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Losing One's Religion

The relaxation of religious bigotry seems to be a factor in this apparent harmony.  The Church of Ireland churches are largely uninhabited on both sides of the border.  The Roman Catholic Church in particular has suffered serious setbacks this century. 

First came the sexual abuse scandals; then the campaigns for gay marriage and legal abortion, both successful in the face of Church opposition.  Most recently the Church opposed removing the prohibition on 'blasphemy' from the Irish Constitution so that this 'crime', more familiar in Muslim countries, would be no more.

The campaign took place during our time in Ireland and again the Church has been soundly defeated in a referendum. Pope Francis visited recently and his reception was inevitably compared with the previous Papal visit forty years earlier.  Back then the Irish populous flocked to JPII in their millions and besieged his Papal Mass in a crush of humanity.  This time the media reported; 'the streets were lined to one person deep'; and 'the St Patrick's day parade attracted bigger crowds'. 

No wonder that at we were exhorted, by large a banner, to: Pray the Rosary for Ireland as part of upcoming  Irish Rosary on the Coasts event, at which Dingle Bay was to be one point of costal gathering.


See album
The Convent of the Presentation Nuns in Dingle
The white and gold banner by the gate exhorts us to: Pray the Rosary for Ireland


Back at home, after the event, I wondered how it had gone.  The Catholic World Report told me:

Thousands of Catholics gathered at over 270 locations on the Feast of Christ the King (25 November 2018) to pray the Rosary, seeking to stem the tide of abortion and other evils in what used to be the most Catholic country in the world.

The article goes to add:

In recent years, Catholic Ireland has been bloodied by the sins of her clergy in sexual scandals one after the other. The faith, so embodied by her patron Saint Patrick, has plummeted to new lows. This is a new, spiritual version of the An Gorta Mòr (The Great Hunger). Yes, there is another kind of famine plaguing Ireland today. It is one wrought by the sins of man and not the soil. Like almost all western countries, Ireland has bought into a materialistic, self-absorbed, hedonistic form of secularism. Where the highest good in human existence is characterized and fantasized by a corrupted form of self-realization. Instead of exporting or giving and sanctifying and sacrificing to the world her innate spirituality, Ireland is now importing the modern creed of “what’s in it for me?”

The Catholic World Report - Nov 27 2018


Standing against the tide seems an ill-chosen metaphor (like King Canute) and given that the Presentation Order features in a number of those disastrous 'sexual scandals' referred to, and not just in Ireland, they were named in Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse too, one might say: 'what goes around comes around'.




# Michael 2020-08-28 06:06
This article is brilliant. I've learnt a lot from reading about these travels
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Hong Kong and Shenzhen China






Following our Japan trip in May 2017 we all returned to Hong Kong, after which Craig and Sonia headed home and Wendy and I headed to Shenzhen in China. 

I have mentioned both these locations as a result of previous travels.  They form what is effectively a single conurbation divided by the Hong Kong/Mainland border and this line also divides the population economically and in terms of population density.

These days there is a great deal of two way traffic between the two.  It's very easy if one has the appropriate passes; and just a little less so for foreign tourists like us.  Australians don't need a visa to Hong Kong but do need one to go into China unless flying through and stopping at certain locations for less than 72 hours.  Getting a visa requires a visit to the Chinese consulate at home or sitting around in a reception room on the Hong Kong side of the border, for about an hour in a ticket-queue, waiting for a (less expensive) temporary visa to be issued.

With documents in hand it's no more difficult than walking from one metro platform to the next, a five minute walk, interrupted in this case by queues at the immigration desks.  Both metros are world class and very similar, with the metro on the Chinese side a little more modern. It's also considerably less expensive. From here you can also take a very fast train to Guangzhou (see our recent visit there on this website) and from there to other major cities in China. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News


Nepal Earthquake


The World is shocked by the growing death toll, that has now passed 5,000 as a result of the recent earthquake in Nepal.

The epicentre was close to Pokhara the country's second largest city with a population just over a quarter of a million.  Just how many of the deaths occurred there is not yet clear.

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Opinions and Philosophy

The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis



Japan has 55 nuclear reactors at 19 sites.  Two more are under construction and another twelve are in the advanced planning stage.  Net Generating capacity is around 50 GW providing around 30% of the country's electricity (more here).  

As a result of Japan’s largest earthquake in history on March 11 and subsequent tsunami all reactors shut down automatically as they were designed to do but cooling systems associated with two sites had been damaged. 

Three reactor sites are adjacent to the earthquake epicentre and two were in the direct path of the tsunami.  The Fukushima-Daiichi plant belonging to Tokyo Electric Power Company was particularly hard hit.  It lost all grid connections, providing electricity, and its backup power plant was seriously damaged. 

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