Comment on the Mass readings for the Clogher Diocese 19.09.

10 The Paradoxical Parable in Praise of Political Acumen (Luke 16. 1-13). Hi Scribd Readers I managed to make it to the vigil Mass in the nearby Parish of Magherarney (which straddles the border between Monaghan and Fermanagh) Saturday evening and then into Monaghan Cathedral today, Sunday, which is in the Parish of Rackwallace and so I’ve attached both Parish bulletins. And well I might have for it took the combined wisdoms of Fathers John Flanagan and Joe McEneaney plus a fully fledged after Mass rant with an atheist friend (Michael Connolly – North Monaghan Green Party candidate) in McDonald’s over a cup of tea to unravel the mysteries of the apparently 'Paradoxical Parable in Praise of Political Acumen” (Luke 16: 1-13) as well as providing the excuse I needed to rant forth about the government’s handling of the worsening financial crisis. Before I go any further I should thank Michael’s son, Ruairi (English version: Rory) for indulging the two ranting and intemperate adults he'd been lumped with. So what of the paradoxical parable on political acumen (my title) where Jesus apparently condones political dishonesty? What he’s really illustrating in this parable is the distinction between corruption and being a Gobshite, which the Irish might define as a person who allows excessive moral scruples get in the way of practical common sense and the need for social consideration. For in the Parable, the Steward – on hearing he's about to be sacked - sets out to ingratiate himself with his Master's debtors by discounting their debts, by fifty percent in the case of oil and twenty percent in the case of food. What does the Master do on hearing of this seemingly self-serving scam: punish him further for dishonesty as well as his original error of being lazy? No, rather he praises the servant for his political savvy and keeps him on instead. And if that’s not challenging enough Jesus goes onto develop the parable through a veritable paradoxical obstacle course implying that not only does he expect his followers to treat money with the disdain it deserves in the interests of society and of the Kingdom to come - he implies he’ll be miffed at those who don’t see the necessity of doing so. For by prioritising the money system over societies interests they will have shown contempt for their kind in order to curry favour with the bosses of this world, and he will soon strip them of their graces accordingly – their Heavenly inheritance, so to speak – exposing them for their lack of courage on societies behalf. Now if you ever wondered whether was Jesus a socialist then wonder no more because here he is clearly putting the money system at the service of society and not the other way round; which - by my way of thinking - is the essential difference between a Socialist and a Capitalist or a Democrat and a Republican at least. And of course our good Bishop - the newly appointed Monsignor Liam McDaid – threw in a reading from the prophet Amos to kick things off, Amos being a hero to Liberation

Theologians. In the First Reading the Prophet (Amos 8: 4-7) is having a go at swindlers who rather than tilting the balance in favour of social interests seek to exploit society making the lot of the people pure misery - sounds familiar. St Paul (1 Timothy 2: 1-8) is meanwhile saying leave no one out, pray for all, King’s included, so that we may live in Peace and get on with the business of living fitting God fearing lives. So would I walk past my Atheist mate in McDonald’s having heard all that? Not likely! Michael Connolly is involved in the Transition Towns movement and issues like oil dependency and food security, pointing out that three quarters of all the oil we consume is consumed indirectly via the food production system. An amazing fact which behoves me to build a pollytunnel and get on with the business of growing my own. So its curious that Jesus discounts oil at fifty percent – in this case vegetable oil – clearly treating it as a factor of production and a critical constituent of the food production/preparation system. I guess Jesus was not simply pulling numbers out of the air as we all sometimes do. The fact that he was discounting from 100 shows he was really referring to percentages and suggesting the appropriate discount rate where energy and food were concerned. But the real focus of our rant was on the Government, which quite unlike the politically discerning Steward decided to bail out the system and not society writing off the debts of the commercial, developer and banking sectors rather than writing off a percentage of mortgage debt, which would also have served to re-capitalise the banks indirectly in any event. And still even now faced with political and economic oblivion they serve the rulebook and not society. When they ought to be pulling out of the Euro and re-introducing the Punt for a period of five years while we get our house in order – so to speak – they are walking us into an IMF based takeover, which will impoverish the country for decades to come. The principle concern both of the Government and of the Social Partners must be to ensure that Social Welfare payments are met and Public Sector wages are paid - even if at a lower level because as things are going they will not be paid at all. Of course reintroducing the Punt would lead to massive reverse migration of foreign social welfare recipients and workers due to the poor currency conversion from Punt to Euro's further alleviating the pressure on the Department of Social Welfare and on the Jobs market. Bigger than this national level picture we could reasonably expect the British and Europe's continental powers to get on with dividing the Euro zone in two: a Frankfurt based Euro I for the Continental core and a London based Euro II for the AtlanticMed Fringe Nations (Europe’s ‘Bay of PIGS’: Portugal, Iceland, Ireland, southern Italy and Greece). The effect would be to get the periphery off the German Exchequer’s back while opening to door for the Middle East Oil Bourse to trade in London Euros, following Turkish accession, thus anchoring Europe’s periphery in petro-euros while giving the Arab world real political and demographic leverage in

Europe in exchange. I could flesh that out but this is an interpretation of a Sunday Mass leaflet afterall. Thank God I’m not a Priest. After a while Michael’s son Ruairi convinced us we were becoming unseemly as we debated the economy, gay civil partnership and moral relativism. We did conclude however by co-opting Sinn Fein into Government as the best way of opening the door to default and the re-introduction of the Punt. ‘Remember these Guys: No2Lisbon, No2Nice and No2Mastricht? We would say, well the price of failure has just been applied. By co-opting Sinn Fein into government the Government would not be saying ‘No’, to any of those Treaties just that we must bow out of the Euro while the Principle Powers see the sense of dividing the Euro-zone in two, thereafter we’ll reapply for membership of the London Euro. And all that in an after Mass rant in McDonald’s in the Republican town of North Monaghan, so of course we made Caoimhghin O Caolain TD (SF) the Minister for Health - Harney got Cowen’s job. I went home and slept for two hours vowing never to talk to a Green Party Atheist again after Mass and wondering about St. Paul’s advice. Please note that on the Rackwallace Parish Bulletin there’s an interesting item on looking for participants for a Barcelona Fun Run. So if anyone out there would like to take part in that cool event get in contact with me and I’ll help with the fundraising on Facebook. Paul V. Cassidy

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