Getting Personal: Weeping for Ireland

It is time for a change.

For I have long resisted writing blogs that were purely personal—i.e. mainly concerned with what I, Roger Buck, might be thinking, feeling or doing today. Most often, I stayed with the issues, only adding personal flavour if it enhanced what I meant to say.

Today, though, I surrender my past resistance. This post will be a personal update with some announcements—and I may post more like this in the future.

To begin: it has been hard to post anything at all recently – this is my first post since February!

There are private reasons for that. At one level, everything has felt ‘too much’ lately. But apart from personal challenges, there are also my books, which have been more successful than I ever imagined, but also creating difficulties I never imagined, including difficulties in simply keeping up with correspondence.

For despite months of typing lessons, five days a week, I could never learn to type (a fact related to some minor coordination problems, which also meant I could never learn to swim or drive either.)

Now, I find myself repeating this to many folk. And the reason for my ongoing redundancy is that few folk in our fast-paced modern world, particularly the young, can imagine how incredibly SLOW I am in writing. There are psychological factors here too: I remain highly critical of my own pen. All this pertains not only to blogging, but also correspondence of which I now have more than I ever imagined.

Yet even while every sentence I type comes out slowly, I need to write. Indeed, one reason I have not been blogging and been painfully, even sinfully, slow in correspondence is that I  desperately seek time for writing other things.

This includes several new book manuscripts I am working on, of which it is still too early to speak yet.

However, I have also been pushing myself to pen things elsewhere. Chiefly, I have been unusually active at a new online forum for Ireland, created by an Irish friend Maolsheachlann Ó Ceallaigh, whose passion and concern for both the Faith and Irish culture truly move me.

But much as I am moved by Maolsheachlann, that is not the only reason for my engagement at that forum.

As ever, Ireland’s fate haunts me. A few days ago I made an exceptional trip to Dublin – easily the most globalised of all the places on this island.

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Now, this will sound naive, but what I saw in Dublin disturbed me. It disturbed me deeply. And it is naive because, of course, I know intellectually how utterly globalised Dublin has become.

But it is one thing to know something in the head, it is another to feel it in one’s bones, particularly when one lives in a rural hamlet and visits the big city . . .

Evening time in Dublin, I walk and walk the streets— shuddering. I shudder at the crassness, the commercialism I see all around me. And I shudder at the sight of  Irish people now utterly submerged in the rhythms of global culture and capitalism (the two are not easily separated!) whereas even a few decades ago the rhythms would have been referent not to Globalism, but to Ireland herself and to the Church.

I weep for a Dublin that is now, in terms of culture, so little distinguishable from London or Liverpool or Los Angeles. Dublin that was once the outstanding exception to all those other great Anglosphere cities—now apes them.

I walk through the streets of Dublin and the sheer unconsciousness of it all makes shudder, too. I know that if I stopped some of these Dubliners to bare my trembling heart, particularly young Dubliners, they would not have a clue what I was speaking of …

Or they might angrily dismiss my shudders, saying that the pain in my heart is nothing more than nostalgic delusion or the price we pay for ‘progress’. Indeed, they might say much worse.

And were I to reply, I would say: “But, young Dublin men and women, have you really thought about what you are saying? Have you actively contemplated the factors shaping Dublin, even thirty or forty years ago, versus today? Or are you just parroting a global mantra of ‘progress’, a mantra originating above all in the Anglo-American world and not Ireland …”

But my friend Maolsheachlann is not a parrot, I am glad to say. I see him thinking very carefully about what has happened to Ireland, moreover ever-questioning himself, ever-willing to revise his views.

I will have more to say of this anon – but here are indications why I particularly support this new forum which it seems to me may foster creative thinking in terms of saving the Soul of Ireland …

And if you, dear Lector, are either Irish or care about the Soul of Ireland in any way, I urge you to join Maolsheachlann, me and others at this new project.

Now besides this new Irish project, there is another thing I am occupied with – an utterly new direction.

I am preparing video for a new YouTube channel, which, I hope to launch very soon. Tomorrow is Ascension day and I very much hope to be announcing this then. We shall see.

But let me return to personal things . . . I am fifty three years old. And, at this age, I find myself thinking ever more of death.

Death, it can happen to any of us, at any point of course. Still, I think to the hope of another twenty years or so. And I ask ever more what must I do with these remaining years, if I am granted them.

The answer that comes back certainly involves Ireland, working for Ireland. But it involves much more, too, including France and the rest of Europe.

As readers of my new book know, I argue that so often globalisation is really a euphemism for the Anglo-Americanisation of the world. The French, I think, see this better perhaps than any other people in Europe.

Yes, I look at my remaining years and I think to Ireland, but also France, two nations which, by the Grace of God, I have come to know and wherein reside, despite everything, I think submerged potential to resist that crass, rootless, soulless, ABSTRACT – so terribly, terribly abstract – parroting globalism that so clutched at my heart in Dublin.

My voice trails off …

I will just mention that I go into both France and Ireland very much in my new big book Cor Jesu Sacratissimum. Also, there are now more reviews appearing for that book, particularly at the American Amazon site, which you can go to here.

Finally, I apologise to those still waiting even after a long time to hear from me. As I contemplate my remaining years of life, things like my new manuscripts, Maolsheachlann’s new Irish forum or my upcoming Youtube channel must be prioritised, I feel.

I cannot only be a blogger or correspondent in my limited time. But even though I do not easily churn out correspondence like others, I do mean to respond slowly and carefully to quite a number of you.

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11 responses to “Getting Personal: Weeping for Ireland”

  1. MAGAIreland Avatar

    Glad to see you back Roger – I am pleased to learn about the success of the book,s and also about the new Irish Conservative forum. What a great idea!

    You may wish to check out my own blog, MAGA Ireland. I haven’t been able to get any traction – I hope the Irish Conservative forum will be much more successful.

    NB: Your views on Trump per se are unimportant – I have been reading your blog for a long time, and there is far more that unites us than divides us.

    I am in mourning for Ireland – I said as much a few minutes ago to a like-minded friend in Seattle:

    It’s the greed and self-centeredness that cut me to the quick, Roger – the rest is just aesthetics. I’m looking for a better place, a place I can breathe, a place where there is still some remnant of lived Christianity – perhaps a “Red State” (by God’s grace I a a U.S. citizen). I’m looking beyond Eire’s borders, as I cannot seem to find anything of that description here.

    1. roger Avatar

      MAGAIreland, many thanks.

      I hear you being “cut to the quick” at the “greed and self-centredness” in modern globalised Ireland and I hear with sorrow what you say in those comments at that nightwind blog.

      But I can’t help praying you will find some corner of Ireland to be rather than the USA. I wonder how well you know the rural northwest where I am, near the Donegal border? There is still much that is very moving here.

      Your awareness of Ireland, pained as it is, is most needed in this country. I want to say “Don’t leave!” but of course you may be being CALLED elsewhere. I have certainly felt called to go elsewhere in my time.

      Also very glad to have your voice at that forum! God bless you.

  2. Stephen Avatar

    Thank you Rodger for sharing such a personal insight into your life. You will remain in my prayers.

    1. roger Avatar

      Warm thanks for this Stephen – and much else! : – )

  3. Gerard Brady Avatar

    Thanks Roger. Really enjoyed the Gentle Traditionalist and still have a few for sale in the repository. I see you are only a couple of years younger than myself and your comment about death is interesting because I find myself in the same meditative boat so to speak. I sometimes wonder if my Mother (born 1928) or Father (born 1911) looked at the world around them as they neared their ends and thought how much had changed in the short period they had been alive? My mother was quite disturbed by the scandals that struck the Irish Church in the 1990s and I don’t think ever fully recovered from it but she clung to the rosary, indeed when I went to see her for the last time, essentially to say goodbye, she still had the rosary in her hand. She had been unconscious for days after a stroke but thank God the staff were Catholic enough to ensure she died with it in her hand.

    1. roger Avatar

      Gerard, here where I am in the north, I am witness to numerous older folk in my village dying like this – some of whom I’ve visited in hospital. And they are supported in their faith there. Thank God.

      These older generations of Irish are indescribably moving to me. Their prayer, their piety, kindness. I am grateful that they and your mother never lost faith despite the tragedy you invoke.

      Also you mentioned once buying extra copies for a library, or so I thought. I am very grateful you are selling them! This isn’t about my pocketbook, troubled as that is sometimes. It’s about the fact that I so want this book to reach the IRISH, above all. Indeed, a few days ago I was so gratified to hear someone in Ireland had given it to a secular cousin and that cousin has returned to the Faith as a result. Very, very grateful for all efforts to get this book out there in Ireland.

  4. Clay Avatar

    While I frequently disagree with you and what I consider your Nostalgia for a world which never was, I always know you are thoughtful, and sincere, which is refreshing as you correctly state in this world of hyper commericialism. The way forward is not in the past, but rather preserving what was best of the past, and making it new again, and in that we both agree that there is much in Catholicism worth preserving. Best of luck with your new journeys and god bless.

    1. roger Avatar

      A belated thank you for your kind, generous words, Clay. Struggling to keep up with this new project amidst everything else …

  5. David Avatar

    Hi Roger, been a fan and a follower since you published “The Gentle Traditionalist”. I am sorry that this is rather long and rambling but I don’t know where to turn to find hope for the Church in my country. I live in and work in my small business in rural Alberta, Canada, archdiocese of Edmonton. Sad to say that I find it a constant struggle these days to stay upbeat and optimistic about the future of the Catholic Church in Canada, even in, or especially in, countries like Canada, let alone in Europe or other countries.

    I find I am not encouraged by your views about the “modern” Catholic church probably because I share an even more jaundiced view of things than you seem to have. I am familiar with all the rants against “traditional” Catholics but don’t see an upside on the Novus Ordo side of the ledger. I definitely do not share the views of the tradies who believe that JP-II was not a real Pope, etc … and am frankly just plain sick of the liberal politics and secular bureaucratism into which the modern Catholic church seems to be sinking more every day.

    I really don’t know where to turn for hope and while I am not considering chucking the whole thing I rather expect that in 200 years or so missionaries from Africa will be surprised to find Christians here rather like the French missionaries were surprised to find Catholics in Japan.

    I have often thought of myself as a Vatican II survivor. V-II was in large part responsible for the 20 plus years I spent away from the church, returning by the grace of God and the efforts of Opus Dei in Western Canada. been back in the Church for 25 years now but my experience and observations these days gives me pause as I witness something like V-II part deux unfolding in Canada again, only much worse than the Winnipeg Declaration.

    I understand you don’t usually have time to answer these sort of things but figured I would post anyway. For whatever worth it is I am descended on my father’s side from German protestants from Bavaria originally (1750’s) and on my mother’s side from Irish Catholics (Devaney – Sligo early 1800’s) and French Catholics (Pettipas – somewhere around Ville Franche Du Queyran,Gascony eary 1600’s). I grew up serving Holy Mass in Latin, etc. but all that went away in the late 60’s. Coming from a “mixed” marriage I have some understanding of the Catholic-Protestant divide and the fallout in families as a result.

    What hope or resources might you be aware of in Western Canada for a Traditional Catholic refugee who can’t just uproot and move lock stock and barrel back to family roots in Sligo, but is still looking for a return to the old ways.

    David Zinck

    1. roger Avatar

      David, a very belated reply that I know will only be very inadequate.

      My heart goes out to you in this pain and I am afraid I do not know where you might turn in Canada, which is hardly a land I know well (although I have visited four times and it was a special joy for me each time.).

      Also some of your comments above about the divisions within the Church are not quite as clear to me as I wish – e.g.:

      “I find I am not encouraged by your views about the “modern” Catholic church probably because I share an even more jaundiced view of things than you seem to have. I am familiar with all the rants against “traditional” Catholics but don’t see an upside on the Novus Ordo side of the ledger. I definitely do not share the views of the tradies who believe that JP-II was not a real Pope, etc … and am frankly just plain sick of the liberal politics and secular bureaucratism into which the modern Catholic church seems to be sinking more every day.”

      But I guess I get your gist. What I take from this is that you are finding it problematic in many different positions/communities. I understand that. I would not feel at home with sedevacantist Catholics either for instance – although I certainly understand their pain. Nor am I happy in the liberal Novus Ordo church, although I go to the new Mass 6 days a week, as I have no option for the Latin Mass daily and I, for one, desperately need daily Mass.

      Truly, I think the enlivening power of that daily communion, even if it means suffering the most terrible liturgy and often very liberal minded Catholics who may ostracise you, is key to my own sanity, my own HOPE.

      I feel the pain, the despair in your words, which I certainly understand. And what comes to me might seem very counterintuitive. You may not find the perfect community, but you can find HIM in the Mass. And I would put to you some powerful words from J.R.R. Tolkien:

      “The only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion….

      Like the act of Faith, it must be continuous and grow by exercise.

      Frequency is of the highest effect. Seven times a week is more nourishing than seven times at intervals.”

      In my experience, these words express an incredible truth. Daily Mass, seven times a week is extraordinary … If this is at all possible for you and you are not already a daily communicant, please consider it or please consider going more frequently.

      For if you are not such (??) I truly think this can help in extraordinary and maybe very unexpected ways. I have a bit more about this and this Tolkien quote here …

      Finally thank you for your kindness about my book. Also I do try to respond to all comments – but I am much, much slower than the norm of our frenetic modern pace. And I will also pray for you.

      1. roger Avatar

        David – a further response, which I hope you may see. For since I wrote the above, I have felt less than happy with it. Still, I am unsure what to say. But I hear you cannot easily move from the Alberta region. I wonder if there is any chance in anything moving closer to you? Eg. there are a wonderful traditional orders like the Institute of Christ the King who are not bitter about St. John Paul II etc. The process can be very slow, but such orders do respond to invitations if enough people are interested in a locality, although a lot depends on the bishop, of course.

        I think I am probably not the best person to ask. But you could try a forum like Fish Eaters which I am also at and ask there. You will not find sedevacantist type traditionalists there and would find I think friendly sympathetic folk who know much more than I do, some who may even be in your region. (One regular poster there is in the Canadian prairies, I know – but I have know idea where and I guess that’s a BIG region). Again, really sorry to hear your suffering and I am praying for you.