Letters to the Editor

Latest example of anti-Catholic strategy is deeply offensive

Since 1920,  whenever it appeared that Catholics in Northern Ireland might be making a little progress – or being seen as getting uppity – right-wing fundamentalists were magically produced to preach odious anti-Catholic bigotry. It, of course, had nothing to do with true religion but, rather, all about “keeping Catholics in their place” – maintaining the systematic injustice and institutionalised violence of England’s Orange State.

Of course, straightforward political methods, needless to say, were also used. For example, in the recently published book on the modern UVF UVF: Behind the Mask, author Aaron Edwards states (in a not altogether unsympathetic book): “Its [UVF) founding members claimed at the time that it had originally been formed to oppose the perceived threat posed by the IRA, though they later admitted that the UVF was really a tool of political intrigue utilised by a handful of faceless right-wing unionist politicians.”

The ‘two-wings’ approach was thus always used: the ‘religious’ anti-Catholic one, and the political-paramilitary anti-Irish one.   

The latest example of the appalling and deeply offensive anti-Catholic strategy appears in the article, ‘The Protestant at Mass’ in the April-June edition of Ulster Bulwark, a right-wing, fundamentalist magazine. The article appallingly describes the Mass as evil. Nothing could be more offensive and shocking – indeed evil – to Catholics.

And, to make it even more atrocious, a co-founder of the DUP – and a key ally of the leader of the DUP delegation in the British Parliament –  brazenly defends this appalling anti-Catholicism. This is all the more sad given the wonderful, Holy Spirit-inspired growing agreement between the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, the World Methodist Council, the World Lutheran Federation and the World Communion of Reformed Churches on key issues – God help the poor north.

Protestant leaders in Northern Ireland – especially the DUP – must denounce this bigotry. And, I don’t want to hear those – who otherwise say they are for the human rights of all in the north – try to downplay and dismiss this odious religious hatred, no ‘buts’ – as if attacks on Catholicism is somehow not all that important. Anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism and anti-Muslimism must all be unequivocally  and publicly condemned – no ‘buts’.

Fr SEAN McMANUS
President Irish National Caucus,
Washington, DC

 

No easy option to decline in Christian worship

People like Brian Wilson – ‘Women have right to be displeased’ (April 9) – should stop listening to the rantings of Mary McAleese and others, who blame the male influence in the Church for falling attendances.  
Even if those dedicated women, who are the backbone of every parish in the country, were to become bishops and priests tomorrow, this problem would still exist.
Look at other Churches and in particular the Church of England.  
This Church has woman clergy at the highest level and yet numbers continue to plummet. In fact this Church faces near extinction in years to come.

One of the main reasons why people no longer go to their place of worship, is that they are so consumed by the material things in their lives, that there is no time for God.
They have their computers, smart phones, pubs, clubs and drink-fuelled house parties, so when Sunday morning comes along, remaining in bed is the easy option and when the parents don’t go, the children don’t go.

Mixed marriages are another cause for the decline in Christian worship.  
With usually just one parent taking responsibility for the spiritual upbringing of the family, it’s not long before they all slide into an atheist way of life. Sad indeed, but it happens all too often.  
I can see no easy solution to this problem, and I feel only some catastrophic event, which threatens the world’s very existence would bring people to their senses and shake them out of their apathy.

J DIAMOND
Coleraine, Co Derry 

 

Blame lies with Hamas

Simon Artherton (April 26) writes that Israel is guilty of “pure and simple murder” over the “40 dead” in Gaza over the past few weeks. While we can argue the accuracy of the number of 40 – Hamas is expert at the manipulation of facts. Sadly they are the only source of these claims. Can we trust an organisation who openly pursues a policy of seeking the destruction of Jews everywhere, not just in Israel?

Hamas has pursued a policy over the past few weeks of lining up, not only its own members but also civilians in an attempt to break through the border with Israel. It constantly fires rockets into civilian centres in southern Israel. Now its tactics are to physically break through the border directly attacking Israel.

‘Murder’ is defined as illegal killing. Defending one’s own population is not only legal but an obligation to which any government must adhere. Israel does just that. The blame lies squarely on Hamas’s shoulders. They instigated the conflict. They brought violence to Israel’s borders once again. 

ANDREW J SHAW
Belfast BT10

 

Passive spectating

The point about all the claims and counter claims over the alleged Douma attack, and any other issue, is that we ferociously seek the truth. Listening to the evening news each night or just reading a newspaper won’t do it. We need to review the testimonies from people on the ground who visited Douma. We need to scrutinise the reports compiled by the organisations working in Syria, we need to listen to whistleblowers and evaluate what they claim. We need to compare government and media treatment of alleged atrocities from different parts of the world, and we need to ask a lot of questions and listen carefully to the answers. We could even make contact with the journalists, reporters, politicians, and other professionals involved.

Passive spectating on events won’t do it. And if we don’t have the time, make time; even if this means spending one less hour each day holding the computer console or whatever other distraction of choice.

LOUIS SHAWCROSS
Hillsborough, Co Down

 

Border issues

In a new development a diplomatic note from the EU and other EU negotiators have conceded that the ‘backstop’ option for the border to prevent a hard border will not work and could undermine the single market. They have expressed fears that because the plan covers only customs checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from Britain the province could become a lucrative loophole in the single market. Key elements of single market trade involve goods that are high value and bound up with service contracts.

TERRI JACKSON
Bangor, Co Down

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