Welcome to my website!
Here, you will find details of my Career and Life, Books, and Media & Public Appearances. I also make available a collection of my journalistic writings. Just below, you will find a new Moral Matters Column (uploaded each Friday) and a selection of my Saturday Essays from the Irish Daily Mail. At the bottom of this page, I have selected a quote from my writings in the hope that it will help you kick off your day on a contemplative, thought-provoking, but always life-affirming note.
May 16, 2018
Life is precious, and the greatest gift we can share is happiness…
Nelly lived on a quiet road where people kept mostly to themselves. She was an elderly lady with no children. Her husband had long ago ascended to the angels. Nelly was small with white hair tied in a bun. She always wore a dress with her favourite red cardigan. But the most notable thing about Nelly was her big smile. Nelly’s little house was shaded by a large oak tree. Inside, it was clean, comfortable and decorated with family photos and memorabilia. Nelly loved to gaze back across the years, loved to remember her husband and parents as they once were. Each day, Nelly woke early, made herself a cup of tea and sat in the garden listening to the birdsong. She spoke to the birds, to the flowers and the trees as though they were her children. Her little patch of creation was a sanctuary of love. Nelly regretted nothing nor wished for anything. When she looked back, she did not see the grief and sadness which comes to every life. All she saw were the happy times, those golden moments which also bless each human life. The road slept as Nelly ventured out each morning. In the hush, she moved from house to house doing neighbourly things. She would, for example, retrieve the morning newspaper from a lawn and place it on the doorstep. She would quietly roll any stray bins into their owners’ driveways. She would always ensure that the milk was under the porch and not exposed to the elements. She did this, not for any praise, but simply because that is what good neighbours do…Read more
- Moral Matters has been running each week in the Irish Daily Mail since 2009. Columns from 2013 to the present are available simply by hitting the ‘Columns’ tab above.
March 17, 2018
Can Pope Francis heal his divided Church?
LAST Monday, former President Mary McAleese appeared on RTÉ’s Today With Seán O’Rourke programme. Having recently obtained global headlines with her searing denunciation of the Catholic Church as an ‘empire of misogyny’, Mrs McAleese used her appearance on the show to take aim at none other than Pope Francis. The Pontiff, she claimed, is ‘not a great strategist’, but is a ‘very spontaneous, almost scattergun person’. And, while these might be ‘disarming and lovely’ traits, we are, she believes, ‘beyond the point where that is enough’. It is not often you hear leading Catholic liberals so stridently criticise the current Pope. However, the former president wasn’t finished. While acknowledging that Francis is, indeed, a ‘reforming pope’, he nevertheless presides over ‘a male bastion of patronising platitudes’, to which he himself adds ‘his own quota’. While many were shocked by her criticisms of this popular Pope, Mary McAleese is, in fact, not alone in finding fault with Francis. Indeed, on both sides of the Catholic divide, the Pope has his detractors – people who believe, like Mrs McAleese, that he hasn’t gone far enough, and others who think his ‘reforms’ have gone much too far. As it happens, Mrs McAleese’s broadside against Francis coincided with the fifth anniversary of his election as Pope on March 13. What began as a pontificate of great promise has, however, become one that is often unpredictable, complex and, at times, bitterly controversial…Read More