Letters to the Editor

Free Presbyterian Church in dark over ecumenical advances

The recent description of the Eucharist/Mass as ‘evil’ by Clogher Valley,  Free Presbyterian Minster Peter McIntyre (May 7) has evoked a shocked response from those who understand and love the Eucharist.

We cherish the Eucharist because it is one of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s last and very important commandments: “Do this in memory of me.”

Rev McIntyre’s article was then defended by Wallace Thompson, editor of Ulster Bulwark, who published the article, which, of course, also denied the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Against this fraught un-ecumenical background, Mr Thompson would later state: “The issues outlined by Martin Luther 500 years ago have not gone away, they are still there and are every bit as significant now as they were back then.” I was struck by the historical irony of this.

The great Martin Luther always believed in the real presence – deeply, profoundly and devoutly.

One of the fine books published for the 500th Anniversary of The Reformation is Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet by Lyndal Roper. She writes: “We are used to regarding him [Luther] as the advocate of ‘salvation by grace alone’, the man who insisted on sola scriptura, the principle that the Bible is the sole authority on matters of doctrine. But just as important to Luther himself was his insistence on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.”

Ms Roper is the first woman to hold the prestigious Regius Chair at Oxford University. She is a ‘daughter of the manse’ as her father was a Presbyterian Minister in Australia, so, I think we can take it that she knows a thing or two about theology, especially Protestant theology.

But none of that seems to matter to spokesmen of the Free Presbyterians in the wee north. Neither does the fact that the World Lutheran Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the Anglican/Episcopalian Church, and the World Methodist Council have all reached  historic agreement on Justification [salvation by grace] with the Catholic Church.

Are the members of the Free Presbyterian Church even aware of these wonderful ecumenical advances and agreements? Are they told from the pulpits about how the Holy Spirit is – slowly, but surely –  bringing about the unity for which Christ prayed? Or, are they being kept in the dark?

That is not a rhetorical question. I really want to know the answer.

President, Irish National Caucus
Washington, DC 


Haggarty release heaps suffering on relatives of his victims

The decision to release UVF killer Gary Haggarty from prison and provide him with a new identity under a witness protection scheme before an appeal against his lenient sentence could be heard defies logic or any sense of justice. It simply heaps pain and suffering upon the relatives of the victims who, even at this late stage thought – hope against hope – they might just get some sense of justice but alas haven’t got it and clearly never will.

So many were Haggarty’s crimes that the judge at his sentencing didn’t read them out because it would take too long and simply referred to a catalogue listing more than 500 of his crimes against humanity.

In a letter dated May 4 from the Public Prosecution Service, relatives were told a hearing date would be fixed by the court on May 11 but gave no indication that Haggarty would be set free on that date and would never serve an extra day in jail.

The relatives learned from their television sets that Haggarty was being set free and would never serve another day in jail. How cruel. What a way to learn that the monster who murdered your loved ones is back on the streets in the full knowledge that he will never serve a single day for his crimes.

All this comes at a time when the Theresa May is trying to tell the world that there is an imbalance against the security forces involved in the Troubles. 

Haggarty was a state-sponsored murderer run by the security forces and while May is putting out fake news this man is going through the courts and being provided with a new identity.

Where on earth is the justice in that? It doesn’t exist and any belief that Haggarty’s minders might be brought to justice has evaporated.  

Thankfully there are relatives who are not prepared to take this lying down and won’t give up the struggle for justice for those who were lured to their deaths by loyalist death squads run by the security forces and it doesn’t matter what spin is put on the current campaign by the prime minister it isn’t going to work because the security forces were supposed to be the protectors of the people, all the people and not only did they fail but some were up to their necks in the campaign of genocide against innocent people.

SDLP, East Derry


Supporting abortion is a grave sin

I was just reading last night that Gerry Adams was canvassing his Louth constituency advocating the repeal of the Eighth Amendment regarding the upcoming abortion referendum. I think that the Catholic Church must make its position clear to those who would consider themselves part of that Church that it is against the Church’s teachings, and fundamentally so, that abortion can be justified. 
In so doing, people like Gerry Adams, can be in no doubt that supporting abortion is a grave sin and while a Catholic supports abortion they should not consider themselves fit to receive the sacrament of communion which really goes without saying when someone supports the destruction of innocent life. Gerry, I am sure would consider that for all his perceived wrongdoings by the world at large that no-one would have any right to take his life but still he would advocate for the taking of innocent lives before they have a chance to take their first breath.

Belfast BT11


DUP should ban twitter twits

Twitter twits have taken themselves to a new level with Ian Paisley MP suggesting that England owned/looked after Ireland for 1,000 years despite the Normans taking over England in that time frame, taking over the crown and invading Ireland. History must not be his strong point. Then the DUP’s Carla Lockhart tweeted how Cliftonville deserved not to win the final because they held a peaceful protest. Cliftonville could teach the Orange Order on how to hold a dignified respectful protest. A team DUP ban would be nice for the summer months. 

Cookstown, Co Tyrone


Treasure the holy Mass

I think  it is shocking that Rev Peter McIntyre should express so much dislike for Catholics by describing the holy Mass as ‘evil’ (May 7).

During the persecution times in Ireland very many of our priests and laity were murdered by Oliver Cromwell because of their love of the holy Mass when Jesus gives himself to us in the holy Eucharist. The holy Mass remains to this day – we treasure it. Jesus said to Peter: “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16.17-20)

Portadown, Co Armagh

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