Letters to the Editor

Dr Meehan seems unable to grasp simple tenet of Catholicism

Fr Patrick McCafferty has proven himself well able to defend his beliefs, but I hope he won’t mind if I ‘tag’ him  with one of his detractors – Dr Meehan (June 27).
Dr Meehan bemoans that An Taoiseach’s attendance at St Mary’s College was criticised by Fr McCafferty because of Mr Varadkar’s  current conversion to a pro-abortion stance and his enthusiastic promotion of this policy in the recent referendum. Debate is, of course, a fundamental aspect of the university experience, but Leo Varadkar’s  contribution was by way of a monologue without the opportunity of rebuttal. Reason enough to object to his lecture on what is one of the most fundamental and sensitive aspects of humanity.
Given that Fr McCafferty is a Catholic priest and that St Mary’s was established to promote and explain Catholic belief, including on  abortion, Dr Meehan, logically, would have been better to ask – why did not more priests ask the same question? Dr Meehan then wanders deeper into the territory of the ‘whingeing’ pro-abortion lobby when he asks if students or staff of the college who espouse abortion would fear being expelled or sacked? Apparent speculation that begs the question – does Dr Meehan’s doctorate lean more toward the arts than the sciences? He seems unable to grasp a simple tenet of Catholicism when complaining that Fr McCafferty explains that if you believe that deliberate termination of the unborn is right then you cannot benefit of the sacrament of marriage. In the featured letter of the same date, Fr McCafferty may help him to understand – ‘Abortion is one of those very grave matters that result in excommunication with immediate effect’. I would further advise him, If a woman has had an abortion she deeply regrets and now believes abortion is wrong then she can sincerely be married in the church. If a woman or man comes to believe that abortion is right then they are no longer Catholic and even if they are married in a church they are joined legally but not in the eyes of God.
Dr Meehan might be better advised to properly research his subject.

Belfast BT11


Palestinians have the right to resist occupation

It is unbelievable that Martin Stern (June 28) should even attempt to justify the shooting of  hundreds of  unarmed Palestinians dead and the wounding of thousands more. One wonders if this had been the other way round and Jews had been the victim, what the outcry would be. He states they were trying to breach the border fence and enter Israel. They were indeed trying to return to their own farms and land stolen and occupied by foreigners and under international law they have the right to resist occupation. Israel believes that any Jew from any nation can come and settle on this occupied territory, a policy that is sectarian and denies basic human rights to Palestinians. I would ask readers to compare the furore over a statement by Ken Livingstone to the historical fact that in the 1930s a boat left Germany for Palestine  under the authority of the Nazi government. British Zionists called for sanctions against him for stating a fact. Compare this to their silence on Gaza. Is it not time that the monopoly of victim hood so often used by political Zionism is exposed and ended? Zionists hide behind the ghosts and guilt of the holocaust to justify occupation, torture and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, in what a Jewish intellectual has called in his book ‘the Holocaust industry’. Mr Stern does a bit of ‘whataboutery’ in mentioning Syria. May I remind him that Syria was invaded – again one law for Syria and one for Israel. I would also remind him that Israel has used chemical weapons, built a nuclear bomb, shelled schools, hospitals and UN safe havens and murdered and tortured Irish peacekeeping soldiers in Lebanon.
I would love to hear him justify this.

Belfast BT11


Absence of scrutiny corrupts

In many parts of the world democracy is undermined by politicians who cross the line of decency to seek advantage for themselves, their constituents or cronies.

In my experiences spanning four decades, half of it on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) at Stormont and at other times sharing my skills with fledging governments in Georgia and Armenia, there is no doubt in my mind that the absence of scrutiny corrupts and that leads inevitably to very bad government and ultimately, as in the case of the assembly, to collapse of the political institutions.

When the assembly gets back to doing its job which includes making legislation the whole issue of public scrutiny must be addressed seriously so that every penny of public money is accounted for and there is a very clear line drawn between lobbying and corruption.

None of this is feasible without new legislation which makes it law for every member of the assembly to know precisely where every single penny is going and if it has gone through every stage of a scrutiny process which has clear rules about lobbying and draws a clear line in the sand between this and corruption of any kind.

There must be post-legislative legislation which enables the stable door to be closed before the horse bolts and RHI and the funding of paramilitaries should be enough to convince us of urgency of this.

SDLP, East Derry


Silent genocide

Some, in defence of flying the Palestinian flag at recent GAA games have said it helps raise awareness regarding human rights issues on the long-running Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Perhaps these voices from some GAA supporters should also consider the human rights of the global Christian community that many GAA supporters would identify themselves with.

Christians are the most persecuted religious group around the world for the past few years.

This topic gets very little media coverage, unlike the situation surrounding Gaza and the West Bank.

There is a global Christian genocide taking place in Syria, Nigeria, China and dozens of other countries, yet few seem concerned.

We see Christian symbolism in various aspects of the GAA, and these should help remind us of the bombing of Coptic Christians, the displacement of the Middle Eastern Yazidi people, the suppression of Myanmar Kachin Communities and others who are suffering terribly for their faith.

Whether a GAA game is the place to publicise such issues is another matter.

Belfast BT15


Shame on ‘nope to the Pope’ group 

I am disappointed to read that there is a protest group encouraging people to book tickets for the papal events and not show up. Not only is this an insult to Catholics from Ireland but from other parts of the world who wish to take an active part in the visit and may not be able to get tickets.

But more so, for those Catholics in the six counties who wish to take part and who have suffered anti-Catholic behaviour and attitudes, past and present. These same people in the past played out their lives in a defensive role, this is a time for them to rejoice. Shame on you ‘nope to the Pope’ group.

Dublin 6W

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