The Pope is welcome, but I won’t roll out the red carpet!

 

2018 is going to be a bumper year for devoted Irish Catholics and I for one am absolutely thrilled for them; I mean it’s not every day the leader of our Church pays us a visit; (the last time was September 1979), and of course I have no doubt once again the Phoenix Park will be the venue of choice for the Holy Father’s historic Mass. As a young teen member of the Dublin branch of the Civil Defence, along with my dad and other volunteers, I was on first-aid duty, meaning I was included in the one million plus devotees who attended Pope John Paul II’s Mass back in 1979.

  Afterwards, relieved of duty,  I rushed to Galway to sing, along with my parish folk group, at the Pontiff’s youth Mass, and oh how I cheered beside my fellow about-to-lapse Catholics, who were all desperate to find a reason, any reason, to hold on to our faith. You know I actually cried when the Holy Father passionately told us “Young people of Ireland…I love you.”

  But alas, that was then; and this is now, and, while I make no apologies whatsoever folks, nor do I mean any disrespect, I confess I have absolutely no plans to set out at daybreak looking like an extra from Close Encounters of the Third Kind with my torch, spare torch, back-up spare torch and batteries in my handbag, and attend any of this Pope’s August 2018 events.

  Now my reasons are many, for example one would be the absolutely appalling abuses carried out in Catholic Mother and Baby homes, another is the shameful amount of tax payers’ money that will be spent on the much hyped World Meeting of Families’ week-long event which apparently is to be themed The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World; which, according to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, “will cost over €20 million,” due to “the complications of just gathering people together, and the security and technology that is needed to do that”. Fair enough, security and technology come at a price, but that €20 million could house our homeless and cut our HSE waiting lists!

  Look, to be honest, for many years now I’m happy to say I’m no longer a slave to the power and mass (sorry for the pun) hysteria and terror that once gripped me for not saying my daily prayers!  

  In addition, it doesn’t, nor will it ever sit well with me that we are a nation who hand-picks small children to attend our schools based solely upon their religion…etc., etc., etc., D’ya get my drift?    

  Now I’ve nothing personal against an 81-year-old religious gentleman visiting our shores; just as I’d nothing personal against an equally elderly Queen Elizabeth when she visited in 2011… but I didn’t jump on her welcome wagon either.

  However, I do take it personally when Leo Varadkar pledges our government is “very much at (the) disposal” of the Catholic Church and “will assist in any way to facilitate Pope Francis’s visit,” so I want to know why our leader can find funds in his deliciously deep pockets to host the Pontiff’s lavish PR junket but can’t find any small change to help the very people of Roscommon who democratically elected his party to power? 

And…five, six, seven, eight!

Well readers, I sincerely hope you all had an amazing Christmas and are now fully recovered from your New Year celebrations. And, as we’re  soooo over 2017, the time has finally arrived to look forward to 2018 and…you’ve guessed it, the much hyped Dancing with the Stars and its host of, er, famous faces as they cha, cha, cha their way into our homes.

  Yes, it’s true, I’ll be glued to d’telly to watch what’s clearly going to be RTE’s one and only cross-generational ratings winner of 2018.

  However, I personally think some viewers shouldn’t be allowed to vote this year given the 2017 finalist; the fabulous, and, in my opinion (as a former dance champ myself), the performer of the series, Denise McCormack’s loss to what was clearly a less skilful trouper, former Kerry footballer and Garda Aidan O’Mahony. 

  Remember folks, this is a talent show, not a popularity contest. And yes, Aidan is a lovely man and I’m sure a great sportsman/guard, but when the viewing public is swayed by a spectacularly tanned six pack, a pair of painted on trousers showcasing some eye watering hip action and a handsome face, all adding up to what was a lacklustre ‘meh’ performance, then it’s clear many of last year’s voters were about as bright as a lava lamp!

  Let’s hope this year’s winner shows the proficient professionalism displayed by last year’s runner-up.  Denise…you were robbed love! Now, I wonder, can we add that robbery to the long list of 2017 Garda scandals? No? Right so!

Thank you!

Happy New Year folks. Let’s hope it’s gonna be a healthy and successful 2018 for every single, much valued and loved Roscommon People reader. I look forward to bringing you more of my musings and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the love, appreciation and support you’ve shown to me and mine during 2017.