RIGHTLY or wrongly, the Catholic church in both parts of Ireland gives the outward impression of not only condoning violence, but of actually giving it protection.
I know the Primate of Ireland has condemned violence on all sides, but we also know that his feelings lean to the movenient of a united Ireland. And by supporting that aim he is giving credence to the violence that it a daily occurence in the North.
Is is right that the Church give the hunger strikers a Catholic burial? The Church says that if there is the slightest element of doubt then a Christian burial must be given. But there is no doubt at all — these perpetrators of violence have deliberately taken their own lives.
Is there really a difference between someone who commits suicide inside prison and someone who commits the same act by taking an overdose or drugs? Does teh political aim justify that element of doubt to give a Christian burial?
Rather than contact the Prime Minister asking her not to allow another death should not the primate be going into the streets himself and asking his own people to lay down their arms.?
Whetehr the Cardinal is speaking to Mrs Thatcher as an Irishman in his appeals or riot. he is a public figure. and as such is seen to be speaking on behalf of Catholics, I am ashamed to belong to the Catholic Church when I am convinced that were it not for the protection given by the Catholic Church on both sides of the border a settlement might be made that much easier. Feelings run high, whichever side of the religious fence one is on. There were, and still are, many injustices against Catholic people in the North, but violence breeds violence. and the Church must preach from the pulpit that for every killing that takes place, another one will occur to justify the first killing.
Am I alone in thinking this. or do I not understand my religion?
Over Norton Christopher Ambury Oxfordshire MY FEELING forthe people of Northern Ireland — especially those who are starving themselves to death for a false cause — is a great sorrow at their ignorance, not only of themselves, but of Christ — who they profess to worship —their neighbours and of love itself. A Christian is a Christian whether he is a Catholic. or one of the various denominations of Protestants. and they should see in each other that which is of Christ. He did not die for nothing. He died that the sins of all of us should be forgiven. The solution to the problems of Ulster are simple when only words on , paper are used, but very difficult in practise. and this is where the Churches come in.
Peace is a word that should be emphasised from all pulpits, and without conditions, let the clergy start and teach the people all over again about the 10 Commandments and the teachings of Christ, let them also teach by example. first of all by having nothing to do with politics, and this goes especially for that Reverend Protestant gentleman, and make sure that all para-military organisations are not only disarmed but disbanded.
Men, women and children must stop thinking of themselves as Catholics, and Protestants, but as Ulster men and women. it.'certainly won't stop them from being a Catholic or a Protestant, and their Chruches will still welcome you.
When you start being Christians, you will find that your neighbour is very much like yourself, he wants to go to work, he also wants to go out to a football match and enjoy a drink in his local — which he isn't able to do at the moment — and his womenfolk also want to be able to go out and do their shopping in peace, and it won't concern them whether the owner of the shop is a Catholic or a Protestant. and above all, the children will be able to enjoy each other at school and in the playing-fields.
T. Wilkinson Jersey
RECENTLY I dropped in at St Peter's Cornhill and joined a group of Christians in prayer about the situation in Ireland. A latecomer then Spoke to us: "I heard what you said; there is one man who can bring peace to Ireland.He said nothing more. and we just prayed quietly. Unfortunately, he had already departed when I came to leave the Church, but as I went outside, I looked up and right above the dome, on the top of the spirelet. were the keys of St Peter, in gold.
Fr Michael Aust Wimbledon