Dear Editor, Every year we have Catholic schools week, a week in which we celebrate the importance of the Catholic ethos of our Church-run schools.
Lofty words are spoken about the importance of our Catholic values in the education of the young. But the test of those words in the near future will be the determination of our school authorities to resist the programmes that may soon be imposed on our pupils under the general headings of Health and Safety or Sex Education, because these programmes will be anything but Catholic.
We can see from neighbouring countries that they will be lessons in downright corruption, providing explicit knowledge of sex to pupils as young as six years of age and encouraging promiscuous behaviour, contraception and abortion, with consent being the only moral requirement. They will also portray so called ‘same-sex marriage’ as an ‘alternative lifestyle’ on a par with traditional marriage and the corresponding behaviour as ‘morally acceptable’ and they will promote transgenderism also even though such things can in no way be reconciled with what is Catholic or moral.
The promoters of these programmes are greatly emboldened by knowing that many so-called Catholic parents said ‘Yes’ to all this kind of thing in a series of referendums in recent years. These ‘Yes’ votes may well be happy to see their children corrupted by these programmes; but my concern is for those parents – of whatever religion – who can still tell right from wrong and who want a morally sound formation for their children.
Who will stand up for them? If the school authorities won’t, then they should organise and sue on the basis of their right to religious freedom or, failing that, pull out their children and begin home schooling, which is proving successful in other countries.
Fr Richard O’Connor,
Castleisland, Co. Kerry.
No place for sectarian rhetoric
Dear Editor, I was disgusted to read on your Facebook page, myriad sectarian comments pertaining to a story about five Irish priests who are to be awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM). Given Ireland’s history, I understand that many people viscerally feel that accepting an award from the Queen is tantamount to treason but this kind of narrative is unhelpful and backward.
Tyrone-based cleric Fr Kevin Mullan, for example, was honoured with the award for “services to inter-Church collaboration and community relations” in the North. Instead of trying to create divisions between British and Irish citizens, he has instead tried to make a bridge towards peace.
If the North is to progress, we can’t keep living in the past. True, we mustn’t forget our history or ignore it, but at the same time, we shouldn’t live vicariously through it and let it define our future.
How far we’ve come in that both communities now acknowledge one another and recognise the positives that each side can play in creating a shared future. There is no place today for sectarian rhetoric.
Belfast, Co. Antrim.
Slow and steady change needed
Dear Editor, I was impressed by David Quinn’s thoughtful reflection on the today’s green agenda (IC 02/01/20). He notes Pope Francis has often spoken about the need to care for environment and that this needs to be put into action. However, at the same time, severe or radical changes to our carbon production could have a detrimental impact on our economic and political landscapes. It all sounds well and good to reduce pollution, but this achievement could have harrowing consequences if we don’t go about it the right way.
Mr Quinn hits the nail on the head when he writes: “I think we must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels gradually, instead of drastically, and convert to renewable energy more and more as that technology improves.”
Instead of making quick, impulsive changes to our current way of living, we should gradually shift towards greener activity. Didn’t you know – slow and steady wins the race?
Navan, Co. Meath.
How can the SDLP claim to be pro-life?
Dear Editor, Mary Kenny in her article ‘Reflections on the SDLP Revival’ (IC 19/12/19) writes that “in terms of the overall political picture, it’s surely also a welcome development that the SDLP, which had been wiped off the political map in Northern Ireland, won back two Westminster seats”.
But there is another side to the SDLP story that needs to be told. It goes like this: in 2018 Sinn Féin travelled to London to begin a series of meetings with Labour MP Stella Creasy, to discuss how the British Parliament could impose abortion on Northern Ireland, while the Assembly was in a period of suspension. A letter was also sent to the Prime Minister, calling for abortion to be legalised in Northern Ireland. This letter was signed by Sinn Féin, SDLP, Alliance Party and the Green Party, resulting in the insertion of an amendment to the NI Executive Formation Bill, which would force abortion on Northern Ireland, if the Assembly wasn’t reconvened by October 21.
The pro-life groups immediately mounted a vigorous Fight Back campaign resulting in the Northern Ireland Assembly sitting for the first time in three years. The plan was to introduce a new law called ‘The Defence of Human Life Act’ and get it passed on that day.
This required the election of a speaker, with cross community support. The SDLP had the power to support the election of a speaker, but instead refused to participate, without the presence of Sinn Féin.
Having spent less than an hour in Stormont the SDLP then staged their own ‘stunt’ when party leader Colum Eastwood led his MLAs out of the Assembly Chamber, thus clearing the way for abortion to be legalised in Northern Ireland, and this from a party which claims to be pro-life.
Killorglin, Co. Kerry.