Very disappointed by the apathy of modern-day Irish Catholics
I was born in 1980, and when I was a child my father told stories of my grandfather’s home place in Anaghorish, Newbridge, south Derry. The stories were told with such joy that they left an imprint on my young mind. They dated to when he was a youth in the 1950s and the home place was inhabited by several uncles and aunts who had never married. Their lives were basic, as I’m sure most were at that time. Two things featured prominently, that being their faith and their pride in being Irish – the two were inseparable.
These two things are still of great significance in my life and of many in present-day Ireland. What baffles me with Irish politics today is why I cannot find a major nationalist party that I feel is in keeping with my Catholic beliefs. More absurd is the fact that the only major party in the north that shares my values are the DUP. I find it hard to stomach Sinn Féin as they are so vociferously pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia and as a result so anti-Catholic. Our nation has a proud history of fighting against adversity, such as the Mass rocks, land agitation and the ‘Rising’. I am very disappointed by the apathy of the modern day Irish Catholics who have lost the ‘fire in their belly’ and continue to vote for Sinn Féin and other staunchly humanist parties. Fortunately Mass rocks and risings are not needed to fight back against the anti-life ideologies of these parties.
There are two very easy ways to make a real difference, that being vote DUP and two, fund pro-life groups. I, for one, am very proud to have funded SPUC’s case at the High Court in Belfast on October 6, in their attempt to overturn the abortion law brought in by Brandon Lewis, the outcome of which is pending.
My grandfather and the people of our nation who went before him fought for what was right.
We are called now, more than ever, to play our part in that same fight, however small, so that we can honour their memory and what they stood for.
Castledawson, Co Derry
Sweeping the Davy Tweed issue under an Orange carpet
At his funeral, David Tweed’s coffin was shouldered by members of the Orange Order wearing collarettes. His funeral service booklet contained what appeared to be a recent photograph of Tweed publicly displaying Orange Order regalia.
When Tweed was convicted of child sex abuse in 2012, the Order reportedly expelled him. The Royal Black Institution said at the time that it had initiated a process of expulsion. I am unaware if or when that process was completed.
Despite Tweed’s conviction being quashed in 2016 on a technicality, Tweed was a child sex abuser. Evidence from Tweed’s victims was too compelling for any doubt on that score.
Tweed’s daughters have spoken out after his death, naming him as a vicious wife beater and paedophile. His daughter Victoria said: “Davy Tweed wasn’t a man. He was a monster and it’s time everyone knew. People say he was a great rugby player and brilliant unionist politician. But to me, he was the dark shadow who entered my bedroom every night to abuse me. To think he attended my birth, and held me in his arms, knowing that at some stage in the future he was going to abuse me, is sickening. But it’s over now. He can’t hurt me or anyone else ever again.”
The Orange Order should state when they readmitted Tweed to membership. The Order must apologise for publicly associating with this vile abuser. Tweed was also a notorious sectarian bigot, but no-one was ever expelled from the Order for that. The Order would have to apologise for itself to tackle that deficit.
The unionist politicians who praised Tweed should also immediately retract their comments. They must not be allowed to sweep this issue under an Orange carpet.
Rational arguments for faith are important
Danny Treacy (November 10) writes “...for an argument to be established it must make sense, rationally and empirically.” It makes sense that Our Lord is the only person to fulfil the suffering servant prophecy in the Jewish scripture (just read One Solitary Life and Isaiah Chapter 53). For the empirical proof, are there millions upon millions of faith testimonies, across many Trinitarian denominations, of groups subscribing to the Apostle’s Creed?
Has Mr Treacy read the life story of Thomas Tarrants? Mr Tarrants wrote Consumed by Hate, Redeemed by Love which details how a spiritual conversion saw him rescued from far-right rebellion and imprisonment for violent extremism, to a new life as an evangelist. St Paul wrote: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes...” While the robust rational arguments for faith are important, most people who come to faith seem to do so in incremental steps, as they take up Our Lord’s open invitation to obediently test out His teachings. Less than one in five Christians have a spectacular or sudden conversion, according to some academic studies, with the majority of Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant believers more gently responding to the magnetic pull of Our Lord’s mysterious presence.
Landscape of bullying has changed
Bullying is an issue that has always affected children and since Childline began 35 years ago, thousands of young people have turned to the service to share their experiences of bullying.
Over the past 18 months, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the landscape of bullying has changed.
Some young people have had respite from the bullying they experienced in person due to the numerous lockdowns, meaning they were out of school and away from the children who had previously picked on them for months on end.
For others, the bullying transferred online, and we know for many this felt inescapable and overwhelming due to the increased amount of time children were spending online for their education, to keep in touch with friends and family and to stay entertained.
For many who were struggling with this issue, Childline was the only place they felt they could turn to.
As we move out of the pandemic, it remains essential that all children know where they can turn to for support.
Childline is here for them and that they don’t have to deal with this issue alone.
All children can call Childline on 0800 1111 or visit online at childline.org.uk.
No worry is ever too small.
Childline Northern Ireland