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Illuminat, Evil and Enlightenment

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 25 Aug 2023, 09:10

You can’t go online and research anything without coming across the ‘illuminati’.  Apparently, these are the elite who really run the world (and you can see just what a great job they’re doing!), they rope in all the top celebrities and are soooo evil because they believe in and worship the devil!!!  Wooooh! Scary stuff!

They’re supposed to be interconnected with the Freemasons and a load of other secret societies who, allegedly, possess old ‘knowledge’ or ‘magic’. They share symbols (pentagons, all seeing eyes etc) and you go through a ceremony or initiation when you join. Miley Cyrus is supposed to be one, and that would be enough to ensure it’s a club that I, and I’m sure many others, would never want to join!

I have actively avoided mentioning any of this up until now because I think it is all just another load of old crap, designed to distract and divide us, while the mega-rich continue to plunder the world’s resources for themselves.

Now if you want to run around with your trousers up over your knees, give secret handshakes (like a bunch of schoolboys), cover one of your eyes in photos and make hand gestures to signify your loyalty to Satan, then you really need to take a long hard look at yourself and grow up. Just writing that shows how absurd and rather pathetic it all is, ‘Oh, look at us! We’re Satanists, how evil are we?!’

If you look at it logically, if you believe in the devil, then you have to believe in God, I mean, you cannot have the ultimate evil without the ultimate good, it goes against the laws of physics. And I know whose side I would want to be on.

In the Navajo tradition, they believe that man is bad and has to learn to be good, a bit like the old Catholic teaching on original sin but not as fascist. I don’t think the Navajo would have excluded a child from the family burial plot because someone hadn’t poured water on its head and said some ‘magic’ words. The more you break this stuff down, the more ridiculous it all appears.  How could competent and intelligent people have been persuaded to believe this?! Then again, look around!

There was a time when I believed that man was inherently good but the events of this last year have made me reassess that belief. When you look at it logically, again, we have to learn to be, not only good, but to be human/humane. As M. Scott Peak pointed out in The Road Less Travelled series, it is natural to defecate in your pants, but you learn to control it, just as you can learn how to behave and control your emotions and actions.

There are several well known cases of children brought up with animals who adopted the behaviour of the animals. Psychology will also tell you that if language and a host of other ‘human’ behaviours have not been acquired by the age of 7, then the chances of acquiring them after that become slim. It would appear therefore, that there are no inherent instincts or behaviours that make us human and our ‘humanity’ is something that has to be learned. We are animals, whether we like to believe it or not; I was going to say animals with manners, but I don’t think our manners are as good as many other animal species (eg: elephants).  In the face of that, I think we need to show a lot more humility, and a lot less arrogance, about who we think we are and what we know.

M Scott Peck in People of the Lie pointed to laziness as the source of underlying evil in humanity. Being good requires effort, being evil requires no effort at all. Consciousness is that effort and begins early in humans, anyone who has children will remember the three year old who asked why, why, why? We also learn what we are allowed to question and what we are not. If you live in a society where you are forbidden from challenging or asking questions about that society and/or the belief systems you live under, you never develop beyond the psychological boundaries of childhood and mature into full adult consciousness. You remain passive and obedient, mindlessly accepting and believing everything you’ve been told or, at least, pretending to.

Ireland has had one of the hardest lockdowns in the world over the ‘pandemic’ and has been one of the least vocal in speaking out against it and the restrictions. The consciousness of the majority of the population remains undeveloped and immature. Centuries of British rule and the autocracy of the Catholic Church have created a passive and cowardly population. Here in the north, there is an additional factor to that submissiveness.  On the nationalist side, many people still fear Sinn Fein and what they, or their cohorts, might do if they go up against them. The silence against lockdown has been deafening on the nationalist side, a side many would have thought would have been the first to object to having their freedom taken away. But it’s amazing what the Council for Foreign Relations (aka CIA) can buy for €4.6m (Political principles, Ms McDonald?  That’ll do nicely, Mr Haass.) See link below.

There have been several voices of dissent on the Unionist/Protestant side (Sammy Wilson, Van Morrison) which, when you look at history, comes as no surprise. The first ‘Irish rebels’ were Presbyterians, going back to Wolfe Tone in 1798 and, in the Easter Rising, there were many from the Presbyterian tradition initially involved in the fight for freedom and equality. It was only afterwards, on the issue of Home Rule, that the divide opened up across religious grounds, leading to the political division of a mainly Protestant North and a Catholic South. These were the same tactics the British used to divide India from Pakistan and set Muslim against Hindu, and vice versa.

The false humility promoted by ‘Christianity’, along with nationalism/republicanism, has created a culture of victimhood and martyrdom. The nodding assent on display is the result of a population who are not used to thinking for themselves, or questioning authority, or rather the authorities who are supposed to be on their side. Religious, political and community leaders continue to exploit this victimhood mentality to maintain power and control over the masses. (A strategy not confined to Ireland and now being used by the manipulators behind the BLM movement). This is not to say that the Irish haven’t endured some horrific abuses over the centuries and there is a kind courage in bearing suffering that is beyond your control. But none at all, when it is fully within your control as a grown adult.

When it comes to being good or evil, I don’t care if you worship God or Satan.  I do however, believe that both those entities are the excuse many use for a lot of self-righteous hypocrisy and some extremely questionable behaviour. I believe the choice between good and evil is ours and our alone, but it does require consciousness, and that can only be fully achieved with the right support and advice growing up, and begins with observing, thinking and asking questions. People may be able to control your actions at times, and we may not always be allowed to openly question what we are being told, but the majority of us still have the capacity to think, even if we can’t always express those thoughts.

Some believe that we need religion to provide the moral framework for the development of a conscience and that, without religion, people would not be good at all and evil would flourish. I disagree; there are some religions/belief systems that are fairly benign, eg: Buddhism, but the evils committed under Christianity would do Hitler proud and are no guarantee that a person will act morally or from a place of consciousness.  Religion may tell us what to believe but consciousness makes us think.

When we think about evil, we think about the great evils of Stalin or Hitler who as I pointed out in previous posts, never actually killed anyone. As Scott Peck pointed out, there is another low level of evil, within all of us that we need to be aware of and recognise. We would consider breaking a child’s bones an evil act, but would we feel the same about a resentful and jealous parent breaking a child’s spirit? Or what about the overly involved parent, who gives their child everything, as a way of emotionally manipulating the child and sabotaging their autonomy?

Then there are the diabolical horrors committed by humans against each other when in a state of war, or in defence of an ideology. I’m only a couple of chapters into the Gulag Archipelago and I’m appalled to think about the minds that dreamt up the tortures detailed in it. It’s easy to think the perpetrators were psychotic, and I’m sure there were a few psychos among them, but they couldn’t all have been, or maybe the devil made them do it.

As Solzhenitsyn points out in Chapter 4, ‘If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil, cuts through the heart of every human being’.

He acknowledges the potential within himself to do what his tormentors are doing. He wonders how he would behave if his life had taken a different direction, and questions what makes decent men complicit within these types of situations. He concludes that it is because they believe they are doing good and, as the old saying goes, ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’.

The corruption on display around the world by those in power today could make one think that maybe they are minions of Satan and Old Nick, himself, is running the show. But I’m not convinced.  They say the devil makes work for idle hands but I think it is the weak minded who are most easily led towards corruption.

I don’t know if the Illuminati are a real thing or are just a few deluded celebrities desperately trying to give themselves some ‘street cred’. Illuminati means enlightened and if they really are seeking enlightenment, then they will have difficulty finding it in the vileness that Satan represents. As Jordan Peterson says, ‘truth is the path to true enlightenment’ and truth is the very antithesis of the devil, aka, the Father of Lies. 

The population, at present, are being lied to on a grand scale. The powers behind the lies have been doing this for decades and are well practised in making a lie appear as truth, and the truth, a lie. They use censorship and propaganda to confuse and misdirect us, and people have been manipulated into believing they are doing good by wearing masks, social-distancing and taking ‘vaccines’, without any real scientific truth being presented to validate those claims . Debates rage in families and online regarding the efficacy of these measures and keep us divided and distracted, again.

The only defence against a lie is to consciously seek the truth and be authentic, and that begins with us and us alone. We have within us the power to do good or evil, and recognising and acknowledging our capacity for evil, as well as good, is the first step towards consciousness, and that requires honesty and effort. As we try to navigate our way through the web of lies and deceit that has been created as part of this ‘crisis’, remember the words of Edmund Burke, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing’, so think on.

Apologies forgot to add in the links:



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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 2 Mar 2020, 22:20

Since I was out every night this week, and both the weather and the telly were crap on Saturday, I went out to see Joker as I didn't want to have to wait at least another week before I could get to the cinema and also, to see if it lived up to the hype, which it does.

Joaquin Phoenix delivers a stunning performance as Arthur Fleck, a man clinging to the bottom rung of life, in desperate need of a break or maybe just a genuine act of human kindness.  (Don’t we all Arthur, I feel your pain…)

This Joker is no comic book cartoon character, in the mould of a Jim Carrey or Jack Nicholson Joker, and while Heath Ledger brought a new dimension to the character in the Dark Knight Trilogy, this Joker has a much darker edge.  This is not an action hero movie and Joker is not the nemesis for some do-gooding boy wonder to flex his virtue-signalling heroics.  It is much more and he is more than that too; he is Joe Ordinary pushed over the edge of sanity, scraping together a miserable existence, in a miserable world, the demented product of a sick and demented society. 

Considering the attention this movie is getting, there is more to this than just a brilliant acting performance, it is hitting nerves in all the wrong/right(?) places.

I can understand why the NLF's are nervously fiddling with their self-righteous indignation, worried that Joker might inspire copycat acts of violence, for if ever a movie encapsulated the disconnection between those at the top and those who are not, Joker depressingly does.  He is the bogeyman who, by his actions, inspires a violent revolution against society and the rich, and (spoiler alert) who publicly executes smug talk show host Murray Franklin (Robert DeNiro) when he is invited on to his show after Murray has used a tape of his comedy routine to mock and scoff him (shades of X Factor auditions?) but when it goes viral, sees it as an opportunity to be exploited. 

There is also some controversy around the use of one of Gary Glitter’s song and one of the reviews I read, accused the director (Todd Philips) of trying to be ‘edgy’ by using the track.  I have to say, I found the music appropriate and suited to the scene (and it is a good song regardless of what you may think of Glitter) and maybe the director was not being edgy but merely using the music of Glitter to highlight the hypocrisy of the elite who would condemn Gary Glitter but cover up and excuse the equally deplorable actions of the ‘right’ people (Epstein/Prince Andrew/Weinstein/Saville/Catholic Church).

One of Arthur Fleck’s grievances with the world is that no-one listens anymore, that people are nasty and cruel and have no compassion for their fellow human beings.  He is the on screen manifestation of the injustice and inequality that has been eating into the heart of those on the bottom rung of society for years and who have been ignored and dismissed by those on the top.  He is one of the ‘deplorables’ like those coal-miners who Hilary Clinton vowed to put out of work and, who kept her out of the White House, when they gave their vote to Trump.  

When Arthur first hits back against the bankers, he feels powerful, the little guy has fought back against those who would look down their nose at him and I certainly felt a sense of satisfaction in his actions. 

Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Arthur Fleck has created a character that repels and appeals in equal measure but he is also a character that many will identify and sympathise with, and Joker is, in my opinion, the perfect movie for this time. It captures the zeitgeist and demonstrably highlights the disconnection between the top and bottom of society.  De Niro perfectly encapsulates all those self-righteous media types who sneer and scoff at the outsiders (Trump supporters/Brexiteers) and those who don’t quite fit in with the ‘right’ people or have the ‘right’ opinion.  And there was, again, a certain satisfaction when Arthur dispatched him to meet his maker.  There are other violent scenes and there is one scene where the character attacks a former work colleague which is pretty gruesome and one that I couldn’t watch but which demonstrates the twisted morality of the world of Arthur.

I felt the film had a strong political message or maybe my own political outlook has led me to see more in it than the director was aiming for, but Joker hits a nerve, and I fully expect to see Joker masks on the front line of political protests. 

Overall, I would highly recommend seeing the film, it is a fair construction of a character from the Batman series but this is not a film for children.  This is a bleak and disturbing portrayal of what could happen to any one of us, if our lives got off to a bad start and turned the wrong way.  I will, in all probability, go and see it again, it is definitely worth a second viewing.

The ending is ambiguous and I will leave you to make up your own mind about it but at the end Arthur is laughing and is asked what he is laughing at.  He replies ‘you wouldn’t get it’ and with Trump up for re-election next year and Brexit looming on the horizon maybe that final message should give the Neo-liberal Fascists something to think about because I still don’t think they are…you have been warned!

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Popes, paedophiles, perverts and their apologists

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 22 Aug 2018, 23:29

So, Il Duce is coming, sorry...Il Papa, is coming to Ireland this week, hot on the heels of the Grand Jury Report from Philadelphia (for a World Meeting of Families, no less!!  You couldn't make it up!) which outed a stomach-turning 300 plus paedophiles who operated in the Philadelphia area, and who abused more than a 1000 children over 70 years, and also detailed how their crimes were consistently covered up by the Roman Catholic Church.  

The Pope issued a half-baked apology promising to do more which means nothing considering how long this issue has been going on and also considering, how little has been done so far.  I watched the video of the Grand Jury report and the details were sickening. I really don't know how anyone with a 'Christian' conscience could continue to support this organisation.  But in my experience, I have found that the better Catholic you are, the less 'Christian' you are.  Does the actual reality of what has been done never fully hit home?  Grown men, so-called 'men of God', raped and sexually abused children, some as young as 18 months old!  How can anyone be ambiguous about that? But, unfortunately, they will and I include members of my own family in that, it's like talking to a wall. It is so ingrained in their lives and their thinking, they can't envisage a life without the Catholic Church, too scared to let go and driven by some perverted sense of loyalty, their Catholic identity intricately tied in with their Irish identity and unable to separate the two.  Like the DUP supporters and their Britishness who turned out to support Ian Jr recently; it's their side, so they'll stand by them to the death, regardless of how rotten or corrupt they are.

But as sickening as this is, what gets me even more is the cowardice and hypocrisy of the clergy, those so-called 'good' priests within the Church who are supposed to be decent people and who stay silent, and kow-tow to the hierarchy, refusing to condemn the horror in their midst and helping, still, to cover it up; too lazy and/or too scared to rock the boat, settling for the easy life, going along to get along. 

Most of the priests and nuns, I’ve ever known, were priests and nuns, not out of any great spiritual experience but because of family pressure, a way of avoiding life or as a place to hide out.  In Ireland, not so much now, as back in the day (but it still goes on too) it was the perfect hide out for homosexual men and women; a way of gaining acceptance and respect in society without any awkward questions ever being asked. It also provides an easy life; they never have to worry about bills, where they will live, or where the next meal is coming from.  They are taken care of, they never face any real challenges and, as a consequence, they never really grow up either. 

But my biggest problem with the whole Catholic ethos is the perversion, not just within their ranks, but the perversion of the life and legacy of Jesus.  I mean, if Jesus Christ was here now, what do you think he would say about an institution that has covered up the rape and sexual abuse of children?   ‘Suffer little children to come unto me?’  I don’t think so. 

But Catholics do love to suffer, it’s an integral part of the whole religion, how Christ suffered and died for our sins. His suffering on the cross, the suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, the slaughter and suffering of the Holy Infants when he was born, John the Baptist's suffering,  Mary’s suffering at losing her son, everybody suffering under the yoke of the Roman Empire.  Keep piling on the guilt trips because this was all done for you, you, worthless ingrate!  At least, that’s what they tried to tell us.

Well, I never asked him to, quite frankly, I think it was a waste of his time.  By the way, the whole ‘coming back’ thing, I don’t think it’s going to happen, I mean it’s been 2000 years, something tells me, he’s not coming.

However, this narrative plays out so well in Ireland because we suffered too.  We suffered at the hands of the British Empire, we suffered under their yoke, we suffered to hold on to our Catholic faith when it was outlawed by the state, and we continue to suffer.  We suffered under the hammer of the Orangemen and still we suffer…have you seen our politicians?  And, the weather is crap at the moment too and the Tories are still in power, aarrrggghhhh!   My God, this suffering never ends! 

But again, this is all to a point, because the more you suffer, the greater your reward will be in Heaven, like those fanatical Muslims and their 76 virgins, their reward for martyrdom!  Funny, I was wondering about this the other day, (I know, I really need to get out more!) but what happens after you’ve shagged the 76 virgins?  

Anyway, back to the suffering…what this does, is to allow for suffering to continue, it’s imbues it with honour, just stay on your knees and keep praying for things to get better, or for the ‘strength to endure the suffering’.  Oh, they like that one, the strength to endure.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?  Plays right into the whole martyrdom thing.  Instead of saying ‘Right, that’s it, I’ve suffered enough, I’m going to get up off my knees and do something about this, you endure your suffering, you wear it like a badge of honour, where everyone can see it, especially, where everyone can see it.  You keep enduring, wallowing in self-pity at your hard time because you do it for 'God' and your faith!  Like the abused Catholic wife, enduring the assaults, the infidelity, the misery of it all because she has 'made sure' everyone knows what a bastard he is but she will keep going because she's a good Catholic, and she made her vows, and because she knows she will get her reward when she is DEAD!??

Now, I’m not saying a little suffering or a hard time can’t teach you some life lessons but come on, let’s get some balance here.  You will suffer at some point in life that is guaranteed, we will lose people we loved and cared for, we will run into 'bastards' along the way but to make the life of Christ into a marathon of suffering and endurance is to miss the point completely.  It's a perversion of what Jesus was about. The Christian Church should be about what he said, how he challenged the Pharisees and their hypocrisy, how he stripped away the social hierarchies and treated everyone as equals.  Those things have been lost in the midst of the suffering, the re-writing of history, the attempts at social control and most importantly, the money-making.  

Yes, because in reality the Catholic Church is business first, I was going to say, spirituality second, but there is absolutely nothing spiritual or sacred in an institution that protects the vilest of humanity and covers up their crimes.  There is no second, apart from protecting their wealth and position at all costs.  The details of what happened in Philadelphia and what was covered up, is nothing more than the tip of a very large iceberg.  This has been going on for decades, not just in Philadelphia but around the world, I dread to think what they got away with in places like Africa and South America and are, in all probability, still getting away with.  Those that stayed silent, who helped to cover up the abuses and who continue to obstruct justice, are just as culpable as the perpetrators.  And the faithful?  What of them? 

Ireland has changed a lot in many ways since the last visit by a Pope.  I remember it well, the whole place was decorated with Pope flags and thousands headed off on buses to see him.  I wasn’t among them.  Now, there isn’t a flag in sight, other than in the local churches and I don’t think there will be too many bus loads this time either.  However, some things haven’t changed and they still maintain a lot of control through the schools which is why the majority here still go along to get along. Weekly attendance at mass may have gone down but the congregations still turn out for the occasions, Christmas, Easter, Holy Communions etc:  Social Catholics rather than devout followers.  But the point is, they still keep turning out which keeps the Church going financially and institutionally, and as long as the money keeps rolling in, and they aren’t being fully held to account, then there is no incentive to change or fully address these issues head on.

It will be interesting to see what kind of reception he gets, and how many do turn out.  There is opposition and some quite vocal opposition but Ireland as a whole, is still too eager to please, too keen to show the world how grown-up they are, or think they are, too willing to overlook and forgive the unforgivable.  Because it’s easier to say I forgive and turn away with false humility than to address it head on and call it out for what it is, an appalling abuse of power and dereliction of duty against the weakest and most vulnerable in society. 





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1690 vs 1916 round 2

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So, here we go with another round of 1690 vs 1916. 

The local St Paddy's Day committee got a chunk of money from the council for this year's parade and because we're all now being 'inclusive' and 'non-sectarian', they banned the Irish tricolour from the official parade.  So, the usual's are all screaming from the rooftops about their Christian and cultural heritage and another round of political 'whataboutery' has raged along the lines of 'If we can't have the tricolour, will they ban the Union Jack from the 12th July?'

It doesn't matter that this is a completely different issue. St Paddy's Day is supposed to be about celebrating the guy who brought Christianity to Ireland (because that's really something to celebrate since we all know how that turned out!) and whose symbol is the shamrock, not a tricolour, a shamrock.

Whereas the Twelfth is a coat-trailing exercise to celebrate King Billy getting one over on the Fenians (although they weren't called Fenians back then, but never let historical accuracy get in the way of a good opportunity to stick it to the other side) and the Union Jack is absolutely crucial to it (not that the Union Jack existed back then either).  

So, everybody got very offended and jumped on the high-horse of righteous indignation and vented their spleen on Facebook and other social media platforms and so the Shinners, those self-appointed custodians of all things Irish, found themselves in the firing line, because their members are all on the organising committee of the aforementioned parade.

Ye, cud ne mick it up!  (Wee bit of Ulster Scots there, just expressing a bit of the old cultural heritage!  Not officially mine, but what's a bit of cultural appropriation between 'oul' compatriots, after all, I've been to Scotland several times for Hogmanay!)

So, now the Shinners have been getting it in the neck from their supporters and have been running back and forth to the council to clarify the position and while no tricolours were damaged in the writing of this blog. Sorry!  Seem to have got my statements mixed up there - while no tricolours will officially appear in the parade, members of the public will be allowed to bring their own and wave it as is their wont or their 'right under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement to freely express their culture heritage as citizens of the North of Ireland as recognised by the governments of London and Dublin'.  

So, there you have it!  Those good Christian citizens who identify as Irish can bring their piece of coloured material and wave it all day long and who cares if it offends those other good Christians who identify as British with their piece of different coloured material. The important thing is to know that the other side were thwarted in their chance to stick one to your side and that old sectarian bigotry is alive and not just well, but thriving!  

Now, Strabane is an area of economic and social deprivation and recently the main Catholic Church in the town began fund-raising for repairs.  The Church was built in 1895, it's gothic in style and they needed the money to repair the stained glass windows and stonework.  The amount they asked for was £100,000, a formidable amount for a not very wealthy parish.  But lo and behold, the good Christian folk dug deep and raised the money in record time. 

Now, I'm not easily offended, pieces of coloured material, cultural identity, couldn't care less, but this offended me.  The wealthiest institution and the biggest landowner on the planet (now, the Rothschild's could be worth more but no one can really tie them down to a figure, besides they're a family, not an institution) came to ask the people of Strabane for the money to fix one of their buildings. The same institution that is still covering up paedophile activity and who committed some of the most horrific abuses against the weakest and most vulnerable members of society, come looking for a hand-out from the people of Strabane. Funnily enough, no one was offended by this at all, anywhere!  

Anyway, I don't normally do St Paddy's Day, I'm not much of a drinker, to me it's just an excuse for a piss up, as if they really needed another one. By the way, did you know that 88 people die in Ireland every month from alcohol related illness?  Strangely enough, no one ever seems to get offended or upset about this either!  Times I wonder, is it me, is it? 

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Trump VS Pope

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I was reading an article in The Observer at the weekend by Stewart Lee where he was comparing Donald Trump’s meeting with the Pope as a ‘good vs evil’ encounter.  Trump in this scenario being likened to Satan, and the Pope being the ‘good’ guy.  Whatever your opinion on ‘the Donald’, I really don’t think he is completely evil any more than the Pope is completely ‘good’.  I mean, is Donald Trump really more ‘evil’ than the Pope?

 Look at it this way, the Pope has, for most of his life, been a member of the Catholic Church.  An organisation that has been responsible for the systemic rape, abuse and possible murder of the most vulnerable of children, on a global scale.  There is nowhere on the planet where the Catholic Church has been, that doesn’t have a legacy of the most appalling physical and sexual abuse of minors and that is a fact. I don't really think the title Pope, is short for Protector of Paedophiles, I think that's just a rumour...

Now, as far as I know, Donald Trump hasn’t done anything like that to children.  He does have his faults but paedophilia I don’t think, is among them and certainly not on the scale committed by the Catholic Church.  Now, Pope Francis is head of that organisation and he appears to be a ‘good’ person.  He makes a lot of statements about humanity and appears to say all the right things.  However, as a member of that organisation and now head, what has he done to root out the paedophiles?   Does he have a legacy of outing paedophiles or railing against the terrible abuses being carried out by the membership?

Jimmy Saville, who was once a much-loved ‘national treasure’, is now reviled for the rape and sexual abuse of children, young girls and vulnerable adults.  Would you worship in a church led by Jimmy Saville or even an organisation that regarded him as a ‘good’ person?   Yet, the Pope and the Catholic Church are still seen as something that should be respected? 

Jimmy Saville got away with the things he did because so many ‘good’ people stood by and either said nothing or covered up his behaviour.  This same man was given a knighthood and dined with Margaret Thatcher every Christmas at Chequers.  There is a clip of a video online where the great John Lyndon (aka Johnny Rotten) talks about Saville and what he gets up to.  The clip was never shown back in the 70’s, the powers that be, protecting Saville.  Yet, Johnny Rotten was held up by the media, at the same time, as a threat to the decency of the nation.

There is much that I disagree with Donald Trump about, but I don’t believe he is inherently evil.  He is certainly a product of his environment and upbringing.  Arrogant?  For sure!  Misogynistic? Definitely, but evil?  Well, who’s to say...yet?  And credit where credit is due, he did get rid of TTIP, that foul trade agreement that was going to hand over the nations of Europe to the corporate elite, as if they didn’t have enough of us already. 

Now, his trade deal with Saudi Arabia could be regarded as an evil act but the British government is the world’s second biggest arms dealer/supplier, and to some very dodgy states.  Are they evil or are they just 'protecting' the nation? 

There are acts of evil being committed around the world day and daily.  Some deliberately, some accidentally; like Theresa May, ‘accidentally’ losing that list of paedophile MP’s when she was Home Secretary or now, wanting to bring back a ‘sport’ that involves the hunting, terrorising and tearing to shreds of that most beautiful of animals, the fox.  Not to mention being part of a party that seems intent on grinding the poor, the vulnerable and the working class into the ground.

Which acts are more evil, and which people?  Those who commit the deeds or those who stand silently by and let them happen or help cover them up? 

By the way folks, election coming up, so don't forget to vote, the future of Reynard may depend on you...

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Me and Jc or My Finest Hour (so far)

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sept 2022, 15:53

It may come as a surprise to you all to know that me and Jesus have a lot in common, I kid you not. You probably already know that on the day Jesus was born, there was a new star in the sky to announce his arrival.  Well, it also happens that on the day I was born, there was also a new star in the sky. It was called Telstar, and was the first telecommunications satellite, launched to improve telecommunications between the US and Europe. So if you want to Google that, you’ll know exactly when I was born, and what age I am, no prizes for finding it though, sorry, and I’m too much of a lady to reveal my age publicly.


Sorry, did you say something?

‘Nut'in, just clearin’ me throat’

Ok then, moving swiftly along…….as you probably already noticed I am ‘Devine’ by name, I like to think I’m ‘divine’ by nature too, at least that’s what I tell people, and if I tell them often enough they might start to believe it.


‘Do you have something to say?’

‘Jist a bit ova tikly throat’

Well, perhaps you should go and get a drink of water or something……preferably, somewhere that isn’t here?

Anyway…..you may also have noticed my initials are AD, which stands for, yes you guessed it, Anno Domini, which of course means, ‘In the year of our Lord’.

I also read a while back, that historians had pin-pointed Jesus’ birth to the month of July, which is also the month I was born in.

‘Aye well ad hiv tae agree that July’s a gud month’

I wasn’t born in a manger but I did once know a dog with mange, if that counts?  A bit of a stretch I know but you can only take them where you find them.

My early years were spent in Mount Sion, a street in a town in Northern Ireland and, as an Irish Catholic, I too grew up in a country under foreign occupation, just like Jesus under the Romans. So instead of ‘Romani Ite Domum’, we had ‘Limeys Go Home’ which later became 'Brits Out'.

 ‘Yer showin’ yer age now love’

 ‘REALLY, I just can’t be doing with all this interruption, are the pubs not open tonight?’

 ‘They probly are but am skint’

 Well, that’s just TOO bad then isn’t it?’

I’m SO sorry about this, he’s a disgruntled Ulster Scots speaker, he’s been hanging around for the last few weeks, I don’t know what he’s looking for, I’m hoping he’ll get fed up soon and go back from wherever he came …anyway, shall we carry on?

OKAY…On the miracle front, I haven’t quite managed to feed five thousand with a few loaves and fishes but I could feed a small army on half a stone of spuds and a pound of mince. But one other memory stands out for me where, like Jesus, I first ran into trouble with the religious authorities. I recently entered it in a memoir competition although it is more autobiography, but it came nowhere so here it is for your reading pleasure or not!

Communists in the Convent!

I don’t know where my interest in politics began, I think it was partly by osmosis. Growing up in Northern Ireland against a background of increasing political unrest made it inevitable that something would rub off. I remember the political figures of the day making their way into our skipping songs;

‘Vote, vote, vote for Bernadette Devlin, here comes Paisley at the door’….at which point someone would jump into the skipping rope and we would sing the song to the end. 

…. ‘for she is the one who will have the best of fun and we won’t see Paisley any more’.          

These names were interchangeable because to us they were just names and didn’t have any particular associations for us. Although it wasn’t long before we knew Bernadette was on our side, and Paisley was on the other. I remember her coming to our street, she was canvassing for election and my mother and several of the women in the neighbourhood all went out to shake her hand. This surprised me as I had never considered my mother as being political in any way.

I also remember learning the words to the Strawb’s  ‘Part of the union’.

‘You won’t get me I’m part of the Union, til the day I die, til the day I die!’ I can still sing it now.  This was probably one of the first signs that I was definitely headed left.

Then in primary 7, I found myself on the receiving end of a campaign of bullying and if there is a defining moment that stands out in memory where something fundamental changed within me then this was it. 

I had had a disagreement with a girl in my class, what it was about I don’t remember but she was someone I never particularly liked, she was spoiled and vain, and looked down her nose at everyone. From there it had escalated as she and her ‘gang’ had taken to following me home every day in a twisted game of follow my leader, where every movement and gesture was copied and mocked. There seemed to be no end in sight, as I endured another lunchtime of mockery and the gang seemed to be increasing in numbers, and that was when I decided enough was enough!

Parents seldom involved themselves in their children’s quarrels back then so there was no point in trying to get anyone at home to listen. There were too many of them to take on single-handedly and so, after thinking and re-thinking my options, I decided that after lunch I was going to take the only one available and talk to the teacher, and hopefully get it sorted out for once and for all. I waited until everyone was seated back in the classroom and then I walked up to the teachers desk and simply said: 

‘Miss I have a problem and I need you to help me sort it out’.

She was taken aback because I wasn’t known as the type to put myself forward and was usually quite reserved but she gave me a fair hearing, listened to the other side as, of course, they denied all but then, inevitably, broke down in tears. Apologies were made and accepted and so it was sorted and we passed our final months at primary school in peace. 

I was particularly pleased at how I had handled the situation and it had given me a renewed confidence which was exactly what I needed as I was due to start in the local Convent Grammar that September. My older sister had begun the year before and had regaled me with tales of real experiments in Chemistry and real cooking in Domestic Science. I couldn’t wait to get started and felt that the world was finally opening up and that bigger and better things lay ahead. 

As far as memory serves, it was a quiet summer and nothing extraordinary happened and I was glad when September finally rolled around and marched proudly off to school with a bag full of books and a heart full of ambition.

From being the oldest class in primary school, it was a bit of a come down to find you were back at the bottom of the ladder but this was the big school and the disappointment was soon forgotten when I was given my first time-table. Not only was everything more interesting and grown-up but there, first thing on Monday morning, was a subject I hadn’t even considered, Drama!  This was turning out even better than expected.

I had always loved performing. I had sang on stage at concerts in our local Parish hall, I played the violin and did Irish dancing as well, so stepping out on to a stage was second nature to me. This was the next step in my development, real acting on a real stage, Hollywood here I come!

Sister Pius was the teacher. I was a bit disappointed by that as I didn’t imagine it was a subject a nun would know much about. She was small, not much bigger than me, slightly built with a fringe of dark hair visible at the front of her veil, she was very neat in appearance and held herself stiffly which made her seem a bit uptight for something like Drama. However, when we had our first lesson all my fears were dispelled, she seemed to know her stuff as she talked about voice and poise. To help us with this, we were set an essay for our second lesson, it was titled, ‘Something I believe in’, and we were to read it aloud in front of the class the following week. 

I was thunder struck as I realized I had a head full of ideas and beliefs which I had never articulated. Not only were they there, but I all of a sudden I had an urgent desire to express them, I wanted the world to sit up and listen, I had important things to say! Opportunities like this didn’t happen every day and I determined I was going to make the most of it, Pandora’s box had opened.

A few of my classmates were nervous about having to stand up in front of everyone and talk but that didn’t bother me in the least, this was right up my street as I decided this was my destiny and imagined a future making great speeches to large audiences who cheered and clapped at every utterance.   

The only thing I had to figure out now was which great idea or belief I was going to write about. I definitely believed that David Bowie was the greatest singer in the world but I wasn’t sure if that would be an impressive enough subject, I wanted to dazzle everyone with my great thinking and wonderful ideas so, after some consideration, I settled on my subject, Communism, now there was something I could believe in. 

I had become interested in Communism for a few reasons, one being that every time Russia was mentioned my mother would go into a rant about the Communists wanting to take over the world and turn us all into ‘Godless heathens’. This really appealed to me as we were marched out to Mass for every Holy Day in the calendar, not to mention May and October Devotions. 

We had also been subjected to a daily round of family Rosary a few years before, after the Pope issued some edict on the matter, and my mother being the most Catholic Catholic in town, insisted in following orders. The thing about the Family Rosary was that it was to be at six every evening so, after being dragged in for it a couple of times, we soon realized that if we disappeared about ten minutes beforehand, then it was easily avoided. At five forty-five every evening, there was a veritable exodus from the street as not only me and my siblings disappeared but half the neighbourhood as well. 

The Rosary was soon abandoned amid despairing admonitions from my mother that ‘she didn’t know what kind of crowd she was rearing!’  There were a lot of good Catholic mothers back then whose devotion to their faith would contribute to a rising tide of atheism.   

The other reason for my embracing all things Communist was that under their system everyone was equal, at least that was the theory. I was the middle child in my family, quiet by nature, I was often overlooked and I was still smarting over the promise of a special present for passing the eleven plus which never materialized. So, after all that, quite frankly, the Red Army couldn’t get here quick enough!

As I started my essay, I realized I didn’t really know enough about Communism, apart from the idea that everyone is supposed to be equal so I had to do some research. I checked out the school library and got loads of information from one of the encyclopaedias.  All the big names were there; Marx, Lenin, Castro.

Totalitarianism was mentioned which I didn’t really feel comfortable about as it sounded a bit like the Catholic Church but, after some consideration, I thought I’ll stick it in anyway and resolved to look into all the authoritarian stuff later.  

And so I crafted it over the week, standing, reading it aloud to my younger sisters. This was great stuff, everyone would be dead impressed! 

Monday morning I was up and off to school early, the big day was finally here. Sitting in class, essay in hand I was suddenly struck by fear; what if someone else wrote about my subject and they got to read first?  It would look as if I had copied them. Why hadn’t I thought of this sooner? I counted, there were about 9 in front of me…and the first one was about to go up.

‘Something I believe in’

I held my breath,

‘My Parents’

And let it out relieved.

‘Parents!’ I thought to myself, ‘is she serious?’ 

Of course we all applauded when she finished. The next one stood up.

‘Something I believe in’

Again I held my breath,

‘The Catholic Church’.

‘The Catholic Church!! You have got to be kidding me, God, these people have no imagination at all’ I thought. 

I started to relax as one after another, they stood up to read, a total of three subjects; God, the Catholic Church and parents, sometimes a specific parent like their daddy or their mammy. I couldn’t believe it! I had worried unnecessarily, there was no competition in this crowd at all, this was going to make me look even better!

Finally it was my turn, I stood up, took my place in front of the class, gave my papers a quick shake, a little dramatic gesture to draw their attention and read: 

‘Something I believe in’…I took a deep breathe and said…‘Communism’

I looked up to gauge the response…all eyes were on me...and so I began.

As I finished, feeling very pleased with myself, I scanned the crowd. I had definitely made an impression, there were murmurings in the crowd and quite a few looks of surprise. As I waited for my round of applause Sister Pius started to stand up, ‘I’m not going to get a round of applause, I’m going to get a standing ovation, from the teacher herself!’ I thought…..

In hindsight, of course, I think the only reason I got to the end of the essay was that the nun was in such a state of shock she was unable to speak or move until that moment. 

As she walked towards me, I could see from the expression on her face that something wasn’t quite right. Her face had gone very pale and hers lips were pursed tightly together.

‘THIS CLASS IS OVER AIDEEN DEVINE OUTSIDE NOW!’ she demanded emphasizing every syllable. For such a small, slight woman she suddenly had a very strong angry voice.

As I was marched out of the room, I racked my brains trying to think what had gone wrong?   

‘AID DEEN DEE VINE, where did you get this?’ she demanded. I didn’t really know what to say and looked at her dumbly.

‘I know your mother and your Aunt MaryB’ she said. My aunt was a teacher and best friends with Sister Ursula and my mother had done some substitute teaching in her time so the Nuns all knew them which, of course, didn’t help at all. 

‘WHO is telling you these things?  WHO is putting these ideas into your head?’ she demanded again, almost screaming. What was I supposed to say, I didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about?  I thought about my mother and wondered if Sister Pius thought as she did. Did she too believe the Communists were plotting to take over the world and part of their dastardly plan was to accost Catholic school girls and brain wash them with their ideas, and they had somehow infiltrated our small town?  Before I could answer she snatched the paper out of my hand.

‘COMMUNISTS!’ she said, shaking it at me and starting to turn red. ‘COMMUNISTS!’ she repeated, a little louder this time as if she needed to hear it again because she couldn’t quite believe it the first time. Building to a crescendo she shrieked, ‘THEY DON’T EVEN BELIEVE IN GOD!’

To me that was a minor detail, in my thinking there was no real conflict between God and communism, I mean it says in the bible that we were all created equal in the eyes of God, to me that’s just what Communism was all about. In my naivety/stupidity (take your pick), I finally answered,

‘No-one sister, I thought of this myself ’ and was about to start to explain the thinking behind it when she started to gasp for air and her eyes looked as if they were going to pop out of their sockets. ‘God, she’s going to have a heart attack’ I thought and wondered if I should wait until she collapsed, or run and get help now. I hedged my bets, worried that I would be held responsible for the death of a nun and decided to wait. After some moments she managed to suck in a deep breath and recover some of her composure, much to my relief! 

‘YOU thought of this!’ she screamed, a little less hysterically. ‘HOW COULD YOU?!!’  The volume started to rise again. ‘You’re not even allowed to THINK these things, never mind SAY them or BELIEVE in them!’ she screeched.

I didn’t know what to say to that, I felt confused. ‘Not allowed to think!’ The phrase ran around in my head, this just didn’t make any sense. ‘Not allowed to think’ I thought again, because I couldn’t quite believe that was what she had really said. ‘Surely you can think anything?’ I thought. ‘How can thinking be wrong?’ I was about to query this when the bell rang for next period which interrupted the moment. There was nothing more to be said, at least not by me.

‘Go to your next class!’ she ordered and turned to go.  She stopped, and looked at me again, ‘I’ll be keeping my eye on you!’ she warned, and stomped off towards the Staff room….

So, apart from the Nuns, my mother, and some of the teachers, the response was on the whole quite positive.  Several of my classmates were impressed and wanted to know more and while it would give me the greatest pleasure to report that the Convent Grammar became a hotbed of subversive political activity, unfortunately, I can’t.  The only thing I can report is that Drama was taken off our timetable much to my eternal disappointment.

Unfortunately, this was a foretaste of what lay ahead for all my educational ambitions. Chemistry had a grand total of two experiments, dipping litmus paper in various solutions and making blue crystals. They changed the rules for Domestic Science that year too; there would be no cooking in first year, it would be theory only and by the time we got to second year, I had long since lost interest and gave it up. I was never destined for domestic servitude.

Although these were disappointments, there was one silver lining in this cloud. My old protagonist and leader of the bullies never got to read out her essay and was very vocal in letting everyone know how annoyed she was about it, but we were all on new ground here and since most of her gang hadn’t got into the Grammar School, there was nothing she could do about it.

Salvation also lay in English with Mr. Gallagher who had regular class debates where, although everyone got their turn, somehow, I always managed to have a place on one side or the other, even if we never got to debate the motion ‘This house believes in Communism’.

My dramatic ambitions thwarted, it would be many years before I would get up in front of an audience again but I recently joined a drama group and am very happily back treading the boards. It may not be Hollywood but at least I’m getting to do something I love.

Over the years my interest in politics never waned either, although it has gone through a few reincarnations.  I’ve joined several different political parties at different times but at some point my thinking always diverges from the party line and conscience, among other things, compels me to leave. 

I’ve been called an anarchist on several occasions, that being one of the nicer things that has been said and I’ve often been told I ‘think too much’. People think they’re insulting me when they say these things and I usually answer ‘Well someone has to, because no one else seems to be!’ 

The Red Army never got as far as my home town and with the fall of the Berlin Wall it’s been an increasingly lonely position being the only Communist in town. I think me and Fidel are the only two left, although his health is a worry these days and, whatever you think of his politics, you have to admire his staying power in facing down the bullies of Western capitalism (see I still know the lingo). Soon I’ll be the only one left, (I don’t recognize China, ironically, for political AND religious reasons), not that it bothers me, I was never one for following the crowd, being chased by them was more my style!

I still describe myself politically, as a Communist and what I have come to realize is, my Communism is my own and identifies more with that twelve-year-old believer in equality for all than Lenin or Marx. I’m still waiting for the Red Army to arrive but, metaphorically not literally and, who knows, with the present economic climate and discontent, my days of making great speeches to large crowds may lie ahead and the revolution might just start here!  

Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by Aideen Devine, Monday, 24 Sept 2012, 22:16)
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Marriage again!

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 7 Dec 2022, 11:05

Well, our feminist is on the rant again I see. You don’t want to take her too seriously, she gets a bit carried away at times. However, she does make you think about some of the issues around marriage. There are so many ways of looking at it and I was going to take a different angle on this but I was watching the news the other night and they reported a story about Fr. Brian D’Arcy being censured by the Vatican for expressing some views in support of marriage for priests, or against celibacy, if you prefer to look at it that way.  Fr Brian is well-known in Ireland and writes a column in a newspaper, the Sunday World, and he sometimes does a stint in the ‘spiritual’ section, on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2. 

As someone who was brought up Catholic, I’d like to throw out a few ideas around the issue, and would be interested in what other people think. I have been watching the BBC 2 series, Divine Women, and have found it interesting how the early Christian Church operated, compared with all the patriarchal rules and regulations that have been imposed upon it since. 

So consider this, within the Catholic Church, when a man or woman wants to become a priest or a nun, they have to go through years of study to prepare themselves before they are allowed to make that lifetime commitment and, in effect, when they do, they become married to God. Now, on the other hand, any gombeen with a notion to, can give 3-6 months notice, do a pre-marriage course or not ( I don’t think they are compulsory) and then get married. 

Within the Catholic Church, there is no divorce and there is certainly no re-marrying in the Church if you have been divorced. Now just for arguments sake, lets concentrate on the nun’s perspective on this. A nun wears a wedding ring and is considered a bride of Christ. She can leave the Church, which many have done, and she can then get married in Church. Why is that allowed? She is able to divorce herself from God and re-marry in Church, even though she went through all those years of training in preparation for her marriage to God or taking Holy Orders, as it is called.   

But an ordinary woman or man cannot do the same, even though they may have had little or no preparation at all before marriage. Is there a double standard operating here?  Is marriage to God, not as important as marriage to another human being? Holy orders and marriage are considered sacraments in the eyes of the Church, how is it possible within the law of the Church to be able to marry God, then leave him/her or it, and then marry a person in the Church?

And there’s another thing, if any of you have watched the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding series on Channel 4, I wonder if you think like me that there is something immoral about allowing sixteen year olds to marry. What does anyone know about anything at sixteen, not to mention the realities and responsibilities of a marital relationship?

What is marriage supposed to be about?  What is it’s purpose?  We were taught at school, a Convent Grammar, that the purpose of marriage is to have children. So, if you can’t have children are you entitled to get an annulment? Or if you know beforehand that you can’t have children, should you be denied the right to marry? 

I’m just asking these questions because I’ve actually come to believe that there is something unnatural about the whole situation or maybe it’s more about the whole approach to marriage.

I’ve been on this whole spiritual journey for many years now (I may have mentioned it in one or two other posts) and the more I look at these things the less sense they seem to make. Among my friends, there has recently been a plethora (great word that by the way, I remember it from The Three Amigos, if I recall correctly!)  a plethora of relationship break-ups, and all the break ups were instigated by the females, funnily enough. Some of the couples were married, some not, but all involved children. 

A few months back there was a great story in the Observer newspaper about a woman who was approaching her forties, she wasn’t in a relationship but wanted to be a mother. If you know the story you can skip ahead but if you don’t, read on, because it’s really interesting. What she did was, she advertised for a man who wanted to be a father because she wanted the child to have parents who were both interested in being parents. She wasn’t having much luck, as most of the men she interviewed shared different ideas about parenting. Then a friend recommended a gay man who they knew also wanted to be a father. They got together, had shared ideas about parenting and so they decided to go ahead and have the child. And this is where it gets really interesting…he fell in love with her, even though he had lived his whole life as a gay man and had never had a romantic relationship with a woman. They are now very happily married and the child is about two years old. 

Isn’t that a fascinating story??

So maybe the conversation we should be having before marriage is not what colour the bridesmaids should wear, or who to invite, but how to bring up the children? Because the pre-nuptial agreement, which is very popular among the rich to protect their assets, is something that could be brought in and extended to cover not just the monetary assets but every aspect of the marital relationship from childcare to housework and, in case there is a breakdown, living arrangements, finances, and contact arrangements for the children. People think about their monetary assets but give no consideration at all to what will surely be their greatest asset, their children!!

We jump into these situations assuming everything will work itself out in time and the real issues are seldom addressed before the wedding, then it’s too late afterwards and when I look around me, I honestly don’t see very many genuinely happy marriages. That is not to say that marriage can’t work and there aren’t good marriages out there but I don’t believe the preparation is anywhere near adequate for the task ahead and I really believe that parenting is something that should be taught in schools.

I also think that no girl should be allowed to marry under the age of twenty-five, and I would make that twenty-nine for a man. I know people have got married at younger ages and stayed together but I really believe that it needs much more thought and preparation than it is currently given and, I think with a few changes, we might have better marriages and fewer divorces.


Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Cathy Lewis, Sunday, 29 Apr 2012, 12:15)
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