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.
June 27, 2018
Wherever life may take you, there really is no place like home
There are many reasons why human beings are extraordinary, but one stands out above the rest – we love, and through that love we give things meaning. To love is to place in the orbit of our affections that which will remain there forever. And it is not only other people that we love. We love nature, animals, the sunset, the starry sky and places to which we have become attached. We love them, and they acquire meaning and significance which only we can explain. Why do I love the old house? I love it because I see in it something much more than bricks and mortar – something which far exceeds its everyday purpose. It is a monument to lives lived and lost, to memories which have attached themselves to every crevice and cornice, to every wall, window, chair and curtain. We love it because it has personality which speaks to our needs, our sorrows and joys. Wherever humans lay their head, that place is infused with memory and meaning. It tells a story of who we are and what we value most. It is a dwelling which serves as a window to our soul. That is why we are not naturally nomads. It is why to be displaced, homeless or dispossessed is so contrary to our nature. It is also why we consider such an act a crime against the moral law. To be complete as human beings, we need a home where we can put down roots…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