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I commented in a post below (Rome trip should be welcomed) that some elements of the media seemed determined to see only negative in the visit of the Irish Bishops to Rome.  By yesterday the Rome visit had fallen down the headlines as Willie O’Dea came under fire. As I listened to the radio and TV coverage of Willie’s exit (for the moment at any rate!) from the Front Bench, it stuck me that this tendency to see the negative is not confined to coverage of the Church and has become a feature of our culture.

The O’Dea story has been in the public domain since at least November but as soon as it became certain that a resignation was imminent, commentator after commentator spoke about how the whole affair had been badly handled from the start by Willie, by the Taoiseach, by the Greens – and no, the Greens hadn’t redeemed themselves by forcing the issue – it was too late for that. Last week we heard how George Lee had made a fool of himself – but that it was all Enda Kenny’s fault.

Our political system too has negativity built into it.  In my younger days I did briefly consider getting into politics, thinking to change the world while being able to engage endlessly in my favourite pastime of debate and polemic. I now shiver at the thought – the idea that part of my job description would be to ALWAYS criticise and find fault in any and every idea not proposed by my own party. I found it so depressing when the recession first kicked in to hear very bright people use their skills only to pull down each others proposals for recovery, simply because the speakers belonged to different political parties. There has to be a better way!

Aren’t we Christians supposed to be people of the Good News?  This shouldn’t just be some abstract and vaguely Church related aspiration, but a real guiding principle in the way we approach everything in life – looking for the good, the positive, wherever it can be found.

If we did nothing else during Lent but decide to challenge this culture a little and make a determined effort to bring a positive attitude to whatever we’re doing and to our conversations and discussions of events and life in general, who knows what Easter might bring!

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