Letters to the Editor

Calling Mass ‘evil' further aggravates anti-Catholic attitudes

I was not at all surprised to read the article (April 28) that Wallace Thompson obviously considered it worth while to defend the absolute contempt expressed by Free Presbyterian clergyman Peter McIntyre, in his Ulster Bulwark article describing the Catholic Mass as evil.

One suspects that the underlying motive behind Peter McIntyre’s remarks is to further aggravate the anti-Catholic attitudes, all too prevalent here, in the run-up to the Pope’s visit to Ireland in August.

So where is the reality re the progress in relationships we are being assured of in more recent times?

I can recall having personally experienced similar insensitive, sectarian, verbal attacks about my religious belief, particularly in relation to the Mass, in my workplace on an almost daily basis over the years, in what was regarded as a neutral workplace.

And in an effort to provoke a reaction from me while I silently held my dignity, I was constantly taunted with: “Sure you haven’t got a leg to stand on – none of ye have.”

I find it depressing and frightening to hear a clergyman –and supposedly a man-of-God – express so such hatred and contempt for Catholics. The Mass is the core of our religion – God’s gift of Himself to us as expressed so beautifully in St John’s gospel.  

John’s writings bring out the significance of the events of Christ’s life and of all that He did and said during His life here on earth – the giving of Himself to us as he sat with His disciples at the last supper when He took the bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to the disciples telling them: “Take this and eat it, this is My body which will be given up for you.”  
Then He took the chalice and blessed the wine and gave it to His disciples saying: “Take this and drink it, this is My blood which will be poured out for you and for all mankind. Do this in memory of Me. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood lives in Me and I live in him.”

I attend the Holy Sacrifice of the mass regularly and thank Jesus for that beautiful gift of Himself to us.  
And as I receive that precious gift, it helps to keep me steadfast in my love for the Mass.



Situation in north not as ‘severe’ as it once was

I have recently replied to a letter I received from the secretary of state, Karen Bradley. It described the current threat level in Northern Ireland as ‘severe’ so I let her know that I had grown up through the Troubles of the 1970s and I disagree with the assessment. I believe that most people would agree with me when I told her that the situation is not as ‘severe’ now as it once was and that it should be re-assessed by an external agency and not the Northern Ireland Police Service.
I learned last week the Chief Constable had been cleared of charges alleging bribery. In January UVF leader Gary Heggarty received only six years for all the murders and criminal activity he had been involved in. The trial revealed that the PSNI had been in “control” of the UVF for more than 12 years. 

I believe that security personnel should rightly be held to the highest standards and should exhibit a morally good example to others in society.
In doing so the personnel gain the respect of the population and this respect and support of the population empowers the security personnel to do their job.
I have tried to point out to the secretary of state that this has broken down in Northern Ireland as the police have allied themselves with criminals. 

The continued use of paid police informants perpetrates this version of policing for Northern Ireland. It instils fear in the population and perpetrates the political status quo.
It is vitally important that northern Irish people believe that we are treated the same as English, Scottish or Welsh and have the same rights in law. Anything less is perceived as a failure by the state to preserve the rule of democratic law and order and naturally leads to a break down in governance.

Newcastle, Co Down


Keeping the narrative relative

If I may I would like to give my views on the ‘International Wall’ in West Belfast. I believe that this has gradually become a great asset to the people of west Belfast, which of course has also become one of the main tourist attractions in Belfast. However, I think ‘the wall’ is overdue a makeover. Well-known artist Danny Devenney and others have to be commended on some strikingly great murals they have been responsible for down the years. However, I would argue that the murals should be depictions of recent history and not that of the far-off, distant past. Tourists in my opinion ‘get’ our recent past more easily than staring blankly at an image dating back 100 years or more. I hope that the dreaded ‘political correctness’ is not infecting ‘the wall’. For example would a mural of the Gibraltar 3 or one of veteran republican Joe Cahill not be PC anymore? After all these are iconic men and women from west Belfast who will forever be remembered by the people of West Belfast. I would like to see our gifted artists concentrate more on our recent past that will resonate more among  both locals and visitors from abroad.

Belfast BT11


What’s wrong with May Day?

Why is it that the local media choose to ignore the annual May Day march though Belfast city centre?

On Saturday (May 5) several thousand trade unionists, workers, political parties and numerous groups concerned with local people’s social and economic well being, rallied behind the trade union call for ‘Better Work and  Better Lives’. 

While people from across Northern Ireland demonstrated their resolve for a different and better life the most obvious absentee was the local media. 

Why is it that May Day is being ignored and airbrushed from the public conversation?

Is it because one of the roles of the media is to protect us from reality? 
Are we better off not mentioning unemployment, zero hours contracts, lack of child care, working people having to top-up low incomes with benefits and firms paying less than the minimum wage?

The thousands of people who marched on May Day don’t think so.

Workers Party, North Belfast


Interesting observations

With the continuous eroding and chipping away at the Good Friday Agreement, a few thoughts come into my mind. The agreement was endured by all the people in Ireland. As part of a quid pro quo Articles 2 & 3 of the Irish constitution were removed. Should they now be reinserted?

Arlene Foster says she would consider leaving in the event of a united Ireland. If the unionists brought their Orange culture to England, how would the people of London like to see Bonfires lit with Irish flags and effigies on top and ‘kick the Pope’ marching bands?

Derry City

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Letters to the Editor