Faith in Ireland

Good things sometimes fall apart so better things can fall together. This is the case for people aiming to improve their lives, careers and relationships after hardship happens. Sometimes they get there from the word ‘go’ while others may require more time to reach their destination.

Having faith is often necessary to be successful and no matter what you believe in – Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, atheism or any other religion – belief will somehow be present in your life. If you don’t believe in your own strength, how will you be able to convince the world that you really can obtain higher goals?

With having faith however, self-deception can lurk between the cracks of your floorboards so be careful and understand that your mind is a very powerful tool. Too often, we see the result of extremism in faith, religion and in tradition; too often wrongly translated into actions that defy other people’s belief systems.

If you manage to stay on the right course of having faith in moderation – ‘everything in moderation’ my nana used to say – you can feel the beauty of your spirituality, religion or even atheism.

I presume I am not the only one thinking about religion and our place in its grand scheme of things. When I reflect on the period between 2005 and 2008, I felt cursed because it seemed like my place and presence was tested over and over. I was continuously crashed by a high speed train and I barely had time to catch my breath before I was hit again. It goes without saying that my belief in my Roman-Catholic religion took a large nosedive because no God would ever allow such hardship, n’est-ce pas? Slowly I started believing that non-belief in whichever religion was best. I decided I had it with religion.

I needed to get back to my initial belief in Mother Nature in the country I so love, because here – in Ireland – I always find peace. Even more importantly, I found time to adjust my concern about whether all this was even remotely possible with or without a ‘god’. It was the first major shift in my belief system for a good while, and because of that, I was able to face the demons that haunted my family abroad for 3 years.

Here, Catholicism is currently under a lot of strain (again). Well-deserved strain also. In a nutshell, there has been an ongoing abortion issue since 1994 where clear laws were needed to determine when a pregnancy termination could take place in case the life of the mother was in jeopardy. Remember, abortion is still illegal in Ireland, but the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013 outlines the circumstances in which a rare but life-saving termination may be permitted. On June 12 the government finally published the abortion legislation and reiterated its intention to have it passed by the summer.

As male-dominated religion goes, celibate men in the Irish Catholic church think they can and will continue to rule over women as they have done for hundreds of years. Even worse, they think they could order our government (the Dáil) into rejecting these new laws. If not, politicians would be excommunicated from their church if they would dare vote for this much-needed abortion bill. Remember, this is June 2013, not the Middle Ages.

If it weren’t for the many hurtful memories a lot of catholic people have, it would be almost laughable when you think that those priests and bishops never once uttered one single word about excommunicating their paedophile priests when they were caught. In addition, too many women were abused in the Magdalene Laundries run by nuns. That means that a large part of Irish society has gone through decades of abuse, yet the church will not pay their victims and our dear Catholic church seems to forget the word ‘excommunication’ when it comes to their own horrors. This resembles selective hearing. They only deal with what they don’t like, but they never deal with what their religious followers went through at the abusive hands of priests.

Also, as a woman, I do not feel comfortable having a priest, who has never seen a naked woman in his life and who seems to allow paedophilia in his own house, deciding what medical doctors should do if I were in dire need of a termination. It’s not because you live in the house of God that you are God. If it’s my body, it’s my choice. No priest, nun or God will ever make me choose what is right for me. To my surprise and for the second time, our government stood up to the Irish Catholic church on June 12th 2013.

I truly applaud our Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny; he voiced a very critical view on Irish clerical élite two years ago in what was a very emotional and sincere speech in government buildings, and the event went global because of the emotion in the words of Mr. Enda Kenny. Seeing this bill being talked about, June 12th 2013 was a fantastic day for democracy in Ireland. Enda Kenny had the guts to stand up to the church once again. In a country where a lot of people still attend church, this is a major shift in what religion really means to people.

As you can see, religion in Ireland is never far off, and consequently I keep having ‘first-time-experiences’ in regards to religion.

As far as my search for peace goes in this awfully hard and severe world of today, I take it one day at the time. I rely on Mother Nature to provide me with sunshine, rain and a magnificent, stunning country. It’s a gathering of souls destined to be here, of places destined to be seen. My religious, spiritual and faith stands or falls with Ireland, but for now, my heart still is where it’s most happy.

For more on this challenge, please also check these blogs:

©Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2013. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

9 thoughts on “Faith in Ireland

    1. Thank you Roy! I would say there will be heates sessions in the Dáil before the bill will be passed, so the last word hasn’t been written yet on this issue :D

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