Letters to the Editor

Derogatory comments deliberately used to stir-up anti-Catholic hatred

I found the Holy Father’s visit to our country very encouraging, hopeful, edifying and uplifting. He was very warmly greeted with affection, cheers, applause and respect. All that, despite the overemphasis by the media and certain individuals, with their relentless propaganda war against the Catholic Church, their derogatory comments about Pope Francis, used to stir up anti-Catholic hatred and overshadow the visit.

Publicity about abuse scandals and cover-ups is fair enough.
Those scandals have done enormous damage to the Church. Justice must be seen to be done and the Pope has accepted responsibility.
As Fr Patrick McCafferty said: “He has apologised. He put his hands up and said, I am responsible”.  And he has publicly begged forgiveness and called for firm action in pursuing justice for Church abuse victims.

Opponents of the Pope’s visit gathered in Dublin and Tuam and held protests to coincide with the papal Mass in Phoenix Park.

Executive director of Amnesty International, Colm O’Gorman, was one of those protesting as he himself is a victim of horrific abuse, I full appreciate Colm O’Gorman’s anger, hurt and concern. His anger is totally justified.

However, Amnesty International, who claim to be defenders of human life, has campaigned to make it easier legally to inflict the worse kind of abuse on unborn babies, totally disregarding their right to life. So, I see a great contradiction here. As abortion terminates the life of an innocent human being.

Among the protesters in Tuam was Catherine Corless who clams to have uncovered records in 2013 that revealed almost 800 children had died in a mother and baby home managed by the Bon Secour Sisters.  Actually, Tuam was the site of a local Authority County Home, taken over by the nuns in later years.

It would be interesting to know if there was any comparable research done in relation to the hundreds of dead babies dumped in a mass grave in a Protestant children’s Bethany Home in the Midlands.

There appears to be an indication of very definite imbalance in reporting. And when will we be seeing a frenzied witch-hunt by the media into the statutory authorities around the Kincora scandal here?
I recall seeing some of the victims of Kincora on television just after the abuse scandal became public. Their faces were screened off as they told how they were paid substantial sums of money to remain silent regarding the identity of their abusers.

So, will there be a demand for those responsible for the Kincora scandal cover-ups to be brought to justice? And will there be a demand for a public acknowledgement and apology from the head of the British Establishment?

I pray every day for our Church, for sincere and genuine vocations to the priesthood and religious life, so that the Church will prosper and survive.

M HAYES
Belfast BT7

 

Having the world at your fingertips also comes with risks

As children settle back into a new school year  many of us will have fond memories of our own school days of playground friendships and games as well as perhaps some less fond ones of busy times-tables and handwriting exercises.

Today’s children have all that to enjoy, but their world is now bigger having grown to include the online world and the 24/7 connectivity that brings. There are huge positives to having the world at your fingertips, but these opportunities also come with risks.

NSPCC research shows that the equivalent of one child in every primary school classroom surveyed has been sent a naked or semi-naked image from an adult and one in 50 had sent a nude or semi-nude image to an adult. The Home Office has estimated that 80,000 people in the UK now pose a sexual risk to children online, demonstrating the scale of potential grooming in today’s online world.  That is appalling, and something no child should have to experience.

But this isn’t inevitable. Those images and messages are sent through social networks and texting apps, which recklessly expose children to content and behaviours completely inappropriate for their age. One result of this is that social networks have become a gateway to child abuse. Technology has developed at such a pace that government must now force social networks to tackle the problem blighting their sites and that means changing the law.

The NSPCC is therefore calling on the UK government to create an independent regulator, with the power to investigate and to fine social networks which fall short. Sites must be required to take proactive steps to detect grooming, so that abuse can be disrupted before it escalates.

In Northern Ireland, there is an urgent need for political  parties to work together in an executive to oversee an e-strategy to protect children.
It is very disappointing that this has been stalled because of the ongoing problems at Stormont.

Of course, parents also need to take steps to ensure their children are as safe as possible online and the NSPCC has a resource on its website where parents can go for help. And we must also teach children online safety in schools so that they can take steps to guard against the risks. Social networks must be properly regulated for the sake of children today and governments at Westminster and Stormont have a vital role in making this happen.

COLIN REID
NSPCC Northern Ireland

 

Restore vocational education

Amidst all this  increasingly Americanised  ‘debate’ over race and immigration, there are a few home truths which are being ignored.

A chief factor leading to the dependency our economy has on immigration is the fact that those with university degrees who can’t find their ideal job are deemed ‘overqualified’ for more hands-on roles. The ‘bums with degrees’ reality is true enough from my own perspective.

He who pays the Piper is apt to call the tune. America has moulded and manipulated Europe to ensure the continuing globalisation that we are witnessing.
Restoring vocational education is the only way to end the need for economic migrants. Not copying America’s sound bytes.

DESMOND DEVLIN
Ardboe, Co Tyrone

 

Bring back St Michael prayer

Pope Leo XIII in 1886 composed the St Michael prayer to be said at the end of every Mass. The Church was sound until the prayer was dropped from the Mass after the second Vatican council. Since then the Church has come under attack. We can see the results all around us. So could the Pope during his visit to Ireland. I ask all the bishops to bring back the St Michael prayer to be said at the end of every Mass. Should they do this then the Church will begin to heal and the future will be a lot brighter.

EUGENE GALLAGHER
Newry, Co Down 

 

John’s article was so refreshing

Congratulations John McEntee on your  article (August 23) re the Pope’s visit to Ireland. It is so easy to forget the good things the Church has done all the years – John reminded us, After reading about and listening to so much anti-Church material for months John’s article was so refreshing. 

JEAN HANRATTY
Co Armagh 

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