The kissing or not of the papal ring should be the least of our worries

The kissing or not of the papal ring should be the least of our worries

Dear Editor, Mary Kenny describes how there has been “some comment” about Pope Francis being “disinclined” to have his papal ring kissed (IC 28/3/2019). I have been  absolutely appalled at the amount of attention given in the Catholic press to the supposed ‘scandal’ of this.

A short video appeared online of the pope pulling his hand back from lay people trying to kiss his hand. Suddenly it seemed that every Catholic on Twitter and Facebook had an opinion regarding this custom; suddenly the kissing of the Pope’s ring was an important, even central part of so many people’s faith. The controversy made it into secular news outlets, which ought to make us all blush with shame. Meanwhile anyone with an ounce of charity or a few minutes to watch a longer video for context could see that this was barely a drizzle in a teacup.

Can anyone worked up about this say what else happened during the Holy Father’s visit to Loreto? Are they even aware of why he was there at all? It was the Feast of the Annunciation – how many people spent as much time reflecting on that great mystery as they did arguing over whether the Pope should allow people to kiss his ring?

It is easy to complain that modern people are shallow or selfish when they dismiss religion as so much nonsense, but what kind of example do we set? I can’t think anyone who saw a story about this particular controversy would think Catholicism a religion for intelligent people with thoughtful answers to the world’s problems. If we want to be taken seriously, we should be more judicious about what we deem worthy of complaint and save our controversies for the real scandals in our Church. And there are plenty of those, I am sad to say.

Yours etc.,

Bernadette Fitzgerald,


Dublin 22.


Bro. Peter sets the standard for all Christians

Dear Editor, Bro. Peter Tabichi, the Franciscan who was awarded the Global Teacher Prize (IC 28/3/2019), seems to have captured many people’s admiration, if my friends and family are anything to judge by.

The fact that 80% of his income goes to support his students has been widely trumpeted in headlines about the award, and certainly this figure is very impressive.

In this cynical world where it can seem like profit is the only thing anyone cares for, and the least competent seem to get promoted time and again, I think many people have been touched by someone like Bro. Peter being recognised in such a spectacular way.

Many people sadly see religious life as a thing of the past, and yet we can all see how inspiring this man’s life and work are.

I hope some of the people who have shared his story will take a moment to reflect on the significance of the man being a Franciscan.

I also hope that people might notice Bro. Peter’s specialism – science. I have read that the supposed opposition of Faith and science is one of the most common reasons that people give for not being interested in religion.

Well, here is a good example of someone who clearly doesn’t see religion as a bar to scientific study.

Kudos to Bro. Peter – and may his award inspire many to follow in his footsteps!

Yours etc.,

Margaret Byrne,

Belfast, Co. Antrim.


Too small to divide

Dear Editor, How can your reviewer Felix M. Larkin refer to the Irish border as a necessary evil (IC 28/3/2019), which is surely wrong on many fronts? The partition of Ireland was not only an historic injustice against the Irish people in all our rich diversity but makes no geographic, social, historical or economic sense.

This is particularly true with the threat of Brexit looming over the island of Ireland’s future. Ireland is simply too small an island to have two sovereign states, partition was an absolute disaster for Ireland, and contributed to, and was the primary cause of the thankfully ended tragic Northern conflict.

Yours etc.,

Brian Thornton,

Kells, Co Meath.


Why selective outrage?

Dear Editor, Bishop Doran hits out at traditional Catholics for demonising Muslims (IC 21/3/2019). If this is in regards to what happened in New Zealand he is mistaken. The perpetrator described himself as an Eco- Fascist, who admires China for the way it cut population growth.

What does Bishop Doran mean by traditional Catholics? Is it those who try to follow Christ’s teaching or is it something else? When people voice legitimate concerns, instead of addressing these concerns, they are subject to name calling and vilification. On one day alone in Nigeria 50 Christians were killed, 140 in February alone and hundreds of homes destroyed by Muslims, why is there not there the same outrage when we see what happens to Christians in Muslim countries, with no protection in law. Is this no reason for Christians to be concerned?

Yours etc.,

David Kelly,

Crumlin, Dublin 12.



Dear Editor, Was Bishop Doran seriously equating those who attend the extraordinary rite of the Mass with those mindless advocates who murdered over 50 men women and children (IC 21/3/2019)? If it is, then it is an outrage that a bishop should calmuny Catholics.

Given that traditional orders are blossoming, while those of the national seminary continue to implode, it may come a time soon that the faithful of Elphin may be grateful  for a Missa  Cantata for fulfilling their Sunday obligation!

Yours etc.,

Fr John McCallion,

Clonoe, Co. Tyrone.