In my last post I was very taken by a Christmas themed RTE radio interview with a Glenstal monk called Simon Sleeman. An itch to hear more and a google search led me to another RTE radio interview with another Glenstal monk. Listen to Mark Patrick Hederman talking to Marian Finucane about his new book the ‘Opal and the Pearl’.
If you don’t want to listen here’s my potted eavesdropped version.
It seems 'The Opal and the Pearl’ was written by Hederman partly as a response to our President’s suggestion that we need a new ethics. The flow of their conversation goes something like this.
We should listen to writers and artists. We are living in a state of chaos. We need rules and ethics now that those of the church have disappeared. When we had a catechism - when many people thought it was wonderful to be Catholic in Ireland - we didn't have to ask questions – but now we do.
Bullyboys have always run the world. Hederman believes the problem is not about men or women it's about the denial of the feminine – even perhaps war against the feminine
Homophobics, he says, are terrified of the feminine in self or in other. We are no longer a fascist regime that determines the type of toy or colour that our children have or wear. We are entering a new world. So we have to work out new rules and standards. Marriage can be a prison rather than a liberation. Before, when it was an institution, your big day could well be the end of your life. He finds it strange that gay people want to get married. We should have more imagination. He hates referenda. They are, he says, more like hate fests than debates.
Religion, he says, is something we associate with freedom and should never be forced. If you want me to believe in your Redeemer you'd want to look a bit more redeemed yourself. (He quoting Friedrich Nietzsche here). If people find your way of life attractive then….