A Journal for The Contemporary Church

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The Foul Rag and Bone Shop


Strolling through a sleepy corridor of Maynooth College one summer Sunday while the world was having ice cream by the sea, I was idly casting my eye over the gothic splendor and imagining the generations of students whose footfalls resounded on these same wooden floorboards. One wall was hung with cameos in framed ordination class pieces. Earnest young men wearing smiles and Pioneer pins looked out at me. On the opposite wall were paintings of very formidable-looking prelates, in yards of crimson and scarlet, going back to the 19th century. No smiling here: serious men for a serious time.

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