Goodbye to Catholic Ireland

Hederman, Mark Patrick & Kenny, Mary

HELLO MODERNITY Goodbye to Catholic Mary Kenny Tenplegate, &19.95, 312 pp. Mark Patrick Hederman Mary Kenny is one of the few people on the planet who regret saying goodbye to "Catholic...

...They also believe "in a 'united Ireland' in the near future, but not the united Ireland of song and story...some kind of a 'reconstituted Ireland/ possibly based on a federal system, which will knit together North and South in economic cooperation...
...The difficulty comes when we try to define more dearly what is meant by "it...
...Kenny refers us for these to the original 1997 edition...
...After all, we are told by the author near the end of her analysis of Catholic Ireland, "I personally believe that there will be a resurrection of the values it represented and a continuity of the faith itself...
...This is a revised and updated edition with contributions at the end from Maeve Binchy, John Banville, Pierce Brosnan, Andrea Corr, Austin Flannery, Frank (Seventh Earl of) Longford, Edna O'Brien, Peter Sutherland, Pauline McLynn, and Tony O'Reilly...
...He is the author o/Kissing the Dark (Veritas...
...Kenny spent her dashing youth as an outraged liberal burning her bra and driving train loads of contraceptives from Belfast to Dublin to spread the good news of the sexual revolution...
...People like myself also share her hope that "the faith goes on...
...For there is scarcely anyone in the whole story of provincial Ireland in the 1930s and 1940s with an ounce of humanity...
...Mark Patrick Hederman is a monk of Glenstal Abbey in County Limerick, Ireland...
...And there is no atCommonweal 22 March 23, 2001 tempt to differentiate between the two...
...However, even though there are sixteen pages of bibliography, there are no footnotes...
...Catholic power has receded...
...Thus, she ends the last chapter "What Heritage for Catholic Ireland...
...Kenny Catholics, of course, read Chesterton and Belloc and sneer at any "spirituality" that is not "recognized...
...with a quote from a Mrs...
...She forgets to mention that she herself was a late adherent to the family cause...
...Kenny, a well-known journalist in Britain, starts with a description of Frank McCourf s Angela's Ashesóboth the book and the movie: "Alan Parker might as well have made a film called How All Irish People Are Absolutely Horrible...
...Kenny, with her usual scientific clarity, informs us that the 1995 referendum carried the motion to allow for divorce in Ireland by 818,842 (50.3 percent) to 809,728 (49.7 percent...
...The McCourt family are all vile: the father is an aimless drunk, and the mother a weak slut...
...I don't think anyone can quarrel with her conclusions: "The church has been rocked...
...Kenny's Catholic Ireland presents a very different picture...
...prosperity is altering culture...
...All these propositions are ungainsayable...
...Her definition of this reality and the reason for her regrets are catalogued in this book, first published in London in 1997...
...Kenny does not concede much to the typical notion of Catholic Ireland...
...The result is that half the book is factual, researched, and based on a solid array of scholarly evidence, meriting the accolade from Conor Cruise O'Brien in the Daily Telegraph, that it should be "read by anyone with a serious interest in Ireland or Roman Catholicism...
...It was not an invading or occupying force: it grew organically out of the soil, the land, the sea, the climate, the sky...
...Whatever effect the punchline has, it cannot stand up to any serious critical analysis...
...For most punters, for example, Irish Catholicism is fundamentally connected with nationalism...
...And Mary Kenny's next sentence is where I begin to part company with her: "At all times it reflected the values of Irish society, as well as reacting to values and trends in universal culture...
...We are presented here with a new phenomenon which we might call "Kenny Catholics," because it refers mostly to the way in which Mary Kenny's family, all of whom are mentioned by name, regard or regarded themselves as being staunch upholders of the faith...
...This hope is based on the thesis that "at all times in history, the Catholic church in Ireland came from the heart and soul and will of the Irish people...
...Commonweal 23 March 23,2001...
...society is more secularized...
...She gives an overview covering the last century, and her book is full of information, data, and facts...
...Here one would read The Furrow, The Capuchin Annual, The Messenger of the Sacred Heart, and one might wear the green scapular...
...And here is where we are sucked into the smug, claustrophobic atmosphere of middle-class bourgeois Kenny Catholicism...
...Catherine Broadberry, whose only claim to authority is that she was born in County Meath in 1930 and happened to write a letter to Mary Kenny in 1995 describing the Catholic values of her childhood...
...The Green Flag and the song "Faith of Our Fathers" are emblems and anthems that frame the "National" creed...
...That is all very beautiful and poetic and I agree with it, as would those who support Celtic spirituality, nature religion, pantheism, etc...
...However, the other half is quirky, chatty, smug, tendentious, and exasperating...
...The grandmother is a bigoted old bitch and the aunt is an embittered, scolding spinster...If the family is awful, the neighbors are ugly and meanspirited, the representatives of the Irish state are cruel and hard-hearted, and teachers, with one exception, are sadistic, twisted tyrants...It goes without saying that the Catholic church is sneering, cruel, and exploitative...
...Such maudlin rhetoric and sentimentality presumably makes half of her readership puke, while the other half reach for a Kleenex...
...Broadberry says, "I have with me still my mother's well-thumbed prayer book, with its devotions and prayers so ardently offered up: thus the faith was transmitted, as a pearl beyond price, which should raise our hearts and fill our souls with rapture...
...What this might mean for issues like divorce, for instance, is somewhat ambiguous...
...This worldview is described in personal anecdote and is woven from individual taste and idiosyncratic selection of evidence...
...Perhaps in the new referendum on divorce conducted by the Kenny Catholics in a reunited Ireland, the sun might be shining all day long...
...had the sun shone for a couple of hours, the result might have tilted the other way...
...She then tells us that it was "a rainy and inclement day" in the West of Ireland where "No votes" were stronger...
...Who knows...
...Mark Patrick Hederman Mary Kenny is one of the few people on the planet who regret saying goodbye to "Catholic Ireland...

Vol. 128 • March 2001 • No. 6


 
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