Letters to the Editor

Apparition at Knock was concocted by a Church in crisis

Writing about the papal visit, Cate McCurry stated that Knock was the location in August 1879 where 15 witnesses saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary, St Joseph and John the evangelist, (August 21). 

What happened that evening in Knock was arguably the most disgraceful deception ever concocted by a Church in crisis.
When Michael Davitt and other Fenians formed the Mayo Land league they organised massive resistance and boycott against the grasping landlords who were evicting those who were too impoverished to pay their exorbitant rents. And landlord Fr Ulick Burke, a priest in Knock was an early target for that boycott.

In response, Davitt and the Fenians were castigated from the pulpit at Sunday Mass by their most outspoken and vociferous critic and parish priest of Knock, Archdeacon Bartholomew Cavanagh.

Cavanagh used such inflammatory language that a large crowd gathered in protest outside the church later on that evening.

Four days later witnesses saw lights beaming in the sky from some distance away and then at the gable wall of the church there were three figures at an altar with angels hovering above. The figures didn’t move and no words were spoken during four hours duration in
driving rain.

The church is located on top of a gently sloping hill which dips southwards towards Cavanagh’s house less than 100 yards away. Not even one priest came out to investigate the commotion, including Cavanagh himself who was home at the time and who was told about the event by his housemaid Mary Beirne.

The light beams in the sky were consistent with the preliminary trial and error of focusing a projected image on to a screen. And the scene on the gable wall, including the figures, altar and angels was known to embellish earlier Christian medallions and tapestries, and at the time it was also depicted on a church window on Ballyhaunis Church, 15 miles from Knock, since before this event.

The church appointed Cavanagh to lead an enquiry into the incident, and he took sworn statements from the witnesses and concluded that they were ‘credible and safe'.

A proper enquiry would have identified him as leading organiser of this mischief.

Yet, sordid and deceitful as it was, this grubby and despicable assignment rescued the Irish church from terminal decline and still fools pilgrims from throughout the world, including two pontiffs.

Belfast BT11


A second republic for a non-Christian country

Is it not time the Irish Republic redesignated itself as the Second Republic. Clearly, the 26-county state owes little or nothing to the ideas and ideals of the men and women of 1916. As Martin Mansergh has pointed out in The church of Ireland Gazette the 1937 Constitution had no proscription on abortion as it was inconceivable that anyone would have wanted to kill their own child. The proclamation even states that the children should be cherished equally and not killed in the womb if it was inconvenient for the mother to give birth to it.

As the former taoiseach John Bruton has said the scourge of abortion will be the great sin that future generations will judge us by. Just as our generation is repelled and repulsed by the treatment of children by State and Church, future generations will look upon us with equal horror when children were killed for socio-economic reasons or because they were the wrong gender or had some physical imperfection.

Clearly the men who sacrificed their lives in 1916 would be repelled by the state of the 26 counties today.
Did they die for abortion ‘rights’? For a country where the Capuchin Fathers and Fr McVerry have to feed the poor in soup kitchens? Where the Donegal islamic Association gave their Ramadan offerings to the local food bank to feed the Christian poor of the county? 

Just as France has worked its way through to the fifth republic I suggest the second Irish republic be declared and all references to the Trinity, to God etc be removed from the Constitution, Clearly, after the abortion referendum result and its scenes of  joy on the streets of the capital, Ireland had voted an end to being a Christian country. Clearly, this post Christian reality should be accepted. The republic of Pearse, Connolly, Plunkett and the other signatories of 1916 was voted out. 

Leitir Ceanainn, Tir Chonaill


Heavy price being paid for assembly stalemate

Right down from Seamus to Siobhan, and from Billy to Betty, the electorate in general are paying a very heavy price for the on-going assembly stalemate.

Sinn Féin’s political catalyst of the Irish language has changed nothing, for the politicians still get their undeserved cheque coming through the letterbox every month.

As for the British government, it illustrates – if that were necessary – that they are more concerned duping the mainland electorate into remaining shackled to the European Union than they are about the people Northern Ireland,  be they Catholic, Protestant or other faiths.

The ordinary people of these six counties need Sinn Féin in government, as it will give them the best opportunity they are likely to get to progress their case for an Irish language act to be implemented.

Besides that, there are some very ill people at present suffering hell, wondering if they will live long enough to get the medical treatment they require.

Sinn Féin should ‘temporarily suspend’ demands for the Irish language act and  return to the assembly to suit the best humane interests of our society. By doing so the people will repay them at the next election.

Kircubbin, Co Down


Subliminal vision of reform

It seems that Tom Collins (August 29) is pushing for something like a Catholic utilitarianism with his subliminal messages for doing away with those edits, which he holds as resulting in the various supposed suppression and oppression in the Church. No doubt one can read this as criticism of perennial  bad boy, Humanae Vitae (1968) and its ilk.
To believe in such fantasies proffered by Mr Collins are what dreams are made of.

While he has no time for prelates, there are numerous ones who are actually doing a great service to the Church. The examples of Cardinals Muller, Sarah and Burke and the prophetic example of Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan is another point in fact. Indeed, Burke has repeatedly stated that if the Rite of Clerical Degradation as proscribed in the Roman Pontifical had been enacted, then the current crisis may have been overcome.

Nevertheless,  in these days forecast  by the Marian messages, the call for a radical personal reformation and drawing closer rather than distancing  oneself from the Church and Her sacramental life, will bring the fulfilling of these timely messages from  heaven sooner. Tom’s vision seeks an earthly solution to what can only be sought from the divine.

Clonoe, Co Tyrone

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