25 Jun 2017

Some web browsing.................

This pro-life talk at Google's headquarters was a hit - A pro-life activist walks into Google’s headquarters and delivers a speech so compelling that within 24 hours, the online video of it surpassed a similar speech given by the head of Planned Parenthood. It may sound like the start to a far-fetched joke, but on April 20th, pro-life speaker and activist Stephanie Gray did just that.

Ted Talk star will address rally for Life on 1 July - Karen Gaffney will be main speaker at Save the 8th Rally for Life on 1 July in Dublin. “Voices of people with disability must be heard in abortion debate,” say organisers

Muslims rename mosque in honor of Mary, Mother of Jesus

Young priest ordained in a wheelchair dies

It was the photo that touched Britain, a Jewish woman and a Muslim man united in grief. The story of their 10-year friendship wil restore your faith in humanity

Irish worker discovers ancient manuscript that links Irish church to Egypt

7 Sanctuaries linked by a straight line: The legendary Sword of St. Michael

5 of the most remarkable incorrupt saints

Panicking with Grace: A Spirituality for Whatever's Next

Maynooth seminary to be overhauled after turbulent period 

Bishop Robert Barron reflects from Monaghan about what Pope Francis says to priests 

Icelandic Catholics receive a wooden church from Slovakia 

NCR- Democracy in the church seems like a fine idea -- in theory  

Faithful across Ireland invited to celebrate the centenary of the Fatima apparitions 9th July at Knock 

Church leaders call for spirit of hope and continued peace-building in Northern Ireland on centenary of Battle of Messines 

Pope Francis appoints Fr Alan McGuckian as Ireland’s first Jesuit bishop 

Pope Francis: ‘Shepherds are not the centre of the Church’ 

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: A Saint of Lofty Goals 

Silence and the Meaning of the Mass - I will confess that during many years as a priest, and now as a bishop, I have often wondered whether our hyper-stimulated congregations know exactly what they are participating in. They know that they are active, but active precisely in what?

Where Did Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Come From? 

'A saint for our times' – the inspiring story of Chiara Corbella Petrillo

The husband of Chiara Corbella on his wife’s sacrifice and possible canonization 

The Gift of Priestly Celibacy 

Ireland’s first openly gay prime minister is no liberal hero 

A layman’s advice to the anxious, young, and priestly

A priest’s first prayer: “You have to break my heart, always…” 

Catholic bishop takes questions from the peanut gallery!

The world’s most famous diary turns 75 

How the Infant of Prague and the Sacred Heart of Jesus both chased me down 

Can relics unite Catholics and Orthodox? Pope Francis thinks so.

Mary’s Immaculate Heart, the Door of Mercy

‘If you don’t think Francis is the cure, you don’t grasp the disease,’ CL head says 

The Vacuum Christian Indifference Creates - The crisis we face when the church is silent on social justice.

24 Jun 2017

25th June 2017 - Fr Bryan Shortall: Tired of all the bad news?

On this weeks programme John and Shane are joined by Fr Bryan Shortall to talk about his book and blog "Tired of all the bad news". We have our regular reflection on this weeks Sunday gospel as well as some notices and liturgical odds and ends.

You can listen to the full programme podcast HERE.

Tired of all the bad news

Fr Bryan Shortall is a member of the Irish Capuchin province of friars and joins us this week on the programme to reflect on vocation, priesthood and his recently published book "Tired of all the bad news".

Shane and John have an interesting chat with this Dublin born padre about his ministry and his experience of ministering to ordinary people in the midst of their daily lives and struggles.

His book which arose from his blog of the same name is described as "a superb insight into the lessons he has learned through the selflessness of his parishioners, the words spoken ‘out of the mouths of babes’, and a close examination of the gospel message. As Bryan himself says, ‘while we can’t blind our eyes to the struggles of people, of families, of communities, it’s important to listen for the sounds of good news that emerge too.’ This little book is his way of helping to bring that good news into the light." As Fr Bryan reminds us it is about pointing the way to Christ in the midst of our daily lives!

You can listen to the interview with Br Bryan excerpted from the main programme HERE.

Gospel - Matthew 10:26-33

‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
 ‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours: Psalter week 4; 12th week in ordinary time

Saints of the Week
June 26th - St Josemaria Escriva
June 27th - St Cyril of Alexandria also Our Lady of Perpetual Help
June 28th - St Irenaeus
June 29th - Ss Peter & Paul (Solemnity)
June 30 - First martyrs of the Church of Rome
July 1st - St Oliver Plunkett (First Saturday)

22 Jun 2017

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (2017)

God has loved us with an everlasting love; therefore, when he was raised up from the earth he showed us his mercy and drew us to love his Sacred Heart

- (Antiphon - Evening Prayer 1)

Romans 8:28-39
We know that by turning everything to their good God co-operates with all those who love him, with all those that he has called according to his purpose. They are the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son, so that his Son might be the eldest of many brothers. He called those he intended for this; those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory. 
After saying this, what can we add? With God on our side who can be against us? Since God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up to benefit us all, we may be certain, after such a gift, that he will not refuse anything he can give. Could anyone accuse those that God has chosen? When God acquits, could anyone condemn? Could Christ Jesus? No! He not only died for us – he rose from the dead, and there at God’s right hand he stands and pleads for us. 
Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. As scripture promised: For your sake we are being massacred daily, and reckoned as sheep for the slaughter. These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us. 
For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Reconnecting with the Feast of the Tenderness of Jesus
Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Glenstal Abbey
Fr Martin Browne OSB
3rd June 2016

Time was when pretty much every Catholic home in Ireland had an image of the Sacred Heart in a place of honour, normally with a red lamp burning perpetually before it. All that has changed. The place of honour in a home is more likely to be occupied by a plasma screen these days….

Religious faith and religious practice are obviously on the decline in Ireland. But even for those who still believe and practice, devotion to the Sacred Heart has largely gone out of fashion. Some of the language traditionally associated with the devotion, such as reparation and consecration doesn’t resonate with people as much as it did in days gone by. The idea of focusing on a specific part of Jesus in prayer can seem odd to some. Traditional hymns such as To Jesus’ Heart All Burning and accounts of the promises made to St Margaret Mary, can jar in modern ears. When it comes to the image of the Sacred Heart, Jesus displaying his burning, bloodied heart, surmounted with a Cross and thorns is vivid and literal in a way that isn’t appealing to many people nowadays. Frankly, pictures and statues of the Sacred Heart are often sentimental or a bit ghoulish – or both! I don’t think you’ll find many paintings or sculptures of the Sacred Heart in the great art galleries of the world…

Maybe this Jubilee Year of Mercy is an opportunity to look beyond the tacky kitsch imagery and re-connect with the beautiful reality which they attempt to present to us – the wonders of the love which God’s beloved Son has for us. The feast of the Sacred Heart is always celebrated on a Friday, the day when we recall the Cross. When we consider the Cross, sometimes we emphasise Christ’s sufferings… sometimes we emphasise his self-offering… sometimes we emphasise his victory… But on the feast of the Sacred Heart, we focus in a particular way on his love. 

It is the Feast day of the Tenderness of Jesus towards us, his brothers and sisters. And that tenderness can never go out of fashion! Reflecting on the Sacred Heart of Jesus is especially appropriate in this Holy Year of Mercy. The Latin word for ‘mercy’ – misericordia – combines the words ‘misery’ and ‘heart’. For mercy is what happens when the heart reaches out and meets and touches the misery, weakness and need of another. The Latin word for ‘have mercy’ – miserere – combines the words ‘misery’ and ‘burn’. For mercy is what happens when the heart reaches out and the misery, weakness and need of another are destroyed, as if overcome by fire.

Mercy as a movement of the heart is presented to us very beautifully in today’s readings. The Lord himself is our shepherd, whose loving heart wants to reach out to us in our weakness and transform it with his burning love, bringing back the strayed, binding up the injured, strengthening the weak and feeding us with justice. God’s merciful love is not vague or general, it is personal and individual, extending to every single one of us. It is the love of a shepherd who when even one of his hundred sheep has strayed will leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it. 

Today’s Opening Prayer said that ‘we glory in the Heart’ of Jesus. And so we do. But the burning love of the Heart of Jesus is not just a kind of comfort blanket or a teddy bear. St Paul reminds us that God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. And if love has been poured in, love must be poured out. The Holy Spirit challenges us, in our turn, to have merciful hearts. Or as the motto for this Holy Year puts it: to be Merciful like the Father.

SS102fm blog posts on the Sacred Heart

S+L - The Living Heart of Jesus: The Incarnate Love of God
Reflections by Pope Benedict XVI on the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Love only love

The World of Edward Thomas O'Dwyer, Bishop of Limerick (1886 - 1917)

21 Jun 2017

(Belated!) Ramadan kareem!

Next Sunday marks Eid al'Fitr which is the end of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan. Before it ends take the opportunity to wish your Muslim neighbours and colleagues "Ramadan kareem!"  that they may receive the many blessings of Allah the Compassionate during this time.

On Sunday and Monday you can wish them "Eid mubarak!"

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.

The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, which means scorching heat or dryness. Fasting is fardh (obligatory) for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling, are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic or going through menstrual bleeding. Fasting the month of Ramadan was made obligatory (wājib) during the month of Sha'aban, in the second year after the Muslims migrated from Mecca to Medina. Fatwas have been issued declaring that Muslims who live in regions with natural phenomenon such as the midnight sun or polar night should follow the timetable of Mecca.

While fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations. Muslims are also instructed to refrain from sinful behaviour that may negate the reward of fasting, such as false speech (insulting, backbiting, cursing, lying, etc.) and fighting. Food and drink is served daily, before dawn and after sunset. Spiritual rewards (thawab) for fasting are also believed to be multiplied within the month of Ramadan. Fasting for Muslims during Ramadan typically includes the increased offering of salat (prayers) and recitation of the Quran.

Bishop Brendan Leahy visited the Limerick Islamic Centre in Dooradoyle on June 19th to bring the greetings of the Limerick diocese to our Muslim brothers and sisters during the season of Ramadan. 

Imam Khalid Ghafour & Bishop Brendan Leahy with some of the Limerick Muslim community at the mosque
Pope Francis, meeting a delegation of British Muslims last April in Rome, advised religious leaders: "The most important work we must do today among ourselves and with humanity is the work of 'the ear': listening. ... Religious people must listen to one another and speak to each other as brothers and sisters", he said. “Listen and speak softly, peacefully, seeking the path together.”

Limerick Diocese annual pilgrimage to Lourdes

Our annual Diocesan pilgrimage has begun!

Tomorrow morning Thursday 22nd June at 9:45 am (8:45am Irish time) Bishop Brendan Leahy will celebrate Mass at the Grotto in Lourdes as part of the Limerick Diocesan Pilgrimage.

This Mass will be streamed live HERE

A reflection from Mary Oliver for the longest day of the year

19 Jun 2017

Lets Talk Family: Let's be Family! - Limerick prepares for WMoF2018

Preparing for the World Meeting of Families 2018 at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick 

Thursday 13th July 2017 - Tara Building

Hosted by The Irish Institute for Pastoral Studies (in association with the Irish Institute of Catholic Studies)


2.00pm Prayer and Words of Welcome by Bishop Brendan Leahy, Bishop of Limerick

2.30pm Amoris Laetitia by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, O.P., the Archbishop of Vienna, Austria

4:00pm Parallel Workshops

  • Millennial Youth, Generation X and the Regeneration of the Disconnected - An exploration of ways in which the upcoming Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment could be integrated in to our preparation for the World Meeting of Families 2018. by Gerard Gallagher.
  • Introducing the Catechetical programme for WMOF 2018 with Petra Conroy, Martin Kennedy, and Jessie Rogers.
  • An academic seminar on the theme of ‘Amoris Laetitia one year on: status quaestiones’. Led by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn

7.00pm Public Lecture “The Parish: Family of Families” by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, O.P.

To book your place: go online to www.irishinstituteforpastoralstudies.com or call Deirdre on 061 204507 or email: Eamonn.Fitzgibbon@mic.ul.ie Cost: €20 (full programme) or €10 (Public Lecture only)

18 Jun 2017

18th June 2017 - World Meeting of Families 2018 (Corpus Christi)

On this weeks programme John and Shane are joined by Brenda Drumm to talk about the World Meeting of Families 2018 which is due to be held in Dublin from 21st to 25th August 2018. We have our regular reflection on this weeks Sunday gospel as well as other notices and liturgical odds and ends.

We had a lot of notices on this weeks programme which people may want details of and they are available from the diocesan weekly newsletter available HERE.

You can listen to the podcast of this weeks full programme HERE.

World Meetings of Families 2018 (WMoF2018)

On this weeks programme SS102fm team are joined by Brenda Drumm to have a chat about the World Meeting of Families 2018 (WMoF2018) which is going to celebrated in Dublin in 2018. While the Dublin archdiocese is the principal host for the event it is a national opportunity for all the Catholic church in Ireland to participate in what is a major world event.

Brenda and Shane discuss what WMoF2018 is, where it started and what can be expected over the next 12 months in the build up to the event in August 2018. SS102fm will also be interviewing Bishop Brendan Leahy in the next few weeks to hear how Limerick is also preparing at the diocesan and local level.

But back to WMoF2018 - what is it and when is it on?
Dublin, Ireland, has been chosen by Pope Francis to host the next World Meeting of Families in August 2018. Started by Saint John Paul II, and held every three years, this major world event celebrates family as the cornerstone of our lives, and the fundamental building block of society and the Church. Families and others from all over the world will gather in Dublin from 21-26 August 2018 to celebrate their lives together, to share their experiences from different parts of the world, to reflect on the different challenges they face and to grow together in faith.

The theme chosen by Pope Francis for WMOF2018 is The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World. The WMOF2018 Logo, launched in December 2016, reflects on this theme and our journey towards August 2018.

The event will consist of a joyful and reflective programme of workshops, talks and discussions for adults; an engaging and exciting programme for young people as well as faith and fun activities for children. WMOF2018 will include the daily celebration of Mass, a festival of families event, exhibitions, cultural events and musical performances, events around the city, gestures of solidarity with those in need, and much more.

You can  listen to Brenda's chat with John and Shane excerpted from the main programme HERE.

To find out more about WMoF2018 you should check out their various online accounts via:

At the same time events which are coming up in the next while include:

  • National Novena, Knock, Monday 21 August 2017: The launch of a one-year programme of preparation for World Meeting of Families 2018 will take place during the National Novena in Knock on Monday 21 August 2017.  The programme, entitled Amoris: Let’s talk Family, Let’s be Family!, will be rolled out to parishes and families via an interactive APP and a series of video animations. 
  • Tour to each diocese of the WMOF 2018 ‘Icon of the Holy Family’: A specially commissioned WMOF 2018 icon of the Holy Family will be unveiled and anointed during the one-year launch event at the National Novena in Knock.  The icon is being written by the Redemptoristine Contemplative Community in Drumcondra, Dublin, as part of their ongoing prayer for families who will attend WMOF 2018.  Following the official unveiling at the National Novena in Knock, it is proposed that the icon travel to each diocese around the country.
(Once the dates are confirmed for Limerick, SS102fm will let you know!)
  • Launch of Volunteer and Host Family Programme: The WMOF2018 volunteer and host family programme has now been launched. The WMOF2018 organising team are inviting thousands of volunteers to participate in this once-in-a-generation event.  The volunteers will be part of the operational team which will organise and run what will be the largest gathering of families in the world. Volunteers must be resident in Ireland, over 18 years of age and respectful of the Catholic ethos of the event. Volunteers will assist at the WMOF2018 events as well as at related preparatory events that will take place around the country.  In addition to the volunteer recruitment drive, a ‘Host a Pilgrim/Family’ programme has also been launched with the aim of hosting pilgrims in family-homes based in and around Dublin.
(Get involved! It is a historic once, once in a lifetime event!)
  • A new website (worldmeeting2018.ie) will go live at the end of June to cater for Irish and international pilgrims who wish to come to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families 2018.  The website launch will coincide with the opening of the registration process for pilgrims.  This website will be available in the following languages: Irish, English, Polish, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Gospel - John 6:51-58

Jesus said to the Jewish crowds:
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my flesh for the life of the world."

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" 
Jesus said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you do not have life within you. 
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day. 
For my flesh is true food,
and my blood is true drink. 
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him. 
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me. 
This is the bread that came down from heaven. 
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever."

Reflections on this weeks gospel and feast:

Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans

CNA - Pope on Corpus Christi: In the Eucharist, we remember God's love

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 3, 11th week in Ordinary time

Saints of the Week

June 19th - St Romuald
For Limerick, we celebrate the dedication of St John's Cathedral as a solemnity in the parish of St Johns and a feast for the diocese.
June 20th - The Irish Martyrs
June 21st - St Aloysius Gonzaga
June 22nd - St John Fisher and St Thomas Moore
June 23rd - Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (St John's Eve)
June 24th - Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist

10 Jun 2017

11th June 2017 - Solemnity of Holy Trinity

As our radio listeners will have realised, last weeks programme did not go out on air at our usual time on Sunday morning due to lack of due care and attention at WL102fm which is beyond the control of the team on SS102fm. 

As our regular listeners will appreciate unlike many other programmes on the station, SS102fm can't easily be replayed or aired the following week when such mistakes happen as our programmes each week work around the gospel for the week, the liturgical calendar and often up coming events which can't be replayed. We apologies to our radio listeners for the inconvenience caused.

On this weeks programme, we are joined by Fr Seamus Enright to speak about the upcoming annual novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Limerick. We also reprise Fr Frank Duhig's reflection from last Sunday's programme about the Holy Spirit in part two. We have a short reflection on this weeks gospel and the solemnity being celebrated today of Holy Trinity as well as other liturgical odds and ends.

You can listen to the podcast of this weeks full programme HERE.

Novena 2017 to Our Lady of Perpetual Help

On this weeks programme we are joined by Fr Seamus Enright to tell us about the 2017 novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. 

Indirectly linking in with the national preparation for WMoF2018 next year in Dublin, this year's novena theme focuses on the family. 

At the same time the Redemptorist community in Limerick is celebrating the centenary of the arrival of the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the city.

You can listen to Fr Seamus being interviewed HERE.

Further information is available online including webcam of the sessions HERE.

Over 100,000 people expected to attend Limerick Novena

Limerick City Corpus Christi Procession

During his interview about the novena, Fr Seamus mentioned about the Children's Novena on 18th June.  At the same time we would like to remind people about the Limerick city Corpus Christi procession which takes place on the Feast of the Most Blessed Sacrament (Corpus Christi)  - Sunday 18th June 2017.  

The event begins with participation in the 6.00pm session of the Novena in the Redemptorist Church.  Others will join at 6.40 pm and everyone will proceed to St Joseph’s church, O Connell Avenue for the veneration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

All are warmly welcome especially families, and this year there will be a special emphasis on Grandparents and Grandchildren as well as all those who have received the sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage.

Children who have celebrated their First Holy communion are invited to attend in their First Communion attire to mark their and their families special year.

Reflecting on the Holy Spirit & our need for an internal Pentecost

We repeat last weeks reflection from Fr Frank Duhig who leads us in a reflection on the forgotten person of the Trinity  - the Holy Spirit on this weeks programme.

We reflect on how the Holy Spirit is an the Agent of God present in us to fulfill Jesus' promise. The question for us this week is where do allow ourselves to create space for the "gentle one of the Trinity"; where do we allow ourselves to discover the beautiful thing called silence.

The Holy Spirit is being crowded out by the voices and noises of the modern world - we are interconnected but are we truly communicating both with each other and with God?

You can listen to Fr Frank's reflection on the Holy Spirit excerpted from the main programme HERE.

Previous posts from SS102fm on Pentecost including a reflection from Dom Patrick Hederman OSB and from Fr Michael Liston.

Gospel - John 3:16-18

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 
‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 2 - 10th week in ordinary time

Saints of the Week

June 12th - St John of Sahagun
June 13th - St Anthony of Padua (of Lisbon)
June 14th - St Davnet
June 15th - St Pierre de Cervis
June 16th - Bl Antoine Auriel
June 17th - St Molling of Wexford

Anti-Catholicism shouldn’t be allowed to be the last acceptable prejudice

Irish Catholic - June 8th 2017

"Catholics need to become better at standing up for themselves”, writes Michael Kelly

There has been much to criticise in the Catholic Church recently. And Catholics have not been shy about naming the serious wrongs that have been done in the name of the Church or by people within the Church.

The Church has also not been short of critics in the media and political life – often they protest with good reason. 

I don’t know if the Church would’ve faced up to the dreadful crisis of abuse if it wasn’t for the media and external oversight. But, every day there is verbal abuse, distortion, innuendo. 

Many Catholics tell me they’ve stopped reading secular newspapers. One man told me recently that he used to love reading the papers, but now he dreads turning the page because of what he might see: more contempt heaped upon the Church which he goes on loving, despite everything.


In certain media and political circles, there is a special contempt – even hatred – reserved for all things Catholic. Some of the venom heaped upon the Religious Sister of Chairty recently was, in my opinion, nothing short of incitement to hatred. 

When a well-known novelist recently called upon her Twitter followers to throw a stone at a priest if they saw one, no-one batted an eyelid. Had this woman called for a national ‘stone-a-Muslim’ day in the same way as she called for the national ‘stone-a-priest’, one wonders if there would have been outrage.

Church-bashing has also become a pastime in our national parliament. Hardly a day goes by that doesn’t see an ill-tempered tirade against the Church and Catholic values. The representatives of the hard left are the worst – but they’re rarely alone. Just last week, Bríd Smith, the People Before Profit TD, in a particularly rabid rant called for the Church to be dumped “in the dustbin where it belongs”. 

One wonders who Ms Smith would throw in the bin first? The elderly nuns that now make up what’s left of the Religious Sisters of Charity? Bro. Kevin Crowley and the Capuchins who run the soup kitchen in Dublin? Passionate and untiring voices for the vulnerable like Fr Peter McVerry or Sr Stan Kennedy?

Ms Smith may not like some things the Church stands for (it’s a free country), but surely she wants a country where no-one is consigned to a dustbin? Where no-one is made to feel left out because they don’t quite go along with whatever the consensus is on any given day?

It’s baffling that some people who claim to speak up against intolerance and bigotry have no difficulty in using inflammatory language against groups in society that they find objectionable.

And here’s the thing: many people are either unwilling or unable to call out anti-Catholicism for what it is. If Ms Smith stood up in the Dáil to call for the binning of Muslims, Jews, people with disabilities, or any other group in society there’s rightly be outrage. But, Catholics? They’re fair game.

It isn’t right. And it isn’t on. Catholics need to become better at standing up for themselves. We need to be unafraid and unapologetic in calling out bias, unfairness, characterisation and downright bigotry. Sensible politicians on all sides also need to start standing up for a bit of fair play. Anti-Catholicism shouldn’t be allowed to be the last acceptable prejudice.