More piety, fewer pints 'best way to celebrate'
A CATHOLIC priest has launched a scathing attack on how St Patrick's Day has become "Paddy's Week" - and is now "an excuse for mindless alcohol-fuelled revelry".
Writing in the current issue of The Word magazine, conservative theologian Fr Vincent Twomey also calls for the reclaiming of St Patrick's Day as a church festival.
While recognising the Irish have restored the fun to St Patrick's Day in recent decades, Fr Twomey regrets that the faith and religious element is often absent in the festivities.
"It is time to bring the piety and the fun together," he writes.
"It is time to reclaim St Patrick's Day as a Church festival, one that should have a special ecumenical perspective, since all Christians in Ireland trace the origins of their faith back to Patrick.
"It is also time to rediscover the man himself, his triumph over adversity thanks to his faith in Jesus Christ, and his deep spirituality, so needed today." After looking at the history of St Patrick's Day and the transformation of the country's parades over the past decade, Fr Twomey attributes this change to Ireland becoming an increasingly secular and vulgar country. "Paddy's Week is descending into an excuse for mindless alcohol-fuelled revelry. Must it be so?"