Since the recent revelations about the mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway, we have heard many voices seeking to remind us that the religious did not act alone in their persecution of unmarried mothers and their children, but rather conspired with the State and the families of these women.
This reader suspects that these are the same voices that were quick to inform us that most sexual abuse happens in the home.
Both assertions are true, and both succeed in missing the point entirely.
Religious institutions should not be judged by comparison with the behaviour of other sections of society, but by comparison with the ethos they claim to espouse.
For decades, the dominant Catholic Church sermonised from pulpits and palaces, telling people how to behave in every aspect of their lives and condemning those who failed to live up to its exacting standards, while behind closed doors, it brutalised the most vulnerable of society and sought to cover up scandals as quickly as they arose.
It is this self-righteous arrogance and deep hypocrisy that fuels the anger that is directed towards this Church.
No amount of deflection is going to ease the hurt and sense of betrayal that many people feel to this day.
Navan, Co Meath
Kindness eased pain of dog's death
I wanted to tell your readers about something that happened this past Sunday.
Our dog got away from me in the park. She seemingly got lost and tried to work her way back home, when she was hit on the road. By the time I got up to her, there must have been 10 people around her, trying to comfort her. Someone had got her some water, and one woman actually took off her coat and made a little bed for the pup to rest in.
Unfortunately, the injuries were too much for her, as she had a weak heart.
Whilst we are very sad, one thing I will take away from this experience is the kindness of these anonymous people; strangers who took the time to stop and try to help an injured animal.
I wish to thank them all for their kindness. I will not forget. There are good people out there, despite all the doom and gloom in the news. I know our little Lulu is smiling at you somewhere.
Patrick E Rudden
Booterstown, Co Dublin
Full-face veil blocks communication
Whatever people think about the simple headscarf, I admire the European countries that are upholding their values of liberty, fraternity and equality by banning the full-face veil in public.
The reason for a full-face veil is to hide oneself in public. This is an uncommunicative act, an act of withdrawal from the public sphere. Once we lose the ability to communicate openly, we are losing some of our humanity. It takes the whole of your face to communicate fear, love, sadness, respect, horror, disgust or compassion.
It bothers me that children might be taught by someone wearing a full-face veil. It seriously bothers me that a judge or juror could dispense judgment from behind a veil.
Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin
Voting rights and the diaspora
In a club or organisation, if annual dues are not paid, voting rights are withdrawn.
It is therefore a completely nonsensical proposal by soon-to-depart Taoiseach Enda Kenny - a man who is being very generous with taxpayers' money, knowing that he'll be sitting back watching his successors clean up the mess - for Ireland to waste more than a million euro in holding a referendum to bring 2in voting rights in presidential elections for Irish people living abroad.
These expatriates are no longer an asset to the Irish economy - ie, they are no longer paying their dues. These citizens are now supporting other countries with their taxes and should not need any say in Ireland's presidency - a totally unnecessary extravagance - when those who were not fortunate enough to go to work in a more prosperous country still have to struggle on through all this austerity, which has by no means gone away.
Drogheda, Co Louth
It is indeed worthwhile to extend the voting franchise to the diaspora. If nothing else, it will widen the civic gene pool, as the existing parties will not be able to media-manage such a disparate electorate.
However, just to invert the battle cry of the American War of Independence: no representation without taxation.
If they are Irish and pay tax, then no issue. If it's good enough for us, then it should be the same for everyone.
Tullamore, Co Offaly
Irony of a far-left 'Solidarity'
I find it deeply ironic that the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) has rebranded itself as 'Solidarity'.
The original Solidarity movement, led by the great Lech Walesa, was a principled and brave movement which played a key role in liberating Poland from the oppression of communism, in both political and economic terms.
Thanks to the work of Solidarity, Poland in effect moved from a statist economy to a free-market one. Adding to the irony is the fact that the original Solidarity trade union movement was (unlike the AAA) closely allied to Catholic social teaching, with Lech Walesa himself being staunchly opposed to abortion, unlike the communist dictators whom he helped to topple.
The AAA, on the other hand, is the closest thing that Dáil Éireann has to a hard left.
When it comes to placings on the Irish political spectrum, the AAA is firmly on the far-left, and, in my opinion, would be a disaster for the country if given the keys to Government Buildings or real leverage in Dáil Éireann.
John B Reid
Monkstown, Co Dublin
Loose heel's fine timing
There was a news report yesterday regarding an inebriated woman who got stuck in her high heels on a German railway track as a train sped towards her.
Luckily, the train stopped just in time.
This reminded me of the "alternative take" on a Kenny Rogers song, 'You Picked A Fine Time To Leave Me, Loose Heel'.
Beaumont, Dublin 9