Friday 23 February 2018

Our land and souls need a woman's touch

Today, Mother's Day, Louis Jacob says there's nothing like mothers to put the country, and the Church, back on track

One of the things that most men realise at a very early age is that, when you really want a problem solved, and properly, you ask your mother. Every useless one of us recognises that tingle of relief one feels when a woman decides to get serious and those time-honoured words are spoken, "Right, enough of this nonsense. I am going to sort it out, for once and for all."

As men, we know that no matter what kind of shambles we've created, the lines are now drawn and things are going to be back to normal soon enough. "Normal" being that clean platform from whence we will be able to return to doing what we do best -- making everything complicated all over again.

Research carried out at the University of Chicago last year demonstrated that in the crazy world of American politics, female legislators are more effective on average than their male counterparts. They bring more money to their districts, introduce more legislation, get more co-sponsors for their bills, and require a shorter period to warm up to the job and start getting work done.

How badly we could do with that kind of productivity and organisation in Irish politics. The Dail is beginning to resemble some kind of raucous, university debating circus for boys, full of testosterone and immaturity. It's only a matter of time before we are going to have to ask our public representatives' mammies to come in and put them straight, force them to stop whining like brats and do some real work.

The prevailing attitude seems to be: never let the running of the country get in the way of a good bout of handbags. And, funnily enough, while material handbags are predominantly a women's accessory, handbags of the proverbial type are the pastime of choice for the majority of male politicians.

And we could go on for months debating what the Church should do now. There is so much broken that putting the problem right appears to be rocket science.

There is a fundamental flaw at the heart of the Catholic Church which means the real problems will probably never be solved.

It has always intrigued me that so many of us would submit our souls -- perhaps the most precious of all things -- to a celibate men's club in an Italian city whose members walk around in silk dresses, carry gold staffs, and collect money from poor families in our churches so that they can surround themselves with art and fine wine, while simultaneously telling us that condoms and homosexuality are the work of the devil. It's actually mind-boggling when you think about it.

I am absolutely positive that an organisation at least 50 per cent run by women would have faced up to the universe of fundamental problems inherent in the Catholic Church and dealt with them properly years ago, instead of turning a blind eye. We would be over it by now, and our society would therefore be so much healthier.

Last week, we had International Women's Day. We were asked to celebrate the achievements of women in history. Fair enough, but I hope this does not mean that they will now rest on their laurels. It's crisis time and the tiller needs to be prised away from us men, because, as usual, we can't really handle the pressure, and we've been making a hames of it -- as we nearly always do.

Sunday Independent

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