Charles shows Christian conscience for peace

The Prince’s historic visit is a great example of reconciliation writes Mary Kenny

It doesn’t surprise me that Prince Charles agreed to have a meeting with Gerry Adams this week at the beginning of his historic visit – one might even say family pilgrimage – to the west of Ireland.

Charles is very committed to Christian values of peace and reconciliation. He has, in the eyes of his critics, sometimes been naïve in his embrace of reconciliation – he constantly sought to build bridges with Islam at a time when militant Islam, it seemed, was (and is) minded to blow up much of Christian civilisation.

And 15 years ago, Charles visited the Glencree peace garden in Co. Wicklow and spoke about the need to pursue peace, and made a sensitive reference to Ireland’s sufferings over the centuries.

He is a sensitive and intelligent man, and, as it happens, is riding the crest of a popular wave in Britain right now. Letters he wrote, in the past, to Government ministers were described by his critics as “meddling” in politics.

When their contents were disclosed, under Freedom of Information, they showed a deep concern for the countryside and the environment, and many sensible suggestions which the public endorsed.

He has especially championed the cause of farmers who were being exploited by the big retailers.

Some critics still feel that his marital situation was not in accordance with Christian orthodoxy; others have jested that unlike the founder of the Church of England, he hasn’t beheaded any wives!

On the essentials of peace and moving towards forgiveness, his values are sincere and sound.


Allow mother to come to terms with situation

Whenever a newborn baby is found abandoned, a public appeal is made that the “mother of the baby come forward”. There are “fears for her health”; she “might need medical attention”.

Loudspeaker statements like this are more likely to make the birth mother feel frightened and hunted. It is neither compassionate nor constructive.

Information about the baby’s survival should be broadcast, and then the authorities should proceed with placing the infant with adoptive parents as soon as practically possible.

Early life experiences are important. The best interest of the child is that she should acquire a mother and father in the first months of life.

When a birth mother abandons a baby, she is clearly in no state of mind to come forward and reclaim it. Hopefully, if she needs medical attention, she will seek it, but she should not be publicly hounded into seeking it.

Clandestine births happen everywhere, and some countries have taken the practical step of providing an anonymous hatch at a care home where a baby may be placed – Austria and Germany do this, and surprisingly, China, now back-tracking on its forced abortions, is making a similar move.

Allow the biological mother of the baby found earlier this month near Rathcoole come to terms with her situation in her own time. But let the infant have a family – pronto.


Regrettable that Gardaí became politicised

The debate about the same-sex marriage referendum has been a robust national conversation, democratic and bracing.

Much better than laws being whipped through Dáil Éireann without regard to conscience or proper discussion.

The most comical aspect of the campaign was watching old left-wingers who have spurned marriage themselves as a “repressive bourgeois institution” – only cohabitation was compatible with freedom and autonomy – now advocating marriage as the greatest good which is the only measure of equal citizenship. A hoot.

A most disturbing aspect was the Garda Síochána taking sides and advocating a ‘yes’ vote.

Since the establishment of the Free State, the Gardaí had maintained a laudable civil service neutrality.

Now, as in a corrupt banana republic, they are politicised. Regrettable.