Letters to the Editor

Church must accept responsibility for outcome of referendum

The accusation that the decline of religion, particularly Catholicism, is the result of progressive atheism and neo Christian thinkers (whatever they may be) is a clever piece of sophistry. However, it is ultimately self- defeating as false blame serves only to perpetuate the problems. The more erudite observer recognises that the malaise within the Catholic Church comes from within and this is no more clearly demonstrated than in the recent Vatican statements and the referendum result in the Republic.

Allow me to explain. It is an affront to reason to compare abortion with Hitler’s eugenics programme and the Holocaust. Such insensitive comments expose the Church to further scrutiny over its abysmal record with Nazism and for its abdication of moral responsibility towards the Jews and others.

Whilst its true some Catholic clergy behaved admirably during Hitler’s regime, as indeed did others of a different religious hue and none, the salient question is whether the Catholic Church’s actions during this time were consistent with the Divine authority it claims was bestowed on it by God. Historians are generally agreed that the Church could and should have done much more. 

After the war the Vatican assisted Nazi mass murderers to escape via the infamous ‘rat line’ to Catholic Central America where they supported other violent dictatorships. The Church’s eventual public apology was an admission that it failed to meet the standards set by God.

BJ Turbett (June 18) touches on a similar theme when he reminds us of the genuine piety and dedication of the vast majority of Catholic clergy against “the shameful failure of a limited number”. As with the Church’s record under Hitler some candour is required here.

Firstly, the Catholic Church as a body protected its guilty acolytes from exposure and conviction thereby facilitating them to abuse more children. This lack of rectitude is an indictment of corporate complicity.

Such actions place the Vatican at the very heart of the child abuse scandals.

Secondly, whilst the number of priests involved may be small, those abused worldwide may be numbered in tens, if not hundreds, of thousands. Contrary to Mr Turbett’s inference, the scandals were no minor aberration and undoubtedly influenced voter’s opinion in the Republic. By its actions, the Church must accept responsibility for the outcome of the referendum.

Not only has the Church transgressed God’s laws (laws which it interpreted itself) but it continues to insist that its congregation must adhere strictly to them. It then has the effrontery to blame indeterminate outside influences for its decline. You couldn’t make it up.

DANNY TREACY
Templepatrick, Co Antrim

 

Recent actions show Israel is not a democracy

Andrew J Shaw – ‘Israel is a democracy’ (June 22) – is like all friends of Israel, who no matter what Israel [1948] does and no matter to whom they do it nor how abhorrent that act is, they will and do support them. 

Well Andrew, it’s not working this time. So I will say it again Israel [1948] is not a democracy Israel is an apartheid state –no ifs or buts. Over the years I have quoted many examples and will not be repeating them. However, this past week the Israeli government passed a new law, that any Palestinian in the occupied West Bank who dares to take a video or phone camera shot of the IDF abusing, terrorising or killing a Palestinian child or adult will be imprisoned for up to 10 years if they distribute this publicly. This is in response to the Palestinians who broadcast an IDF solider strutting up to an injured Palestinian lying on the ground in the West Bank and shooting him in the head. And Andrew for this heinous act the soldier was given not 10 years as a future photographer of this horrific crime is promised but one year, six months of which he served in prison, and bizarrely he was welcomed back into IDF and hailed as a hero – and Andrew says Israel is a democracy. 

I will leave it to others to address Andrew’s bizarre statements re Israel Supreme Court. He says Israel respects the rights of its neighbours on the West Bank but the above puts that falsehood to bed.

PETER McEVOY
Banbridge, Co Down      

 

Organise against far-right threat

According to the Tony Blair institute, support for far-right parties in Europe has doubled since 2000. More than 12 countries in Europe have seen Neo Fascist parties either take power or are on the verge of becoming governing parties.

Most notable in Italy where the 5-star movement and the League have exploited the movement of migrants from Libya through Italy’s gateway to Europe, now govern the country.

In Sweden the Nationalist Populist Democrats are the largest party and in prominent EU countries like Germany and France the Afd and NF respectively are the second largest. 

The aim now is a pan European Alliance of these Neo-Fascist parties, all campaigning on an anti-migrant agenda, particularly the suppression of Muslims; stop the free movement of people throughout Europe by following Brexit and break up the EU and return to the nation state. 

Neo-Fascist thugs in Germany and Hungry have forced the closer of mosques. Italy has plans to force 500,000 non-Europeans into camps for deportation. All reminiscent of Nazi Germany of the 1930s and 1940s.

Anti-Fascist groups must now organise against this threat from the far-right and counter the propaganda myth that the crisis in world capitalism is a migrant crisis.

HARRY HUTCHINSON
Labour NI

 

Secretary of state role a hollow one

JOHN McSorley (May 22) said: “I believe the secretary of state needs to outline clearly what the criteria she will use when conditions are ready for a border poll.”

In a world where a secretary of state had decision making power this would be valid and accurate. As we know all too well the role of secretary of state here is a hollow one. A role that has no actual power. Regarding a border poll, the secretary of state will not be calling a border poll. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has intimated that a pro-united Ireland poll may need more than a simple majority and may have to be weighted.

MANUS McDAID
Derry City

 

No sense in ‘Yes’ voters going to confession

Bishop Kevin Doran by telling people who voted ‘Yes’ that they have sinned and need to go to confession has placed more than one million Catholics outside the Church. Forgiveness of sins can only be given if the penitent is sorry. So he is asking all those people to go to confession to say they are sorry for this ‘Yes’ vote. This is not going to happen and so there is no sense in ‘Yes’ voters going to confession and it follows there is no sense in going to Mass. I am in sympathy with the ‘Yes’ vote so I take it that I and others like me are now also sinners. Bishop Doran would well remember that it was the misconduct of priests, the mother and baby homes and the Magdalene Laundries that the Catholic Church covered up for years are the main reasons for the ‘Yes’ vote in the first place.

JOSEPH KENNEDY
Dunmurry, Co Antrim

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