Case strengthens for married clergy

Case strengthens for married clergy

Dear Editor, Mary Kenny is exactly right when she says the one-time Anglican clergy of the Ordinariate point to how married clergy could become feasible in the Church (IC 11/7/2019). Years ago Pope Benedict said something very similar.

Basically, when married Anglican clergy join the Church they become married Catholic laymen, albeit ones with pastoral experience and theological training. Ordination to the priesthood, it seems, is therefore an option for married men only if they have not been raised in the Faith.

Regardless of whether this is reasonable, what seems clear is that the Ordinariate model established married clergy as a regular feature of the Church in the West. Exceptions have been allowed on case-by-case bases over previous decades, of course, but only with the Ordinariates did married priests become, well, ordinary.

The English Ordinariate, of course, looks an abject failure with no evidence of groups flocking to join it, but putting aside questions around the Ordinariates’ success, it may yet turn out that the real legacy of their establishment will turn out to have been opening the doors wide to ordaining married men. Indeed, Pope Benedict may well have realised this when he launched the Ordinariate project.

Should Pope Francis permit the ordination of married ‘proven men’ following this year’s Synod on the Amazon, however, it’s safe to say that the Pope’s enemies will gloss over how he has simply built on his precedessor’s work.

Yours etc.,

Fintan Butler,

Dundalk, Co. Louth.


Forgotten warriors recalled in fine print

Dear Editor, John Burton’s insightful book review of the 1745/46 rebellion (IC 11/7/19) makes reference to the Irish contribution, which was both sizable and vital from its conception to its execution. In particular the regulars of the Irish regiments such Dillons, Roths and Berwicks provided both professionalism and firepower to what was essentially a medieval campaign. Together with the Royal Scots, they were at the forefront holding the line in the chief actions such at Prestonpans and at Culloden, enabled the Jacobite leadership to escape.

These soldiers have all but been forgotten, but a recent study by Andrew Bamford (The Lilies and the Thistle, Helion Press, 2018) tells their attempt to reestablish a doomed dynasty and in just over 100 pages, it’s an excellent reappraissal  of these efforts. One needs not to be a military history anorak to appreciate a work that would be an ideal complement to the above review.

Yours etc.,

Fr John McCallion cc,


Co. Tyrone.


Some key questions for our bishops

Dear Editor, In 2017, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit released an interesting pastoral letter. This letter was the result of a Synod of consultation, where hundreds of Catholic priests, religious and laity gathered to discuss the future of the archdiocese and how all Catholics can become engaged as joyful missionary disciples with evangelisation as their central focus. Some interesting questions were highlighted for special consideration by Archbishop Allen as they deliberated on the way forward.

These  questions included: “How do we preach the difficult parts of the Gospel in today’s culture?”, “How do we preach the Love and Mercy of God, set against Jesus coming as the final Judge?”, “How do we handle Mercy and Judgement?” and “What role should signs and wonders play is the New Evangelisation?”

Some might wonder if these relevant questions might be tackled at the next Irish Bishop’s conference.

Yours etc.,

David Walshe,

Malahide, Co. Dublin.


In what way was Papal visit ‘ill-fated’?

Dear Editor, In an otherwise balanced and informative article by Fr Bernard Cotter about the challenges facing Bishop Fintan Gavin  as he becomes the new Bishop of Cork & Ross (IC 4/07/19), I was astonished to read the  throw-away and unsubstantiated comment that: “Most priests in parishes would report a fall-off in weekend Mass attendance, which some would say seems to have become more pronounced since the ill-fated 2018 Papal visit”.

In what sense was the Papal visit “ill-fated”? While for various reasons, largely in my opinion administrative, the numbers attending the Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park were not as many as had been anticipated, the enormous crowds which made the journey to Dublin and to Knock from every corner of  Ireland and the positive coverage of the events surrounding the visit both in your own newspaper and on RTÉ television (attracting the largest viewing figures for  the whole of 2018) demonstrate the huge success of the visit.

There are more than enough fake news stories doing the rounds without suggesting that the Papal visit was in some way “ill-fated” or could in any conceivable way have led to a diminution in the numbers attending Mass in Cork & Ross or anywhere else for that matter rather than a spiritual fillip for the entire country.

It may be some time before the fruits of the visit become apparent but like the parable of the mustard seed they will come.

Yours etc.,

Brian Quinn,


Co. Derry.