Just watched an interview on the late Late Show with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal who have recently established a community in Moyross in Limerick. To those of you unfamiliar with it, Moyross is a large estate in Limerick, sadly and perhaps unfairly identified with drugs, crime and an ongoing inter-familial feud which has claimed a multitude of victims in the last couple of decades. Having worked in Limerick I am aware that there is much more to Moyross than this and sadly it is the usual case of only bad news sells papers. However there are a lot of problems in the area and the arrival of the friars would seem to be a much needed shot in the arm for a community which is more accustomed to bad news than the Good News! Among the friars on the show tonight was a most unusual character who does his preaching through rap and has according to the local media made a big impact on the local kids especially.
Out of curiosity I took a look at their web site and was surprised to find them more theologically right-wing than I would have suspected. Some of their activities include vigils outside abortion clinics and I have to say this was a disappointment and a surprise. The whole philosophy underlying the so called 'pro-life' movement seems to me to be often so simplistic as to be dangerous and potentially damaging. No matter where one stands on this emotive issue it seems to me there are better ways to witness to one's convictions than this sort of confrontation which inevitably turns to unhelpful condemnation!
However they seem to be doing good work in Limerick and while I would have severe reservations about any group that campaigns in this way on this issue I cannot deny the importance of what they are providing in Moyross! So once again life is not simple.
You can watch a video below of their arrival in Limerick. Ironically their appearance on the show was followed by the Gorilla Girls on tour which featured 2 masked women discussing their understanding of being 'pro-choice'! Hard to believe it wasn't planned but I don't think the Late Late Show team are so devious!