Saturday, May 11, 2013

Cui Bono

I have in the past been accused of being related to Bono. Fortunately I was able to disprove this claim, at least to my own satisfaction.

However, in disproving it I ended up chasing his people and mine and so I may know a little more about his background than some of his fans.

While following up another angle, the other day, I came across what appears to be an interview Bono gave to Lynne Kelleher, in 2006 and which appeared in the Irish Mirror. It reminded me that journalists should really be very careful about what they write.

She tells us how Bono's parents' mixed marriage put him off organised churches. She goes on
He said he felt his late Protestant father, Bob, was excluded from the family on Sundays when he and his brother would go to mass with his Catholic mother Iris.
While his parents did come from two rival Christian camps, it was actually the other way round. Bob was the Catholic and Iris the Protestant. [But see third comment below]

Both Bob and Iris lived on the Dublin Artisans Dwellings Company Estate at Aughrim St. My relations, who are also from that estate, told me that Iris was a looker, but because she was a Protestant the lads were told to stay away from her. Bob Hewson clearly paid no attention to that advice.

Bono's parents, Bob & Iris on their first marriage (5/8/1950)
Click image for a larger version

I imagine the mixed marriage did cause some grief in the respective families. Bob and Iris were first married in the Church of Ireland in Drumcondra on 19 August 1950, where the witnesses were from the Rankin (Protestant) side only. The couple settled in Haroldville Avenue in Dolphins Barn, where they were persuaded (quite likely by the local curate, Father Muleady) to remarry in the Catholic Church, which they did on 28 December 1950. The witnesses at this marriage consisted of one Hewson (Thomas Leo) and Father Muleady's housekeeper.

The two marriages of Bono's parents
Click image for a larger version

In his biography of Bono (2005), Mick Wall tells us about the wedding in the Protestant church in Drumcondra, and goes on to say that their union would "some years later, be blessed by a Catholic Priest". What he doesn't tell us is that this "blessing" was in fact a full marriage and so notified to the State by Father Muleady. I have been trying to find a word in the English language to describe this phenomenon, so far without success.

When his own turn came, Bono married in the beautiful All Saints Church of Ireland in Raheny.

All Saints Church, Raheny

I have titled this post Cui Bono, not very original I'll admit. The meaning is a question Who gains?. It seems to me that the winner here is Father Muleady, by a mile.


Póló said...

This double marriage raises a lot of questions and also has the makings of a good story.

In the first place, when Father Muleady found this couple living together in his parish, did they offer the Drumcondra marriage as a defence?

If they did, then he totally disregarded it and insisted on marrying them “properly”. He should, nevertheless, have been aware that, while this may have been OK from his own church's point of view, they were already civilly married and his marriage should not have been forwarded to the State for their records. Most likely this would never have occurred to him given the complete symbiosis between the RC church and the State at that time.

If they did not offer the Protestant marriage as a defence, then it would be more understandable why the RC marriage was notified to the State.

It is interesting that there was no State mechanism in place to pick up the duplication. It would not have been obvious in the alphabetical State index as these volumes were compiled on a quarterly basis and the two marriages would have turned up in two separate sections, and not side by side.

The absence of Hewson witnesses for the Protestant marriage could have reflected family disapproval, assuming the Hewson family were told about it at the time, or they might not have known about it, or they might have felt bound by RC edict to have nothing to do with it.

Equally, it is possible that both families knew about the Protestant wedding and that the force majeure Catholic one was not known to either family, with the exception of Thomas Leo Hewson who was a witness.

Whatever the case, this story reflects the religious intolerance rampant at the time, at least at the level of the official churches, and not least between the various strains of Christianity itself. Don't forget, the RC archbishop of Dublin at this time was John Charles McQuaid.

Póló said...

On the absence of Rankin witnesses at the RC marriage, Conor Doyle remarked to me that, in his experience, the RCC would not have accepted any Protestant witnesses to an RC marriage.

That hadn't occurred to me. I was thinking of it from the Protestant side ie that they would have no ideological objection to being witnesses at an RC wedding. It hadn't occurred to me that they might not have been welcome (or allowed by the RCC).

Worse than I originally thought.

Póló said...

I have just started reading the recently published The Frontman - Bono (In the Name of Power) by Harry Browne.

I discover on page 13, that in his address to a National Prayer Breakfast in Washington in February 2006, and to which Lynne Kelleher refers in her article, Bono himself got his parents' religions mixed up.

No doubt this is where Lynne Kelleher got her misleading text.

So while she should have checked her facts, we'll forgive her this time round.

Just goes to show, you can't always believe what comes out of the horses mouth, particularly when the horse is busy showing off.

Póló said...

Just came across a decent version of the photo of Bono's parents' first marriage in August 1950, and have incorporated it into the post above.

According to Bono (in U2 by U2) they were married in 1949. If this is true then they were married not twice but three times. Doubt it.