Archive for September 24th, 2009

Big Bad Dongs

The Irish Times – Letters

Madam, – I refer to the article by Patsy McGarry (Front Page, September 19th) concerning the revamping of the Angelus, which, as you know, exhorts us to take a moment to reflect.

The assertion that it is “the most watched religious programme” I think may have something to do with the fact that it is followed immediately by the main evening news. I would like to submit that, as a licence-fee payer, I would welcome the permanent removal of the Angelus from RTÉ radio and television at 6pm every day as it constitutes a waste of our fees. In a multi-religious society, I consider it inappropriate use of programme timing and have no wish for my listening / watching to be interrupted by it any more. – Yours, etc,


La Vista Avenue,

Killester, Dublin 5.

I regret to say I’m undecided on the matter of the Angelus going the way of the sound of the corncrake in the morn. One the one hand, it symbolises the persistent mark of church domination in this country. On the other, it’s a good way of reminding you that you need to get started with the dinner.

The television images show people of all ages engaged in all sorts of productive activity, who pause for a moment to reflect in the alpha and omega. I have never seen any images of people sitting watching television, which is what most gongstruck people are at in that precise moment. Nor have I seen any images of concrete mixer drivers pausing for an encounter with the infinite as they dump a load of their grey gold into the foundations of the new shopping centre. The Angelus is a vestige of a more predictable, regimented society, in which broad swathes of the populace could be expected to be engaged in more or less the same thing, and a moment’s pause would not produce an economic catastrophe. Still, a canny religious advocate for its preservation could make the argument that the Angelus can also function as a health and safety break, and, just as health and safety representatives up and down the land advise workers to take a break from their computer-based labours every half an hour, the Angelus could function as a pivotal moment in raising the productivity of the nation.

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September 2009