Letters to the Editor

The abuse of Catholic faith must be refuted and challenged

In response to Rev McIntyre’s further expression of views (May 7) let me make it very clear that it his description of the Mass as ‘evil’ that is at issue.

It is this unacceptable abuse of the faith of Catholics, that must be refuted and challenged – not Protestant theology of which there are many schools – and many of which would also find his profound insult gratuitously offensive.

Our Blessed Lord, indeed, as Rev McIntyre properly states, is in Heaven, at His Father’s right hand. Present before His Father in eternity is the Sacrifice of His Son offered once and for all on the Cross (Revelation 5:6).

At the same time, the Son of God is also present among us on this earth. He promised that He would not leave us orphans (John 14:18) and that He is with us always until the end of time Matthew 28:20).

There are many wondrous ways in which the Lord Jesus remains with His people by His Holy Spirit and the Holy Mass is a manner of His remaining present with us par excellence.

The Mass is the holiest of all that is holy, on account of the One who is present in the Mass – Jesus Christ. It is holy because it is His supreme gift of love to us “until He comes” (I Corinthians 11:26).

We Catholics know full well when our Saviour speaks metaphorically in His Word and we understand His meaning at those times. However, when He promised us the gift of Himself in the Holy Eucharist, He was not speaking in metaphor. He meant exactly what He said.

When people grumbled against Him after He had revealed this doctrine, He turned them and said: “Does this offend you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascend to where He was before?” (John 6:61-62).

Our Lord is able to give us Himself in the Blessed Eucharist because He is Almighty God and, through His Spirit, He brings into being this supreme sign of His infinite love for us, by which He strengthens us on earth, on our journey to the Father’s house.

The Lord has given us the gift whereby His eternal sacrifice is made present in time until the end of the world. The word ‘remembrance’
that He used at the Last Supper about the Eucharist, means literally to ‘relive’.

This is what happens at Mass.
To describe this most sacred reality as ‘evil’ is the height of benighted ignorance and for those who espouse such a view, we can only apply the prayer of our Saviour: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Fr PATRICK McCAFFERTY
Belfast BT12

 

Statistical manipulation of results hardly likely

I read the front page headlines (April 28) on the number of pupils excluded from taking public exams with interest. Much was made of the fact that Catholic secondary schools exclude the highest number of pupils from exams owing to social and personal problems, bracketed with the suggestion some schools may be motivated to massage their reported result performance.

It is true that the Catholic sector has been outperforming the state sector for a significant number of years, across all sectors.
While any suggestion that such excellence is a result of statistical manipulation, would no doubt be comforting to some, it is hardly likely. After all, if it was that simple, I am sure a few state schools would have managed to work it out by now. 

Since the majority of the areas of social deprivation in Northern Ireland are those with a preponderance of Catholics, it is hardly a great revelation that Catholic schools will have a higher number of pupils so affected is it?

I would suggest that a more relevant factor is the Human Rights report in the 1990s which highlighted the institutional discrimination against the Catholic sector, then some 20 years
after Ted Heath had got rid of the unionist government.
If Stormont officials are struggling to explain the superior performance in the Catholic sector I would suggest that the provision of a level playing field in terms of equal funding subsequent to the Human Rights report, in combination with a commitment to education, engrained in the Catholic community, based on the understanding that one had to be ‘better in order to be equal’, is closer to the truth.

FRANK HENNESSEY
Belfast BT9

 

Livelihoods sacrificed on altar of SF dogma

It is seldom a coincidence that history repeats itself but the present situation, with the risk of a repartitioning of Ireland in my opinion is one such case

In 1918 John Redmond (leader if the Irish Nationalist Party) who was dying, implored Sinn Féin to join him on the benches of the House of Commons, Sinn Féin had achieved a major swing due partly to the rise in public feeling against the British government after the handling of the 1916 Rising, this election led to the almost annihilation of the old Irish National Party, not dissimilar to what has happened in our time to the SDLP and for similar reasons, however, 1918 was a crucial time for Irish politics and Redmond could have secured a much better deal had Sinn Féin taken their seats in Westminster but this was not to be as Sinn Féin refused because of their abstentionist policy. It is extraordinary the same abstentionist policy is being applied 100 years later when Sinn Féin could make a major difference in Westminster with the threatened re-partition of Ireland due to Brexit. 
We will never know how different Ireland could have been, had we been allowed to grow together as one single jurisdiction, what we do know is that the re-imposition of a hard border in Ireland will bring major consequences to our country. Sinn Féin have power to influence this but as they did 100 years ago are still refusing to play their part on principle. I wonder how the people who vote for Sinn Féin will feel should we suffer the tsunami of a full hard Brexit when they realise their livelihood has been sacrificed on the altar of Sinn Féin dogma.

PETER McEVOY
Newry, Co Down

 

Death knell for SDLP

It will come as no surprise to many, to hear the death knell sound for the SDLP.

This once vibrant party has been on the slide for some years now and there seems no way back.

With no personalities, poor leadership and the most prominent policy being gay marriage the abyss awaits. The final straw for many was surely the statement by Colum Eastwood that there was to be a separate debate on the abortion issue. Why is there a need to have such discussion? Why would those, many who would claim to be Christian need a closed door discussion on whether the unborn child should live or die? With the state of the political parties at present many people are left without a vote. Is it an wonder many stay at home.

J DIAMOND
Coleraine, Co Derry

 

Mystery solved

I am writing to thank you for printing my letter (May 4). I received an email from one of your readers and we have been talking back and forth for a few days.
Patricia Bogue from the Donaghmore Historical Society, Co Tyrone has done a lot of research for me and most of my questions have been answered. It turns out that I am related to William Robinson and got more info on his family. I am so happy. Thank you for helping me in this regard. 

BONNIE HASTINGS
Ontario, Canada

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