Letters to the Editor

Fr McCafferty is in coalition on issue of denying women's rights

Fr Patrick McCafferty defines an a-la-carte-Catholic as a member of his flock who picks and chooses which rules to obey or ignore (July 17). Fr McCafferty, who “believe[s] all of the Church’s teachings with all [his] heart”, picks and chooses which rules to impose and which to ignore.

Fr McCafferty has abortion in his sights, but ignores the fact that most Catholics ignore, disobey or disagree with many of his Church’s teachings. I instanced contraception, divorce and women priests. I could add same-sex marriage and treatment of LGBT people. Fr McCafferty picks on parishioners with more liberal views than his on abortion, who may wish to marry in his church.
Though he objects, the term a-la-carte-Catholic suits Fr McCafferty too.

Fr McCafferty has not answered directly whether, in his opinion, it is possible for staff and/or students in St Mary’s University College to support women’s bodily autonomy. He chooses to dodge the point. 

Fr McCafferty goes on to mistakenly encompass my views within the ideological tradition known as ‘anti-Catholicism’. Those holding that political view today are usually (though not exclusively) fundamentalist Protestants.
Fr McCafferty once debated them with care and eloquence but now is in coalition on the issue of denying women’s rights. That is not surprising. Conservative religious philosophies tend to resemble each other by being male dominated and making up rules for women.

All of this would be of only passing interest if Fr McCafferty was not simultaneously attempting to prevent a change in the law. In the South the Catholic Church became associated with opposition to legalisation of contraception and divorce. Its flock increasingly deserted it for that and other reasons. Public opinion reversed on the issue of abortion, as the electorate became aware of barbaric conditions imposed on women and young girls with unwanted pregnancies. Hence, the recent referendum result.

Most southern Catholics cling to their faith as a matter of identity, though the fastest growing belief system is non-religious. There is no reason to believe that things are different over the border, where Catholics once suffered structural discrimination within a self-defined Protestant state. Time will tell whether his stance has the effect of intimidating parishioners into line, or of alienating them further from a celibate male institution. 

Northern Ireland is associated historically with intolerance and narrow mindedness. It is a pity Fr McCafferty feels obliged to become part of that tradition.



Coy revisionism being applied to our ‘civil war’

When we recall our ‘war of independence’ it is generally referred to as being bloody and fearsome.
Yet, when broaching the subject of our more appalling, hate-filled, short civil war, we attempt to pretend that while people died from bomb and bullet it’s as if the deceased hardly bled, or death and injury were more unfortunate ‘accidents’.

This latest coy revisionism has now been applied to Michael Collins not being shot deliberately in the head.

It appears the story now is that it was just a ricochet – not really deliberate despite the outcome in the heat of battle.

I heard the same fate befalling folk on both sides of the conflict happening all over Cork.

Could it be it’s only in this county where all this unintended slaughter took place, as men who went out to commandeer bicycles and/or cans of petrol, then being chased by State forces, let fly at each other?

It reminds me of a brawl whereby when someone was downed, blood spurting everywhere, there are immediate calls of: ‘Ah lads, lads, lads take it easy...there’s no need for that kind of thing – sure we all know each other.’

We for ever have heard these tales of horrific acts being viewed as events which might not be as tragic if we forget about them now or call murder and conflict something else.

The ‘real’ war was against the British, and the stuff that happened later was less gory and horrendous by comparison appears to now find favour through lack of truthful history.

It’s as if the Irish did not really bleed and suffer and die when they did it to each other in the name of Ireland.

Less real than the violence of the naughty British, perhaps.

Bantry, Co Cork


President Trump speaks his mind

Par for the course. When President Trump speaks the whole world listens  as he seldom, if ever, pulls any punches. Hence, irrespective of what relationship he has with Theresa May and Britain, Mr Trump still spoke his mind on Brexit.

I am an admirer of Mr Donald John Trump, not only has he rocked the global cosy political establishments with his unorthodox approach to his presidency, he puts his country and its people first.

So, I believe it was right and proper that he commented on Brexit, after all he is surely entitled to speak his mind with any country he expects to be trading with, that is his prerogative.

Theresa May’s white paper, reflects the political stance she held, and still holds – keep Britain attached to the European Union.

If any prime minister pursued such a negative political course, detrimental to the desire of its people, it is only right and proper that the people should ask that prime minister to stand down, or challenge the people at the ballot box.

Not only has Theresa May abused the democratic decision of the people to leave the European Union, she has scorned their very right to vote as they did.

Kircubbin, Co Down


SF’s MPs should take their seats

It is almost certain that there will be a hard Brexit and there will be structures on both sides of the border to control the flow of people and goods following Theresa May’s Belfast announcement on Friday. Both these situations could be prevented if the seven Sinn Féin MPs took their seats in Westminster.

Sinn Féin declared that it is party policy that successful candidates in Westminster elections do not take their seats. This policy is long established and well known to the electorate of the 18 Northern Ireland constituencies.

The seven successful Sinn Féin MPs must respect their mandates. However, if a hard Brexit and controlled border is the outcome, then many citizens will suffer economic hardship and disruption to their free movement between the two regions. That isn’t in the interest of any party including DUP supporters.

Sinn Féin could arrange to hold ‘town hall’ meetings in various locations in the 18 constituencies and seek direction from the constituents as to whether the seven MPS should take up their seats in Westminster on a single issue to ‘Stop a Hard Brexit’ or not. 

I’m fairly certain if Sinn Féin received direction from its Northern Ireland electorate to send its seven MPs to Westminster and they contributed to the delivery of a soft Brexit, the party would be rewarded by the island’s electorate.

Newcastle West, Co Limerick


Now is the time to call a referendum

At the top of page 7  of The Irish News (July 10)  I was delighted to  read ‘Remain support in North now at 71 per cent’. This is a large increase since 2016 when 56 per cent wished to remain in the European union – a marked increase of 15 per cent. Now is the time to call a referendum to test the water. There is every possibility that all Foreign nationals that have survived hell from European countries would support it, together with young voters that are looking for a better future in life.

Castlederg, Co Tyrone

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