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Irish Music and Religion

Felipa 17 Feb 03 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 30 Jan 03 - 03:22 PM
GUEST 29 Jan 03 - 11:54 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 29 Jan 03 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,Doubting Thomas 29 Jan 03 - 04:06 PM
Felipa 29 Jan 03 - 01:54 PM
ard mhacha 29 Jan 03 - 01:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jan 03 - 07:25 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jan 03 - 07:24 PM
GUEST 28 Jan 03 - 07:11 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 28 Jan 03 - 06:56 PM
GUEST 28 Jan 03 - 04:57 PM
GUEST 28 Jan 03 - 04:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jan 03 - 11:10 AM
GUEST 28 Jan 03 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Promoter 28 Jan 03 - 09:34 AM
GUEST,Promoter 28 Jan 03 - 09:22 AM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jan 03 - 08:56 AM
GUEST 28 Jan 03 - 07:50 AM
GUEST,Promoter 27 Jan 03 - 10:01 PM
Hrothgar 27 Jan 03 - 06:19 AM
GUEST,Johnny 26 Jan 03 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Phil 26 Jan 03 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,mrs doubting thomas 26 Jan 03 - 07:17 AM
GUEST,Promoter 25 Jan 03 - 10:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jan 03 - 09:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jan 03 - 08:42 PM
Roughyed 25 Jan 03 - 08:30 PM
The Pooka 25 Jan 03 - 07:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jan 03 - 07:08 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 25 Jan 03 - 06:21 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 03 - 05:09 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 03 - 05:01 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 03 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,No Doubt 25 Jan 03 - 04:15 PM
Joe Offer 25 Jan 03 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,No Doubt 25 Jan 03 - 03:29 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 03 - 02:13 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 03 - 02:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jan 03 - 02:07 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 03 - 02:04 PM
Joe Offer 25 Jan 03 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,No Doubt 25 Jan 03 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,Steve Schaper 25 Jan 03 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,No Doubt 25 Jan 03 - 12:55 PM
GUEST,No Doubt 25 Jan 03 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,No Doubt 25 Jan 03 - 12:24 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 03 - 11:53 AM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jan 03 - 11:34 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 25 Jan 03 - 11:05 AM
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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: Felipa
Date: 17 Feb 03 - 05:15 PM

Seminar in BELFAST N Ireland 22 Feb 2003
"Swinging Shoulders, Dancing Feet - music traditions among protestant people in Ireland"
organised by Fintan Vallely, Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages, University of Ulster. VENUE CHANGED to College of Art, University of Ulster, York Street, Belfast
for details of this and other events see:
www.arts.ulst.ac.uk/academy/events.htm


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 03:22 PM

The people at Comhaltas have been wonderful. They've been supportive, understanding and careful not to impose any ideas religious, political or otherwise on anyone else. They are the Membership of Irish Musicians and are encouraging, and delightful. I met Micheal Flatley at a Comhaltas meeting and found him to be articulate, accessible and a nice person. I've played with the Boston Branch, the St. Louis Branch and met folks in Monkstown, Belgrave Square in Dublin. The Comhaltas is doing important work by collecting folk material from Northern Ireland as well. My only concern is that this wonderful organization continues to grow and doesn't alienate people because of a few who have a religious axe to grind. I share this concern with many others who want to see Comhaltas internationally successful.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 11:54 PM

About the dumbest aspect of this thread (other than it's orginator singling out the people who agree with him, and congratulating them on their "open mindedness") is the association people keep making between church/state and church/Irish music association, as if they are somehow equivalent.

But then, it's the internet, after all.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 05:43 PM

Thanks Felipa, I'm going to try to get to that, if I make it over for the Portaferry gathering.

Most recent guest, yes, I take your point about north and south - though if that figure of 95 per cent still holds good, I'm frankly amazed. Even if it does, it should not affect the issue. Turkey is 98 per cent Muslim and since a few months ago is even governed by a Muslim party, but there has so far been no attempt to change the country's constitutional status as a secular state.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Doubting Thomas
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 04:06 PM

As the instigator of this thread can I once again thank everyone who's been on. I'm conscious that I've not been on myself for a couple of days but I've been busy doing work for this organisation that ND seems convinced I'm out to destroy. By the way, No (is it alright if I use your first name? I feel so close to you now), I haven't forgotten you but having a job, a family and stuff to do to get this thing organised I'm afraid you've slipped down my list a little. Sorry, mate.

Thanks to Frank Hamilton, Ard Mhacha, Fionn and others for talking sense and being so open-minded. Most of the people who have posted have made valid points, including No, and you've all helped me focus my own thinking. And thanks, Guest, for the heads-up on the Kevin Collins book. I certainly will check it out.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: Felipa
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 01:54 PM

Seminar in Derry, N Ireland 22 Feb 2003
"Swinging Shoulders, Dancing Feet - music traditions among protestant people in Ireland"
organised by Fintan Vallely, Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages, Magee College, University of Ulster.
for details of this and other events see:
www.arts.ulst.ac.uk/academy/events.htm


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: ard mhacha
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 01:43 PM

Fionn, Thanks for the support, I am amazed that this silly thread has gone on so long, I will say it again, RELIGION IS NEVER MENTIONED, PLAY THE MUSIC AND ENJOY. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 07:25 PM

If a local church/meeting house/synagogue/temple/mosque etc welcomes musicians and dancers along to take part in a religious service as part of a festival it's helping promte the festival.

That seems commonsense to me. And I wouldn't need to be a Christian/Jew/Hindu/Sikh/Buddhist or Muslim to see it that way.

Notting Hill Carnival typically has this kind of thing happening in all kinds of religious settings. Including very definitely the Catholic St Mary of the Angels, with a very popular Mas Mass. And not just popular among Catholics.

That's what festivals are supposed to be about, everybody joining in and contributing what they have to give.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 07:24 PM

If a local church/meeting house/synagogue/temple/mosque etc welcomes musicians and dancers along to take part in a religious service as part of a festival it's helping promte the festival.

That seems commonsense to me. And I wouldn't need to be a Christian/Jew?Hindu/Sikh/Buddhist or Muslim to see it that way.

Notting Hill Carnival typically has this kind of thing happening in all kinds of religious settings. Including very definitely the Catholic St Mary of the Angels, with a very popular Mas Mass. And not just popular among Catholics.

That's what festivals are supposed to be about, everybody joining in and contributing what they have to give.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 07:11 PM

Fionn, your post reads as if the North is the norm for Comhaltas branches--it isn't. Again, Comhaltas was founded in and remains headquartered in Dublin. A country which remains 95% Catholic.

Well behind the times though Comhaltas and many other conservative Irish arts, language, and cultural organizations are, they do have the right to remain so, as long as their membership wishes.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 06:56 PM

McGrath, I guess you would have to be catholic to think that the inclusion of a mass at a fleadh is somehow promoting the fleadh. But maybe I'm missing the point. IF you can turn it into any kind of sense, fine.

Like Ard Mhacha I am a member of a branch in Northern Ireland, and I've never once heard religion mentioned. Guest ND says "I understand the conflict in many Irish minds over this," but I suspect the conflict is less in Irish than in US minds.

What's your problem, McGrath, with what Ard Mhacha described as the norm in his branch? Why can't you be content for people to make their own arrangements for any worship they want to do - by all means making use of multi-denominational information such as that you found in the Clonmel programme? The fact that the info was there works against your own case, I would have thought. Why should CCE be endorsing any one religion over any others? Why fear losing that tiny bit of patronage?

ND questions why DT has only now raised the matter. He seems to have a sensible reason, but for my own part I would argue that attitudes to catholicism have changed dramatically in very recent years, not least in that famously Irish city, Boston. But so too in Dublin and Belfast. Presumably even popes will henceforth balk at calling St Peter's Chair "that sacred repository of all truth." Obviously the child-abuse and financial-abuse scandals have been a big factor but so too have been spectacularly ill-judged initiatives such as the 1998 beatification of Alojzije Stepinac (who farcically had to be deemed a martyr to get round the need for a miraculous intercession).

And incidentally I would not go along with Jewish, secular or any other organisations patronising any particular creeds. I would welcome a world in which people increasingly believe or don't believe not because of family ties or peer pressure but because they have made up their own minds. CCE in my view is behind the times in this respect as in many others - as witness Treoir, which resembles a throw-back to the 1950s!


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 04:57 PM

I would state my case, to the membership, that the constitution cites a non-denomination position. I would propose that any denominational "leaning," (in this case a RC mass), is inappropriate. Further, if the membership persists, and won't remove the RC persuasion, I would make it a point to change the leadership. Then, if they won't change, I would start a non-denominational group. I suspect that you'll get quite a crowd in the new organization.

PS: I face a very similiar situation in the SE USA, only here it is
    fundamentalist protestantism!!!


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 04:48 PM

Due out next month from Four Courts Press, the following book which Doubting Thomas and Promoter might want to give a look-see:

Catholic churchmen and the Celtic revival, 1848-1916

KEVIN COLLINS



This book is an investigation into the contribution made to the Celtic Revival in Ireland in nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by the Roman Catholic Church. It aims to identify the major clerical figures involved; to examine what they contributed to revivalism; and to examine their reasons for the propagation of the Gaelic language and its culture.

It will be suggested that Celtic revivalism, so-called, was not an entirely new ideology, but rather a re-emergence of an older ethnic nationalism, based on language and faith, already discernable, significantly enough, in the writings of seventeenth century clerical figures. It is argued that the legacy of these clerics permeated the worldview of nineteenth century clergymen, who, in consequence, kept alive this older ethnic nationalism.

The attitude of the nineteenth century Roman Catholic Church to Gaelic Culture is examined. The Clerics played the leading role in founding language organizations: The Gaelic Society; The Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language (SPIL), The Gaelic Union and The Gaelic League. They were also prominent in the success of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). The Clerics shaped the ideology of the revivalist movement through the creation of two new literatures: one in the Irish language but also one in English which, for practical purposes, was the language through which they could most easily reach the populace with their revivalist message.

Kevin Collins completed his MPhil at Leeds University. He is the author of The cultural conquest of Ireland (1990, Mercier Press).

208pp February 2003


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 11:10 AM

Having a Mass at a Fleadh isn't "promoting" the Catholic Church, it's promoting the Fleadh.

And if any other denomination were to offer to put on a special service to go with the festival, and invited musicians and dancers to come along and take part, I bet the organisers would be delighted, and there'd be no shortage of volunteers either.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 11:02 AM

After decades of offering voluntary mass to people who attend Irish traditional music festivals, Comhaltas sponsored or not, I don't think most of us cares, Promoter.

If you feel that you can't in good conscience organize and or fundraise for Comhaltas because they continue, after 50 years of doing so, to offer the mass, then it is your decision what to do. The tyrannical majority of the organization doesn't share your point of view, it seems. They aren't concerned, as you seem to be, that they are doing anything illegal or immoral or violating the Comhaltas constitution. You seem to be something of a zealot on this issue. Bit of an anti-Catholic crusader. And a bloody tiresome one at that.

Just what do you expect from people here in this thread? Agreement? Action? A crusade against Comhaltas Catholics? People have given their opinions so just what is it you want?


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Promoter
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 09:34 AM

Ooops, silly me! Please excuse the unintentional, spelling mistake in the last sentence of the above contribution. Ironic, though it is. :-)


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Promoter
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 09:22 AM

My solution (that a Mass could be organised independently) is that Comhaltas practises what it preaches... as simple as that! That way, it can't get into hot water over it. That way, I, and others, won't be asked to act unconstitutionally when promoting Comhaltas events and raising funds through various bodies such as "education in arts", "the arts council", the "national lottery", "local government agencies" etc, etc, etc (remember, the contitution is the basis for its existence under law). That way, its funding will be legally obtained and not placed in jeopardy. That way, it can't be challenged in a court of law and face the danger of being "brought into disrepute" (cluse 5 of the contitution is relevent here)

In answer to those who say join an organisation that promotes traditional Irish culture that doesn't promote a Catholic dimension... well, isn't that what Comhaltas proposes to be in the first place? The answer is its statement that it is non-denominational. As I stated above, there is a distinction between "we" as Catholics and "we" as members of Comhaltas. "We" as members of Comhaltas are duty bound to act non demoninationally (not multi-denominationally) when engaged in Comhaltas business.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 08:56 AM

I'd call it a turkey.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 07:50 AM

All fine and well Promoter. Except Comhaltas has been sponsoring mass with weekend festivals for 50 years, as have all the major Irish traditional music festivals. Are you going after Willie Week and Milwaukee Irish Fest too?

Your solution, whether you want to call it banning or not, is to do away with the mass. Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck...yet you claim it isn't a duck.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Promoter
Date: 27 Jan 03 - 10:01 PM

In answer to the charge that this is an attempt to ban religious services from Comhaltas activites let me repeat again, to the point of almost exhaustion, that Comhaltas itself, in its constitution, the one it constituted for itself, not one that was forced upon it, precludes them from being denominational. You are not "banning" something. No one is trying to ban Comhaltas or Comhaltas members from doing anything that is correct and proper under its constitution and no one is trying to ban or is being intolerent of the observance of the Catholic Mass.

There is no religeous intolerance implied at all. This seems to be the biggest stumbling block. Consider it this way, there is a difference between "we" as Catholics and "we" as members of Comhaltas. "We" as members of Comhaltas can't, under our own rules, act denominationally. No one here is suggesting that a Mass can't be obsevered by members of Comhaltas but, to be above board, it can't be organised or promoted under the auspices of Comhaltas. Comhaltas is constituted as a secular organisation to allow it to raise funds appropriately and to be relevant to anyone at all in agreement with its (secular) aims.

The real solution is that those members wishing to organise a Mass do so as private individuals and not in the name of Comhaltas.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: Hrothgar
Date: 27 Jan 03 - 06:19 AM

This could be thread creep, but Joe Offer has made the point that the Irish had to celebrate Mass in Latin, probably up until the time of the Vatican Council that is usually referred to as Vatican II.

However, if I remember my history (or a version of it!) correctly, one of the reasons the Norman English received Papal permission to invade Ireland was that Rome wanted the independent-minded irish church pulled back into line.

One of the manifestations of Irish church indepoendence could have been celebration of the Mass in the Gaelic/Celtic/Irish language - but I'm on fairly shaky ground here. Does anybody else have any theories?


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Johnny
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 02:47 PM

As I read through this thread, I see a couple of people who apparently want to see the Catholic Mass, which often is offered as part of weekend trad music activities in the US offered through Comhaltas banned, in the name of religious tolerance. Do I have that right? That the argument being put forth is that there should be no religious services ever offered in conjunction with any Comhaltas events?

I find that to be pretty stupid. Comhaltas isn't the only Irish music organization that does this. Milwaukee Irish Fest and just about every other Irish music festival in the US offers a voluntary Mass as part of their weekend festival activities (of which there are many to choose).

As No Doubt correctly points out, Comhaltas is an Irish organization with branches around the world. For 50 years, many Comhaltas branches with predominantly Catholic membership, have held a Mass with the weekend festivals, again they are strictly for those who wish to attend. Attending the Mass is not compulsory. In fact, if you don't attend the Mass, you'd never even know that it exists as part of most branch festivals. Membership in the organization is open to anyone who supports the aims and mission of the organization, which is non-denominational.

As No Doubt has pointed out, this is an Irish arts and cultural organization, based in the Republic of Ireland. The religious make up of the Republic is 95% Catholic, of the North, nearly 50% Catholic. I think it can safely be said that in Ireland, Comhaltas isn't excluding anyone by offering voluntary services for Catholics and Protestants.

If people don't like the Catholic dimension of Comhaltas, they have two options: either don't attend the Mass (which is what many I know who attend Comhaltas events do) or get your Irish traditional music elsewhere (which is what the majority of musicians I know who are interested in the music do).

Comhaltas has already changed a lot over the years, as the popularity of the music has grown. Many here have made the very reasonable suggestion that information on Protestant services be included. As many have pointed out, they already are. In some branches, there is no religious service on Sunday mornings, and the events are just language, music & culture related. It looks to me like the only religious intolerance here is on the part of the folks who want to ban the Catholic Mass, not the other way round.

I agree Mrs. Doubting Thomas, your husband started a stupid argument that didn't need to be vetted publicly.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 08:40 AM

I was in a branch of Comhaltas that indulged in pagan practices, going to celebrate winter solstice at a stone circle, sunrise on a Sunday morning no less.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,mrs doubting thomas
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 07:17 AM

Can I assure No doubt as the wife of doubting thomas, that this is not an american attempt to subvert the organisation. You americans, if it isn't happening to you or in your country its just not happening is it.
He is merely testing the waters looking for advice and thoughts on what has become something of a thorny issue locally. Some contibutors have sensibly suggested taking the path of least resistance, making sure that the mass is seen to be organised as a service to the predominatley catholic membership and making sure that facilities are available to others who wish to make thier own arrangements for religious observance. I think that is probably what is going to happen.
Of course if he had just discussed it with me in the first place we could have been saved the conspiracy theories and general hoo ha.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Promoter
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 10:14 PM

Wouldn't holding services for other denominations be multi-denominational? How is this possible in a NON-denominational organisation? It would open in even larger can of worms. Would the people who are pressing for the inclusion of a mass be comfortable providing space for a witches'coven, a Hindu temple, a Shinto shrine, a Pagan alter, etc, etc. (the list is long) for those of its members who may be of such persuations? I think it was a very wise move being non-denominational. It should be strictly observed. I repeat, an organisation that states in its constitution that it is non-denominational should (actually "must", for it has no other choice) act accordingly.
How can a non-denominational organisation justify holding a mass?

This is not an anti-religeous stance. I have never attacked the church, anyone's beliefs or anyone's right to worship. There's ample provision in the world for people to follow their faiths... Christian or otherwise. It clearly isn't Comhaltas' business to be involved in it or to act demoninationally. Providing a mass is clearly favouring one demonination of one belief over all others. This is simply against its rules... the rules it constituted for itself. This is the simplicity of the situation. It isn't about the rights and wrongs of religions or about power struggles. I don't like to be misrepresented and then have my argument rubbished on the basis of that misrepresentation.

Taking money from organisations that are not allowed to provide funds to organisations involved in promoting religion, or engaging in religious activities, and then organising a mass is very definitely wrong. It is, in fact, fraudulent (and hypocritical as has been pointed out previously in this discussion). I am prepared to give to give them the benefit of the doubt, however, and view them as well intentioned but, simply, misguided... but who is going to tell the priest that he is being involved in such practices?


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 09:12 PM

I just dug out the official programme of the Fleadh Cheoil in Clonmel in 1994. As I thought, the service times for the Church of Ireland are printed on the same page as the Mass times. And some of the events took place on the premises of that same church.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 08:42 PM

Or perhaps the mosque.

But who is being exclusive here?


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: Roughyed
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 08:30 PM

Jesus? He'd be down the local synagogue.....


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: The Pooka
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 07:08 PM

Such a battle of the mutually-exclusive traditions. / Um irrespective of what He would drive -- is it permissible to wonder, What would Jesus say here? (No, I don't claim have a clue. Just askin'.)

Joe O., have yer open bar at the wake beforehand. Finnegan. :)
(Woops. Catholic ethos. Sorry.)


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 07:08 PM

It's a religious communal celebration. That's even the word that's used, for that matter. The celebration of the Mass.

There was a time not so long ago when the Catholioc Church used to impose a rule about not attending religious services of other religions, but thank God that's over and done with. If there are other religions still with those kind of rules, it's a sad thing, but that's how it goes, and I hope it won't last for ever.

I think it's the most naturaL thing in the world for religious services to form part of folk festivals. Whether they are interdenominational affairs, or a particular church (or meeting house, or synagogue or whatever) is playing host to whoever wants to come seems to me a matter for the people taking part to decide.

When I've been to the Fleadh Ceoil I've been to the Mass, and it's been worth going to for anyone, in my opinion. And I'd like it fine if they had religious celebrations in the other denominations as part of the Fleadh as well.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 06:21 PM

Hi McGrath

A Catholic Mass is not just another communal celebration. It is a religious observance.

No Doubt, here are my responses.


"Frank Hamilton, I think you are not understanding that Comhaltas is:

1)an Irish organization with branches around the world, and is NOT US founded or headquartered;"

I never said that it was.

"2) that it is more than just a music organization. It clearly states in it's constitution that is also an organization that promotes the Irish language and Irishy culture;

That's fine if it represents all of Ireland.

"3) that the Catholic ethos of Comhaltas is deeply rooted in the Irish Gaelic speaking community's cultural traditions, which includes teh Catholic faith;"

This may well be true.

"4) not one jot of this has anything to do with whether the US is officially a Christian nation (it is not), or Ireland being an officially Catholic nation (it is, just like Poland is)."

I disagree. It has something to do with forcing a religion on those who don't espouse it.

"In Ireland, where Comhaltas is based, the cultural and language aspects of the organization are every bit as important to it's membership as the music. Also, it is a very common practice in Ireland, for many organizations, local governments, etc. to offer a mass in conjunction with community events and festivals that take place over the weekend."

Yes, I am aware of this.



"Now then, Comhaltas has nothing whatsoever to do with the US government, or vice versa. It is not a US organization, it is an Irish organization, with branches in the US, in Canada, and around the world in the Irish diasporan community. Perhaps Frank, you didn't read my post above where I took great pains to cite from the source--the organization's constitution."

I never said that is was a US organization. It has however, branches in the US. It has something to do with the issue of "separation of church and state" which you are informing me does not take place in Ireland. If that's the case, I accept that.



"So I am wondering Frank, why you keep insisting that this organization should be cleansed of it's religious roots? "

You are obviously angry and have completely misinterpreted my intentions. I have never insisted anything of the kind. I would never use those words.

"The constitution being discussed here is not the US constitution, but Comhaltas' constitution, which I quoted extensively from in my post above."

I have not confused the two constitutions.

"You say: "We do have organizations that are non-profit with a particular leaning but they do not represent our county as governmental or necessarilly American cultural bodies."

Yes, I do say that. I am talking strictly about what goes on in the US, not in Ireland. I'm sorry that this point is not clear to you.

"Again, I think you are misunderstanding what we are discussing. Comhaltas is not an American organization, it is an Irish organization with branches here. It is headquartered in Dublin. Comhaltas doesn't "represent" the United States in any way, shape or form."

I am fully aware of this since I have visited it in Dublin. I never suggested in any way, shape or form that it did represent the US.


"It is no different than many other immigrant community organizations that exist in the US, with ties to the immigrant community's home country."

This may or may not be true. I believe that each immigrant community is unique.



"Why on earth would a member of any religious faith NOT be able to attend another religion's services with a clear conscience? What does that have to do with anything? That is just such a bizarre suggestion."

Actually, there was no suggestion intended but questions asked. And there is a feeling that if you were not Catholic and attended a Catholic Mass, there would be an area of discomfort about it. That's what I meant.

"You then state: "A religious ethos promulgated in an organization doesn't make me feel wholly comfortable with it."
Well Frank, with respect, it looks to me like you just plain don't like religion, and aren't interested in participating in organizations with a religious ethos."

Well, with respect, it may look like that to you but this isn't true.
If Comhaltas were a religious organization, I would have no trouble with it's religious ethos. But you can't have it both ways.
Either Comhaltas is a religious organization or it's not.

" That is fine and dandy, and you are fully within your rights and reason to be and think that way. But it does NOT give you a right to dictate to others that they adopt your way of thinking and being on religion, and organizations with a religious ethos."

I do not do this. This is your idea exclusively. If anything you are attempting to define the Comhaltas as a religious organization.
And the idea that I am dictating to anyone to adopt my line of thinking is spurious and specious. I am asking questions here for the sake of a legitimate discussion and am not interested in engaging in a religious diatribe.

"Don't like Comhaltas' Catholic ethos? Then you don't have to have a thing to do with it. That is your choice.

I never said anything of the kind. This is your interpretation of what I said.

But to suggest that Comhaltas should cleanse itself of it's Irish cultural ethos, which does include the Catholic faith, is pretty bigoted, in my opinion. "

That's because you have completely distorted my views to your liking. I'm not sure what kind of argument you are intent on winning but you have missed the point of the entire discussion in my view. I never have and never would ask Comhaltas to cleanse itself of it's Irish cultural ethos. You say that the Irish cultural ethos is only and exclusively Catholic. Now that smacks of bigotry in my opinion.

Frank

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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 05:09 PM

Not to be pedantic with the craic, but the special status accorded the Catholic Church in the Irish constitution was ended by referendum in 1972. However, at the time the Comhaltas constitution was written, the church did have an official status in the Irish state.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 05:01 PM

Sean O Riada composed quite a bit of music for the Gaelic mass. A Gaelic mass is held in conjunction with Willie Week, and you don't get much more about the music than Willie Week. So I guess my question is, and has been all along, if it a mass is good enough for Willie Week in Miltown Malbay, why isn't it good enough for an American Comhaltas branch?


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 04:29 PM

http://prichard.net/laura/MDUUChumor.html


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 04:15 PM

Hello Joe. You are correct in stating that the Irish Catholics were largely like their European counterparts in most things, including the language of the mass. To understand the historic uses of the Gaelic mass, so one would study the history of the Irish language revival and romantic nationalism, not church history.

That said, there are some differences in the Irish Catholic folk religion, which I alluded to above. For instance, from the Christianity Today website on Celtic Christianity, it says:

"Far from being culturally and religiously isolated from Europe, the Irish and Welsh prayed in Latin for most liturgical purposes, just as their Christian brothers did throughout the Western Church. We still have several Celtic manuscripts in which the prayers of the Mass, baptism, and anointing of the sick are recorded—all quite similar to those in other parts of the European church...Alongside the psalms, biblical canticles (such as the Magnificat), and hymns—both Latin and vernacular—were popular.

Vernacular prayers—we have more in Gaelic than in Welsh—were less ecclesiastical in feel. They reflect a more personal or domestic use. Such prayers include praises of God, prayers to his saints, requests for protection, and blessings. Some even seem more like magical charms than prayers. Of course, there was also a great deal of what we might now call "folk Christianity"—the faith of a largely peasant population—as well as native poetry and lore.

There were differences in detail between the Celtic Christians and their continental neighbors: church architecture, Easter dates, inheritance laws, and local traditions. But almost all the main features of early Celtic Christianity could be found anywhere in Catholic Europe, where every tribe and tongue and nation made the gospel their own."

While the mass would have been said in Latin, as elsewhere, the people were ministered to in their native language. The prayers, etc. discussed above show that since medieval times, there has been a strong Catholic Gaelic folk tradition. Many Gaelic hymns were composed by women, which are traditional. However, most Irish traditional musicians would not accept these as "traditional" in the sense that secular music is "traditional" even though they both are clearly traditional.

As to when the first Gaelic mass was said, I don't have the answer to that one for you. The answer probably lies somewhere in the pages of Gaelic League history, I'd guess.

That said, if you do a google search using the keywords "Gaelic mass" you might be surprised at what turns up.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 03:32 PM

I dunno, O Nameless One - I have very little knowledge of the Irish language and the history of its use. I have to admit that until about ten years ago, I was unaware that English was the primary language of Ireland, and that very few people there spoke Irish. I was surprised that during my two weeks in Ireland, I did not hear one single person speak a language other than English.

I do have eight years of Catholic seminary training and a degree in theology, so my training in Catholic church history is pretty good. As far as I know, the Latin Mass was universal in the Latin Rite for over a thousand years. When Irish people went to Mass, it was in Latin, not Irish. There may have been some Irish-language hymns used at Mass before English took over as the dominant language in Ireland, but I really don't think that the actual text of the Mass was recited in anything but Latin (except for the Kyrie, which is Greek). If you have evidence to the contrary, I'd like to see it.

As far as I know, vernacular languages such as Irish and English were not used at Mass until the late 1960's - and my knowledge of such things is pretty good. Therefore, unless I'm mistaken, an Irish-language Mass is a very recent innovation and certainly not what one would call "traditional." Still, I would very much like to attend a Mass with Irish language and music.

"No Doubt" (you're not the Nameless One I addressed above, because you are using a name) - I think I agree with you. If Mass has been a part of the festival since the 1950's, back when people weren't offended by the practice of religion, then it seems to me it might be very nice to continue that tradition. If the Mass is being used as a weapon, to force Catholicism upon unwilling victims, then I think that is a sacrilegious abuse of the Mass.

But on the other question, I really would like to see any evidence that Irish Catholics celebrated Mass in any language other than Latin before the 1960's.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 03:29 PM

Authenticity isn't the issue here. The very fact that Comhaltas has regularly (though not always, as has been noted) included a mass with it's weekend festivities in Ireland, and in many branches worldwide since it's inception in the 50s, makes the mass a Comhaltas tradition, whether in English or Irish. That is all that matters in this instance.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 02:13 PM

Give Comhaltas back to the Anglo Irish.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 02:13 PM

The Gaelic isn't authentically Irish. It is fake, actually. I think we need an ethnic cleansing campaign to go into Connemara, Kerry and Donegal, and take care of this nonsense once and for all. Everyone knows those are the Catholic Fenian strongholds, after all. We need to ethnically cleanse those dirty Catholic Fenians, once and for all.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 02:07 PM

Authentic doesn't have to mean old does it? It implies having some roots in tradition.

A Mass in Gaelic is no more or less authentic than a Mass in English or Vietnamese. Or Latin.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 02:04 PM

Uh Joe. Did you know that the island now known as Ireland, once was a monoglot country that spoke a language that was neither English or Latin?

The language is commonly known as Gaelic. Back in the day, when Gaelic speakers went to mass, it was actually conducted in Gaelic. Seems silly, I know, but there you have it.

Oh--there is this other thing about Irish traditional music too. It is called singing. There is this funny little language no one understands that a lot of the old people who are greatly revered (in public, often derided in private for being culchies) by the Irish traditional musicians of today. No one is really sure what it is, but many are certain whatever language they are singing in, that it can't be authentically Irish, because it would have to be English or Latin to be authentically Irish.

Oh, I don't know where people got the idea that Irish people were Catholic. That isn't authentic either. Irish people are pagan or Protestant. There are a few Catholics with tails running around, blowing everyone up, but we've denounced their like for many a century now.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 01:58 PM

Wait - did I hear this is a Gaelic Mass, like done in the Irish language? If that's the case, it certainly wouldn't be authentic. Except in the Easter Rite of the Catholic Church, the Mass was celebrated in Latin until the end of the 1960's.

I guess if you want to be authentic, you'd have to have a mob of old ladies armed with rosaries, with doilies covering their heads. The music should be smarmy hymns sung in Latin and English, with a little off-key Gregorian Chant sung at dirge cadence. Oh, and no more than ten percent of the people in attendance could be men.
Now, THAT would be authentic tradition.

I don't know much about Irish-language masses, but I'd like to. I can't imagine that they are an authentic part of tradition.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 01:30 PM

This isn't about religion at all. What it is about, is a number of younger musicians, most of whom are Irish or have Irish ancestry, wanting to wrest control of the most powerful Irish traditional music organization in the world, and cleanse it of it's Irishness. They don't like the conservative Catholic membership, they don't like the ties this organization has to Irish republicanism and nationalism, and they don't like the fact that so many officers in Dublin are committed to keeping the organization rooted in Gaeltacht culture, which is, predictably, conservative and Catholic.

What they want is to steal the resources of Comhaltas, take control of the organization, and make it over in their image, rather than the image of it's founders.

They want to control it, to make it into an Irish traditional music only organization, without the Irish culture and language. They are only using religion as a smoke screen, because it is a convenient ruse to use to avoid people seeing what they are really doing, and take note of the fact that this is an obvious American attempt to engage in the cultural theft, to get what they want: the music without the Irish cultural baggage.

The mass plays such a small part of Comhaltas' activities, it is an absolute no-brainer to see what they are doing. I suspected this might have been the case all along, and the more we hear from the Doubting Thomases and others who want to cleanse Comhaltas of it's Irish Catholic conservative republican and nationalist roots, the more it becomes obvious that is just what they are doing--trying to steal this powerful and well endowed organization away from it's rightful owners--the conservative Catholic membership.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Steve Schaper
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 01:16 PM

When I attend a Roman Catholic Mass, and I am acquianted with the priest, so that he knows I'm an evangelical, I go up with the others, and recieve the blessing, rather than the eucharist (which would be violating canon law). I have no problem with that at all.

Most of the western musical tradition has to do with the Mass. That is just how it is. Those that aren't actual works for the Mass are significantly influenced from the music of the Church used for the Mass.

In that context, I don't see a problem with having the Mass at your event. Just be sensitive, make sure all know the rules about the eucharist and the blessing, and with the priest's consent, perform appropriate musical pieces that intersect between your groups' focus and the Mass. That way, not only with Catholics recieve spiritual nourishment, but non-Catholics will have an educational experience.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 12:55 PM

I also note Doubting Thomas' reasons for not divulging his branch. This way, he and his branch can't be identified, and so what he is doing in his attempt to undermine and do away with Comhaltas' aims and objectives outlined in it's constitution, can't be prosecuted under the rules.

Convenient, that.

Like I said, I don't care if the organization dies tomorrow. What I do have a problem with is dispossession of the culture, and cultural theft by people who clearly despise the culture in question.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 12:43 PM

I assume it was you Doubting Thomas, who posted as Guest just above, and said:

"Your argument seems to rest heavily on the view that because Mass has always held such a central role in the life of three-quarters of the people of Ireland, plus the millions in the diaspora, it cannot be separated out from the ethos of an organisation that is focused on Irish Music, Dance and Language (though the last less so where I live). I'm afraid I don't accept the logic (and I grant that it is a logic of sorts)."

I'm going to say this again, one more time. Comhaltas is an Irish arts, culture and language organization, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. It's constitution clearly states it IS NOT JUST A MUSIC ORGANIZATION. It has branches around the world. What you are attempting to do is lop off the linguistic and cultural aims of the organizztion, to suit yourself. It is beginning to appear that Doubting Thomas, along with those who defend him, clearly don't want to bothered with the Irish culture and language aims of this organiztion, so they are using the ruse of religion to try and rid the organization of any activities except Irish music, without going directly after the language and culture.

They are disingenuously doing this, by claiming that Comhaltas IS NOT a cultural organization, and that the culture encompasses and includes a Catholic ethos.

Their reason for wanting to do this is the power and influence Comhaltas itself. Because it is the main body concerned with Irish traditional music competitions both in Ireland and internationally, what they want is the organization's resources, without the cultural baggage that currently comes with it.

That, my friends, is the definition of cultural theft.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 12:24 PM

I agree, there is a very strong whiff of anti-religious bias to this thread, and to what Doubting Thomas claims he is attempting to do.

Frank Hamilton, I think you are not understanding that Comhaltas is:

1)an Irish organization with branches around the world, and is NOT US founded or headquartered;

2) that it is more than just a music organization. It clearly states in it's constitution that is also an organization that promotes the Irish language and Irishy culture;

3) that the Catholic ethos of Comhaltas is deeply rooted in the Irish Gaelic speaking community's cultural traditions, which includes teh Catholic faith;

4) not one jot of this has anything to do with whether the US is officially a Christian nation (it is not), or Ireland being an officially Catholic nation (it is, just like Poland is).

In Ireland, where Comhaltas is based, the cultural and language aspects of the organization are every bit as important to it's membership as the music. Also, it is a very common practice in Ireland, for many organizations, local governments, etc. to offer a mass in conjunction with community events and festivals that take place over the weekend.

Now then, Comhaltas has nothing whatsoever to do with the US government, or vice versa. It is not a US organization, it is an Irish organization, with branches in the US, in Canada, and around the world in the Irish diasporan community. Perhaps Frank, you didn't read my post above where I took great pains to cite from the source--the organization's constitution.

So I am wondering Frank, why you keep insisting that this organization should be cleansed of it's religious roots? The constitution being discussed here is not the US constitution, but Comhaltas' constitution, which I quoted extensively from in my post above.

You say: "We do have organizations that are non-profit with a particular leaning but they do not represent our county as governmental or necessarilly American cultural bodies."

Again, I think you are misunderstanding what we are discussing. Comhaltas is not an American organization, it is an Irish organization with branches here. It is headquartered in Dublin. Comhaltas doesn't "represent" the United States in any way, shape or form. It is no different than many other immigrant community organizations that exist in the US, with ties to the immigrant community's home country.

You ask: "Can a Jew be a Comhaltas member? Can a Muslim be a Comhaltas member? So the mission statement ostensibly says. But can a Jew in good conscience attend a mass other than as a disinterested spectator? Can a Muslim? Can a Protestant for that matter? Can an Atheist?"

Why on earth would a member of any religious faith NOT be able to attend another religion's services with a clear conscience? What does that have to do with anything? That is just such a bizarre suggestion.

You then state: "A religious ethos promulgated in an organization doesn't make me feel wholly comfortable with it."

Well Frank, with respect, it looks to me like you just plain don't like religion, and aren't interested in participating in organizations with a religious ethos. That is fine and dandy, and you are fully within your rights and reason to be and think that way. But it does NOT give you a right to dictate to others that they adopt your way of thinking and being on religion, and organizations with a religious ethos.

Don't like Comhaltas' Catholic ethos? Then you don't have to have a thing to do with it. That is your choice. But to suggest that Comhaltas should cleanse itself of it's Irish cultural ethos, which does include the Catholic faith, is pretty bigoted, in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 11:53 AM

'Comhaltas is a very particular sort of organization that will soon go the way of the dinosaur because it's conservative hierarchy is so out of touch with the mainstream'. Your words, ND. I didn't entirely agree with them in the first place and your last post would seem to contradict that view, given your very informed and complimentary overview of it's activities, assuming that you (hopefully) can agree that we actually do what we say we're going to do.

Now, you have your own interpretation of the constitution. I have mine. You place it in a context and come to certain conclusions. I do the same and arrive at different conclusions. So does Promoter.

I don't entirely subscribe to the 'Doomsday scenario' Promoter foresees where we end up being compelled to return money through the courts although I agree it's theoretically possible that someone could try. I doubt that it would be worth it. However, my inclination if I were approaching a potential sponsor for money would be this: I would tell them that our constitution says we are non-donominational but (as I said way back at the beginning of the thread) most of our members, in this part of the world at least, are Catholics and it has been the custom for an optional Mass to be made available. However, membership is open to all and no-one who isn't Catholic is discouraged from practicing their own faith, if they have one. I would hope I'd be telling the truth.

It would then be up to the sponsor to decide whether to support us having been given something like the whole picture. One might point out to the sponsor that there is some debate in the organisation (which, correct me if I'm wrong, ND, you say you're not active in) but even that might be counter-productive.

Now, fair point to ND. The constitution does enable the organisation to appoint patrons 'both clerical and lay'. My own view is that wording of that clause is something of a period piece from early 1950s Ireland but fair point, it is in there, just as much as the 'non-denominational' bit. At the risk of being pedantic, though, it quite rightly doesn't specify which denomination.

I've never had a problem with this. Plenty of Catholic and Non-Catholic clerics have gone out of their way to help and support us over the years. Gratitude and respect is due to them as it is to many of the more conservative 'lay' members of the organisation who've done so much for it over the years.

But I think Promoter is right to point out that other organisations that may include religious observances in their cultural events do so having made it clear from the outset that their religious outlook is a fundamental part of the organisation's culture and ethos. I don't agree that our constitution says the same thing. Your argument seems to rest heavily on the view that because Mass has always held such a central role in the life of three-quarters of the people of Ireland, plus the millions in the diaspora, it cannot be separated out from the ethos of an organisation that is focused on Irish Music, Dance and Language (though the last less so where I live). I'm afraid I don't accept the logic (and I grant that it is a logic of sorts).

As it happens, I think I have a solution for the short term and if I don't then for now I'd rather lose the argument and keep the Fleadh rather than the other way round. But I think the amount of time we've all spent on this shows that it's not just an issue in one area. NDs reference to a branch in the USA demonstrates that. Lots of people have obviously given it a lot of thought both inside and outside Comhaltas and it's clearly not going to go away.

I will of course continue to reply to messages but I've got some work to do now. Thanks to everyone who's contributed so far and to the Mudcat far your hospitality.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 11:34 AM

I can't see any reason why a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Protestant, or an Atheist can't attend a Mass if they want to. I'm not sure what the difference is between an interested spectator and a disinterested specator, but either way they'd be more than welcome.

And I'd have no worries myself as a Catholic attending a service at any other place of worship. I've done it often enough, and it's a nice change

Why make a big deal out of a communal celebration? There's a whiff of intolerance around.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 11:05 AM

Before I say anything, I want you to know that I love the Comhaltas and have been a member. We were delighted to visit Belgrave Square and to know how important the organization is to the furtherance and support of Irish music.

Now, the issue at hand. The Catholic Ethos. In the States, a lot of people say that we are basically a Christian nation. This is used as a pretext for promulgating Christianity over other forms of religious expression by certain reactionary sects such as the Southern Baptists.

Is Ireland a Catholic nation? At first blush it would appear so. It would seem that if the majority of the membership of Comhaltas would like to have a Catholic mass conducted under it's banner, then this is OK.

Here in the States, we think of this as the "tyranny of the majority".
It goes back to the philosophy behind the framing of our
Constitution. The United States is not a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Zoroastrian country. We do have organizations that are non-profit with a particular leaning but they do not represent our county as governmental or necessarilly American cultural bodies. It may be different in Ireland, I don't know.

Can a Jew be a Comhaltas member? Can a Muslim be a Comhaltas member? So the mission statement ostensibly says. But can a Jew in good conscience attend a mass other than as a disinterested spectator? Can a Muslim? Can a Protestant for that matter? Can an Atheist? Does this bias enter into the selection of those contestants at a Fleadh? jA religious ethos promulgated in an organization doesn't make me feel wholly comfortable with it.

I don't know the answers. These are questions not opinions. I confess an ignorance of Irish "culture" although I loved our visit to Ireland and the Irish people that we met. I also love the Comhaltas and what they do. Wish we had something like that here in the States.

The closest thing I can think of is the "bluegrass" community which as far as I know doesn't have a formal church ceremony under their respective auspices but there is a cultural bias.

I wish the Comhaltas well and hope that this difficulty can be resolved. I do see it as a problem.

Frank


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