We shouldn't take things so personally

By Fr Michael Commane - The Way I See It

Published 08/09/2015 | 00:00

Jeremy Corbyn's battle to become the next leader of the British Labour Party has ruffled feathers among the establishment. And it seems the more the heavyweights come out to attack him the more support he garners.

There is something new and fresh about him and he seems to have nothing to do with political speak. He talks in ordinary everyday language.

When last has there been so much excitement about the election of a leader of the British Labour Party?

Jeremy boxes clever. After Tony Blair savaged him he calmly and cleverly said that he never does 'personal'. It was a brilliant putdown. There's no comeback to such a knockout punch as that.

But is it as simple as that? I'm not at all sure. Of course we fight and disagree over so many issues of policy and beliefs but is it not true to say that most of our 'scrapping' is with people we don't like?

Just imagine if by some quirky circumstances Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama were friends, enjoyed one another's company, say they enjoyed playing chess with each other, surely it would be most likely there would be peace in Ukraine. Or is that nonsense?

Do we get on with people because they share our views or has it something to do with chemistry, laughing with one another?

Meanwhile, a few weeks ago a parish in east Cork hit the headlines. The pastoral council in Killeagh invited Redemptorist priest Tony Flannery to give a talk at a festival they were organising.

Some years back Tony Flannery expressed views that did not sit easily with the men in Rome. At the time the man in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) was an American cardinal, William Levada. Rome did not like Tony's views so he was in the doghouse in Ireland and still is. Meanwhile William Levada has retired and it so happens last week he was arrested for drink driving in Hawaii. That's by the way.

When the Bishop of Cloyne heard about Tony Flannery coming to Killeagh, which is in the Diocese of Cloyne, he was having none of it and the outcome is that Tony will not be talking at the festival.

The bishop issued a statement on August 21 pointing out that "Father Flannery is currently out of ministry and the policy of the Diocese of Cloyne is that a priest who is out of ministry, for whatever reason, cannot exercise a public ministry....."

Had the bishop let Tony talk would it have received a whit of attention? My view is that, not allowing someone to express their views is simply not healthy.

Back to Jeremy Corbyn and his not doing 'personal'.

I met Tony Flannery at the launch of his book, 'A Question of Conscience'

I'm not sure I agree with everything Tony says but I like him. That suggests that I do 'personal'. But guess what, I think if most of us were honest, we all do 'personal'.

The older I get the more surprised I am how it all holds together.

Maybe we shouldn't take things and ourselves too seriously.

I wonder what God thinks about it all?

It sure is a funny old world. And a funny old church too.

Wexford People

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