How Gay Marriage Came to Ireland

Alexis de Tocqueville famously observed of revolutions that they were both inevitable and surprising, and this is no less true of the recent revolution in Ireland, which “Official Ireland” is now celebrating. Various explanations have been advanced both from those who welcome it and those who . . . . Continue Reading »

The Latin American Pope and the Irish Poet

A great variety of people are looking forward to reading and digesting Pope Francis’s new encyclical, Laudato Si, which the Vatican officially releases today. I am as interested in reading it as the next person, but maybe not immediately. That comment may understandably demand some defense, or at . . . . Continue Reading »

Now, the Kasper Theory of Democracy?

A few weeks ago, after Ireland voted to approve so-called “same-sex marriage,” a correspondent sent me an e-mail quoting Cardinal Walter Kasper’s comment on the result: “A democratic state has the duty to respect the will of the people, and it seems clear that, if the majority of the people . . . . Continue Reading »

Two Responses to the Redefinition of Marriage

Two traditionally Catholic countries recently legalized same-sex marriage. In Ireland, the constitution was amended by popular referendum; in Mexico, the legal change has quietly developed in the nation's court systems. Though Catholic bishops and other church officials in each country purport to adhere to the same theological underpinnings and Church teachings, there are glaring differences in their official responses.  Continue Reading »

Why Scotland and Ireland Went Different Ways

In St. Andrews on Thursday, September 18, I voted in the Scottish referendum and the following morning flew to Ireland to give a lecture in the International Centre for Newman Studies at University College Dublin. The subject was Religion, Science and Philosophy, but it was hardly possible not to begin with a few remarks about the previous day’s “No” to Scottish Independence vote (55.3 percent). Whatever the significance for those in Scotland, and whatever the interest across the world, for many politicians and commentators in Ireland this was a surprise and a disappointment. Continue Reading »