Thursday, October 25, 2012

Confessio (I confess)

Constance & Cyril Wilde c 1889

Forgive me, Father, I have sinned. Let's not go into how long it's been since my last confession. As to how I have offended ... well, I suppose I was a bit mischievous in the letters pages of the Belfast Telegraph not too long ago. I don't normally read the Belfast Telegraph. No, that's not what I'm confessing! But the recent opening of a Marie Stopes Clinic in Belfast, the first of its kind on this island, led me to its website to see what the local reaction was to the event. While looking through its pages I came across a long and somewhat rambling letter in the opinion section.  The part that attracted my attention most said:

From William III of Orange, to Oscar Wilde, to Roger Casement, gay people have sculpted Irish and world history. Yet the men I have just cited would not have the right to be married in the country of their celebration.
Oscar Wilde once said he could resist anything but temptation. I was tempted to reply. I couldn't resist. What I said was this: 

William Ennis says that William III, Oscar Wilde, and Roger Casement would not have had the right to marry in Ireland. Of these three, two were, in fact, married: Oscar Wilde (to Constance Lloyd in 1881); and King William (to Mary Stuart in 1677). While these unions took place outside of Ireland, there is no reason to believe that they would not have been allowed to celebrate their marriages on this island.

It was naughty I know. Mea culpa. In fairness, I think Oscar would have found it funny. So please don't be too harsh with my penance. At least I didn't say anything about the Black Diaries. And clearly I must avoid the Belfast Telegraph in the future ... lest it be an occasion of further sin for me.


  1. Most disturbing quote about this whole thing was taken from this article:

    An Irish woman who outsourced her abortion to Britain said that the murder of her child was "nothing worse than a very bad period."

    I actually teared up at the thought of this woman thinking so little of the life she was blessed with. I know you don't need the reminder, Father, but please keep these women in your prayers.

    How have we gotten so far off track to not recognize the gift of the Divine when we hold it within ourselves?

  2. What can I say? The great abominations of our times, from which many evils flow, in an almost universal lack of any theology of the body ... the closest we come is an idolatrous pursuit of sexual pleasure for its own sake.

  3. I just realized this somehow got tacked onto the wrong entry. My guess is you probably figured that out already.


    Sorry about that.

    However, I think your response WOULD have made Wilde laugh. Might've even written it into the Importance of Being Earnest as it was right up his alley.


  4. Maybe on the lips of Lady Bracknell? 'It is the duty of all men to marry & have a family ... whatever the implications for their personal happiness. The idea that marriage is about romantic love is a foolish romantic notion. I am quite sure that Lord Bracknell never viewed me with the slightest amount of romantic interest. If I had suspected for one moment that he had, I should never have married him. Emotions have a way of getting between one and one's duty. And Lord Bracknell and I certainly knew our duty and embraced it with the greatest of relish!'