This week in the ‘Rumblings’ I want to share with you a letter I wrote to the veteran broadcaster, Vincent Browne, on his retirement. It was published in The Examiner and featured on ‘It says in the papers’. I have added a few comments for your prayerful consideration at the end of the original letter.


Dear Vincent,

You were hardly gone and I was missing you. Many a night I came in after a mad day, often from a difficult wake house, grabbed an Erdinger alcohol free and a bag of nuts and sat down to see you in combat. I loved watching you. ‘Does Fine Gael train you to come on here and not answer the question’, ‘the same old Fianna Fáil guff’, the pained expression, the grumpiness and my favourite, the tired oh so fed up deep sighs. I have no doubt there will be a replacement, perhaps a few, and I wish them well, but there is only one Vincent. Yes I will surely miss our late night rendezvous. Of course I am thrilled to be able to say that I was one of your guests, not once but on a number of occasions. The on screen boxing never diluted your welcome and leave taking. I think you enjoyed our encounters, and if you enjoyed them a fraction as much as I did, then they are small part of what I hope are trunks of good memories. You love argy-bargy, as do I, though I have a particular penchant for holy argy-bargy.

Vincent, I have a proposal for you. I am thinking of writing to the Archbishop and asking him to appoint you to a new role, that of Diocesan Inquisitor. This new role would be ideal for you. Essentially the brief would be to undertake a thorough examination of the diocese, to seek out and remove the dead wood, to identify dysfunctionality, especially with regard to the abusive sacramental conveyor belt, and in particular to seek ways of resolving the present paralysis in the area of formation/vocations. I believe not only would you be great in the role but you would enjoy it.

I appreciate some, perhaps yourself included, may perceive a problem with this. I can imagine this perception is around faith. However it is just that, a perception, or more accurately a misperception. Can I say whoever thought of the Welsh Male Voice Choir for your last night is a genius. What about the words of the song, ‘Guide me, O thou great Redeemer, Pilgrim through this barren land’? Apt to say the least, and who would have thought that your last words would be ‘Ah Jaysus!’, of course we forgive you for pronunciation/spelling. Yes Vincent I firmly believe whilst you protest you do not have Jesus, make no mistake he sure has you. I will miss watching you late at night and cherish our periodic jousts. Think about the job,

Yours affectionately,
Joe Mc Donald

I have been wondering what will you make of the idea that whilst Vincent protests he does not have Jesus my contention is that Jesus certainly has him. Is it possible that even though we may protest we do not believe in Jesus, that he continues to gently hold us? Recently I was talking to a group and sharing my belief that oftentimes the devil has us by the toe. It was interesting that most of them hung on to this bit but seemed to forget that I added that we should remember that when it appears that the devil has us by the toe, to remember that Jesus has the rest of us. Like Jacob in Genesis sometimes we are engaged in a lengthy strained wrestling match with God, even though we neither know nor acknowledge him. Now we have to be careful because if these thoughts are misunderstood they could give the impression of Jesus as a gate crasher who lacks respect for our free will. This is of course not the case but perhaps it is true that the Lord knows what is deepest in our hearts oftentimes better than we know it ourselves. With that in mind surely despite our protestations he may well have us in his tender embrace.

1 Comment

James Caulfield · 14/10/2017 at 15:07

Dia Joe, I suspect your job proposal for Vincent includes a hopeful agenda that he resuscitate our ailing Church. I hear so many clergy and good people lamenting the loss of faith and near empty churches but it seems nobody has any idea how to restore the faith of the laity or indeed the clergy. It seems that have been mediating on the naivety of our Catholic faith all my life and I see so much that is plainly ridiculous. I committed some of my thoughts to paper and to twitter……….
@wearethemeek .
You done well on the Late Late Show, congratulations.
With faith in Jesus
James Caulfield

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