Letters to the Editor

Pejorative language suggests particular animus against Israel

May I thank Antán Ó Dála an Rí for his excellent letter – ‘Adopting the usual Zionist position’ (September 14) – in which he implicitly confirms what I had written by being forced to resort to the well-known debating trick, so beloved of barristers, that “when you have no answer to your opponent’s arguments, disparage your opponent”.

His first claim is that, since I “live in Manchester, yet deem a letter in The Irish News important enough to respond to”, I must be part of “a concerted campaign by Zionists to try to smother any and all opposition”.

While I do live in Manchester, my wife lived in Belfast for many years when her late father, Rabbi Dr Alexander Carlebach, was the rabbi of the town’s Jewish community. We still have connections with it and take an interest in what goes on there – hardly the sinister conspiracy he implies.

He then refers to “the barbaric conduct of the Zionist state”, as if it were a universally accepted description of the behaviour of the “rogue state of Israel”. This use of such pejorative language might suggest that he has a particular animus against Israel. However its behaviour is almost saintly compared to some other nations in the region such as Syria and Iraq which have routinely used chemical weapons against clearly civilian targets. That is not to claim that everything Israel does is perfect, only that its behaviour has to be taken in context.

Next he claims that I “appear to have little understanding of etymological truths surrounding the term anti-Semitism” without presenting any evidence that my original statement (August 28) that “the term was popularised by Wilhelm Marr [in the 19th century], who used it to replace the traditional German term Judenhass [hatred of Jews]” was incorrect. In particular he passes over my well-documented claim that “the Nazis considered [the Arabs], like the Japanese, to be “honorary Aryans” which contradicts his assertion that I “epically failed to invalidate his point ... concerning the discriminatory exclusion of Arabs from the term anti-Semitic”.

His argument that, since the Arabs speak a Semitic language, they must be included is patently false. The Jews of Europe only used Hebrew as a language of prayer and scholarly discourse – equivalent to the use of Latin in the Catholic world – but spoke such ‘Aryan’ languages as Yiddish or Ladino. Would any sane person describe anti-Catholic prejudice as anti-Latinism? 

According to his reasoning, anti-Semitism cannot even refer to Jews at all – an obvious absurdity.

Finally he describes me as one of the “extreme Zionists”. It so happens that I am opposed to Zionism as an ideology because it replaces the traditional Jewish religion with a secular nationalism. Perhaps my anti-Zionism differs from his in that he finds Zionism too Jewish while I find it not Jewish enough.

Salford, England


It is absolutely fitting that only men can become priests

Dr Gaven Kerr is correct in his very clear letter (September 10) that the male-only priesthood and the Church’s views on marriage are fundamental truth to which the intellect can assert.

The Hypostatic Union of one person in the Trinity with humanity in one person, Jesus, requires God’s choice of the gender of that person, male or female. The divine choice is male so Jesus is conceived by His mother, Mary through this action of the Holy Spirit and born as a male child.

Jesus spoke of himself as the Bridegroom (see Mt 9:15;  22:1, Jn  3.29 Ep5:22) and the Church as His bride, in keeping with the Old Testament (Ho1:2).

The formation of Eve from Adam (Genesis) and begetting of off-spring in their union is imaged by Christ forming His Bride from Himself and the fecundity of their union, their marriage of the Lamb of God.

It can be argued that through Original Sin all of humanity is blemished, both in souls and bodies except Jesus and Mary, who are always immaculate in both, the whole of their humanity.  Jesus redeems us through His own flesh and blood so that we can become immaculate in both, when we finally arrive in Heaven at the general resurrection in the totality of the human person. Mary, in he Assumption, is taken immediately into heaven as she is always immaculate in body as well as soul. We can go to Heaven immediately at death in soul if it is immaculate, but have to await the general resurrection to receive immaculate bodies, since the whole of the universe is stained by original sin and we dynamically share matter-energy with it.

It is thus absolutely fitting that only men can become priests, as confirmed by Jesus in His choice of male apostles and by the last supper shared with them. Since the priest is in persona Christi he generates the word-seed, the Eucharist and inseminates the consecrated species into us by our eating the living bread and drinking His blood so that we can acquire immaculate life body and soul for all eternity.  

The union of the Bridegroom with His church is imaged by the union of one man and one woman in the sacrament of marriage with he begetting of children, not by same-sex marriage.

Dr Kerr is a very distinguished teacher of scholastic philosophy, but unfortunately Queen’s University has discontinued courses in that subject.

Belfast BT9


EU no friend of Ireland

Simon Coveney came on the news again last week to tell us the EU ‘26’ are firmly in our corner regarding Brexit. So what?

It is the UK which decides the type of border maintenance which will be happening after Britain leaves the EU.

What part of this is not understood by politicians in Ireland who depend on the EU to save us from the haughty Brits who have sensibly decided to get away from the dictatorial bloc?

It is the EU exploiting the border issue to thwart the democratic will of 17 million British voters. Britain and the border in Ireland is easily overcome as has been shown by plans already drawn up by Westminster – only for all British compromises to be rejected by the sneering EU.

Get real Simon – we have no friends in the EU – it plays us for fools in their bigger game of ‘victory at any cost’ against Great Britain. There lies our true friends, less than 30 miles away as the crow flies. Be nicer in your discourse on Brexit, Mr Coveney, you may yet be surprised that so few of us agree with you.

Bantry, Co Cork


Faith privacy argument

Christ’s commission to the Apostles at his Ascension (Matt 28:18-20) is the raison d’etre of Catholicism and is confirmed in the Catechism that an active witnessing to one’s faith is essential for salvation (ccc1816). So, Sean Cavanagh’s premise (September 10) that ‘it is rather a private matter is puzzling.

Catholicism is a radical call to action, and the clause that it’s a private matter could convey not only indifference, but an embarrassment of Christ; who will reciprocate such views come Judgement Day (Mk 8:37) and therefore, is a call for interspection. 

This embarrassment  is somehow conveyed somewhat by Mr Cavanagh, by the Tyrone management’s usage of Catholic sacramentals and the Mass to  effect a esprit de corps among the team. However, given that in a way it effected three All-Ireland titles, it seems to have been worth the effort.  Equally, it could be seen as an act of charity, in its reflecting the same call mention above and again showing that the faith privacy argument as a negation of this call to witness.

Mickey Harte’s call to success on the field, augmented  with the call to holiness should be actually praised rather than viewed as somewhat obdurate.

Clonoe, Co Tyrone

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