Friday 28 October 2016

The Catholic Church can learn a lot from referendum result

Published 26/05/2015 | 02:30

'Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's suggestion that the Catholic Church must engage in a reality check is timely'
'Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's suggestion that the Catholic Church must engage in a reality check is timely'
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's suggestion that the Catholic Church must engage in a reality check is timely. Clearly, he acknowledges that there is a tension between the church's view of what counts as the human good and that of the great majority of the people of Ireland. The emphasis from now on must be on what the church is learning rather than on what it is teaching.

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Following the teachings of the church does not relieve us of the demands of our inbuilt and God-given intelligence. The church in Ireland, for far too long and by far too many, has been experienced as a domineering and oppressive ruler, repressing the inbuilt human desire to raise questions.

The recent referendum has served the Christian cause well by opening the floodgates of healthy debate and analysis.

Archbishop Martin has hinted before that the institutional church had become paralysed by inward-looking complacency where fidelity was construed as subservient silence.

The church's teaching was assumed to trump the fruits of the exercise of intelligence so that many priests and lay people of good faith were silenced for the expression of reasonable misgivings about the church's dogmatic certainty.

The history of the world, particularly over recent decades, shows relentless progress in our consciousness of freedom, particularly freedom of expression.

A reasonable expectation for all institutions, both secular and religious, is that they be transparent, accountable and open to public scrutiny.

The fear of the emergence of a rampant individualism is ill-founded.

The human imagination seeks to liberate us from sometimes oppressive and unthinking habits of thought.

The world, at times, cries out for the destabilising and dismantling of the way things are, lifting the enveloping haze of indifference to blatant injustice and oppressive dogmatism.

We are not so much in the business of redefining marriage, but of sensitively rethinking our understanding of human sexuality in its diverse manifestation, being willing to subordinate our private biases to the public good.

Philip O'Neill

Oxford, England


Old Ireland is dead and gone

Congratulations to all the people of Ireland for Friday's vote.

It is so emotional and wonderful to know the 19th-century theocracy I emigrated from 39 years ago no longer exits.

Colm Foley

Toronto, Canada


A few points on Eurovision

Following the disappointment of Ireland failing to qualify for the Eurovision final on Saturday night, I offer the following observations.

Sweden won, but Italy should have, nobody really wanted Russia to win, Germany and Austria couldn't even muster up one point between them and the UK's "quirky" song backfired spectacularly.

Meanwhile, the French are in a huff and threatening to pull out, everybody loves Israel again, Latvia and Belgium inexplicably scored over 400 points between them (how?!) and Ireland's and Denmark's best entries in years failed to get out of the semis.

Have I captured Eurovision 2015?

Ken O'Sullivan

Ashbourne, Co Meath


Voting in religious schools

The lead-up to last Friday's referendum on same-sex marriage emphasised equality for all.

Now that the euphoria of the Yes vote has subsided (I was a No voter), I'm wondering if it is fair to voters who cast their votes in schools to be confronted by very obvious displays of denominational religious fervour inside the main door?

If such displays are an example of equality for all, there's a contradiction somewhere.

Brian Mac a' Bhaird

Carraig Mhachaire Rois, Co Mhuineacháin


Music to the ears

Such a happy Monday!

Michelle Savage,

Glendale Park, Dublin 12


March for equality goes on

I am absolutely overwhelmed to be one of the many given the right to marry following the referendum.

I am a proud Irishman and proud of a gracious and big-h#earted people who came out in such numbers.

It has reflected so positively on Ireland around the world and gives us the sort of favourable publicity that money cannot buy.

The campaign proved that there is a wealth of gifted people, many new to campaigning, who have an energy and vision that is truly inspiring.

The march for equality is not a moment in time but an ongoing process and there are currently 4,300 emigrants, including 1,600 children, living in 34 accommodation centres spread across the State.

The centres, which include former hostels, hotels and a mobile home park, are run by private contractors who receive about €50m in State funding annually.

There is no time limit set for resolving their plight.

Would it not also reflect our magnanimity as a people if we could harness some of that vibrant energy we have seen in the referendum campaign in the cause of getting these people justice and resolution?

Donal Fitzgerald

Mallow, Co Cork


In defence of the Rossies

The 2011 census shows we, in Roscommon/South Leitrim, stand alone on many fronts.

In short, we have the oldest population in the country, and the lowest in the key demographic that drove the movement for justice on the moral principle of marriage equality.

Also (as reported elsewhere), just 13pc of our college graduates get their first job in the county, the lowest proportion in the country.

There is no big or even medium industry in the region - the youth depart in higher proportion than anywhere else.

We should thus bear in mind that several thousand young first- generation Rossies - myself, my wife, and my siblings among them (and not forgetting the Leitrimites) - voted in other, more advantaged, parts of the country, mainly, we can assume, in the Dublin suburbs. Had they been born in Limerick, Kildare or Galway, they'd have voted in higher proportion in their home county.

But - put upon as we are in Roscommon - this is not about us, as such.

It's about every living citizen, as well as past and future citizens.

So, up the Rossies. But, first and always, up the Republic.

Tom Hickey

Foxrock, Dublin 18


Loud and proud

The love that dare not speak its name has found its voice.

Be happy, be dignified, be respectful. Ireland has awoken and we can all grow together.

Ed Toal

Galway city

Irish Independent

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