Catholic Church should listened to rapidly declining adherents

It seems ironic that J Diamond (July 23) regrets that we live in a world where no-one now takes responsibility for their actions, yet he refuses to accept that the actions of his Church were the most influential factor in voter’s decision in recent referendum. The Catholic Church itself accepts this premise. His letter does not even consider why a mainly Catholic electorate voted against its Church’s guidelines. His insipid attack on my letter (July 2) fails to explain how my comments were ‘cowardly’ or ‘pathetic’, adjectives which would be better ascribed to his deliberate distortion of reality. All political and religious commentators at the time were agreed that the failures of the Church, particularly but not solely, the child abuse scandals, were clear determinants of the outcome.

Dr Niall Meehan’s letter (July 25) is an erudite synopsis of the situation as he observantly highlights that most Catholic’s ignore, disobey or disagree with many of their Church’s teachings and that the fastest growing belief system in the Republic is now non-religious. The Church is well aware of the connection but its ambivalent reliance on the desert myths of a first century Holy Book, allied to an historic intransigence and arrogance are obdurate blocks to progress.

From my non-theological understanding of abortion and excommunication, anyone assisting in an act which procures an abortion outside of the Church’s strict rules, is automatically excommunicated

(latae sententiae). So, Bishop Doran, Fr McCafferty, J Diamond et al are theologically on safe ground, except for two things: firstly, the ‘yes’ voters are already automatically excommunicated, and, secondly, excommunication does not expel them from the Church, something which the aforementioned parties have, without any authority, called for.

Despite the horrors of the Holocaust, not one single Nazi was excommunicated, except Joseph Gobbels, and that was for the unforgivable sin of marrying a Protestant... and not for assisting in the slaughter of six million Jews, assistance in which does not incur ‘latae sententiae’.

A doctor, acting humanely, who authorises an abortion for a woman whose mental or physical capacity to have a child puts her and perhaps the child in grave danger, must be automatically excommunicated, yet Catholic Nazis who butchered millions are not.

There is no text, holy or otherwise, which can convince me that this is even morally debatable yet we have people demanding that whole electorates are expelled from their Church over a hard-earned democratic right.

I have consistently acknowledged that religion may well have social cohesion values but it’s time the Catholic Church listens to its rapidly declining adherents. If it heeds J Diamond, Fr McCafferty or Bishop Doran it will only accelerate its current trajectory of becoming an irrelevant curiosity.


Templepatrick, Co Antrim

Admiration of Israel’s democracy defies all evidence

Where does Mr Andrew J Shaw (June 24) get his information about Israel and its government? His gushing admiration of Israel’s democracy and Supreme Court defies all evidence to the contrary. Let us look at some recent evidence of well-known Israelis whose views differ to an extraordinary extent from his.

Israeli president Reuven Rivlin 2014 said: “The time has come to admit that Israel is a sick society with an illness that demands treatment”. Has Mr Shaw not seen or read this statement in his studies of Israel and its history?

Israeli minister General Moshe Dyan stated that “Israel must invent dangers and to do this it must adopt the strategy of provocation and revenge”. This statement is consistent with every war Israel has fought with the exception of the Yom Kippur war of 1973 when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel to drive them from lands occupied by Israel during the six-day ‘war’.   

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine was justified to the West by the Holocaust, carried out by Germans, Poles, Ukrainians and several other national groups, but had nothing whatsoever to do with Palestinians who had lived for centuries in peace with Jewish neighbours. Zionism was invented in the late 19th century, long before Hitler and the Third Reich was even thought of.  

The thinking behind Zionism can be illustrated by the speech of David Ben Gurion, (prime minister of Israel 1949-1954 and 1955-1963) when he told his followers: “We will expel the Arabs and take their place. In each attack a decisive blow should be struck resulting in the destruction of homes and the expulsion of the population.”

Could there be a clearer explanation of ethnic cleansing? 


Belfast BT9

Dangerous utterances to rationalise abortion

Niall Meehan (July 25) has got himself in a twist with Fr  Patrick McCafferty’s defence on Church probity and protection of the unborn.

His long, meandering letter mentions the a-la-carte issue of Church probity; but  what about the little thumb-sucking child in the womb?

Mr Meehan surely does not expect Churchmen to allow pro-abortionists to trample over God’s sacred truth?

Yes, I too agree that single mothers were barbarically treated by repressive clergy and religious in past times. I recall the era of women being harmed by ultra-Catholic obstetricians; and I am embarrassed to have been educated in a ‘Catholic ethos’ of that era – an era when the Gospel was not being preached; an era when lording clergy and religious arranged for the taking of babies from their mothers.

But, when I hear someone rant on about “women’s rights” in relation to free access to abort their children, I am aware of the language crafted by politicians and others to rationalise abortion. 

Personally, I find it difficult to cope with a growing internal anger when such dangerous utterances leaves the lips of the pro-abortionists.


Tyrella, Co Downpatrick                

Chimera persona

Vision is not something with which Irish politicians are too familiar but the ludicrous statement by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that UK airlines could be banned from flying over Irish air space has all the credibility of a Trump tweet. While not agreeing with Jacob Rees-Mogg’s withering comment that he is rather a lightweight Irish gentleman, his recent pernicious anti-UK utterances imply that he is currying favour with Messrs Barnier and Juncker and casts him in the role as a noisy neighbour. It is time for him to end this chimera persona and restore the degree of excellence and dignity which the high office of taoiseach demands. He is the leader of a free and independent nation and regardless of Brexit can impose rules and regulations on the border which will be in the interest of his country rather than swanning around with a laissez-faire attitude allowing the UK to do it for him.


Derry City

Anti-national sabotage

In 1916 Ireland was grossly over-represented  in the then UK parliament – with not the 65 MPs – due to its 4.39m people [9.68 per cent of the UK] but with 103 of the 670 UK MPs, but today Northern Ireland is grossly under-represented due only to seven of their MPs still refusing to cast their votes. Those seven could have swung two crucial votes about Brexit where the Brexiteers won with only 307 to 301– to refuse to use that power is truly a wilful act of anti-national economic sabotage for which Sinn Féin should never be forgiven.  And also sabotage of not only the vital interests but the clear and also cross-community anti-Brexit will of the north.

Time now for a law  to disqualify any candidate who refuses to do the very job they were elected to do – represent the people, not their own paymasters. And as IMF now calculates that 50,000 Irish jobs are at risk from a hard Brexit, no further delay or excuses can be tolerated.


Renelagh, Dublin 6