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Irish Music and Religion

GUEST,No Doubt 25 Jan 03 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,ceejay 25 Jan 03 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,No Doubt 25 Jan 03 - 10:10 AM
GUEST,No 25 Jan 03 - 09:50 AM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jan 03 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,Promoter 25 Jan 03 - 06:50 AM
GUEST,Doubting Thomas 25 Jan 03 - 03:21 AM
GUEST,Doubting Thomas 25 Jan 03 - 03:18 AM
GUEST,No Doubt 25 Jan 03 - 01:19 AM
GUEST,No Doubt 25 Jan 03 - 01:13 AM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Jan 03 - 09:57 PM
GUEST,Promoter of Irish music 24 Jan 03 - 09:40 PM
GUEST,No Doubt 24 Jan 03 - 04:03 PM
TheBigPinkLad 24 Jan 03 - 03:32 PM
GUEST 24 Jan 03 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,Promoter of Irish music 24 Jan 03 - 02:55 PM
Jimmy C 24 Jan 03 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,No Doubt 24 Jan 03 - 11:50 AM
Declan 24 Jan 03 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,Doubting Thomas 24 Jan 03 - 11:22 AM
dick greenhaus 24 Jan 03 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,No Doubt 24 Jan 03 - 10:13 AM
greg stephens 24 Jan 03 - 08:00 AM
Hrothgar 24 Jan 03 - 05:43 AM
Joe Offer 24 Jan 03 - 02:34 AM
Tinker 23 Jan 03 - 09:57 PM
smallpiper 23 Jan 03 - 09:35 PM
michaelr 23 Jan 03 - 08:52 PM
GUEST,KThornton7@hotmail.com 23 Jan 03 - 07:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Jan 03 - 07:00 PM
GUEST,DoubtingThomas 23 Jan 03 - 06:48 PM
GUEST,Doubting Thomas 23 Jan 03 - 06:43 PM
GUEST 23 Jan 03 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,An Pluiéir Ceolmhar sa bhaile 23 Jan 03 - 05:23 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Jan 03 - 03:32 PM
ard mhacha 23 Jan 03 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,No Doubt 23 Jan 03 - 01:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Jan 03 - 01:45 PM
GUEST 23 Jan 03 - 01:36 PM
ard mhacha 23 Jan 03 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,No Doubt 23 Jan 03 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,No Doubt 23 Jan 03 - 11:06 AM
GUEST,IanC 23 Jan 03 - 11:05 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Jan 03 - 10:54 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Jan 03 - 10:52 AM
IanC 23 Jan 03 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,No Doubt 23 Jan 03 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,No Doubt 23 Jan 03 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Soma 23 Jan 03 - 10:19 AM
IanC 23 Jan 03 - 10:18 AM
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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 10:34 AM

ceejay, I believe that whatever religion's prayers are said before a parliamentary session does constitute the promotion of that religion over other faiths. And because it is a parliamentary body's duty to represent and govern people of all faiths and none, I feel it is wrong to use prayers in this manner.

However, we aren't talking about a government body regarding this organization, so there are no church and state issues here. Comhaltas is just a nonprofit organization for the promotion of Irish arts, language and culture. There are gazillions of them around the world, and many of them use religious services common to their communities, to promote their arts, language and culture. Which is why this is all so silly.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,ceejay
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 10:27 AM

In the interests of clarification could someone tell me if prayers are routinely said before a parliamentary session does that constitute promoting Christianity over Islam or Judaism or other faiths?


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 10:10 AM

We'll try that again.

Thanks to both Doubting Thomas and Promoter for providing links to online versions of the Comhaltas constitution. I am now more certain than ever that both of you are attempting to justify eliminating the Catholic ethos from the organization, by attempting to remove the music, song, and dance from it's cultural contexts. Well, the Comhaltas constitution won't allow you to get away with it, as it is very clear the organization's stated mission, aims and objectives includes promotion of Irish arts, language, and culture, which of course can (though is not required to in the constitution) include a mass as part of the branch activities.

I cannot stress enough that I believe you are dead wrong in the definition you are using for "non-denominational". That doesn't mean non-religious, and nowhere in the constitution does it say religious activities are prohibited. That would be silly in any organization whose mission is to promote Irish arts, language and culture, as the Gaelic mass is a long standing tradition in the Irish language community. I also note that the organization has a clause which allows both "clergy and lay" to have a special status within the organization for assisting in the promotion of Irish arts, language and culture. So I'm afraid you lads are just plain dead to wrong.

Here are the relevant excerpts from the constitution. I have bracket my remarks thus []. I begin with the opening paragraphs of the constitution:

Comhaltas, which was founded in 1951, has today over 400 branches of the movement at home and abroad. Through Comhaltas, the traditional musicians, singers and dancers are organised and presented in the various events promoted by the movement.

Educational facilities have a high priority in the movement's programme, and it is through its numerous classes and courses that exponents of the native arts are given the opportunity of developing their artistic abilities in this sphere of our native culture.

[There lads, they've covered it right there: "developing artistic abilities in this sphere of our native culture" means they are fully within their rights to hold Gaelic mass where the musicians can perform in a setting which promotes "native culture" which of course includes a Gaelic and/or English mass, as the native culture is predominantly Catholic, as you noted.]

Comhaltas concerns itself with the development of an environment conducive to the Aims and Objects of the movement; this is reflected in its work in the field of radio, television, films and other areas of the communications media.

Through publications, records, sessions, concerts, céilithe and other educational-recreational projects, the movement continues to mould our music, song and dance as integral and potent components of community life.

["other educational-recreational projects...as integral and potent components of community life" certainly would be inclusive of a mass]

Irish, the native language of Ireland, is afforded a special status in Comhaltas and the movement is unreservedly committed to its promotion.

[Again, Gaelic mass is one common way of promoting the Irish language in it's native community, which, BTW, is Irish for those of you who aren't interested in the language or cultural aspects of this organization]

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

(d) To foster and promote the Irish language at all times;
(e) To create a closer bond among all lovers of Irish music;
(f) To co-operate with all bodies working for the restoration or Irish Culture;

[I note that (f) in particular allows for co-operation with church bodies interested in restoration of Irish culture]

MEMBERSHIP

3 An Comhaltas shall be non-political and non-denominational. Membership shall be open to all who are in sympathy with the Aims and Objects of An Comhaltas, and who undertake to abide by its Constitution and Rules.

[This was the one that Promoter told us to watch out for, and I see nothing in this clause which forbids members of any religion. Perhaps this is where the two of you are confused. This clause states you can't forbid anyone from becoming a member based upon their religious or political views, which of course allows anyone of any faith or political persuasion to join. This clause doesn't concern itself with the activities of the organization, but the terms of membership. So if this is the clause the two of you are leaning on, you've been shot in both feet]

PATRONS
4 The Organisation shall have authority to invite a person or persons, clerical or lay, who need not necessarily be members to become patrons during his/her lifetime. The CEC shall select a Patron on the grounds that he/she has shown sympathy with the work of the Organisation, or interest in its activities or regard for its Aims and outlook. He/she may take part in all the activities of An Comhaltas; but he/she shall not have the right to vote at any meeting of the Organisation.

[And there you have it. The organization allows for clergy special status within the organization. Hardly a constitutional clause that "forbids" religious participation, eh?]

GENERAL
18 All functions held under the auspices of An Comhaltas shall be in keeping with the ideals of An Comhaltas and the Clár for such functions shall be submitted for prior approval to the immediate superior governing body.

[Looks to me like this clause also allows for mass to be held in conjunction with Comhaltas activities, as it can certainly be argued that a mass for the Irish community "shall be in keeping with the ideals of An Comhaltas"]


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 09:50 AM


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 08:58 AM

"Engaging in religeous activities is not part the organisation's stated aims. "

Nor I imagine is breathing or going to the lavatory.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Promoter
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 06:50 AM

With respect, what other, philanthropic organisations do is not the point. If their contitutions allow these activities then ok, no problem for them. If an organisation's contitution states that it is non demoninational, then it is obliged to act accordingly.

Engaging in religeous activities is not part the organisation's stated aims. Taking funding from from other bodies who are not allowed to fund religeous activities is just, plainly and simply, wrong no matter how well intentioned.

The constitution may be viewed here. Kindly check clause 3. :-)

http://www.ccewest.org/an_bunreacht.htm


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Doubting Thomas
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 03:21 AM

You can also access Cooley-Keegan's site via the main Comhaltas site. Look under 'Branches'.


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Doubting Thomas
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 03:18 AM

ND, I'd be happy to post the constitution but I actually think that this might not be appropriate under the Mudcat rules, which I don't want to abuse as a guest. If you go to the site for the Cooley-Keegan branch in San Francisco they have an on-line version. Go to www.sfceltic.com/IRISHMUS (I think).


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 01:19 AM

Sorry, I also meant to include above a link to the United States' premier source for philanthropic organizations on the web, the Chronicle for Philanthropy. If anyone is interested in the hows, whys and wherefores of religious activities of nonprofits, perhaps you might like to do some reading about it here:

http://philanthropy.com/free/resources/rel/religion.htm


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Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 01:13 AM

Instead of taking the word of holier-than-thou posters (including myself), why not get it straight from the horse:

http://www.comhaltas.com/

Also, I anxiously await the posting of the Comhaltas constitution from one of it's illustrious members and officers posting to this thread, to clear up all these issues once and for all. I trust that those of you with a vested interest in the organization will, of course, serve the interests of both the organization and the music, by providing the oft-cited document which you have put to front and center of this manufactured non-controversy, in the interest of fairness to your readers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 09:57 PM

No, I just can't see the problem, so long as there is no compulsion or pressure on anyone to do anything they don't want to. Music is about celebration, and religous services are supposed to be as well.

I echo what Joe Offer said about the Service they have in Whitvy at the Anglican Chrch up the top of the steps. It's in the programme, and it belongs in the programme, and any body who wants to go to it goes to it and anybody who doesn't doesn't.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Promoter of Irish music
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 09:40 PM

No, it's not a branch in the USA and yes, the constitution is its rules. These are rules under law. It gets funding from bodies which have their own rules and constitutions too. Some of these refuse or are not allowed (under the law) to fund organisations that engage in religeous or political activites. They could, quite rightly, cease funding and, worse, demand repayment, through the courts if neccessary, of any funding already awarded. I don't think that this constitutes a "silly" argument nor is it blowing it out of all proportion. These are simple facts but with serious implications.

Attempting to protect the organisation from getting into serious bother and wishing to support the organisation's aims and objectives in promoting "traditional", Irish music and culture to all people (regardless of their beliefs) is neither ignorant nor malicious.

The organisation is not a "closed shop" or there for the benefit of one demonination. This is clearly stated in its own constitution. Tokyo, for instance, has one of the largest, most thriving branches outside of Ireland. The majority of its members and supporters are, most likely, either Bhuddist and/or Shintoists and most welcome they are too. Religion should simply be left out of the organisation's activities. It plays no part under its own rules... and just look at the bother it causes :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 04:03 PM

In the US, which is where the branch under consideration is located, there is no law which prevents any organization, whether for profit or not, from engaging in religious activities, and collecting funds in association with those activities. It is a very common practice. I don't know where people get the idea that a nonprofit is not allowed to engage in religious activities, including sponsoring religious services in conjunction with other arts and cultural activities.

Seems there is a whole lot of ignorance about these issues by posters here. And I have to say, I fault Doubting Thomas for this, as he is the original poster who made the claim that Comhaltas was violating it's constitution by sponsoring a mass with their festivals, and misrepresenting itself in it's fundraising efforts about it. If that were actually the case, I assure you all, the organization would have been put out of business by the US Justice Department decades ago.

This entire issue is being blown out of all proportion, and the
so-called "arguments" being put forth now are just plain silly.

Comhaltas is not performing missionary work by having mass in conjunction with their festivals. Please someone, tell me people aren't really as gullible, ignorant, or malicious as some are beginning to appear to be here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 03:32 PM

Let all the poisons that are in the mud hatch out ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 03:17 PM

So sue Comhaltas, jackass.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Promoter of Irish music
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 02:55 PM

I'm a member and officer of this organisation too. The constitution's aims and objectives are clear as are the penalties for anyone acting against the constitution. The constitution is the basis for the organisation's existence under law.

The organisation is not a missionary extension of any religious body and it is illegal to use it as such. To use the organisation's name and resources in such a way is fraudulent... it's that simple! The organisation is in danger of losing its funding and is alienating people of other cultures and beliefs. It does not exist to do this. Its aims and objectives are quite the opposite.

Religious concerns are a matter for those individuals concerned on a personal basis. The organisation has no business involving itself in religious matters. Members who act unconstitutionally should realise these simple facts before they are confronted with them in a court of law.

Be assured of my branch's total support for your stand.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: Jimmy C
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 12:41 PM

I am a catholic and a musician, and (believe it or not) a volunteer communion minister. I don't really see a problem here. If a mass is scheduled let those who wish attend, others can join them after the mass. If however the event is threatened unless all attend the mass then I say screw that and go somewhere else. I do know that non-catholics are always welcome to attend mass as I am welcomed at other non-catholic services. If one does not want to receive communion that is ok as well. Many catholics do not always receive the sacrament, some will however approach the priest or the server with hands folded across their chest as a sign that they only require a blessing and not communion, others just stay in their seats. I would schedule the event with a timetable, listing all parts. e.g. Breakfast 8.00am to 9.00am, Mass 9.00am - 9.30 amm. Welcome remarks etc 9.45am and so on. No one should be forced to attend mass and/or no one should be made to feel excluded. The idea of having non-catholic services listed is a good idea and a valid suggestion. Remember, you don't always need money to promote music, a small room or a kitchen where people can gather is all that is required, funding can always be found if needed.
Play it - they will come.

Slan.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 11:50 AM

Dick, perhaps you've never been to one of these Gaelic masses? JS Bach ain't what we're hearing. The music is very "Faith of Our Fathers" oriented, and pretty uniformly bad, IMO.

Doubting Thomas, I think the only dilemma here is yours. You seem to be in conflict with the leadership of your branch, and I'm guessing the conflict isn't as much about the mass as it is how you think the local branch should be run. You seem to be a bit angry over the fact, that they are in control of how the resources of the organization are being used, and how events are being run. If the majority is against you, I personally think you would be happier to stand back, and pick and choose where you will participate and where you won't, or leave the organization altogether, hopefully to find another avenue for your work in support of Irish traditional music.

I wouldn't want to see someone as committed and passionate about the music as you seem to be, stop doing the important work of supporting the music. But it really can be done in ways other than the competitions. In my personal experience, it is that very competition that makes these struggles for control of the leadership, so very difficult and painful when they take place. You really do have my sympathy in that regard.

I agree that most newcomers as well as most musicians involved for any length of time in North American branches of Comhaltas, are there for the music only. But I really think that is unfair to the organization, which has always presented itself as being about much more than just the music--it is also to do with Irish culture, especially the language, the folklore, the literature, which also includes a Catholic mass.

Now, if that makes the organization irrelevant to current musicians, that doesn't mean the problem is with Comhaltas. It is a very powerful, well funded organization, which is why a whole lot of musicians would like to take it over. I've seen that sort of thing happen before in a number of different contexts with grassroots organizations, and the takeovers have always resulted in a pretty negative outcome for most involved. That is what you are risking, IMO, if you attempt to take over your local branch "for it's own good". Now, you say you don't want to take over, you want to "bring people in". Well, I think you are splitting hairs. You seem to think that the way things are currently being run in your local branch isn't bringing enough people in. That may be true, or what may be true is you don't feel you don't have enough company of folks who share your sensibilities, in your local branch. Either way, the only way to change that and bring in newcomers who share your sensibilities, is only to happen if you and a large enough group of like minded individuals band together and take over the local branch.

So go for it. You and I have a fundamental difference of opinion about the importance and value of Comhaltas to Irish traditional music. I personally think it is a blip on the radar which has little to do with the health and welfare of the music and the culture it is rooted in. You seem to think it is an organization central to the survival of the music. I personally feel that the North American Irish traditional music community, along with certain communities of musicians I have mentioned above in other posts, is a bit too anxious to take Irish traditional music out of it's historic cultural contexts, to make it personally more palatable to them. I think that is wrong. Irish Catholic conservatism is a central part of the history of the community of which this music is a living, breathing tradition. To take away it's cultural contexts so you don't have to deal with "those people" is exactly how the music gets dispossessed from it's indigenous community, no matter how well meaning the cultural detractors are. I'm all for seeing the music survive, but not at the expense of the community which gave it to the world, is all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: Declan
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 11:32 AM

For all its many faults (don't get me started on that topic!) Comhaltas does a lot of good work, particularly among emigrant communities. I know many fine musicians particularly in the UK, who have come up through the ranks. It is a source of particular pride when these musicians win through to the All Ireland Fleadh and go on to win prizes. Setting up a new organisation might enable you to run a good local Fleadh or Festival, but it wouldn't be able to offer the same level of recognition that winning through to Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann has built up over its history of 50 years.

Comhaltas is made up of branches which in turn are made up of members. No one owns it. Every member has a right to make his/her views known. If people are being shouted down in debates at meetings it looks as if the branch we are talking about could do with a good person in the Chair. Changing things will be a slow process, but Doubting Thomas has as much right as any other member to try to bring about the change, although undoubtedly it will be difficult. Maybe this particular battle is not such a good place to start.

I assume that Thomas must be held in high regard by at least some members of the branch if he has been put in charge of organising an annual Fleadh. So keep up the good work. You may need to compromise a bit along the way, but to my mind the Comhaltas needs to be shaken up a bit and brought into the 21st Century. If no-one is prepared to initiate that change, the organisation probably will stagnate and die as No Doubt says.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Doubting Thomas
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 11:22 AM

You're still slightly missing the point, N.D. I dont want to put anyone out or 'take over' anything. I want to bring people in. How those already within react to that is up to them.

The rest of your post was well-informed and very astute. I think you're probably right about the nature of the thing at present. I'm not in the business of trying to impose my opinions on anyone.

I want to work with people and if it means going along with something I'd rather do without then, as long as no-one's being hurt or abused I'm OK with that. If change is going to come it'll take time. And I don't want to see us 'going the way of the dinosaur' becsuse I still think there's a role for us. If we're not running the Fladhanna, who's going to take over the responsibility for that, bearing in mind that whoevertook it on would have to operate on a worldwise basis?

Most of the people I know who are involved are in it to play music or make music happen. As for the rest of it, both musicians and non-musicans have brought their own sets of beliefs in from their own daily lives. Fair enough.

But where are we going to be as an organisation in 20 years if we don't at least allow ourselves and each other to question our own attitudes and practices? ND has made it clear that the question of our survival doesn't concern him. Fine. However, it concerns me. Live and let live? Exactly.

By the way, the 'faith of our fathers' reference was mine. Just so's you know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 11:16 AM

I dunno. As a (non-practicing) Jew, some of my favorite musical pieces are Masses, often written by J.S. Bach, who wasn't Catholic either. I can appreciate a marching band without marching; I can appreciate dance music without dancing and I can enjoy a Mass.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 10:13 AM

I think part of the problem here is many people posting to this thread don't know or understand how this organization works, what it's long standing traditions are, or how the organization has changed to accomodate newcomers down through the years.

The organization I am talking about is Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann, which just celebrated it's 50th anniversary in 2000 or 2001. It is a fairly conservative (by religious standards, certainly) organization that was formed in conjunction with the Gaelic League (people who know Irish history will know what that organization was about, for those who don't, it was a very influential organization that has it's roots in Irish revivalism at the turn of the 20th century in particular) that promotes Irish traditional music and culture (including dance, singing, and instrument), the Irish language, and de facto promotes Catholicism.

Now, when I say this "non-denominational" organization promotes Catholicism, what I mean is, it has always included a Gaelic mass, usually with traditional music, as part of it's festivals. That is the Irish culture side of the organization. It is certainly not the only Irish arts and culture organization that does this. Catholicism is much older than Irish traditional music in Ireland BTW--can't remember who wrote that one, but it isn't pagan music at all. It is secular music, but to call it pagan denies the music's roots in Irish Catholic communities, and actually practiced an Irish Catholic folk religion hybrid, which incorporated some non-Catholic rituals and practices, just as Catholics around the world do. Ireland is in no way unique in that regard.

Now, there is a long standing feud of sorts between the Irish Catholic church, and Irish traditional musicians in Ireland. There is a ton of folklore about how the priest came into the ceili house and smashed up all the instruments, drove people from their crossroads dances, denounced them from the pulpit, etc. So some musicians harbor a good deal of animosity towards the hierarchy especially, as they were one of the conservative forces in Irish society in the post-partition days particularly, and were behind passage of the Dance Hall Act, and other prohibitionist types of legislation "for the good of the Catholic Gael".

Now, in Ireland, Comhaltas isn't that old of an organization, but it is the organization that controls the national and international competitions for Irish traditional music. Personally, I hate the bloody things, and don't think much of the organization itself, as it promotes competition, rather than the finer aspects of the music (ie the sense of joy, comradery, etc that comes with being part of a living traditional music community). The competitions are extremely fierce, and many a young, budding musician crushed under the weight of them. OTOH, many a fine budding musician with the stomach for the competitive scene does brilliantly at these things.

The organization's branches offer classes (including some which offer Irish language classes), concerts, and sessions, and the local competitions that feed into the larger ones. In the 50s when it was founded, this organization did more to keep Irish traditional music alive than any other organization. Some would also say, it nearly killed the music with the way it was organized, especially with the influence of the Catholic church. But people need to understand that the Catholic church's influence in Ireland in those days was incredibly pervasive. Nothing happened in the community without the priest being involved--especially when it was to do with youth. The local priest had a hand in music, scouting, school, you name it. And in some places in rural Ireland, this is still very much the case (usually much to the disgust of the local organizers).

So, while the organization has tremendous influence over the competition side of Irish traditional music, since the big Celtic music boom of the late 80s and 90s, Comhaltas' overall influence has waned considerably, because there is so much more on offer for Irish traditional music nowadays. Also, as a number of people have mentioned, the younger generation in Ireland, as everywhere else, aren't church goers, whether Protestant or Catholic, so they rarely or never attend the mass when there is one in conjunction with a Comhalatas festival.

Which leads me to what I believe is at the heart of the issue for Doubting Thomas--no one is required to attend the (often Gaelic) mass that is held on Sunday morning of the weekend of the festivals. No one. It is completely voluntary, and the tradition of the mass developed out of the tradition of holding Gaelic masses as a means of promoting the Gaelic language to the Catholic faithful (it's a "Faith of Our Fathers" sort of thing, as someone else mentioned above). The Catholics who cling to this not very old tradition, are usually very conservative types. They also have controlled the organization since it's inception. Now, as more local branches have formed in recent years, fewer and fewer of these conservative Catholic types have been in local leadership positions, especially as the rarely religious minded baby boomers started taking over in the North American branches. But the hierarchy of this organization at the national and international level is still pretty conservative.

So I gave my advice based upon my knowledge of this organization. Personally, I have never had anything much to do with the organization because I don't like the competitive nature of it, and I deplore the Catholic conservatism of the organization. But it is THEIR organization, not mine, to run however they wish. I would no more go in and start dictating that they aren't following their constitution because they hold a mass in conjunction with their festivals, than I would go into a wholly secular Irish traditional music organization with no affiliation with any religious communities, and tell them they have to start holding a Gaelic mass in order to be "authentic".

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. Every organization has a life cycle, and this one will either be completely reborn, or will eventually close it's doors because no one is coming through them anymore. I have no problem with that, because I know the music is healthier than it has ever been, and in no danger whatsover of extinction. The music has also managed to escape control by the Catholic church that once attempted to dominate it and dictate to the musicians, how NOT to play, when NOT to play, and where NOT to play. And has survived it quite successfully.

So, I don't buy into the scare tactics used by many that the music is dying. It is changing though. Now, some here are arguing that to fight the conservative patriarchs who run this organization, is to fight the good fight, and I just plain disagree with that. The reason I disagree with it is because I know why people want to fight for their own power base within the organization--just like this circumstance, there are always going to battles over who controls what the organization does, and who controls the organization's resources. That is what this fight that Doubting Thomas has taken on is essentially about. He thinks he ought to be able to put out the conservative Catholic majority in his branch (and the branches have a lot of power in this organization), and run the show his way.

Well, if he can take over his local branch, more power to him. But if he does it the way he appears to be doing it, he is going to alienate the very base of support within the local branch that the organization needs to survive on a local basis. Hence the dilemma of the Doubting Thomas.

I have No Doubt about what I think should be done. Do it their way this year, and if you so desire, work to bring change to the organization in future years. But as someone else said above, getting rid of the mass ain't gonna happen until this generation of men in control of the organization dies off, if ever. There are quite a number of committed Catholics who want to see the tradition of the mass continued.

Now, people can scream all they want that it is wrong for a non-denominational music and cultural organization to have religious services of it's community in conjunction with it's gatherings, but it is done in both indigenous and immigrant communities around the world all the time with traditional music. This isn't something unique to Irish Catholics, people. You find this sort of thing with many cultures' traditional music communities.

Now, the thing that makes the Irish a bit different (but not alone by any means) is the conflict between the Protestant Irish traditional music community, and the Catholic Irish traditional music community. But you see the same sorts of conflicts arise in areas where there is a long history of conflict between religous communities, such as in the Balkans.

Personally, I think it would be great if we just banned religion, and were done with damn manufactured "religious" conflicts. But I'm a bit more of a realist. It is their (Comhaltas) organization. They've been running the show with a mass (with a very few exceptions in the north of Ireland) since their inception. It is part and parcel of the ethos of the organization. If one is going to be a member, one needs to accept it, work with people to change certain aspects of the organization if you so desire, but also with the fore knowledge that you may not be able to change that which you are trying to change, and then it is your personal decision whether to stick with the organization, or strike out on your own with a new like minded group who share your sensibilities.

IMO, there is plenty of room in the world for a lot of different types of organizations promoting Irish traditional music. Live and let live.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 08:00 AM

Music and organisations both have traditions. These change over time, but it's not always easy to change them quickly, or in the direction you would like. Softly softly, catchee monkey.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: Hrothgar
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 05:43 AM

I'd be trying to get your priest to convince the hardliners that a Mass as a specific part of the programme might not be a good idea.

That's without knowing the priest involved - but my experience is that a lot of the clergy are far more reasonable about things like this than their parishoners (constituents?).

This is the politician in me ....


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 02:34 AM

We have a Dixieland Jazz Jubilee in Sacramento (California) on Memorial Day weekend every May. From the very beginning, the Catholic bishop has sponsored a jazz mass at the cathedral, which is located near many of the concert venues. It has been a wonderful success, with first-class music. A number of other churches in the area followed suit, and now we have a marvelous array of musical services. I try to catch at least a couple every year.
These services are an adjunct to the festival, and not an actual part of it. People of all faiths and no faith go to the various services, and have a wonderful time.

As a Catholic, though, I think I would be uneasy about having a Mass as an integral part of a festival that is assumed to be nonsectarian. The Mass has a sacred meaning for me, and I don't like to see it forced upon anybody who doesn't want it. I'd rather see a nondenominational religious service that celebrates with the music of a variety of religious traditions. I really enjoyed the service at Whitby Folk Week, because it included everybody. Most Catholic priests I know would prefer an interdenominational service for an interdenominational group - and most of the priests I know were born in Ireland.

On ther other hand, there are those who view religion as offensive, and they seem to think that all vestiges of religion should be removed from all public celebrations. I think that we need to celebrate our diversity when we gather together, and we should not try to homogenize our culture down to nothing.

But when I got married last year, we had a Mass - and we invited lots of Jews and a few pagans, We didn't offer non-Catholics communion, but I don't think anybody felt excluded. When I get buried, I want a Mass. And an open bar at the reception afterwards.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: Tinker
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 09:57 PM

Just a quick 2 cents... religion and ethnicity aside you were proposing a major change in a long standing traditional organization without apparently setting the stage with key players ahead of time. It could take a couple years. Leaving the Mass details up to a Priest who may happen to want ecccumenical services could change the focus.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: smallpiper
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 09:35 PM

I'm a bit confused because I always understood that traditinal Irish music was exactly that ... traditional and predated catholicism or any other ism that you care to mention.

If your orgainistion claims to be non denominational then it should be exactly that and having a mass as an integeral part of it amounts to nothing more than hipocrasy!

I have nothing against the mass - it is a wonderful thing but why subject people who are only interested in the music WHICH IS PAGAN in its origins to such a thing?

Remember that in my fathers house there are many mansions

go in peace


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: michaelr
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 08:52 PM

A viewpoint from an atheist living in America:

Thomas, that sort of mindset is what's at the heart of the world's problems. You can't change people like that, you can only wait for them to die.

Music is something much more sacred and spiritually important than the entrenched old superstitions that organized religions perpetuate. It must not be allowed to be sullied by bigoted, partisan bickering.

My advice to you is, turn your back on that organization and walk away. Keep walking until you find some likeminded people with whom you can share the healing power of music without getting bogged down in religious nonsense.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,KThornton7@hotmail.com
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 07:14 PM

I am a good bit Irish, a lover of Irish music, and a Protestant. HOWEVER-- I attend Mass a fair amount, and savour the peace and confort I find there. It would be nice if non-Catholics could attend the Mass in good spirit, and get what they can out of it (without, of course, participating in Communion.)

It's really too bad that so many people in this world are so partisan and intent on forwarding their own personal agendas, be it in the "religious" or other realms. And I certainly don't mean you, Doubting Thomas.

I think the idea above of rallying a ibt of like-minded support for you beforehand is a brilliant one.

Karen


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 07:00 PM

"Mass emigration is, for now at least, a thing of the past" - that's a highly ambiguous sentence in this context...

Like the sort of headline you'd see in the English papers from time to time under the last government about some "Major disaster".


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,DoubtingThomas
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 06:48 PM

One last thing - I've already acted on some of the suggestions you've all made (including yours, N.D.), epecially the ones about giving information about other Churches and services in the area. I've since had a mail from the Anglican vicar of one of the Churches I approached for information. I've invited him to come to our event. Never turn away a prospective punter!


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Doubting Thomas
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 06:43 PM

Once again, thanks to everyone for taking the trouble to send in their contributions. I agree, An Pluieir, a good-natured discussion for the most part with worthwhile points from everyone.

No Doubt, I'm grateful to you for going back to my original post and looking at it again. I still think, however, that you're slightly missing the point.

No-one's trying to 'cleanse' anyone here, at least not me. I'm not someone who 'doesn't like Catholics'. I explained at the outset that I am one. It's part of who I am and I'm very proud of it, especially when I see some of the work that the church has done in Central America and among disadvantaged kids in the deep south of the US. In fact, when I was a kid, the order that ran my parish in London was based in the US and apart from another UK parish in Stevenage most of their parishes were in Alabama, New England and Quebec.

Think about it. This was the early 1960s, I'm a kid in Middlesex and I'm receiving communion from men who marched with Martin Luther King. The head of the order was on Nixon's 'enemies list'! And I don't like Catholics? I don't think so.

As far as my so-called 'remarks about clergy abuse' are concerned I'll say only this. I think I've made my views about individuals in the clergy fairly clear, at least the ones I've been (for the most part) priveleged to know. The problem is, as I see it, that the Church as an institution, and particularly it's hierarchy, was lost the confidence of many Catholics as an organisation that can be trusted to work with children and young people. Maybe that's unfair and maybe it's not. Either way, the Church has got a lot of work to do to regain that trust. I hope it manages it. I know that what's been going on isn't confined to the Catholic Church. But as a Catholic I feel that I have a responsibility to make my views known about my own Church. You may differ on those views and I respect your views. Just please don't misrepresent mine.

As for 'throwing the Catholic baby out with the sectarian bathwater', as the father of a Catholic baby (well, three-year-old) I don't really know what to make of that one. It's not, I repeat, other people's religious beliefs that bother me. What bothers me is when (for instance) a long-serving member of our organisation (not me)dares, in a crowded meeting,to make the point that we are a non-denominational organisation and then gets barracked and harrassed for his pains, including one remark to the effect of 'you wouldn't be saying that if we were talking about Pakistanis'. Then the same member has his views misrepresented and dismissed by other members who then proceed to attack him behind his back - and then insist on having a mass.

Now, you're probably right that there aren't currently hordes of Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists (I know I've still left plenty of people out but it's late and I've got work tomorrow) pining outside our doors to be included but deterred only by the prospect of an optional mass being provided for those who want it. And I think you're right about us 'bending over backwards' to not exclude non-Catholics in Ireland. Why else would our constitution say what it does? Part of my point, however, is that we don't do that in the part of the world where I live.

I wonder about the future in Ireland sometimes. I suppose all second-generation 'plastic paddies' like me do from time to time. Mass emigration is, for now at least, a thing of the past. Instead, there are people emigrating to Ireland from all over the world, including asylum seekers who arrive with nothing but their identities and it's hard enough for them to hold on to that. Where have we heard this before?

I imagine that many of these people will in future cling to the 'faith of their fathers' just as many of us have. Supposing they want to explore the music and culture of their adopted home as well as that of the countries they have come from? What welcome will they find?

In the past the Irish community was replenished from generation to generation by new emigrants, among whom were musicians, music, dance and language teachers and young families eager to keep hold of a sense of who they were. This isn't happening anymore to anything like the same extent and probably won't happen again unless the Irish economy collapses again - which nobody wants.

So how do we go forward? Do we continue (as some of us still do) to behave like a beleaguered, victim community with our backs to the wall and nowhere to go? Or do we look around us at the world we live in and redefine where we fit into it, all the while taking care of and affording the proper respect to the generations who came before us and (in some cases literally) built that world for us?

Anyway, I'm off to my bed. Just one more thing, No Doubt. The name. It bothers me a little. No Doubt? Really? Not EVER?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 05:45 PM

Just to be safe, you should ban the heathen language too while you're at it. It is quite exclusionary of the English speakers. Aye, there's none worse than a Gaelic Papist priest.

No better man than a Free Presbyterian to put the Comhaltas lads straight and them to be mending the error of their Romanist ways. Not those NEW ones, mind (spit) or the Papists themselves will be claiming the right of private judgment and liberty from church courts that make our men lords of faith and conscience, before you know it. And we can't be having that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,An Pluiéir Ceolmhar sa bhaile
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 05:23 PM

All in all a surpisingly harmonious thread, given the topic, and I could supscribe to most of what has been written on it.

I suspect that the interdenominational solution just wouldn't work for the people who are so committed to having a Mass. But it would be worth while testing the water on it.

If that fails, Smallpiper might be onto something, there's nothing like a belt of a crozier for the kind of people you're dealing with, though in Ireland itself the crozier has lost much of its power.

You could also try including in the programme "Break for religious observance" and giving as much information as possible on the times of Masses, Services, Meetings and whatever else there is in the area, and ask one of the pro-Mass lobby to take over organising music to be played during the Mass by a coalition of the willing - or even organise it separately yourself to show good faith while making your point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 03:32 PM

But when there's a bunch of good musicians ready to do their stuff it makes for a hell of a lot more lively church service.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: ard mhacha
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 03:16 PM

I am in no doubt that we don`t have a problem, no one has suggested that we have a Mass before our Fleadh, this may seem strange coming from the north of Ireland, but as I say there isn`t the slightest notion of a having either Mass or Service.
We all enjoy the music and I hope I put some doubts to rest by stating that we are not running down any relegion, once again and for the last time,its de music and de music only. ok. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 01:53 PM

Exactly, McGrath. And in an area with very few (if any) participating Protestants, why the problem with the mass? I mean, it is a joke in most places on the planet with Comhaltas branches, to think that a Protestant majority is being intentionally excluded from the festivities.

And as I said, there is a whole lot the Protestants could stand to learn about the Catholic community by attending the mass itself, instead of screaming in horror as if having a mass were an evil in and of itself. Like the fact that they don't really have tails.

It seems to me the "Northern Irish" solution just sends everyone back to the stone age of sectarian bigotry, rather than fosters mutual understanding and tolerance for one another's religion. Where is the tolerance in insisting a secular music organization with a membership majority from a specific religious community (whether practicing or not), cleansing themselves of all signs of the religious identity?

That is just absurdly sectarian.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 01:45 PM

Northern Ireland is a rather special case, where having a Mass as part of a Fleadh could be expected to offend some people, so that it would be discourteous and provocative. In that particular context, if it were possible to have an interdenominational service instead, that would be far better.

But I don't think that kind of situation of worrying about offending people applies in a whole lot of places, most places in fact.

When we had the first big St Patrick's Day Parade in London last year, it started off from Westminster Cathedral with a special Mass, and it ended up at Trafalgar Square, where there was a special service in St Martins in the Fields, which is Church of England. Both were included in the programme.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 01:36 PM

Ard Mhacha, with all due respect, as I read Doubting Thomas' description of his branch, it appears those who wish to continue with the Catholic ethos are in the majority, not the minority (where Doubting Thomas finds himself).

Are you seriously suggesting that because a handful of Protestants and young anti-Catholic Catholics and Alliance types in Northern Ireland don't like the Catholic ethos of Comhaltas, that the majority membership of Doubting Thomas' local branch be damned?

You know, I'm no fan of the Catholic hierarchy's control over the Irish state, but that doesn't mean I think reactionary anti-popery and self-loathing recovering Catholicism is the answer.

Why are you so strident in your belief that there isn't room for both sorts of branches in the world of Irish traditional music, Ard Mhacha? Why this anti-Catholic zealotry to cleanse Irish traditional music of it's Catholic roots?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: ard mhacha
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 01:14 PM

Thomas, Yes you are making a statment by having a Mass to coincide with your Fleadh or whatever traditional music festival you have in mind, why don`t you come over to the north of Ireland, our Choltas group would object to offending Protestant members by having a Mass before our Fleadh.
As for the Catholic ethos in our Branch it is never mentioned, times have changed here and I find that a large number of our young members have no interest in the Church, Catholic or otherwise.
The young members are into traditional music and that alone.
Thomas put your foot down and tell them to concentrate on the music,as they do in our Branch. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 11:57 AM

I've just reread your original post Doubting Thomas. From what I can suss out, you have already been able to move the location of the main event to a neutral location. That's grand. You seem concerned with the fundraising side, as you said:

"If we approach outside bodies for money on the basis of our constitution (remember, the one that says we're non-denominational) and then have a Mass at the event I'm concerned that we could be accused of taking money under false pretences."

I understand the conflict in many Irish minds over this, but as I said above, the organization doesn't exclude Protestants from membership or participation, therefore it is being true to it's non-denominational constitution. Having a religious service, as one of several activities, wouldn't mean you were taking money under false pretences, or violating the letter or spirit of the constitution. It merely recognises and honors what you also rightly point out:

"...(is the) perfectly understandable historical and sociological reasons most of our members in this particular area of the world are members of the Roman Catholic church."

In other words, you are honoring the Catholic ethos of the majority membership. It takes much more than just being Catholic, and having a mass with the event, to intentionally exclude Protestants. In my experiences in Ireland, I have always found that the organization in question bending over backwards NOT to exclude the Protestants, not the other way round. However, it was also my experience in Ireland that most Protestants refused to participate in anything remotely associated with the Catholic community.

Now, if that is what you perceive as "the dilemma" ie, that the Protestants are refusing to participate as long as there is a mass, well...you've gotten excellent suggestions on ways to try and make them feel more comfortable with the Catholic ethos of the organization. I think that is what the organization should continue to try and do, rather than cleanse the organization of it's Catholic ethos. Include the list of Protestant church services, work with the current membership to offer an ecumenical, or inter-denominational mass for the long haul, where both Protestants and Catholics can receive communion, that sort of thing.

But I think you are seriously misunderstanding the term "non-denominational", and interpreting it to mean "non-religious, secular activities only" which is the way many a person raised Protestant or Irish Catholic in Ireland in 50s and 60s would like this particular organization to be too. But as I said, that isn't what this organization is, nor do I believe it should change it's ethos, merely to appease those who don't like Catholics, be they Protestant or raised as Catholics themselves. Both are attacking Irish secular organizations with a Catholic ethos nowadays, and I fear there is a negative trend to throw the Catholic baby out with the sectarian bathwater. That just doesn't seem right to me.

(BTW, I and others have chosen to ignore your remarks about clergy abuse for a good reason.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 11:06 AM

Oops! My apologies to IanC and all, for the above post shown as GUEST, IanC. That was me. I had attempted to type in IanC's name at the beginning of my post, and obviously put it in the wrong place!


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,IanC
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 11:05 AM

It truly saddens me to see you have chosen to exclude yourself from the thread, IanC. I really am. It is just that sort of sectarian refusal to accept the Catholic ethos of the organization in question, I find so very troublesome about all this. And I am a Protestant, who has enjoyed Irish music greatly over the years, attended many a fleadh AND mass, and never once felt offended, much less excluded.

I am afraid it is your loss, not the other way around.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 10:54 AM

If there was an interdenominational service would you object to that because it discriminated against and excluded agnostics and atheists?

Or, as No Doubt just said, if you were playing Klezmer music, would a service in a synagogue as part of a festival offend you?

If this organisation you were in were barring non-Catholics from membership, or doing things that made it impossible for them to belong, you would be quite right to kick up a fuss. Or if the Mass was conducted in a wash that was designed to stir up sectarian hatred, with some clerical bigot up there preaching hate.

But from what you say, I can't see there is any problem (there may be other things you haven't said that would change that view of mine). Sticking the times of services of all religious denominations might be a good way of indicating a commitment to non-sectarianism. Maybe there might be room for a multi-denominational service as well. (Though you still might get hassles from people who would say yes to those two questions I posed at the start of the post. To which I'd be inclined to say "get a life", which is something I very rarely say.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 10:52 AM

If there was an interdenominational service would you object to that because it discriminated against and excluded agnostics and atheists?

Or, as No Doubt just said, if you were playing Klezmer music, would a service in a synagogue as part of a festival offend you?

If this organisation you were in were barring non-Catholics from membership, or doing things that made it impossible for them to be kicking, you would be quite right to kick up a fuss. Or if the Mass was conducted in a wash that was designed to stir up sectarian hatred, with some clerical bigot up there preaching hate.

But from what you say, I can't see there is any problem (there may be other things you haven't said that would change that view of mine). Sticking the times of services of all religious denominations might be a good way of indicating a commitment to non-sectarianism. Maybe there might be room for a multi-denominational service as well. (Though you still might get hassles from people who would say yes to those two questions I posed at the start of the post. To which I'd be inclined to say "get a life", which is something I very rarely say.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: IanC
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 10:37 AM

"no doubt"

Like a lot of pre-Vatican 2 catholics, including my father-in-law, you don't altogether understand the nature of exclusion.

I won't continue to contribute to this thread, as I don't have anything further to say. I am quite aware of how it feels from the other side of the line. Obviously, you aren't.

God bless you.
Ian


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 10:33 AM

IanC, you are obviously misinformed.

There are always religious rituals one doesn't participate in when visiting a church or temple or synagogue of another religion. In this case, the religious ritual that people don't participate in is communion. However, not taking communion doesn't exclude anyone, or forbid them from attending. There is nothing to stop a non-Catholic person from taking the communion, of course. No one stands with a gun, checking people's baptism certificates at the altar, after all.

If people wish to have Protestant communion on the day, then they are, of course, free to attend the Protestant church of their choice on Sunday, while the mass is taking place, or before it, or after it. As someone suggested, you could print a list of local churches convenient to the event locations, for the benefit of non-Catholics. But nothing else is necessary, IMO. Nothing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,No Doubt
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 10:28 AM

I wouldn't think the organization would have to be ancillary. It could be it's own organization, and just co-sponsor the fleadh. But that would be at least a year or two down the line, from an organizational standpoint. Although I have to say, I don't think a serious argument can be made that anyone and everyone with an interest in learning Irish traditional music and in competing in the fleadh, is being excluded. There is no ethos or rules that says one must be a Catholic to participate. That is why the organization has it's charter non-denominational. So the Protestants feel free to participate. And obviously enough do, because down through the years, a number of them have been participants and winners in the competitions.

All that said, regardless of what you personally choose to do in future about the Irish Catholic ethos of the organization, you still are in the dilemma over this year's event. But that is your dilemma, not the organizations. I maintain it would be very wrong to force the issue at this year's event, by refusing to schedule a mass, or scheduling an ecumenical service in it's place. You might be able to schedule an ecumenical service in addition to a mass, but even that will likely leave a bad taste for some members.

Finally, my question is, how fair are you being to to the immigrant community that has been sponsoring this event for decades, by demanding they cleanse themselves of their Catholic identity to be "fair and inclusive" of others? Like I said, I can't imagine anyone suggesting that secular klezmer music organizations ought to be cleansed of their Jewish ethos to make the organization more appealing to Christians. Pretty offensive, I would say.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: GUEST,Soma
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 10:19 AM

Greatings Thomas.
We all need to touch the wounds.
To doubt is human to act is unavoidable.
You must do what you must in everyones interests.
Love and Peace Soma.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Music and Religion
From: IanC
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 10:18 AM

"No doubt"

Of course non-catholics are excluded from the mass. They are not allowed to take communion, pure and simple.


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