Culture and Society

George C Scott as General Patton
Obscure half-forgotten films can sometimes be the source of rare gems of wisdom.One afternoon in the late 80’s, lazily watching afternoon TV instead of writing a theology essay, I became engrossed in a fine little TV movie called “The Last Days of Patton”. It was a sequel to the legendary film, “Patton” and also starred George C. Scott reprising the role of General George S. Patton which earned Scott an Oscar in the original 1970 movie.Patton was a remarkable leader of men; arrogant and half-...
Close up of an older mans' face - by Neill Kumar on Unsplash
A long time ago when I was a hospital doctor – long before I became a priest, and if I’m honest, when I was not necessarily at my most Christian – I once knew an old man called Harry who taught me, if not the meaning of life, then the meaning of his life.I happened to be the doctor on call when Harry came into our hospital very ill with what is called a femoral embolus. That means that the main artery in his leg had been blocked by a blood clot, so that his leg had lost its blood supply and was...
A Man Painting, an Artist - By Eddie Klaus from unsplash.com
There are three kinds of performers: The first, while singing a song or doing a dance, are making love to themselves. The second, while performing, are making love to the audience. The third, while on stage, are making love to the song, to the dance, to the drama itself.It's not difficult to discern who the better performer is. The one making love to the song, of course, best honours the song and draws energy from some deeper place.  And he or she does this by entering into and channelling...
Father teaches his young son to ride a bicycle
I was told this one by one of the fathers in a Parish where I used to work - I’ll call him Tom.He told me that many times in his life, his own father had told him that one of the happiest days of his entire life had been the day he taught Tom to ride a bicycle. A small thing perhaps, but to Tom’s Dad, it symbolised everything that he had hoped to pass on to Tom in wisdom and wealth. It was a symbol - a brief encapsulating vignette - of everything fatherhood had meant to him.Tom loved and...
A man clutches his ice cream
I am sure that, this morning, as soon as we awoke, all of us had just one major concern in our minds – would Ireland beat England at Twickenham this afternoon?When I was very young, my mother’s most annoying favourite saying was: “Offer it up for the Holy Souls in Purgatory”. Usually she said it to me when I was filled with righteous indignation at some major injustice that had been perpetrated against me – such as an unequal division of the ice cream. It is not, you understand, that I could...
Andean Angels credit Cris Fajardo
An increasingly important idea in modern Christian communication is that of religious inculturation, the challenge of making biblical topics and themes meaningful and appealing within differing human cultures. A good example is the different ways in which the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt is depicted in different cultures. Commonly in the West the family pictured as fleeing from persecution is fair-skinned, with Mary and her baby seated on a donkey being led along the road by Joseph. The Holy...
By Nasa on unsplash.com
In speaking of the way we should think about security for the future, Jesus used a curious example - a man who cheated his employer. Luke 16.1-8   But it's the astuteness, not the dishonesty of the steward we are to imitate. Wise people look to the future. They think ahead. Such was the worldly-wise steward. He used his resourcefulness to secure his material needs.Those who try to keep close to Christ must equally look to the future.All the goods of this world are entrusted to us...
After the crowds have dispersed: St Peter's Basilica
Fr Jim Crampsey SJ attended the events in the Vatican to mark the end of the Year of Consecrated Life.  There is a passage which appears in the Synoptic Gospels in the context of the first sending out of the disciples which begins 'take no bag'. It is also a key scriptural passage in the Formula of the Institute of the Society of Jesus. Nevertheless the first task in the days for the closing of the Year of Consecrated Life was to collect a bag full of goodies. Tickets for this came with a...
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Just once in a while, usually in that really quiet period after Mass when nearly all of the people have gone, I will notice out of the corner of my eye a young woman or a young man hanging about suspiciously near the poor box by the candle-stand. And as I clear up after Mass, they will continue to hang around, loitering with what looks like intent. And then when I walk up to the back of the Church, they will very slowly sidle up to me. And then, as they get near me, I will see a shifty look...
image found and saved from www.mcgilldaily.com
In today’s gospel the people of his home town turn against Jesus, and try to do away with him by pushing him over the brow of the steep hill that there town is built on. No-one has ever tried to push me over the brow of a cliff! Don't get me wrong - most of the time I'm very grateful for that; but I do sometimes wonder why not. I’ve been, for the best part of forty years, a Jesuit, a very public follower of Jesus. But no-one, in all that time, has ever attacked me for this in the way they...

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