"Do we want to have a culture of Podge and Rodge, or one of decency and respect?" asked Catholic Primate of All-Ireland, Archbishop Seán Brady.
This is a marvellous question and the potential basis of a very entertaining game. There are not enough spurious comparisons and choices to be made between entirely unrelated items. There should be more questions like it such as "Do we want a culture of apples and oranges or one of puppies and kittens?" Or how about "Do we want magenta and yellow or Pasta & Pizza?"
I don't even particulary like Podge & Rodge, I find their level of crudity is rarely justified by the level of humour. But I think I understand where they are coming from - attacking the soft underbelly of minor (or even major) celebrity. Their interview with Chris Brosnan was a little masterpiece of bubble bursting. On the otherhand the one with Brian Kennedy was cringeworthy. They are part of a backlash against all those years of Gay Byrne being so feckin' grateful that some B-list celebrity would come to little ole Ireland to hock their wares on the Late Late. There is a lot of pent up anger to have to work through.
"The increased "coarseness and aggression" in Irish society was evident "on the roads, in drinking, the increase in sexualisation of children at an earlier age, stress, excess generally. It is dehumanising". Such "dehumanisation is linked to secularisation", he said.
The argument he is making is:
Modern life is increasingly rubbish
Modern life is increasingly secular
Thus the trend towards secularisation has made life rubbish which, of course, is a basic logical fallacy.
But wait! There's more!
[Secularistation] was opposite to Christian core values which "called on Christians to look out for one another" and to develop "a good caring attitude, bringing healing to brokenness", he said.
Message: Secularists have no values, don't care for anyone else. I guess it must be Christians doing all the good stuff, not secularists. The secularists are off corrupting children and being crude.
The past decade had seen a rapid decline in both vocations to the priesthood and attendance at weekly Mass, but he felt using attendance at Mass as a yardstick was "an incomplete way to assess the life of the Church" as there had been, for instance, no decline in numbers at Catholic schools.
Let's face it the Church's marketshare is massively down in the areas (Mass attendance, vocations) where people partake in them voluntarily but is stready (or steady-ish) in areas, like education, where they don't have much of a choice. You could say there is an increase in people attending 'Catholic' hospitals but I doubt it reflects one way or another on the degree of 'life of the Church'. It does of course explain why they are not going to give up the schools (or hospitals) without a serious fight.
He said it was not right "for the State to seek to monopolise education" and did not accept that the segregation of children attending school along religious lines contributed to sectarianism.
He is correct, State monopolies in education or in most other things are not good. It is even less right for there to be a Church monopoly in education particularly when large swathes of the population are no longer interested in what they are peddling.
Do you want "Cathecism and ritual" or "Freedom and choice"? Oh wait I got it wrong, those items are related.