Summary of the meeting of the Dublin branch of 13th February 2010

Summary of the meeting of the Dublin branch on 13 February 2010


Twelve people attended this meeting. It was arranged as a follow-up to the ethics panel discussion held in November 2009 in T.C.D. “Ethics in a changing society – where to now?”
Rev Darren McCallig, Anglican Chaplain in University of Dublin (T.C.D.) presented an overview of the November meeting, summarising some of the key points made by the four panellists: Ivana Bacik, Peter McVerry, Linda Hogan and Justin Kilcullen.


  • Ivana had said she was speaking as a humanist and atheist, that her ethics were grounded in humanism and in the UN Charter on Human Rights. She had noted that in Irish culture criticism was seen as disloyal and that collusion and denial were rife.

  • Peter McVerry emphasised not just the gospel values of Jesus, but the importance of solidarity and community. He considered that the Celtic tiger had resulted in happiness being perceived to be experienced in unsustainable consumption and security being expected to be found in assets. There was an excessive individualism where there should be solidarity and community.

  • Justin Kilcullen had focused on the spirituality of social justice and looked beyond Ireland’s borders to the needs of the global poor.

  • Linda Hogan recognised the fragility and vulnerability of human life. She grounded Christian ethics in the faith claim that God creates human beings in his own image and so they should respect each other.

    Some participants who had attended the November panel discussion expressed their views about it. Several people spoke about the church’s failure to provide a religious education that kept up with modern insights, but there was some agreement that, while it might appear that Irish Christians belonged without believing, in fact outside the churches’ structures a good deal of reflection and questioning of doctrines and ethics could be found. We observe our religious identity on Sundays and not during the rest of the week which weakened how we put our ethics into practice one speaker noted.
    It was pointed out that religion / spirituality are discussed today with more emphasis on such themes as
    • human life being a journey and on exploration
    • on personal development and living with uncertainty
    • on religions as human creations rather than divine products
    • on what each faith tradition could learn from other traditions – both religious and humanist


    This new paradigm re theology / spirituality could be the subject of a future meeting whether local or national.


    Next meeting: it was agreed that Sean Carr, Daphne Flannery and Andrew Furlong would each present a paper five minutes in length to be followed after each paper by discussion.


    National meetings: Bishop Willie Walsh and Garrett Fitzgerald were both mentioned as possible speakers.

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