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← Interview with Paula Kirby on 'The Right Hook'

Interview with Paula Kirby on 'The Right Hook' - Comments

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 1 by Dhamma

I tried running it here, but it didn't work, so I tried streaming it with VLC instead, which ran, but gave no audio. Does it work for you guys?

Edit: Must be crappy audio drivers. Running linux on my new HP laptop appears to be of limited satisfaction. Unfortunately, HP's laptops seem to be very anti linux in general. Really disappointed at HP.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 10:21:00 UTC | #213034

Linda's Avatar Comment 2 by Linda

Congratulations on another excellent contribution to the cause. You clearly articulate the issues and problems of religious superstition in modern times.

I am dismayed that the cleric was given more air time than you. Perhaps although it seems rude you and Richard must be more aggressive in these situations in which the cards are stacked against speaking for those who do not believe.
Best, LWS

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 10:24:00 UTC | #213037

notsobad's Avatar Comment 3 by notsobad

News about Ireland and faith that are actually positive at last.

it does. Use Firefox with QuickTime Alternative.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 10:38:00 UTC | #213042

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 4 by Dhamma

notsobad: Yeah, I know it does, it's just that it's been a hassle configuring everything to work. Some things will not work even, unless the open-source community starts working on some specific hardwares. HP really want you to use only Vista on this laptop.

It's only my driver I need to fix, and your link was only for windows anyway, right? Could be interesting getting that software anyway if it's for linux too.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 10:51:00 UTC | #213045

AllanW's Avatar Comment 5 by AllanW

Very nicely done, Paula. Polite but firm and very articulate. I disagree that being more pushy or aggressive would have been a more effective stance to take. Showing yet again that the godless are reasonable, humane individuals who happen to have a different view of the world and the supernatural explanations for our existence is surely having an incremental effect. Well done.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 11:03:00 UTC | #213049

Corylus's Avatar Comment 6 by Corylus

Well done Paula.

That was an excellent interview. You called his bluff nicely a couple of times.

I found it very interesting that he appears to want to go down the "we (the church) must change our image so people come back" route.

I recall reading that the lack of 'bums on seats' in Ireland is confined not just to congregations, but also to staff recruitment.

A recent article on this here.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 11:08:00 UTC | #213053

Gregg Townsend's Avatar Comment 7 by Gregg Townsend


Yes. Paula's point about us humans being perfectly capable of filling our lives with meaning (presumably in absence of superstition) seemed to go in one ear and out his nostril.


*standing ovation*

Pity they didn't allow you more time. It felt like you were just beginning to get on a roll.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 11:20:00 UTC | #213058

Ascaphus's Avatar Comment 8 by Ascaphus many, many ways we're not relevant...

And counting! Great job, Paula. Just when I give up and decide to watch the human race run off a metaphorical cliff like mythological lemmings, somebody comes along and gives me hope. Now I'm ready to wade in there again. In my family I'm outnumbered a couple hundred to one by the superstitious, and in rural Oregon at least ten or twenty to one - but who's counting?


Tue, 05 Aug 2008 11:24:00 UTC | #213061

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 9 by phil rimmer

Very smooth, Paula. Well done indeed.

Father McVerry seemed happy at the retreat from, quite possibly, huge swathes of dogma. His resting position seemed to be to two grounds. Jesus brings meaning to peoples lives and Jesus inspires communities to a new, more caring way to live their lives.

I greatly applaud your rebuttal of the first with the statement that we indeed MAKE meaning for ourselves. The sheer varieties of fulfilled lives stands testament to that.

The Father's second point was, in fact, entirely political in its claims, and it struck me that a response could be entirely that such a claim about the merit of a collective behaviour should stand on its own terms. Hence, the (Catholic? Christian?) church would more honestly represent these aspirations if it were to "come out" as simply a political pressure group amongst others.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 11:28:00 UTC | #213063

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 10 by robotaholic

lol i never get used to the Irish accent

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 11:34:00 UTC | #213067

Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 11 by Paula Kirby

Everyone's always so nice to me in here! Thank you for your kind comments.

I haven't checked, but I didn't actually feel as if the priest got more time than I did. The only time I really would have liked chance to say something else was right at the very end, when he'd basically said that the meaning of life without religion was "Eat, drink and be merry". I'd have liked chance to put him straight on that - but on second thoughts, perhaps there are worse messages to leave ringing in people's ears! Who knows, he may have gained us a few converts. ;-)

I think the priest is probably a very nice man, actually: he's spent most of his life working with homeless youngsters, and he's clearly very critical of the Catholic church and quite a lot of what it stands for. I don't for one moment doubt his sincerity when it comes to his desire for "social justice" - I just question his judgement in believing that the Catholic church (or any church) can be the vehicle for achieving it.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 11:36:00 UTC | #213068

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 12 by robotaholic

I loved how you said he acts like the church has control somehow and is able to get the masses back lol - that was great

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 11:39:00 UTC | #213071

Ascaphus's Avatar Comment 13 by Ascaphus

#16 Ian:

...Faith- to accept without question...

Ian: is that your own? It is an interesting analysis of the two. I'll have to think about it for a while, but the distinction is intriguing.


Tue, 05 Aug 2008 11:46:00 UTC | #213073

Logicel's Avatar Comment 14 by Logicel

Excellent job, Paula! You have such a lovely speaking voice. Think the priest was beginning to squirm under your persistent, gentle focusing towards the end.

The priest ironically presented Jesus in a very communistic way. All I heard from the priest was that if everybody is not joined together via the 'love of Jesus,' then any other life style is fraught with problems. Apparently, the way of the 'jesus junkie' is the best for everybody at all times. How about law, justice, fairness, access to opportunity, etc.?

Christians are unable to accept reality--I doubt that they learn from mistakes. They embrace imperfection--their original sin--only so they can pretend that they have a hotline to perfection, via the son of god instead of working with what they got, their 'lowly' selves. They are just bizarre (and totally boring).

The priest wanted to make self-empowerment seem less than what it is, that no one can be self-empowered, only the love of jesus can do that. Barf.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 11:49:00 UTC | #213074

Rawhard Dickins's Avatar Comment 15 by Rawhard Dickins


Are we really on the same planet as McVerry?

McVerry - wake up and grow up!

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 12:31:00 UTC | #213083

emmet's Avatar Comment 16 by emmet

Priests working with "homeless youngsters" should have a "pointy hat-cam" on 24-7.
In fairness, Peter McVerry is extremely well known in Dublin and he is definitely one of the good ones: he's spent the last 30 years actually practising what he preaches.

You might also be interested that the presenter, Ivan Yates, is a former government minister who left politics and became a highly successful bookmaker. He is MD (and a substantial shareholder) in Celtic Bookmakers.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 12:34:00 UTC | #213084

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 17 by phil rimmer

Chris Bell

Perhaps Paula should be sent on those missions?

This has the beginnings of a good plan....

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 12:37:00 UTC | #213086

decius's Avatar Comment 18 by decius

Comment #224706 by esuther

What the movie wouldn't render is the customary sour reek of smegma mixed with child's faeces exuding from the cassock that the burning incense struggles to cover.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 12:38:00 UTC | #213088

Shaden's Avatar Comment 19 by Shaden


I read the comments quickly before I listened to the show and noticed that you mentioned that you felt that the priest had more air time, so I took down the times when you both were speaking and here are the results (this isn't going to look right since I can't make a table in this post):

Paula___Time (seconds)___Father Peter___Time (seconds)


So the answer is yes, he had 104 seconds more time. Regardless, what you said had more substance anyway, thanks for being such a good representative :)

[Edit] To make the numbers more clear

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 12:42:00 UTC | #213089

Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 20 by Paula Kirby

Shaden: Paula,

I read the comments quickly before I listened to the show and noticed that you mentioned that you felt that the priest had more air time, so I took down the times when you both were speaking and here are the results:
That was nice of you, Shaden, thank you! But actually, no, it wasn't me who'd commented on this - I hadn't been particularly aware of an imbalance in the time allotted. And I don't think the difference you've found is all that terrible, really - it's always going to be an inexact art on the part of the interviewer, since he really had no way of knowing what each of us was going to say and how long we were going to take.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 12:53:00 UTC | #213093

Linda's Avatar Comment 21 by Linda

You are kind to give the priest the benefit of the doubt with regards to his possible support for human rights issues. Cynical me guesses that he's not actually anti-Vatican.

Currently there is an important social battle happening in Ireland and it is the churches, Roman and English that are fighting hard to stop the legalization of women's reproductive rights in both the Republic and N.I. Medieval, misogynist, oppressive rules harm poor women the most.

If a day comes when I see priests handing out condoms and helping prevent the misery of unplanned pregnancy and STD then maybe my view of them will soften. It is about time that women stopped being blamed and treated as criminals with regards to abortion when the guys delivering sperm are never held accountable for being careless about contraception. Sweetly smiling clerics with the gift of the gab and their political minions must be challenged forthrightly on gender equality.

I am puzzled as to why women continue to vote for those who do not represent their best interests.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 13:17:00 UTC | #213095

decius's Avatar Comment 22 by decius


excellent performance. Soft-spoken yet firm, and you didn't let any bs pass unchecked, although I had the impression that you have been purposefully muzzled at the end.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 13:20:00 UTC | #213096

HourglassMemory's Avatar Comment 23 by HourglassMemory

How nice to hear Paula.
I'll be commenting as I hear it, so don't be surprised if it looks convoluted and ill-structured and not as well spoken.

I don't know how many agree with me but to me, Paula reminds me of Julia Sweeney.

I couldn't help thinking "And it shouldn't be.", when 'father' Peter priest said " I believe in many many ways we're not relevant."

Let church be the boring thing it always was. The fact that they try to adapt to modernity makes me squirm and cringe.
If reinforcing ancient mythology with echoing deep voices in 500 year old architecture doesn't fit people's lifestyles today, don't try and transform the church's look and the way the speech is given. It's still nonsense that is millenniums old.
And I bet that when priests like 'father' Peter are confronted with this problem they think of "Mega-churches for young people with Christian rock and lots of flashing lights and up to date technology is the solution"
Mega-churches are the materialization of desperation to the tides of modern times.
Let it erode, father Peter. It's like the sand castle is being dismantled by incoming waves and you just keep adding blobs of wet sand to it….and you create something very unpleasant to the eyes that resembles an excrement.

Also something I noticed. This is the first show where they actually ask for the point of view of an atheist! I hope it's the first of many!

On Paula's comment on not being that horrible to come out as an atheist and to have people having doubts about religions,
I do think that the seed of doubt is being spread slowly. I think a "Let's THINK about the claims for a second" is slowly making itself heard.
I think most people really don't realise that you can actually think critically of religion and find flaws in it. Flaws enough for you to drop it and have it become even more irrelevant than 'father' Peter thinks.
I think most people, especially those raised in a religious environment, don't realise that they can actually lead a completely normal and fulfilling life without any religion.
I always found it awkward that people somehow thought that not having a religion or having beliefs in ineffable metaphysics, would somehow make you less of a human, less complete, less normal. How peculiar.

Did Jesus want a church created in his name? I always got the impression that he actually expressed the contrary. Or am I reading only one side of the bible and missing the contradiction that comes fifty pages later?

I find it so interesting that they say the church and god is abused.
Religion can ONLY be good and therefore deviance is abuse and corruption.
What if religions are corrupt and god isn't the best thing in the universe?
Why does one creed always have all the others claiming that active corruption of them.
They look at others and criticize but they never look in the mirror.

"I do believe in God, I do believe Jesus had a radical vision, a far more radical vision than Karl Marx. *laughs* "
Ouch…REALLY? When I think they can't make any more awkward bold claims…they do it.

LOVE from the creator of the universe… so much wishful thinking. How lonely we humans are on planet earth in this void of space…

"What I think was unique in Jesus' vision was that Jesus came to find a community which would live that in concrete practice and would witness to that love."
*Thinks of Catholic/Protestant Ireland*….corruption and abuse, right?...mhmm, of course.

"They forget the ultimate"
Why should there be a metaphysical ultimate? And really, why should that ultimate be drenching with ancient mythology and folktales from nomadic Palestine?

"There has been a loss of meaning in our lives."
So why resort to 2000 year old stories? It's time for something a bit more…modern, isn't it?
And I don't think this whole thing of having meaning in one's lives is as simplistic as "I have a religion (thus meaning) / I have no religion (thus no meaning)".

Also, the ending was quite abrupt. It made me raise my eyebrows.

It was a nice interview. Paula, you did very well. Do you think you'll have more chances like this one? Don't decline if you do (and if you don't have anything else more important to do)! The non believing point of view needs to be out there.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 13:25:00 UTC | #213097

Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 24 by Paula Kirby

Linda: You are kind to give the priest the benefit of the doubt with regards to his possible support for human rights issues. Cynical me guesses that he's not actually anti-Vatican.

I don't disagree with any of your comments, Linda - when it comes to the decent treatment of women, gays, people at risk of AIDS (and I'm sure the list doesn't stop there), the RC church has been one of the most reactionary and harmful forces there is and there is no doubt in my mind that the world would be better off without it.

Even so, any organisation that size will have individuals working for it who are better than the others, and my guess is that Peter McVerry is probably one of them. This link tells you more:

It's not an impartial assessment, of course - but towards the bottom of the page there's a link to an interview with him, and I have to say that, as I listened to it when preparing for my own conversation with him, he struck me as a genuinely kind and caring man.

He doesn't openly challenge the Vatican, it's quite true - but he does say that the church has undermined its own cause by giving the impression that it's about rules of behaviour rather than social justice. As coded messages go, I thought that one was pretty clear!

By the way, I've worked with homeless youngsters myself, and can absolutely guarantee that they'd have given him extremely short shrift if he had at any time approached them in a haranguing, moralising, judgemental way.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 13:36:00 UTC | #213099

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 25 by Agrajag

"Paul Kirby, author"

Nice work, Paula!

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 14:25:00 UTC | #213103

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 26 by Steve Zara


You have a really great ability to present yourself on various media - you do well on video, and on radio. You are a real asset to rationality.

However, I did think initially you were on the back foot a bit at the start of the interview, althought you recovered very well towards the end.

I would like to talk to you more about this, but I think that is better handled better in personal e-mail.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 14:30:00 UTC | #213105

Shane McKee's Avatar Comment 27 by Shane McKee

Paula, very nicely done. You came across very well indeed. Peter McVerry came across as nice, but out of touch. Ireland needs this. Lots of it.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 14:39:00 UTC | #213107

Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 28 by Paula Kirby

steveroot: "Paul Kirby, author"
Yes, I noticed that too! He had great difficulty with my name altogether - it was edited out of the version that was broadcast, but twice he called me Barbara!

Steve Zara:I would like to talk to you more about this, but I think that is better handled better in personal e-mail.
Happy to hear your thoughts, Steve - you have my email address.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 14:46:00 UTC | #213109

chewedbarber's Avatar Comment 29 by chewedbarber

This leaves me questioning my ability to reason.

The priest so soundly defeated his own beliefs that I was struck with an image of the nude emperor. Had no one spoken for a moment, I'm certain he would have shrieked and converted to atheism right there. How could he not see the spotlight he had turned on his own beliefs?

I enjoyed the interview, and I agree that it ended very well.

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 15:20:00 UTC | #213123

mmurray's Avatar Comment 30 by mmurray

"I do believe in God, I do believe Jesus had a radical vision, a far more radical vision than Karl Marx. *laughs* "
Ouch REALLY? When I think they can't make any more awkward bold claims they do it.

There used to be something called Liberation Theology that was a leftist reading of the Bible and popular with Catholics in Latin America.


Tue, 05 Aug 2008 21:48:00 UTC | #213182