Anxiety is one of the Church’s big enemies

Anxiety is one of the Church’s big enemies

Dear Editor, Fr Ron Rolheiser’s article (IC 09/01/20) about proofs for the existence of God makes an interesting reading.

Obviously, proof of the existence of God will not be found on a sheet of paper and so his article is flawed in that respect. God will not be found either among the intellectuals and the philosophers. These are the traits and past-times of the wealthy.

Writing about the proofs for the existence of God and failing to mention the name Jesus is flawed too. In the Beatitudes, Jesus defined what happiness is and, if this proves to be the true path to happiness, then what Jesus says to us is indicative of the presence of God. What else would God want for us?

I understand that people will feel that so much more is given to us in Christ, but there is nothing more important than happiness.

In this vein, I feel that there is so much anxiety present in the Church today and this is confusing people into defining ever more unlikely goals for the laity.

Anxiety is the enemy. Whether that is judgment anxiety, which sometimes affects us, or the much more common affliction of anxiety about what other people think of us or of what we have or don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. Anxiety is corrosive. God does not exist for the anxious.

Anxiety leads us to alliances with the rich and powerful, denying the poor, and if Jesus came today he would face a barrage from the Church for not being rich and for his undoubted political socialism. God is love, not worry.

Yours etc.,

John O’Connell,

Derry City,




Use of the term ‘planned genocide’ demands supporting and incontrovertible evidence

Dear Editor, In your newspaper, Fr Paddy Byrne (IC 09/01/20) is quoted as follows: ‘The RIC were agents of the British state that worked for British landlords to evict Irish people off the land during the planned genocide that some call ‘the famine’.’

As the term “planned genocide” does aptly fit certain horrific historical events, such as the deliberate murder of six million Jews and other unwanted minorities by the Nazi regime (1942-45), its use in the context of the current highly uncertain peace in Ireland must surely be carefully considered – especially by a minister of the Gospel.

That Nazi ‘final solution’ to the ‘Jewish question’ was indeed deliberately planned, as has been verified by German historians who interpret the minutes of the Nazi Wannsee Conference of January 20, 1942.

So is Fr Byrne alleging that either in their totality or greater number the truly horrific deaths from hunger of at least one million people of 1845-49 in Ireland – and the migration of possibly two million more – resulted from a ‘plan’ devised by someone, or some group – possibly to the knowledge of the RIC –  in or before 1845?

If so, could he tell us who these truly monstrous individuals were, and of the evidence for such a plan?

This is indeed to set a ‘high bar’ for the judicious deployment of “planned genocide” in the context of the Irish Famine of 1845-49, but surely that is what our current delicately poised peace demands – as do the Gospel, and the clear import of the term itself.

As Fr Byrne will often have in front of him in chapel Irish people whose ancestors served in the RIC – during and after those awful years – does he not owe it to them to explain exactly what he intended to allege in the sentence quoted above – and to withdraw the imputation of complicity in “planned genocide” if that does not justly convey his true meaning?

Yours etc.,

Sean O’Conaill,


Co. Derry.



Steady on with the ‘horror’ headlines please!

Dear Editor, Your headline ‘Horror at prospect of State commemoration for RIC’ (09/01/20) is hardly merited, indeed unworthy of a Catholic newspaper. It refers to statements by two priests in objecting to the proposed, now abandoned commemoration. Your report refers to just two priests, yet is presented as “prominent Irish priests” as if a host of priests was involved.

My own opinion on the matter, totally outside of my thoughts on having a commemoration or not, is my horror at the viciousness and venom thrown at one particular politician in the matter coupled with a total unforgiving attitude towards the RIC and Black and Tans who committed vile murders, attacks, evictions, etc. against our people who were involved in a just cause of freedom from the tyranny of a foreign power.

I would have expected restraint and a forgiving attitude from the above priests and an effort to encourage a Christian attitude of forgiveness, such as shown by the elderly Protestant gentleman whose words of forgiveness for the killing of his daughter in the Enniskillen Bombing tragedy set a headline for all caught in such awful circumstances.

Easy to say for one who has not suffered in this manner. Forgive us our trespasses…

Yours etc.,

Barra Ó Caoimh,

Carrigduff, Co. Cork