Monday, 20 February 2017

MARTIN LUTHER AND GERMANY

How Martin Luther has shaped Germany for half a millennium

The 500th anniversary of the 95 theses finds a country as moralistic
 From The Economist print edition | Europe
Submitted to Blog by ARMAGH PRIEST

SET foot in Germany this year and you are likely to encounter the jowly, dour portrait of Martin Luther. With more than 1,000 events in 100 locations, the whole nation is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the monk issuing his 95 theses and (perhaps apocryphally) pinning them to the church door at Wittenberg. He set in motion a split in Christianity that would forever change not just Germany, but the world.

At home, Luther’s significance is no longer primarily theological. After generations of secularisation, not to mention decades of official atheism in the formerly communist east (which includes Wittenberg), Germans are not particularly religious. But the Reformation was not just about God. It shaped the German language, mentality and way of life. For centuries the country was riven by bloody confessional strife; today Protestants and Catholics are each about 30% of the population. But after German unification in the 19th century, Lutheranism won the culture wars. “Much of what used to be typically Protestant we today perceive as typically German,” says Christine Eichel, author of “Deutschland, Lutherland”, a book about Luther’s influence.

Start with aesthetics. For Luther this was, like everything else, a serious matter. He believed that Christians were guaranteed salvation through Jesus but had a duty to live in such a way as to deserve it. Ostentation was thus a disgraceful distraction from the asceticism required to examine one’s own conscience. The traces of this severity live on in Germany’s early 20th-century Bauhaus architecture, and even in the furniture styles at IKEA (from Lutheran Sweden). They can be seen in the modest dress, office decor and eating habits of Angela Merkel, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, and of Joachim Gauck, Germany’s president and a former pastor himself. Both may partake of the glitz of the French presidency while visiting Paris, but it would never pass in Berlin.
Luther shared his distaste for visual ornament with other Protestant reformers. But he differed in the role he saw for music. The Swiss Protestants John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli viewed music as sensual temptation and frowned on it. But to Luther music was a divinely inspired weapon against the devil. He wanted believers to sing together—in German, in church and at home, and with instruments accompanying them. Today Germany has 130 publicly financed orchestras, more than any other country. And concerts are still attended like sermons, sombrely and seriously.

Luther’s inheritance can also be seen in the fact that Germany, the world’s 17th-most populous country, has the second-largest book market after America’s. After he translated the Bible into German, Luther wanted everyone, male or female, rich or poor, to read it. At first Protestants became more literate than Catholics; ultimately all Germans became bookish.

Finally, a familiar thesis links Luther to German attitudes towards money. In this view Catholics, used to confessing and being absolved after each round of sins, tend to run up debts (Schulden, from the same root as Schuld, or “guilt”), whereas Protestants see saving as a moral imperative. This argument, valid or not, has a familiar ring in southern Europe’s mainly Catholic and Orthodox countries, which have spent the euro crisis enduring lectures on austerity from Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s devoutly Lutheran finance minister.

Yet on money, too, Luther differed from other reformers. When Max Weber wrote of the Protestant work ethic in 1904, he had in mind Calvinism and its relatives, such as American Puritanism. Calvin viewed an individual’s ability to get rich as a sign that God had predestined him to be saved. To Luther, Christians were already saved, so wealth was suspect. Instead of amassing it, Christians should work for their community, not themselves. Work (Beruf) thus became a calling (Berufung). Not profit but redistribution was the goal. According to Gerhard Wegner, a professor of theology, this “Lutheran socialism” finds secular expression in the welfare states of Scandinavia and Germany.

Luther’s “subcutaneous” legacy keeps popping up in surprising places, says Mrs Eichel. Germans, and especially Lutherans, buy more life insurance but fewer shares than others (Luther didn’t believe in making money without working for it). And everywhere they insist on conscientious observance of principle and order. They religiously separate their rubbish by the colour of glass and are world champions at recycling (65% of all waste), easily beating the second-place South Koreans.

Holier than thou

Luther also shares blame for some negative qualities ascribed to Germans. He was deeply anti-Semitic, a prejudice his countrymen have shed at great cost (he blamed evil stares from Jews for the illness that eventually killed him). Germans’ legendary obedience to authority is attributed to Luther’s insistence on separating spiritual and worldly authorities (which princes in his day found useful in suppressing a peasants’ revolt). And although personally fond of boisterous jokes, he was among the founding figures of Germany’s rather humourless and preachy tradition of public discourse. Germans today are the first to bemoan their national habit of delivering finger-wagging lectures.


Such rigid moralism can make Germans hard to deal with, especially in Brussels, where the EU’s problems demand a willingness to let misdemeanours slide. But there are worse traits than excessive morality. Besides, 500 years on, Lutheran Germany is being transformed by globalisation. Germany today has not only devout ascetics but everything from consumerist hipsters to Om-chanting yogis. A growing Muslim population is pushing the country towards a new kind of religious pluralism. Mrs Eichel herself finds German churches “too serious”; she attends one headed by an African-American gospel preacher. If the downside of Germans’ Lutheran heritage is a difficulty in lightening up or accepting alternative lifestyles, they seem to be getting over it.

PAT SAYS:

If Martin Luther and Protestantism has had this effect on Germany it begs the question as what what effect Roman Catholicism has had on Ireland?

As a result of Roman Catholicism are we Irish - in the Republic at least:

1. Subservient?

2. Sex obsessed?

3. Two faced - nice to your face but stab you in the back?

4. Think that the only commandment we should not break is the 11th - "THOU SHALT NOT BE CAUGHT"?

5. Greedy when it comes to land and money?

Of course we in Ireland had TWO sets of COLONISTS - THE ROMANS - AND THE BRITISH.

We had the Romans since the 5th century.

And the Brits since the 12th century.

I would love to read our readers views on how our religious and political has affected the Irish personality.



90 comments:

  1. Your last question is a very important one, Pat, and one that deserves time and space.

    However, an equally fascinating question, and one which is rarely if ever given much or any thought is the question which parallels that one but which goes in the other direction. That is: how has our collective Irish persona influenced our religion? In what way is Irish Christianity different from, to take the case in point, German Christianity? Or English Christianity? Or Polish or Russian Christianity?

    That question is surely deserving of a separate blog entry on this eclectic site.

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    1. It's dangerous to generalise but my observation from spending (limited) time in UK parishes is that people there don't mind a longer mass with congregational singing and with the added community element of having tea and coffee afterwards. In Ireland, the quicker the mass the better. it's just an obligation to get it out of the way to assuage a nagging feeling of guilt if you didn't fulfill your duty. There's a rush to get out even before the priest is off the altar. Many people attending the same church for years would barely have a nodding acquaintance with most of the regulars if even that. Does it go back to penal days or something when masses had to be said quickly? It might also explain why the bulk of people sit at the back to be 'on the lookout'. I think many Irish don't understand the mass very well anyway and just treat it as just a devotional. again I'm probably overgeneralising but I do see differneces between the UK and Irish Catholics.I know a vicar turned priest and he has a very healthy attitude to the faith- he isn't caught up in the same guilt traps many older birth catholics are. Of course the jansenist element affected the church in Ireland for a few centuries too. that might explain something about our obsessional guilt also.

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    2. Do you think that the famine and the appalling treatment by the British shaped Irish Catholicism. I am of Irish descent but live in the UK where there is a whole array of religions, some Christian, some not. We are also a nation of immigrants. In my convent school there were a lot of Irish some Polish Italian Hungarian and Ukrainian. I think we have always had a broad culture to feed from. We have had no invaders since 1066.

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    3. To borrow from the Anglican tradition, I'd imagine the Irish are quite 'low' church if that can be said about catholics. I think we prefer a simpler liturgy and don't go into smells and bells so much. Like our food, we prefer to keep things plain and simple.

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  2. As a historian,I would like to point out that though the Romans invaded Britain,they did not do so in Ireland! So we did not have the Romans as colonists in that sense.

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    Replies
    1. I did not mean the Roman Empire. I meant the Roman Catholic Empire!

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    2. But did you not claim in your blog last week that the Roman Catholic Church only originated in the 7th century - 606 I think it's the precise year your little chart claimed. So you now claim that the "Roman Catholic Empire" came to Ireland in the 5th century? Which is it?

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  3. Your Holiness, Your Eminence, Your Grace, My Lord and the lesser titles of Monsignor downwards - scarcely seem to be what Jesus would have wanted.
    And where did croziers, mitres, rings etc. originate from? They can surely be done without!
    All the pomp and ostentation seem to have been partly reasons for Luther's disaffection.

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  4. There can be no denying that the Church exerted undue influence in the past and much of that was undesirable. Now we are much more liberal and secularised and much of that is undesirable too!
    So it is important to keep a sense of balance.
    We should not forget that in the fields of education, culture and health the Church contributed enormously in a very positive way and it is disingenuous not to acknowledge that. There were many abhorrent instances of abuse and also instances of cruelty eg in some schools and these were so dreadful that it is small wonder that they have helped to distort our perception. Many social historians believe that this has regrettably led to a situation where all the positive aspects of the Church's contribution to Irish society is conveniently forgotten.
    So the consumer and liberal society marches on and presumably we are all now very happy - -? We are now free to attach importance and value to different things than our ancestors did in the past.
    Thought for the day...Does progress always mean change?
    Does change always mean progress?

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  5. Someone once said of the Irish showband scene: 'You couldn't tell a 'dirty' joke; you could shoot a person dead, but you couldn't tell a 'dirty' joke.'

    This says heaps about the collective Irish psyche: its disordered sense of moral priority (sex was 'dirty', far worse than robbing another person of their life), and its juvenile state of moral dependency, stunted by generations of frightened subservience to Roman Catholic clericalism.

    It is the reason Charles Stuart Parnell fell out of favour with Irish nationalists in the 19th century: once Irish Catholic clergy got wind of his adulterous affair with Kitty O'Shea (in a marriage where both spouses were deeply unhappy with each other), priests used their Sunday pulpits as political soapboxes and railed against Charles Stuart, equating political support of him with 'a simple love of adultery'. The subservient Irish electorate deserted Parnell in droves, and he died a broken political figure, one of Irish history's 'should have beens, but never was'. And this because of the controlling influence, through fear, the Irish Catholic Church had on ordinary, poorly educated people.

    But hey! The Irish have come a long way since then, and are not the moral dupes they once were. It's the reason Irish people took a moral lead in June 2015, against the express wish of Irish clergy and the Vatican, and voted in favour of same-sex marriage. That one stuck in more than a few clerical craws, with the Vatican, pained at losing its Irish jewel in the Catholic crown, calling the referendum result 'a defeat for humanity'. (Probably said not in wounded humility, but through teeth clenched in anger at having being ignored.)

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    Replies
    1. So same sex marriage is good?

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    2. It is a question. Personally i think it is evil. Now i said it darling ;)

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  6. 'Some hate the English. I don't. They're just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonised by wankers. Can't even find a decent culture to be colonised by.' Trainspotting.

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  7. If you are going to adopt a Weberian model of Protestantism and capitalism and compare it to Ireland, better forget Germany and instead choose Calvinist Scotland and proceed from there. Regarding the above 5 points you made about the Irish and Catholicism, I think all 5 points could be made for any nationality. I don't see the Irish in any way a special case who before the English and Patrick were a pristine people, free of vices, living in a utopia. They can be as nice or as nasty as anyone.

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  8. Where did Bishops wearing wigs, hair pieces originate from? Why does Brian Darcy dye his hair?

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  9. Why don't you ask him
    He does and will talk to anyone about anything

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  10. Cardinal Desmond Connell the past Ab of Dublin has died.

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  11. Darcy is a fraud, it's not only his hair that doesn't show his true colours. Whinging on about not being able to marry (woman) every two minutes. He's fooling no one,
    Fellow Passionist

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    Replies
    1. I wonder is there anyone (woman) who would have him?
      Perhaps I am being unkind.
      Are women queueing up in large numbers in expectation?

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    2. 10:04, 'it's not only his hair that doesn't show his true colours'. Thanks for the bellylaugh. But I really don't believe his hair is coloured. Age might suggest otherwise, but sometimes genetics defies the ageing process...as it does with the author and playwright, Alan Bennett. Despite being in his late seventies or early eighties, Bennett has a head of thick, mostly ungreying hair.

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    3. Ex Passionist Postulant

      Let Brian go, ask him to make his choice stay or go it's easy. I mean you've had your Chapter and he tells the people he's leaving the Graan but he doesn’t know where he's going. Bull shit.

      If anything the Passionists have lost that element it's more like they are Passion less.

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  12. Another Armagh PP takes a leave of absence, it's funny how a sabbatical can be used to cover a whole range of issues. It's hardly worth going on a sabbatical for 6 months, at least the Bishop of Dromore took one year off. Is there life after sabbatical. When does Rory Coyles sabbatical end? Is their weeping and GRINDR of teeth in the See of Armagh.

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  13. 10 .04 jealousy gets you nowhere dear? man

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  14. 10.14
    I expect that Fr Brian is very happy with his present state
    What he was saying was that celibacy is wrong, very wrong
    And from where I stand I agree

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  15. Who is taking leave in Armagh
    Surely not the Brady?

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  16. Of course Darcy can't marry a woman. He's more into the lad than the lady. He's a total fraud.

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  17. There is nothing to be jealous about when it comes to Darcy lol. You'd wonder if by having Daniel, Cliff and Nathan in his life would have made him a better Priest. The wool has been well and truly pulled over many gullible peoples eyes.

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  18. Because of the historic dominance of Prussia there is a tendency to think of Germany as a Protestant country. In fact to the west and the south the current Germany is still riotously Catholic. The pre-Lenten carnevals in the Rhineland and Bavaria, untouched by the dour seriousness of the Reformation, are a permanent testimony to a more cheerful Catholicism inherited from the Middle Ages. Luther himself of course fully enjoyed his later years and died thinking himself still a Catholic.

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  19. Yes, Luther did remain a Catholic and it was his strong conviction that it was the true historic Church that motivated him to see it as his duty to cleanse it of any abuses or undesirable practices which he perceived to have crept in. He retained his respect for the special position of the Virgin Mary and much else.

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  20. Why is someone so interested in Fr Brian's sexuality
    Who cares...not me
    He loves music, so do I and I also love Daniel and Nathan and anyone else
    Who performs
    I'm suspecting Pat is behind some of theses posts as he has said often he don't like Fr Brian.just leave him be, who cares if he straight, gay or bi
    We are supposed to respect all genders here....just like Fr Brian does

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    Replies
    1. These comments have NOTHING to do with me.

      I have no interest in Darcy's personal life.

      I Am only interested in the sincerity and integrity of his public appearances / comments.

      Delete
  21. I do believe that the rc church has a lot to answer for
    Because of its celibacy laws, this in turn encourages young men toward homosexuality
    Just look how our pat developed over the years
    He wasn't of gay orientation when Daly kept ranting at him
    And if he was he hadn't explored his sexuality then.
    Fr Brian has never vered off the celibate life
    So rant away about him being a fraud All you like
    You are obviously jealous that he has stayed true to his vocation
    Which is Serving his flock

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  22. The Irish personality? ...An over willingness to please. Mrs Doyle on Fr Ted. Go on go on have a cup of tea. Saying no when we mean yes... Would you like a drink... An obsession with the ash of Ash Wednesday but a fear of receiving holy Communion.

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  23. Reminds me of the old joke: 'I really hate Germans, they generalise so much'.

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  24. As a priest if Waterford and Lismore I was shocked by what my Bishop Cullinan did to Bishop Pat in Tramore Parish Church today - and after preaching about MERCY! May God forgive Cullinan!

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  25. I believe that "Irish Catholicism" has failed and will continue to do so. The Roman Catholic leadership here talks about the new Evangelization that has to happen.

    But it's only just that TALK tell the faithful what we think they want to hear but give them it is a different matter. I say any Roman Catholic really needs to reflect on wether or not they want to be Roman and exercise the one time rite that they have in Canon law and opt out of being Roman and go to another member of the Catholic family.

    I personally have never liked the Roman aspect and believe that the Irish can make a difference if they would only walk away from the Roman.

    The high Irish Pedestal that they are on is never going away.

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  26. Please could you tell us what happened to Pat at John Shine's funeral today? Pat are you ok?

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  27. may God forgive Anyone who slighted our Pat
    You are a much bigger man Pat than that Cullinane
    Or whoever he is.
    Did you know Shine well, was he related to Brendan ?

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    Replies
    1. John Shine was my former lecturer, seminary president and friend for 44 years.

      I drove 300 miles to his funeral.

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  28. As a Priest friend of Pat who accompanied him to Tramore for the funeral today, I was shocked, saddened and disgusted by the actions of the Bishop of Waterford. I have never witnessed in my life the nasty attitude and actions of the Bishop in front of a packed Church of Clergy and laity. The rage in the Bishop's face and eyes will stay with me for a very long time. People in the Church sitting near us were quite upset.

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  29. can someone on here expose that dreadful man
    And as a friend of Pat I will have no problem in signing my name on this exposure
    Please don't let it drop
    Did any video this or take a picture
    Why didn't you speak up when you witnessed this disgusting behaviour

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  30. So what did they do. Did Cullinan rant and rave at Pat. What happens as a result of this event.

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  31. Can one of the priests from there provide us with that horrible mans email and local newspaper so we can expose him for his unchristian behaviour
    Was brady there too
    Suppose no
    He will be showing up for the coverer upper oconnell

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  32. 18.26 I couldn't say anything at the time because I was really genuinely shocked as the Bishop waving his arms around like a lunatic and calling for four priests to physically remove us from the Church. This was at a funeral in front of a packed Church. It was shocking to witness. The Bishop of Waterford simply lost the plot and everyone in that Church today knows it.

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  33. Shame on Bishop Cullinan behaving like this in the House of God, who does he think he is are what right has he to snub any friend of the deceased!
    I don't always agree with your sentiments and views Pat, but respect your opinion.
    God forgive him.

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    1. I was quite shocked when he started shouting at me and waving his hands in the air and asking for four concelebrating priests to come and physical;y mishandle me out of the church.

      I have NEVER seen a bishop loose the plot and become so angry looking in my life.

      I wonder if Fonsey is well ???

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    2. I was in the church. Cullinan behaved like a Limerick corner boy.

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  34. (((((Hugs Pat)))))
    Give it your best via this blog
    And get susanna breen And other journalists on to it.
    Some Christian they have in that bishop down there
    What is his history anyways....never heard of him before

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  35. So were you removed
    Did they obey their bishop lol

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  36. It is said that Fonsie is an associate member of Opus Dei. One can only imagine the background manoeuvring that they had to go on with in order to get him appointed. He'll be an embarrassment to Charlie Brown eventually. The incident warrants a full post.

    A funeral is a public affair. Did you arrive in pontifical, Pat? Did the concelebrants jump at his bidding and double up as bouncers - in our Father's house?

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    Replies
    1. was wearing my black suit and collar and sat in the congregation.

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    2. Bishop Pat, did they evict you physically? This is surreal. The man must have something to hide.

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    3. No, I told them if they put hands on me I would regard it as assault.

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    4. Good for you. Your personal dignity remains; Cullinan's is in tatters.

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  37. Why are all the posts coming up in my emails
    I didn't request this'll
    How can I stop them ?

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    Replies
    1. 19:45, you've clicked on 'Notify me'. Unclick it, as it were.

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    2. You have ticked the notify box so uncheck it.

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  38. What has Charlie Brown
    got to do with him
    Is Charlie his keeper ?

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  39. You're not the first person to be kick out of a church by a raving Bishop and won't be the last. My sincerest sympathy though Pat.

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  40. Thank you Magna

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  41. So what other raving bishop tried kicking out peeps
    Do theses bishops not know they do not own any church's
    The churches belong to the people

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    Replies
    1. No, they don't know...which is why they behave in these arrogant, overbearing ways.

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  42. Bishop Pat, please do a blog on what happened down there. Put Cullinan in a public spotlight.

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    Replies
    1. I will tomorrow. I only came to Waterford to say goodbye to my friend of 44 years :-(

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  43. Father, I don't quite know what happened today at the funeral in the Church in Tramore as I was at the back. I could see the Bishop was very agitated and very cross. He seemed to be waving at Priests to come forward but only one came forward and he seemed totally embarrassed and out of his depth. People around me seemed quite shocked. The Bishop should not have used a funeral to do this. He was actually shouting at you.

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    Replies
    1. I know. He really lost it. Is he unwell? ??

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  44. Are there any good bishops in ireland apart from Pat, even though I would prefer if he wasn't one
    We don't need bishops , deans, monseniors, Jesus didn't have any high fallouting names


    Sorry Pat that I thought you poste anonymously today

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  45. Thinking about today,Pat
    I'm beginning to think it must have been hilarious
    What a plonker that man in pink was
    Did he just loose the plot by looking at you or did you sort of wink at him or anything
    Bet dean shine enjoyed it all from where he sits
    RI P Fr shine...what a send off
    Never to be forgotten
    Today that is ha ha ha

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    Replies
    1. No. I sat in a pew and behaved normally. But some priests said he was going on about me in the sacristy? ???

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  46. Did you mention Cullinane
    in any of your blogs, Pat ?
    Ha ha ha
    Well you will now
    Looking fwd to it all in detail
    Beats going to see 50 shades anyday....reading here

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  47. Pat, why not leave an icon on your blog to allow people to email you privately? There are stories about Phonsie which deserve to be aired publicly, but privately first.

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    Replies
    1. Will do.

      In the meantime: bishopbuckley1@outlook.com

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  48. @Pat. With Cardinal Connell dead there will be a large funeral full of pageantry on Thursday or Friday. Wouldn't these big funerals usually require a deacon to process up with the Book of the Gospel? Would a certain deacon have a roll? Or, to put it another way, ordinarily would a deacon of the Archdiocese have a major roll to play in the funeral of a Cardinal of his Archdiocese?

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  49. Sorry you experienced that today Pat. Seems like phonsie has lost the plot. Obvisiously another non Christian Man in the hierarchy. Shame him on your blog and in the media. We all support you Pat.

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  50. We fell apart laughing and in stitches this evening in Maynooth about what happened today in Waterford. You deserved all you got, we heard the great news from a Waterford Seminarian and a former Sem now ordained. Couldn't happen to a better c**t. LOL. Sleep well tonight Buckley

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    Replies
    1. Wow!!! and you are our future priests?!

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    2. To "Seminarian at 21 . 18
      How dare you send in a post with those sentiments and subject us to your filthy language!

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    3. Seminarian @ 21.18
      Not very wise.
      Since there's only one W & L seminarian in Maynooth at present, and only one recently ordained (and currently stationed in Tramore), you have identified the source of your mirth.

      Did you get their permission to do this? And to give away the information in the context of vulgar and uneducated language?

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  51. So he was an entertainer in a previous life and still only 57, interesting background alright...the infamous bishop !!!!!!!!!!!!! As from today anyways


    B T W why was that man collapsing and crying on the news about bishop Connell. Was he a victim ??? Of abuse...shocking ..poor man

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    Replies
    1. He certainly behaved like a drama queen in Tramore today!

      Priest.

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  52. Its as I said earlier +Pat they are all on High Pedestals and oh boy do they need to fall of them. They certainly didnt follow or practiced what they preached about in Sunday pasts Gospel.

    I take it no other religions had were targeted, just you the black sheep of the so called flock.

    Matthew 5:38-48

    Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.
    ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’


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  53. Seems to me that the Bishop lost an ideal,opportunity here.
    How nice it would has been to welcome Pat Buckley, to appreciate his presence and the 300 mile drive to honour his old professor. To perhaps admit our serious differences but be aware of the things which hold us together - few that they might be!
    The big question - what would Jesus have done. Surely better than this.

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    1. And his sermon was about RECONCILIATION! !!

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