother’ be replaced by ‘Parent 1’ and ‘Parent 2’. No doubt, laying the foundations for Parent 3 and then, who knows what?
How abstract and mechanised can we become? As Roger said in his latest post, ‘Welcome to the machine’.
Only a man and a woman can conceive a child, in the manner God intended. Anything other than most blessed union and vocation steps outside of God’s holy law, into the human world of desire alone. And last Friday, Ireland became the first nation to vote ‘Yes’ to all of this.
O Ireland what has become of you?
In these last days within the octave of Pentecost, let us pray to the Holy Ghost to re-kindle Ireland with the fire of His love.
Holy Ghost, have mercy on Ireland.
Our Lady of Knock, pray for Ireland.
Ss Patrick, Brigid and Columba, pray for Ireland.
All Saints of Ireland, pray for Ireland.