Posted on June 2, 2011, in Bishops' Pastorals, Catholic Social Teaching, International Ethics, Irish Church-State Relations, Irish History, Media Archives, The Furrow, Traditionalism. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I presume that Fr Franz König is the man who became Archbishop of Vienna in 1956. He was one of the notable figures at Vatican II and died in 2004 at the age of 98.

    My recollection of that era is that we weren’t as insular as we sometimes made ourselves out to be. For example, I was aware as a child of the trials of Cardinal Mindszenty, of then Archbishop Stepinac, later Cardinal and now Blessed, of the Korean War, of US presidential elections, etc, all from our newspapers and Radio Eireann. The death in a plane crash on St Patrick’s Day 1957 of President Magsaysay of the Philippines was front-page news in Ireland. From my days in kindergarten in Stanhope St, Dublin, 1947-51, I was very much aware of the reality of Irish missionaries in every part of the world. I also got a good grounding in geography in primary school. My teacher in Fourth Class in O’Connell’s School, John Galligan, encouraged us to read the newspapers beyond the sports pages and we sometimes discussed the news in class.

    There might have been a certain smugness in our Catholic faith and perhaps not enough awareness that it is a precious gift from God.

    When I came to the Philippines in 1971 two questions I was often asked were, ‘Is it true that there are no snakes in Ireland?’ and ‘Is it true that every family in Ireland has a priest?’ the latter expressing a perception similar to that of Fr König. While the answer to both was ‘no’, most Catholic Irish families at the time, I think, would have been proud to have a son a priest. I don’t think that is the reality now.

  2. Very interesting Father and I completely agree. In fact any time I read old newspapers from that era I’m always blown away by the professionalism. The Irish Independent (in particular) is but a skeleton of its former self.

    The idea of an insular, ‘backward’ Ireland in the 40s and 50s is promoted by D4 cosmopolitans who like to congratulate themselves on having outgrown it. It’s a bit odd anyway, given the intense interest and pride people (rightly) took in the work of Irish missionaries abroad, which you yourself allude to. In many ways modern Ireland is a much more insular and narrow place now than it was back then.

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