Saturday, April 14, 2012
Tantum Ergo Sum
This is Clanbrassil Street during Dublin's last Eucharistic Congress in 1932.
And this is a recent Tweet from the current Congress Organisers inviting people to decorate their street. No doubt they are hoping for something approaching the 1932 Bunting Blitz.The link in the Tweet brings you to the Congress shop from where you can order flags and bunting.
There appears to me to be one big gap here. People are not being advised to consult their neighbours on whether they wish to be engulfed in this blaze of triumphalist flagwaving or not.
In 1932 Clanbrassil Street was the main Jewish shopping street in Dublin. Each golden pin above represents a Jewish shop, between Leonard's Corner and St. Kevin's Parade.
It is most unlikely that the Jews were consulted on their views on that particular triumphalist outpouring. That was not how it was done then. In fact the Lord Mayor of the Day, Alfie Byrne, pledged the loyalty of all the citizens of Dublin to the Pope, both during the Congress and in the course of his subsequent audience in the Vatican.
And, had they been asked, it is unlikely the Jews of the day, crucifiers of Christ as they still were then, would have had the nerve or the inclination to question the bunting, the procession or anything else which might have been proposed for the Congress. Of course, since 1969 we have all become much more sensitive to these matters on this island.
Today most of the Jews are gone. Some left the country after WWII for more favourable economic climes or to participate in establishing the State of Israel. Others transferred to the leafy glades of Terenure. And such few ethnic shops as are now left in Clanbrassil Street are Halal rather than Kosher.
Today we have an ethnically more diverse community across the city, and, even within the "Roman Catholic" population, there are many to whom such an outpouring of zealotry would be offensive in the wake of the clerical abuse scandals and the recent retreat of the Vatican into the theological and pastoral Bunker.
This Congress promises to be a very interesting one indeed.