Posts Tagged ‘religion’

My wife about to marry me, 1986


The punishment of Eve?


Questions from “L”

“L” writes:

“Mr. O’Dea,

I am an avid reader of many blogs, I always enjoy reading about other peoples take on the world and I have found your blog to be rather interesting and have been a regular reader ever since I stumbled on it several years ago.

Since I like reading about your opinions I was wondering if it were to be possible if we could have a correspondence where I could ask you some questions and I could hear your perspective. I understand it if you don’t want to. But if you would be open to it I would be very grateful.


My first question:


I know that you are very religious and yet you believe in evolution. How do reconcile your faith and Darwin’s theory? Most Christians reject evolution because they believe that it is incompatible with the Bible a position I agree with. Yes, I know that you are Catholic and that the Vatican is not hostile and in some cases tolerant and welcoming of the theory, but your position still confuses me. Were you raised to be hostile towards it and later on accept it as valid? Or did your parents accept it and passed that acceptance on to you?



My Second question:

How do you feel about Protestantism and the man who set it in motion, Martin Luther? Do you believe that Protestants are saved?

Most Protestants (Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists etc.) believe that Catholicism is a false religion and I’m sure that the feeling must be mutual.

Why do you believe that Catholicism is the true religion that God established on earth versus Protestantism?



I have more questions but that will do for now.


Thank you for reading this email and please reply,

A reader”


My reply:

I haven’t had many private queries about this blog, but this one just arrived. So below are my answers.

On evolution, I believe the Darwinian theory is the most plausible in terms of an explanation for what we observe in fossils and in the modern natural world. I went to a Catholic boys’ school where evolution was taught as a “given”. I have always been most interested in science, especially biology, and I was happy with what I was taught in that line.

On the question of Protestantism, I have always liked the remark of Cardinal Newman, the 19th century convert from Anglicanism, when he said “they [the Protestants] can make a case …” And they can. I think, ultimately, these things come down to a matter of choice or intuition. I have never felt the need to move away from Catholicism.

I think Protestants can be saved, but in my view, because they do not recognise sacraments like confession, it is harder for them. That is my opinion anyway.

I really only studied Protestantism a bit a few years ago. I understand that the basic difference in view, at least as regards salvation, is that Protestants believe that one can be saved by faith. Catholics believe that we can become better and worse in life, but that faith alone is not enough. One must persevere to the end.

I hope these comments help. The two topics you have raised are, in my experience, extremely difficult and contentious ones, but I have tried to outline an answer for you.




A Catholic woman writes about women in the sanctuary

A guest post from a Catholic lady:

“When I was in my teens my parish was one of the last parishes in the diocese to have an all male sacristy.  I remember when the parish priest broke the ancient tradition and allowed girls to serve at the altar. A few girls signed up and as is so often the case, many of the boys stopped serving.

From the start the girls looked out of place, indecent in their altar robes – earthy, pagan, and distracting. The elegance of an all male sacristy was gone. And for what?  The girls who served, while well intended, I’m sure, had broken into a man’s role and it didn’t suit them, it never does.  It was painfully obvious, the girls allowed to begin a path which they could never fulfill, the priesthood, were superfluous.

I have heard that when a woman enters into a all male arena the men act differently. I can not know this firsthand but I believe it. My husband disliked serving at the altar with girls and said the atmosphere in the sacristy just wasn’t the same. I’d argue that the entire atmosphere of the parish is affected as well the women are misguided and their feminine roles neglected.

Our family attends the Traditional Latin Mass. Where the tradition of an all male sacristy has been preserved. No lectors, no extraordinary ministers, no altar girls. An elegance remains, there is a sense of peace and happiness within each respective role, not resentment or envy.

With the men and boys serving at the altar, ushering and taking up these roles the women are free and encouraged to take up their roles. An altar guild has been organized. The women clean the church,  sew and repair vestments, replace prayer candles, tend the Marian garden, take care of the flowers on the altar, decorate the church for high feasts. No,  it is not serving at the altar, there is no feminine equivalent to that and so what? These duties are still important and women shouldn’t have to, shouldn’t be encouraged to, masquerade as men to feel involved in the parish or to foster religious vocations. It helps no one.”


I can’t imagine

A man cannot

compete with God.

Such a pity her

neat, tall figure

was covered by

the habit of a

postulant nun.

She would come

from the small

convent next door

and sit in the same

place in the church

every morning.

That was such

a cold winter.

But then I heard

she married

after all.

And had two sons.

I can’t imagine

her lithe body


like that,

waddling about

and swaddling

a child.


(Julian O’Dea)



I remember on
one cold Sunday
morning in
country near
here – many years
ago –
we were on holiday
and it gets cold in
this part of
strange to say,
in winter –

“Colleen”, I heard the
mother cry to her
teenage daughter,
to her lass,
after mass,
“Colleen!”. Even then
I found it quaint.

For her name,
had come
all the
way from
to the Great South

I wonder where you
are now, Colleen.
Did you push
out a handsome
farmer’s baby,
to be
after mass
in the bush?


(Julian O’Dea)

Women without patriarchy


Women taking their clothes off and screaming like idiots: