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Pros And Cons
EAMONN McCANN has all the latest news from the wild and wacky worlds of sex, prostitution, death cults and wildest and wackiest by far mainstream religion.
Eamonn McCann, 13 Apr 2000
Coming up: sex-starvation in Keyna; pilgrim statue reaches Belfast; why the Catholic Church in Chicago is paying parishioners to hire prostitutes; now-we-see-it-now-you-don't vote fraud at Fatima; and the death-cult Mariolators of Toowoomba who love David Campese and are hated by the Archbishop of Dublin.
The Catholic women of Kandara are looking for good men. But since there are too few good men, they ll settle for cops. According to Reuters, the women from the Keynan town want the police either to shut down the local speakeasies or provide them with alternative sexual services.
It seems that a gang of furious ladies from 24 Catholic church groups delivered the ultimatum to Kandara police station last month: if the police can t or won t close the drinking dens where their spouses make like Norm used to in Cheers, selected officers must be assigned to have sex with them.
The day-long protest is said to have taken police unawares, and brought business in the town to a halt. The women told the stunned officer in charge to order his men to make love to them or find them new husbands . They blamed the bars for sexual frustration caused by their husbands soggy performance in the sack.
Our men have turned to vegetables , one female carnivore complained. They leave home early and come back intoxicated. There is nobody to meet the sexual needs of wives.
Castlerea, an area with at least 24 Catholic Church organisations and three times that number of pubs for men to sink slow pints in and listen to Brendan Shine on the juke-box while muttering about the miserable condition of modern man, should take note, and tremble, at the knee.
The Castlerea gardai are, I m told, known throughout the three parishes for personal hygiene.
A touring statue of the Virgin Mary drew more than a thousand people to St. Peter s Cathedral in Belfast on April 1st. This was not seasonal tomfoolery.
According to the Irish News, the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady has travelled the world . . . to bring the Message of Fatima to the faithful .
The Bishop of Fatima blessed the statue in 1947 before it set out on a world tour which has so far brought it to more than 30 countries. The tour was sanctioned by Sister Lucia, sole survivor of the three comely urchins who claimed to have seen the BVM in the Pyrenean village in 1917.
On May 13th, Pope John Paul will beatify two of the three visionaries , an event which is expected hugely to boost the numbers travelling to Fatima this year. Eleven new hotels are under construction.
Says Fr. Gerry McCloskey of St. Peter s on the Falls Road: Devotion to Our Lady seems to bring out the numbers, and this really is a beautiful statue. It has brought a peace plan from heaven .
Fr. McCloskey didn t divulge details of the peace plan how it dealt with decommissioning or the RUC name-change, for example. Perhaps this is the Fourth Secret of Fatima.
According to the popular priest, some parishioners who couldn t make it along to St. Peter s to see the statue, listened instead on the parish radio .
You couldn t make it up. The great thing is, you don t have to.
Then there s the church in Chicago trying to merge the two oldest professions. The Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina's on the South Side, plans to pay prostitutes their going rate to listen to the good news of the gospel.
The Rev. Pfleger says that his scheme is attracting global interest as well as local donations .
I am not surprised.
We're overwhelmed, he claims. We got calls from everywhere, including Europe.
Having challenged his church members to spend money aiding the needy, the Rev. Pfleger was, it seems, approached by thoughtful parishioners who reckoned nobody needed to hear the gospel more than prostitutes. Obviously, there are no Bush voters on the South Side.
Rev. Pfleger instructed parishioners taking part in the initiative to give the $45 or whatever to pay a prostitute to listen to Biblical readings for an hour. (Perhaps Numbers 31:15-18?)
The Rev. was pleased to be able to announce that one devout chap from the Evanston district had pledged to spend $1,000 on the scheme. And the Sunday before last, parishioners donated a grand total of $3,000 to help fund those who wished to help but couldn t afford the prostitutes fees.
The Rev. conceded that a few malcontents had been critical, but remained undeterred.
I say, fine. This is our way. I didn't say it was the only way. The general idea is to connect prostitutes with a wide network of help.
The plan has proved particular popular with older men who may feel their approach is less likely to be mistaken by the prostitutes.
Not only could you not make it up. You wouldn t dare.
The Fatima Three weren t believed when they first announced they d seen the BVM. But they persisted until, eventually, Church authorities relented and touted the trio as visionaries . Their credibility with the top brass was boosted by their revelation that the BVM s top priority was the conversion of Russia .
Readers may be aware that there was something of a tumult in Russia in 1917.
On one occasion, 20,000 people thronged the mountain village to witness the Three witnessing the apparition. That is, 20,000 people gazed intently at the spot. Three said, yes, we see the BVM. Nineteen thousand nine hundred and ninty-seven said, no, we don t see a thing.
So the ayes have it.
Bernadette of Lourdes was roundly denounced by the local bishop before sheer persistence won her, too, the backing of the Church.
The visionaries who say they see the BVM in the Hercegovinan village of Medjugorje continue to be dimissed by the Bishop of Mostar as political stooges. But the Vatican is now quietly endorsing their claims. Pilgrimages will leave Ireland for Medjugorje throughout this summer at a rate of two a week.
So how can the Archbishop of Dublin be confident that the Magnificat Meal Movement will never amount to anything much?
The founder and leader of the MMM, Debra Geileskey, says she is in constant touch with both the BVM and the BVM s son, Jesus, who have told her that God is not one bit pleased with some of the goings-on in the Catholic Church, and is particularly peeved by the fashion for mass in the venacular.
Ms. Geileskey also wants the BVM declared co-Redemptrix with Jesus.
Warning Catholics to steer clear of the MMM (cool acronym!), Dr. Desmond Connell quoted at length from a statement by Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba, Queensland, where the movement is based. I want to be clear that no Magnificat Meal Movement activity has any Church approval . . . (It) is not of God .
But how does he, or Archbishop Connell, know? Might they not be as wrong about the MMM as their counterparts initially were about Lourdes and Fatima, and as wrong as the Bishop of Mostar may soon be reckoned about Medjugorje?
A spokesman for the MMM told the Irish Catholic that accepting what Mrs. Geileskey has to say about such matters as the mass depends on whether or not you accept that she is in fact a prophet and is receiving messages from Jesus and Mary as she says she is . Which, taken on its own terms, is so reasonable as to be beyond argument.
Unless Dr. Connell, too, is claiming that he is in direct communication with the BVM and Jesus and that they are telling him something different from what Ms. Geileskey says she s being told, he is in no position to denounce her as fraudulent. And in light of the poor record of bishops in spotting which BVMs will stay the pace, the views of the bishop of Toowoomba are hardly crucial.
Some readers will recall that the MMM s first starring appearance in Ireland was in this very space last year, where we featured the furore which followed Ms. Geileskey s announcement that the end of the world was nigh and that the MMM wouldn t be hanging around to see it, intending instead to burn themselves to death on a date in (if memory serves) late September.
Gaggles of journalists who gathered at the MMM compound near Toowoomba to witness the final conflagration were thoroughly cheesed off when, instead of setting themselves on fire, cult members piled into a convoy of cars and roared off into the dust.
It turned out later that they d decided to wait until after the rugby World Cup. Which Australia won. Which seems to have persuaded them to dally with us on this earth a while longer.
The MMM may be marginally less evil than most mad Mariolators. Certainly, given a choice between Archbishop Desmond Connell and Ms. Debra Geileskey, I m with Debs.