Letters to the Editor

Fionnuala's views portray lack of knowledge of Catholic faith

According to Fionnuala O Connor, ‘Rome is not going to change – on sexuality, abortion, on punishment for clerical sexual abuse and its enablement – until decent Catholics, lay and clerical, demand it’ (April 30).

Her comments, made in the course of an article about the tragic death of Lyra McKee, betray a lack of knowledge of the faith of Catholics.

Firstly, love and respect for a person does not necessarily mean that you agree with everything for which they stand. Especially in matters of conscience, faith and morality, it is possible to disagree, even radically, with persons while also having immense regard for them.

Secondly, Ms O Connor should clearly understand that ‘Rome’ does not have the authority or the power to ‘change’ one iota of Catholic teaching on abortion and human sexuality. 

The Church is the custodian – not the originator – of God’s Truth revealed for the salvation of the human race. The Church guards and transmits the Truth which comes from God.

Abortion is the intentional (the key word is ‘intentional’) termination of a defenceless and innocent human life. Deliberate abortion is intrinsically evil by its very nature. To wilfully commit abortion can never be justified under any circumstances. The Church cannot change this truth but must guard it and preach it until the end of time.

As regards same-sex marriage, whatever secular society decides to do independent of the Church is one thing but, for Christians, marriage is only possible between a man and a woman. The Church cannot change what God has decreed.

As regards ‘punishment for clerical sexual abuse and it’s enablement’, the Church has already made vast changes in this regard which Ms O Connor appears not to have heard about.

Decent Catholics are those who are faithful to God and His Truth. We serve a Master who was Himself despised and rejected. The majority cried out for His death. It matters nothing, therefore, to those who are faithful to Christ what the “majority” in society want or decide. 

It is what God has revealed, His Truth, upon which everyone without exception will be judged when they stand before the Lord. Welcome or unwelcome, we must insist upon the message of Christ (2 Timothy 4:2) and not conform ourselves to this passing world (Romans 12:2). 

There can be no compromise with falsehood, no matter who is pleased or displeased.
For this ‘world’ with all its disordered desires is passing away. But whoever does the Will of God remains forever” (1John 2:17).

Belfast BT12


Don’t be taken in by media ‘spin’ on teachers’ pay

It was leaked to the press on Monday that teachers are to receive a ‘bumper pay rise’ of 4.25 per cent backdated for two years. Can I take this opportunity to put this in context? At first glance the proposed offer looks like an inflation busting deal. In reality, since 2010/11 teachers, like other public sector workers, have received a total of 3 per cent – I repeat, in eight years, they have received 3 per cent. Over the same period inflation has run at 18.9 per cent – quite a difference I’m sure you’ll agree.

More recently since 2015/6 teachers’ pay has increased by a paltry 1 per cent.  So in reality, adding Monday’s 4.25 per cent offer to that 1 per cent means that over the past four years teachers will have received a total of 5.25 per cenet or 1.3 per cent per year. Hardly a bumper pay rise.

If this offer is rejected as I hope it is, I would urge readers not to condemn ‘greedy’ teachers. 

We are simply looking for an offer that reflects our commitment to children’s education that goes way beyond the school day. According to the Education Policy Institute most full-time teachers work an average of 48.2 hours per week. But one in five work 60 hours or more – 12 hours above the limit set by the European working time directive.

We are looking for an offer that reflects the professional nature of the job and the years of higher level education that were required to join the profession.

We are looking for an offer that goes some way to rectifying the disparity our pay has had compared to inflation over the past eight years. Many I’m sure find themselves in the same position as teachers. We are in this together and all need to fight derisory pay offers.

Please do not be taken in by Department of Education and media ‘spin’ of 4.25 per cent increase to teachers’ pay. It is not 4.25 per cent and it is not a bumper
pay rise.

Omagh, Co Tyrone


When politics is caught offside

What’s the difference between the Airey Neave assassination (1979) and the Loughinisland massacre (1994)?
The former case has been reopened recently due to the intervention from the now home secretary, Sajid Javid, while the latter case remains closed.
Although the Loughinisland massacre is significantly more recent, a renewed investigation is probably unlikely as key evidence in the investigation was destroyed. Political expediency plays a part too, of course. It’s regrettable that acts of terrorism, equally abhorrent, are viewed prejudicially by political spokespeople on both sides. For some, the reopening of investigations into terrorist acts during the Troubles is seen as a ‘witch hunt’ against the alleged perpetrators, while others are welcomed. It seems to be a case of cheering on the home side. People of all persuasions benefit from the impartial investigation of all terrorist acts whether it be the indiscriminate murder of people gathering at a Remembrance Day memorial, or people sitting in a pub watching a football match. Political spokespeople who play to the gallery should be looked upon with contempt while the clarion call should be and should always have been ‘justice for all’.

Hillsborough, Co Down


Nothing peaceful about Easter lily

The Easter lily wearing habit was first introduced in 1925 by Cumann na mBan, the female version of the IRA back then.

It was produced by the defeated republican paramilitaries of that time as a symbol of remembrance of their people who died in their war, they claimed.

It is unexplained whether or when it came to mean anything other than war and its continuance, but somewhere along the line the word peace was added (or not) as asserted.

It means something very different and at variance with the myth since that time, as portrayed by the various incarnations of the ‘Old IRA’ in the guise of current-day ‘freedom-fighter’ types.
There is nothing peaceful about it or the wearing of it. Look at who the principal wearers of it are,and be aware of who claims the mantle of heroism and simple ownership. Not so with our fathers and grandfathers (mine also), who participated in war against Britain and each other, but now in modern times shown off by the last ‘refugees’ from a fantasy Eire of long ago which thankfully, has become shrouded in the mists of antiquity. The wearing of it was taken over by the advocates of the quaintly named “armed struggle” at its early introduction.

The history of this country since 1925 shows the evidence of this.

Everything has context, and their is no official recognition of the Easter lily by successive governments since the fad began. Why? Because the Easter lily carries with it a certain fear of acceptance that political violence in the whole of Ireland is somehow
justified today.

Bantry, Co Cork

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