At one time our major export in Ireland was people – today our primary export is computer software. In the past, we exported spirituality, particularly Celtic Spirituality much of it inspired by Patrick. We all know how in the Dark Ages, Irish Missionaries left Ireland, spread through Europe and ‘saved civilisation.’
We seem to be back in those Dark Ages -lost and in need of a new Patrick but not the Patrick I grew up with – that bearded patriarch standing on a bed of shamrock and wearing a huge mitre and wielding a crosier – a full Tridentine bishop, busy driving out snakes and annihilating pagans. He represented the church of that day…..
Today he is viewed more as a commercial opportunity – Tourism Ireland tells us that ‘St Patrick’s Day is a unique and unrivalled opportunity to promote Ireland worldwide.’
And the Taj Mahal, Niagara Falls, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the EmpireStateBuilding, will all go green. In Chicago the river will be turned green. Dyeing the river green, came about by accident when plumbers used green dye to trace illegal substances polluting the river – it killed the fish too. Today, you will be glad to hear, a vegetable dye is used to protect the gold fish that live in the river.
Maybe we should admit that we are in trouble, back in the Dark Ages and use this world wide day of publicity to advertise for a new Saint Pat – after all the original was a migrant from England.