Beside the chapel three boys were playing football.
At the forge door an old man was leaning Viewing a hunter-hoe.
A man could hear If he listened to the breeze the fall of wings –
How wistfully the sin-birds come home!
It was Confession Saturday, the first Saturday in May;
the May Devotions Were spread like leaves to quieten
The excited armies of conscience.
The knife of penance fell so like a blade
Of grass that no one was afraid.
Father Mat came slowly walking,
stopping to Stare through gaps at
ancient Ireland sweeping In again with all its unbaptized beauty: The calm evening, The whitethorn blossoms, The smell from ditches that were not Christian. The dancer that dances in the hearts of men cried: Look! I have shown this to you before – The rags of living surprised, The joy in things you cannot forget. His heavy hat was square upon his head, Like a Christian Brother’s;
There were more Father Matt’s in the past than there are today.
Today the priesthood is replete with young, clericalist, ambitious, and promiscuous men.
I knew several Father Matt’s in my time
Father John Hyde SJ Milltown Park, Dublin.
Monsignor John Shine, President St John’s Waterford and PP Tramore.
Canon John Pierce PP Ballygall and Rathmines, Dublin.
Father Joe Collins CC Ballygall Dublin.
But then of course we must remember that some of the older generation of priests were abusers too.