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.
August 29, 2018
A kiss, a smile a cup of tea – a love that’s revolutionary
It got little coverage, but, for me, the highlight of the Pope’s visit was that wonderful moment when, in the Pro Cathedral, he called for a revolution of love. Only a spiritual leader with global stature could stand before the nations and appeal for such a revolution. Politicians don’t do love, which is why the world hungers for those who do. At a time of such scepticism and cynicism, we need people who dwell in this world but are not quite of it. We need people who touch the spirit, who inspire us to become better versions of ourselves. We need them because human life is much more than the sum of our misery. Love: a much-abused word, but one that has the power to heal like no other. I have often written that it is our greatest trait, for, when love flows, it produces miracles. And, when it dries up, we are left with nothing but our tears. How, then, can we start a revolution of love? And what would such a revolution look like in practice? Look to the left, and now to the right. Look, and you will see countless opportunities to love. It may be only a smile or a touch, but once it is motivated by love it has the potential to transform a life. The loved ones we so often take for granted, offer us our best opportunity to ignite the gentle flames of love. The small act of kindness for your spouse will not make the history books. It will, however, make her day…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