Letters & Emails

Comments of the week

Letters should include a genuine postal or email address, phone number and the style or title of the writer. Email: [email protected]

Due to space constraints, please keep correspondence below 250 words, longer letters may be published online

Irish referendum was won by the media

SIR – Matthew Schmitz (June 8) writes disapprovingly of how abortion has been sanctioned in Ireland by a “democratic” vote, but that vote was undermined from within and without.

The Irish media have been waging an unremitting campaign to introduce abortion. Irish public opinion on the matter has been zealously “groomed”. Anything that promoted abortion was favoured; what didn’t was ignored. A hardcore of abortion supporters drove the agenda. Pro-life journalists were mostly silenced, or silenced themselves. In interviews on the electronic media, pro-abortion views went virtually unchallenged; pro-life opinions were vigorously contested. Politicians who opposed abortion were cowed into a skulking, embarrassed silence; pro-abortion politicians received favourable copy. Politicians, it seemed, couldn’t risk the disfavour of those who control the lifeblood of publicity.

Our sympathies were shamelessly played upon by the media. We were called on endlessly to show “compassion” – for pregnant women, but not the life within them. The realities of abortion could not be openly aired. Catholic voters were told “This is not a black and white issue.” Can killing be anything but “black and white”?

It was implied that the outlook for the health of Irish women in pregnancy was bad. (In 2015, death rates for pregnant women in Ireland were half those in the UK.) George Soros (and doubtless others) financed pro-abortion campaigners. It has not yet emerged (nor is it likely to, if left to Irish journalists) as to which other agencies were insistent on Ireland introducing this referendum and what threats or inducements were made. The only forum with a fair coverage was on social media, but Google decided (at whose prompting?) to stop accepting advertising relating to the referendum.

No, the referendum result was not the product of democracy but of the unelected “mediacracy” and its overweening ability to manipulate both public opinion and public representatives. True democrats should be worried about the process and the future.

John O’Riordan
Dalkey, Republic of Ireland

The ‘infidel’ who set the bar for altruism

SIR – David Alton (Feature, June 15) informs us that one Labour MP told him that he daren’t say what he believes about abortion for fear of retaliation.

I once heard a man who frequently met Labour MPs in the House of Commons tea room say that some of them said they had to speak quietly there, lest their opinions on that matter be overheard by some of their
female colleagues.

He was one of the most morally courageous and altruistic men I ever met. He had given up a highly paid professional career for the impecunious role of a political campaigner, author and writer of pamphlets.

He was of Methodist background, but jokingly declared himself an infidel from a religious point of view. He was a paid-up member of the British Communist Party, and, until he died in 1988, had been for 30 years the editor of the monthly Irish Democrat.

His name was C Desmond Greaves.

If his name and character have not previously been praised in a Catholic publication, please allow me to be the first to try to atone for that sin of omission.

Donal Kennedy
London N13

A beautiful house

SIR – I’m not sure that 462 celibate males affirming the “noble vision” of the importance of eschewing contraception in married life is the best way to make an argument (Letter, June 15). (One is reminded of Kierkegaard’s view of Hegel’s philosophy as “a beautiful house in which no one can live”.)

The Church really must engage with social change if it is to address the lives of those who are of reproductive age today, such as the young Catholics surveyed for the youth synod, many of whom will be living in what used to be called “in sin”, and using contraception. One cannot coherently argue against both abortion and contraception.

Jacqueline Castles
London W2

A plan for the young

SIR – There have been no replies to Lord Hylton’s challenge to readers to suggest strategies to keep young people in the Church. (Letter, May 18).

May I try?

He points out that we live in a very secular society. This we know as we witness how the culture of materialism and unbelief has grown exponentially with 24/7 screen availability and media output.

Lord Hylton also points out the damage done to the priesthood by the abuse scandals. Indeed it has. This small minority, who have behaved so shockingly, have undermined the overall reputations and self-confidence of the many good and faithful priests.

Suggestions of areas to be encouraged:
1) Faith in action. Helping in Lourdes or at L’Arche or similar Catholic foundations.
2) To be aware today that to be a Catholic (or any sort of Christian) is to be counter-cultural. To be prepared to swim against a very strong tide.
3) For dioceses to organise discussion groups based on the Alpha model or similar. East Anglia, where I live, has a youth mission called Ignite for ages 16 to 35, with many activities.
4) To encourage knowledge of the lives of the saints and pray for others, both living and dead.
5) To understand that Our Lord asks for a personal and loving relationship with Him. No other founder of a religion asks for this.
6) To appreciate the many good and hard-working priests.
7) With independence from their parents the young can attend any number of Catholic churches other than in their parish. There are different ways of saying Mass and some might appeal to their spirituality more than others. This is easier in a city than elsewhere.

Julia Ashenden
Woodbridge, Suffolk

The gift of Ronaldo

SIR – To the six Christian players to watch at the World Cup (Feature, June 15), may I add a seventh? Cristiano Ronaldo is often seen as shallow and egotistical, but he credits God for his footballing talents and regularly visits children on cancer wards. His mother has revealed that she considered aborting him. “God didn’t want that to happen,” she has said, “and I was blessed because of that.”

John Reese

At church with Mary

SIR – In Tim Stanley’s tribute to Mary Wilson (June 15), he wrote: “Was she religious? I haven’t been able to find out.”

I was the Anglican rector of the Isles of Scilly from 1982 to 1990, and during the summer months Mary Wilson was a regular attender at the Sunday evening Epilogue service in the Church at Old Town, St Mary’s. Before the service began she used to sit quietly reading from the Ancient & Modern hymn book.

At times she would pop in for a coffee and a chat, and it was clear to me that she was a devout Christian lady.

Peter Woodhall
Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire