Friday 24 November 2017

If TDs won't stand for Dáil prayers, maybe 'Songs of Praise' will get them on their feet

For balance, atheists and agnostics could also suggest choices – their acknowledged anthem is John Lennon’s 'Imagine'. Photo: PA
For balance, atheists and agnostics could also suggest choices – their acknowledged anthem is John Lennon’s 'Imagine'. Photo: PA
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

Prayers in Dáil Éireann? My alternative solution to this controversial question - since secularists continue to be opposed to it - is to begin proceedings with a hymn.

A hymn brings people together in the spirit of community. A hymn can be rousing, sonorous, reflective or soulful, and it is a known medical fact that singing out loud helps the heart and the lungs, and even stimulates the brain.

Hymns can be specific, but they can also be ecumenical and multi-cultural. I attended a Sunday Mass in Navan a few months ago, where the African priest in the pulpit, embarking on a homily, broke into a dazzling rendering of 'Amazing Grace'. Surely a fine hymn to start parliamentary proceedings!

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