The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Saturday, February 05, 2011

ask uncle james

Question: Why did Waterstones Dublin go bust? Answer: Because Waterstones Dublin hired dudes where's my car counter staff who believed Waterstones Dublin was their turf and not a bookshop where they worked. Expect Easons and Barker And Jones to follow suit. Soon.

pup n stuff

Friday, February 04, 2011

what madness have i not preached in sermons

It's always humbling for those of us who wish to be Christians to realise that we have mistaken our personal prejudices, preferences or predilections for the teaching of the Lord.
The American monk Thomas Merton had a moment of clarity in this regard many years ago when he exclaimed: "What madness have I not preached in sermons!"
I've come across a few recent examples of people I hold in generally high regard proclaiming with profound conviction what seemed to me utter nonsense while remaining absolutely convinced they were doing so to serve God.
Father Rutler, an honorable and decent New York priest, was giving a talk on a satelite television channel last month in which he warned against the expression of joy or levity at funerals.
He was particularly agitated by the desire among some mourners to afix balloons to the coffins of their loved ones.
Father Rutler is a good guy and inspired by the highest of motives.
But in this instance he has wandered into Self Indulgence-ville Illinois.
Here's another example.
Some Christians are currently circulating a statement they claim was made by Mother Teresa of Calcutta in which she apparently criticises the practice by many Catholics of receiving communion bread in the hand rather than on the tongue.
(The eating of communion bread is central to Catholic ritual. Catholics assert that the bread is really Jesus.)
According to the statement being disseminated, Mother Teresa believed that receiving communion into your hand was a grave insult to God and a threat to the church.
I have my doubts that this great saint ever talked such tosh.
But she might have.
All of us talk rubbish at some stage.
And how about this.
Peter Verechio, writing in The Catholic Voice newspaper this week, asserts that when the priest says "Peace be with you," at the beginning of mass, the congregation should not treat this as a greeting.
Exsqueeze me?
What is it then?
Mr Verechio is writing in anticipation of new language forms which are due to be introduced for Catholic mass in the coming months.
In trying to convince us that the changes are for the best, he attempts to construct purely notional distinctions between a greeting and a blessing.
He warns against those members of the congregation (this would include me) who cheerfully respond to the priestly blessing/greeting with "And also with you," as though we are saying "Hey, howya doin' Father!"
Mr Verechio, again essentially a good guy, is mistaking his own obsessive scrupulosity for an insight into the faith.
By the way the standard sometimes cheery response "And also with you" to the priestly greeting "Peace be with you," is about to be replaced by "And with your spirit."
I ask you.
How has this church survived two thousand years with such linguistic baboons continually tinkering with the ritual?
It has to be a supernatuiral sign of God's favour.
That's all I'm saying.
I suppose the one among us who is without sin might be entitled to give Peter Verechio a kick in the bawls.
Certainly I'm not.
Anyway my basic (humble-ish) point is that we've all talked nonsense and wrongly attributed it to the faith at some stage.
Even the preeminent American psychologist Father Benedict Groeschel occasionally comes out with some spurious scrupulosities masquerading as genuine witness.
Father Gro is in my view an American phenomenon.
A giant of our times.
And maybe more.
Maybe just maybe, like Mother Teresa , he's a genuine humble servant of the Lord, sent among us to give us hope.
A saint of God.
But I heard him on EWTN the Catholic station, lecturing his audience the other evening.
He was posing questions about the faith.
And the audience were answering almost in unison.
Then Father Gro said: "Was Jesus a human person?"
And the crowd said: "Yes."
And Father Gro positively snapped: "No! He was a divine person."
He sounded irritable and angry.
And you know what.
He was quite quite wrong.
Jesus is divine.
But Jesus is also absolutely and completely human.
He understands everything we've been through because he's experiencd it all himself.
Because he's been there.
And he's there now.
I'm not being hard on Father Groeschel.
Sometimes even great Homer nods.
As for me.
I've done a lot of shouting over the years gentle travellers of the internet..
I've shouted about this, that and the other.
But the only thing I've said to you that is really important, is that Jesus Christ is Lord of the Universe, that he commissioned the Catholic Church to serve himself in human history, and that he holds all human lives sacred particularly yours..
Everything else I've said... is conversation.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

the real presence

Ireland's greatest living poet is sitting in the Adoration Chapel at Newbridge Church.
The chapel is an intimate little room seating about a dozen people.
On an elevated plinth, the blessed sacrament is exposed.
The blessed sacrament is a phrase Catholics use to describe the real presence of Jesus in communion bread.
For twenty centuries the tradition that the bread really becomes Jesus has been espoused by the ancient church.
The language is intolerable.
It is too much for many.
Some who are drawn to the ancient faith, leave again on hearing this truth pronounced.
But for twenty centuries, those who believe have made it a sticking point.
The flesh is really flesh.
The blood is really blood.
I am sitting here quietly opening my heart to the possibility.
People around me are praying or meditating.
I have a magazine on my lap which I occasionally glance at.
As I turn a page, I hear a hissing sound.
What on earth.
I glance around.
Presently I turn another page.
Again the hissing sound.
Is someone shushing me?
Surely not here.
I look around again.
No one seems to be shushing.
I must be imagining  it.
Or maybe it's the heating system.
I turn another page.
Unmistakeable this time.
I look up.
A red faced man in the corner is glaring at me.
"Shusssh," he hisses again. "I'm trying to pray here."
He bows his head soulfully and returns to his prayers.
That interesting little vein on my forehead which some of you have come to know and love, gives a gentle throb.
I look at the man.
I am thinking of standing up, walking to him, and telling him in the frankest language what I think of him and his prayers and his prayerfulness.
On the altar sits the bread I believe is Jesus.
I hesitate.
Do I seriously intend by my rage to betray the belief at the core of everything Catholics have ever celebrated, ever proclaimed, ever died for?
Can I betray in his presence the very king of the universe?
Can I abandon at a whim of emotion the belief that the Messiah is right here, right now?
Can I foreswear the belief that the Lord of life, the Lord of light, the Lord of love, is among us?
Can I surrender this most glorious, most powerful, most impossible truth of the ancient faith?
Can I now abandon the royal king who died for me... just because my dignity is a bit ruffled?
Too right I can.
I stand up slowly.
I look at Jesus on the altar.
"Sorry Lord," I say.
At this moment I am saying sorry because I really do want to walk over to the red faced guy and have a shouting match and whatever else with him.
In front of everybody, I want to do it.
But I am going to leave.
I am ashamed that I still want to tussle with the red faced guy.
So I am apologising to my Lord.
But I still want to shout at my shusher.
Even here I really want to do it.
But I am saying sorry and I am leaving.
As I say sorry, the red faced man looks up again.
He thinks I have been apologising to him.
"That's alright," he says with infinite forbearance.
I leave quickly.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

our television listings

(Ireland's national fraudcaster)
10.00 Scooby Doo. The most intellectual programme on RTE.
11.00 Murder She Wrote. Jessica converts to Islam and is exposed as an Al Qaeda agent after trying to release anthrax into the water supply at Cabott Cove.
12.00 Friends. Monica gives Chandler a blow job in return for a hundred thousand dollar computer contract.
1.00 Lunchtime With Archy. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin sitcom featuring one lone Marxist's attempts to infiltrate and destroy an ancient faith.
2.00 Tubridy Dead. Youngest scion of a Fianna Fail dynasty Ryan Tubridy dines out on my dime.
3.00 Miriam O'Callaghan In The Afternoon. Fianna Fail hag (Hack surely? - Ed note) dines out on my dime. Her brother is a senior Fianna Fail politician. Her husband has a hundred thousand dollar job in RTE as a masseur. (Head of Programme Commissioning surely - Ed note)
4.00 Gerry Ryan Remembered. Fawning retrospective look back at the life of broadcaster Gerry Ryan, a childhood friend of the corrupt kleptocratic Fianna Fail Haughey dynasty who just happened to walk into a million dollar a year job at RTE.
4.30 Diggy Duignan Remembers. Fianna Fail scion Sean Duignan looks back on his career in RTE as a Fianna Fail propagandist. (Investigative reporter surely? - Ed note)
5.00 Round Up The Usual Suspects. A celebration of the hijacking of RTE by an arcane admixture of Fianna Fail dynasts and atheist Bolshevicks. Presented by ageing Maoist Vincent Browne who is more famous for setting up perpetually failing newspapers and for introducing mentally ill pop singer Sinead O'Connor to Marxist dialectic. (His penis surely? - Ed note) Apparently no amount of journalistic failures or sexual abuse of mentally ill pop stars can prevent Vincent Browne from having a hundred thousand dollar presenter's job on national television. Get off you twit. You're making me sick.
6.00 News. Presented by Anne Doyle who is most famous for her sexual liaisons with corrupt kleptocratic former Fianna Fail government Minister Sean Doherty.
7.00 Coronation  Street. Curly plans to assassinate the Pope on his visit to Weatherfield.
8.00 Irish Parliament Live. Up to the minute footage of empty seats.
9.00 News and Weather. The news will be from an invidious left wing atheistic perspective and the weather will be rainy.
10.00 Ryan Tubridy Tonight. He's like Doctor ephin Phibes with a Fianna Fail badge.
11.00 The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The famous controversial episode where Mary joins Al Qaeda to prove there really is a Muslim war against humanity. They'll never broadcast this.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


Eilis Phillips runs a hairdressing salon in my home town.
She was doing her accounts recently.
She realised she faced a choice.
If she wanted to keep making pension provisions for her own retirement she would have to fire two of her staff.
She could keep making the pension contributions.
Or she could fire the staff.
She could not do both.
Without any fanfare or announcement or explanation, she shut down her own pension and kept her staff.
Eilis Phillips is a hero.
These are the sort of people we need running our country.

Monday, January 31, 2011

confidential minutes of recent fianna fail electoral strategy meeting

Hey! Why don't we just remove half a million citizens from the electoral register and add three hundred thousand foreign nationals... You know! Like we did last time!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

breaking news- new president in egypt -breaking news

Egypt has a new president this morning after Sky News formally recognised Abu Bin Snotbosca, a young rioter on a barricade at Bashum street, as head of state. "He seemed to know a thing or two so we made him president," commented Sky's Tim Marshall proudly.

the monica leech laugh in

Advice to those taking libel actions over newspaper reportage of their financial arrangements with Ireland's corrupt kleptocratic Fianna Fail government: Have your case heard by Judge Eamon De Valera or Judge Leonie Reynolds or Judge Prognothus Lenihan or Judge Snurdface Lemass or... But you get the idea. Chortle.