Friday, February 27, 2009

Bunreacht na hEireann

In keeping with the rant on my personal blog, this is one of the books I am reading now. The Constitution of Ireland. I figure it's something the government and/or the EU may well try to dismantle in the coming years, so it behooves all Irish citizens to be familiar with it, me included. It's a fascinating read, lyrical and well-written, as befitting a state founded by poets and school teachers. I was a bit knocked back to discover we are a patriarchal theocracy. Here's how it starts: In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred. We, the people of Eire, Humbling acknowledging all our 0bligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our Fathers through centuries of trial ..." What is really fascinating are the pages of "Amending Acts" from 1930 to 2004 which so tellingly reveal the changing face of Irish society: reduction of the voting age, *removal of the special position of the Catholic Church* (1973), various ratifications of various European treaties (not Lisbon), the right to information about abortion legally available in other states (1992), right to divorce (1996), removal of the death penalty (2002). It's interesting that Ireland changed slowly but surely with agreement by referendum. I think there is wisdom in that process. Change is difficult, especially the older you get, and this process allows time for people to adapt. It helps keep the fabric of society together, I think, as structures such as the Church and the Family inevitably decline.

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