Ask Not For Whom The Bells Toll



It tolls for thee.

Or does it?

Atheist Ireland, which campaigns for the separation of church and state, said the national broadcaster’s plan to retain the 18 peals of the Angelus bell during the “moment of reflection”, as well as continuing to call it the Angelus, amounted to the “facilitation of Catholic pre-evangelisation”.
It said RTÉ’s plan contravened the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s code of programme standards and called on the station to reconsider its plans for the slot in order to make it “genuinely inclusive”.

Atheist Ireland criticises RTÉ’s Angelus revamp (Irish Times)

Atheist Ireland (Facebook)


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107 thoughts on “Ask Not For Whom The Bells Toll

  1. Blinks

    …or just a pause for meditation between the working day and the evening, since the accompanying films have no Catholic content. Speaking as an agnostic, I kind of love the Angelus films.

      1. All the good ones fly south for winter

        Complete with bloopers, deleted scenes and the director’s commentary.

    1. ahjayzis

      Meditation videos + Catholic Call to Prayer becomes just the Catholic Call to Prayer on the radio.

      A pause for meditation is a nice idea – let’s do that instead of rebranding the Roman Adhan to slip it under the regs.

    2. Derek Walsh

      A pause for meditation would be unusual for a national broadcaster but not necessarily unwelcome. RTE tries to pretend that that is what the Angelus is. But it’s not. It is broadcast at the traditional time of the Angelus. It has the bells of the Angelus. And it is called the Angelus. The new “revamped” version will be broadcast at the traditional time of the Angelus. It will have – must have – the bells of the Angelus. And it will be called the Angelus.
      It’s a call to Catholic prayer. Defend it or attack it on that basis but don’t pretend it’s anything else.

    1. John

      For such a small, disparate minority of incoherent non-believers, they get more than their fair share of free advertising from the State broadcaster. I’m absolutely against advertising on RTE. I’m also absolutely against RTE competing in the entertainment businesses. I also believe that RTE’s premises are out of all proportion to RTE”s size and is a hugely generous privilege that is totally under-utilised.

      Atheist Ireland should focus on what matters most, the low hanging fruit and what is more achievable and immediately beneficial (I’m sure many Catholics would support mutton-dressed-as-lamb and silver beef-or-salmon “stars” being pensioned off). But no, they want to have a pop shot at the evil Catholic Church and rile up hectoring discussions about things that i) don’t affect them, ii) they’re not informed about and iii) they don’t have any authority/responsibility over.

      I suggest this crowd go back to their internet discussion forums and online Dawkins wank fests. If they want to drum up interest in annual AI subscriptions, they won’t be getting any ammo by baiting priests and bishops into their traps.

      1. TG

        Unfortunately, if the atheist evangelical members of Atheist Ireland got the bells to stop ringing and the complete annihilation of religion, they’d have nothing left to complain about. Think about it: they are obsessed with an entity they don’t believe in and regularly meet in pubs to rant and complain about this – according to them – phantom entity.

        1. Jon

          “they are obsessed with an entity they don’t believe in and regularly meet in pubs to rant and complain about this – according to them – phantom entity.”

          Er, no they don’t.

          1. Jon

            Why would they be obsessed with “God” if they don’t think such a thing exists?

            They are pissed off about organised religion’s largely pernicious effects on society, which is a very different thing.

      2. St. John Smythe

        I’m struggling to even make sense of this post, no less have an opinion on it. Can someone summarise or translate it please?

          1. Starina

            that’s what happens when you spend a lifetime believing in a book with tons of plot holes

      3. Mark Dennehy

        I get that you think it’s okay for the state broadcaster to use public money to broadcast a catholic call to prayer. But the thing is, that’s just your opinion, and it happens to be particularly daft.

        Now, if RTE broadcast the Angelus, the Adhan, the Barechu, and every other religious call to prayer, and also had a moment for reflection, that’d be fine. They’d be taking public money and providing a service to the entire public. But just picking one religious group and providing a service to them that everyone is paying for isn’t fine.

        If the RCC really do want the Angelus to continue, I’m fine with that.

        Just charge them the going rate for advertising on RTE1 at 6pm right before the news.

        I mean, we’re in the time of austerity, that money would help reduce the load on the taxpayer, so why are we giving it away to one church?

  2. Janet, I ate my avatar

    Speaking as an atheist ( nothing like a strict religious upbringing to sort that out and no not the big RCC ) it strikes me as quaint when I’m back kind of a heritage thing However let’s face it, it’s patronising, meditation ? Sounds nicer but it’s BS.

        1. bubbleandsqueak

          Who does love getting in a bit of aul meditation before hearing the news headlines?

          The meditation notion is just a complete red herring.

          I’m sure all the survivors of child abuse love taking the Angelus time every day to meditate on the horrors the Roman Catholic church put them through.

          1. Shane

            The angelus is nonsense and should go if people want to pray let them do it without me paying tv licence or listening to bells donging to do it

          2. newsjustin

            Agreed Shane
            Sport is also nonsense and should go. If people want to play games let them do it without me paying tv licence of watching them exercise to do it.

      1. Janet, I ate my avatar

        Hippy nonsense ? Yep I have I’m a bit of a hippy in fact. . but that’s not what this is

    1. Odis

      Yeah – I’m atheist. But its an Irish institution. Like changing the guards or something like that. You know you are in Ireland when a couple of minutes of your time gets wasted to watch some awful television and listen to some bells.
      I guess I’m just an old softy. :-)

      1. Mark Dennehy

        Yeah, we change institutions all the time. And nobody’s asking to ban bells. It’s not like there’s a crack team of atheist ninjas sneaking into churches all over Ireland and stealing their clappers…

    2. Lu

      The Today show on BBC radio 4 does a thought for the day every morning. Perhaps that would work better as a pause for meditation? It is basically a short spiritual speech usually reflecting on a particular event either religious or current. I quite like it and I’m a pretty rabid secularist.

      1. Delacaravanio

        The UK has an established religion. The BBC, as an organ of the state, has every right to carry faith messages as Church and State are, constitutionally speaking, the same thing and the spending of licence fee (i.e. taxpayers) money on religious beliefs operates inside that framework. RTE, on the other hand, has no justification to spend money on the angelus other than tradition as Ireland is a republic which does not endow any religion (it used to, but held a referendum removing the special position of the Catholic Church forty years ago).

        In matters of faith, organs of the Irish state should be indifferent, however the angelus is the spending of taxpayers money to promote a particular religion. It should be scrapped.

    1. ABM

      I would bite your hand off for that offer.

      The Church being associated with RTE is not inherently good. RTE’s only loyalty is to their paymaater. The smug, easy-living bullcr*p designed to entertain (and sell stuff to) retired and soon-to-be-retired folks on the public payroll will soon be reaching end of life. The quicker it comes, the better.

      There’s a very good website that live streams Mass and is used all over the country. Many sick and house bound folks get great spiritual nuriahment from it. I watch it in work from time to time. I also have the Angelus app and screensaver. Why watch RTE when you can have the real thing?

  3. Alan Sherry

    If atheist truly don’t believe in God, why do they care if the Angelus is on telly.? It should mean nothing to them. If they want an inclusive society, perhaps they should start looking at themselves and why they cannot accept that other people may have different beliefs.

    1. VforViennetta

      The point being made Alan is that a state broadcaster should not be showing preference to any one religion. Of course we accept that other people have different beliefs, I would have no problem with a whole channel of religious content as long as it was not paid for by the tax payer.

      1. tony

        And should a state broadcaster show preference to a type of sport? Shouldn’t badminton get as much time as hurling? If RTE is to reflect the country then they should be more christian than lula secular hipster.

    2. Day Ravies

      Would you be equally at ease with a 5 minute muezzin session, followed by a 10 minute run down of the next ten most popular faiths’ chanting, TOTP style? If Ireland truly is a modern secular nation, our national broadcaster either has to cater to all faiths equally or to none at all.

      1. Tony

        we are not secular. Secular is hardly a sign of modernity. It’s the same as being pagan for Gods sake.

        1. Day Ravies

          Evidence? I presume you feel the most recent ref allowing teh damned gays abuse the sacrement of marriage was the RCC’s wish? Surely a true Catholic nation would have thrown that out resoundingly? Speak (and think) for yourself for once, your little mind may surprise you.

          1. tony

            Not at all. Christians are the most compassionate people. Of course they voted yes. Ireland is a compassionate country you see. Its based on Christian values such as treat everyone as you would like to be treated.

        2. Derek Walsh

          Secular is not at all the same as pagan. A pagan state would promote the teachings and beliefs of paganism, and favour pagans over members of other religions and none. A secular state would not promote the teachings or beliefs of any religion, and would not discriminate for or against any citizens based on their philosophical convictions or religious traditions.

          1. tony

            What a ridiculous notion. Imagine a state that didn’t reflect the spiritual beliefs of its people. la la land.

        3. well

          Think you need to lay of the drugs Tony. That’s the only way I can imagine you could confuse secular with pagan.

          1. Mick Flavin

            I think Tony might be of the same school of thought as my Granda, who used pagan/heathen/Protestant/atheist interchangeably when castigating me for not going to mass.

    3. bubbleandsqueak

      I want an inclusive society and I believe that I should be allowed go around to your house and shit on your head twice a day.

      I also believe I should get taxpayers money to do this.

      If you don’t want an inclusive society that allows me follow these deeply held beliefs, perhaps you should start looking at yourself and why you cannot accept that other people may have different beliefs, and be allowed do what they want on the basis of these beliefs.

      As a related theological question, if Jesus were employed in RTE do folk reckon he would keep the Angelus?

    4. ahjayzis

      What a ridiculous comment.

      I don’t believe in God so I don’t care that 90% odd of our schools are owned by the church as it means nothing to me.

      I DO believe in God and the Roman Catholic Church and I support that 90% odd of our schools are owned by the church.

      Very convenient, eh?

    5. munkifisht

      Because Alan, the Chaotic church insist on telling everyone else how they should live their lives not based on what is actually written in their book of fairy stories about treating everyone as you would like to be treated themselves and simply finding a way to love everyone, (especially the people who are different from them), but rather based on their own sexual problems based around homosexuality and family planning. They have no regard for the rights of others of other peoples humanity. They are a scourge on our society and we need to cut all ties with them at the state level.

      There is no people with believing in Santa, or the Easter Bunny or God. And Jesus, while not the son of God but rather a social revolutionary had a great message, go to church, listen to it if you wish, but don’t try and force it down other peoples throats. We need to separate church and state as a matter of urgency if we are to move forward as a society and we need to stop giving the church such a position of prominence in our state broadcaster, and, while we’re on it, our schools.

  4. Tony

    atheists are becoming whiny pains in the hoop recently. They used to be kind of cool. Big victim heads on them now. I suppose they are learning that moaning and bleating works b

    1. TG

      Have you ever been to an atheists’ convention? I hear it’s kind of like a Star Trek love-fest with seemingly 99% young, middle-class, singleton, angry frustrated males.

      1. well

        Sounds more like an Iona meeting. Though they have more flatcaps and a balding idiot that calls himself “gentleman farmer”

    2. rotide


      Evangelical athiests have always been smug pr1cks and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t believe in a god.

  5. bisted

    …whether RTE dump the angelus or not will not stop the move towards separation of church and state. As Atheist Ireland might say – religion: together we can find a cure.

    1. well

      Agreed. This Angelus stuff is just a symptom if the disease and it will go when the likes of Tom Savage etc.. Die/retire.

  6. Tralala

    It’s not ‘different beliefs’ that is the issue here. It’s the one belief, held by fewer people each year, that Ireland is somehow still a Catholic country.

  7. Paolo

    We should make the St Patrick’s festival illegal, demolish the cathedrals and destroy any trace of our past in this post-religion society.

    I’m an atheist, there is no god but these feckers are totalitarians.

    1. well

      Have fun paying your taxes into the churches pocket. Because that’s what’s happening. They have one hand your under wear and the other in your wallet.

        1. tony

          What? Destroying cathedrals?? I bet you thought you had a slam dunk with that comment. Spanner

  8. Dee

    I love the fact that I get a minute to check the headlines on Sky Sports News before flicking back to RTE! Please don’t change this!

  9. TG

    Wouldn’t it be great if all one had to worry about is a bell ringing at noon and six o’clock?

  10. Drogg

    Lets make this simple they are a national broadcaster they should have no connection to any church, So all religious content including showing mass on a Sunday should be removed and the religious department dissolved. If you wish to believe and worship allah, buddha, jehovah, the holy trinity, l ron hubbard or some other deity do it on your own time but not stick it the face of everyone in what is becoming a country of many beliefs and lack of beliefs.

    1. TG

      This followed through to its logical conclusion would result in the removal of all religious-themed art from public galleries.

      1. Mark Dennehy

        That’s not the logical conclusion because those galleries can technically sell that art, it’s their property (albeit held in trust and so forth).

        Whereas showing something on RTE without paying for it isn’t the same thing at all.

  11. rotide

    The Angelus is lets face it, faintly ridiculous and an anachonism.

    However, what harm does it really do? As someone said above, I love it for the fact I can get the headlines on another station before getting the Irish top story. That’s when im even home to see it which is close to never.

    It might be the principle of the thing but jesus, there’s a huge amount of outrage over something pretty inconsequential.

    1. newsjustin

      Some people fetishise “taking the RCC down a peg or two”. Not matter how ridiculous and petty the means they employ to try to do it.

      1. TG

        The new evangelical atheists always criticize Christianity on its past abuses (by immoral clergy impersonators), but they give Eastern religions a free pass and focus on their pristine aspects.

        1. rotide

          Look at the Dalai lama post here today, all great gas alltogether. No sign of the ‘No Religion, At All, EVER’ crowd there.

        2. . formerly known as

          I am against all religions, including the cool eastern ones.

  12. Formerly known as

    The Angelus is an embarrassment. It is a symbol of all that was wrong when the RCC used to rule the country. Dump it, now. If we can’t dump it, move it to RTE2.

          1. formerly known as

            That is how I know. Tell me what other countries do anything like the angels.

  13. Count Chuckula

    I don’t need the taxpayer-funded broadcaster to remind me, twice a day, to say my prayers. In a secular nation, there is no place for such an overt intersection of state and church as The Angelus broadcast on RTE1 television and radio. It is essentially a twice-daily advertisement for a church, and a demonstration of the power that the Roman Catholic church wields within the state institution RTE. Dressing it up as “pause for thought” or “meditation” is just patronising nonsense. Let the church, or synagogue or mosque or meeting hall, ring a bell, send a text or develop an app for those who wish to be reminded. Leave the rest of us out of it.

    1. TG

      Agreed. It’s time for all the atheist peasants to march up to RTE with lighted torches and pitch-forks and burst in the doors at the stroke of 6pm and break down the recording of the bell. Frankenstein, eat your heart out!

    2. tony

      A national Tv station should reflect the majority of the people. The majority here are Christian, so it makes perfect sense that the broadcaster acknowledge and respect that. Much better than catering to the tiny atheist tinfoil hat secular bleatists jumping up and down about the importance of believing in nothing.

      1. TG

        They do believe in something: they have a great faith in the non-existence of a creator designer who brought the universe into existence some 15 billion years ago. It makes more sense to them to believe that time, space and matter just popped into existence out of noting and by noting. It’s very hard for a believer to have faith in that.

        1. bisted

          …ah the old ‘god of the gaps’….just because we don’t yet know what existed before the big bang then it must be intellegent design. Atheists do not require faith, they require evidence. Every atheist I know would instantly believe in a god if you could provide any evidence for its existence.

          1. TG

            There was no “before” the Big Bang. Time did not exist ontologically prior to the beginning of the universe. Atheism of the gaps (and God of the gaps) are not good arguments.

      2. . formerly known as

        A minority attend church, so by your logic, it is time to dump it.

        1. tony

          Attending church is only one indicator of Christianity. Spanner. Both atheists could fit in a mini but yet you think they should be heard??

          1. Formerly known as

            Nice. Get back to your prayers, or you won’t get to ””””heaven””””’.

  14. rugbylane

    Atheism: Just another religion really, what with its dogmas, acolytes, prophets & rules.

    1. Formerly known as

      LOL. The main difference with religion is that it is based on that dogma we call science, the acolytes refer to facts, the prophets are highly educated and question unfounded belief systems, and the rules of physics cannot be broken.

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