Sunday 26 January 2020

Letters to the Editor: 'Vatican’s concordat with Nazis did not make it an ally'

The Vatican. Stock image: Deposit Photos
The Vatican. Stock image: Deposit Photos
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Antony O’Leary (‘Myth of Church’s charity to State persists’, Letters, November 2), in his efforts to portray the Vatican as Hitler’s partner and ally, failed to put the 1933 Concordat into historical context.

The Vatican had previously signed concordats with the individual German states of Bavaria in 1925, Prussia in 1929 and Baden in 1932. Catholics, a minority in Protestant Germany, had suffered significant discrimination in the late 1800s and, before Hitler’s accession to power the Catholic Church had forbidden German Catholics to become members of the Nazi Party under threat of excommunication.

The Vatican had good reason to fear for the wellbeing of Catholics under the Nazi regime. The Concordat did not prevent Pope Pius XI in 1937 from criticising Nazi ideology in his 1937 encyclical ‘Mit brender Sorge’, nor did the Concordat save more than 2,500 Polish Catholic priests from being interned in Nazi concentration camps.

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Germany’s Catholics also vigorously and successfully opposed Hitler’s euthanasia programme.

The history of Europe in the 1930s is very complicated and trying to reduce relations between the Vatican and Nazi Germany to one of the Vatican being the first legal partner of Hitler’s regime does little to reflect the complexity of that era.

Gearoid O Dubhain

Address with editor

FG on another planet if party feels it can trumpet success

Wow, the old grandee Michael Noonan chastises his fellow Fine Gaelers for failing to defend the party’s record in government (‘Michael Noonan hits out at ‘gun-shy’ ministers refusing to defend Government’s record’, Irish Independent, December 5).

Where to start? Let’s begin with some facts.

After almost a decade of Fine Gael governance, 760,000 people live below the poverty line. Of these, 230,000 are children. There are 10,514 people homeless – 3,826 are children. The number of homeless families has increased 380pc since October 2014.

These figures do not include people sleeping rough, people couch-surfing, homeless people in hospitals and prisons, those in direct provision centres and domestic violence refuges.

We have reached a stage whereby children are having to be taught how to crawl and chew properly due to the dire conditions in emergency housing.

In August, a record 564,829 people were awaiting a hospital outpatient appointment. There are 46,949 children waiting to see a paediatrician.

These numbers have grown by an average of almost 7,000 new patients each month since the start of this year.

Such facts alone are enough to drive one to despair – but not, it seems, members of Fine Gael.

Are we to understand, from what Mr Noonan has said, that such statistics are defensible? Could it be possible that in the world in which Fine Gael people reside, these outcomes constitute success or are defensible?

All I can say is, who will rid us of this toxic ideology before it destroys the very fabric of our society?

Jim O’Sullivan

Rathedmond, Co Sligo

Beware the ‘confabulating’ kind in American election

As Mary McAleese brought the word “misogynist” to our attention during her battle with the Vatican several years ago, I feel the word “confabulation” may also become popular during the run-in to the next American presidential election.

In psychology, confabulation is a memory error defined as the production of fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted memories about oneself.

German psychiatrist Karl Bonhoeffer coined the term confabulation in 1900. He used it to describe when a person gives false answers or answers that sound fantastical or made up.

Aidan Hampson

Artane, Dublin 5

Secret self is your real self – and the better part of you

Joseph O’Connor's new novel ‘Shadowplay’ (Eason novel of the year at the An Post Book Awards) has the following startling quote just before the beginning:

“In every being who lives, there is a second self very little known to anyone. You who read this have a real person hidden under your better-known personality, and hardly anyone knows it – it’s the best part of you, the most interesting, the most curious, the most heroic, and it explains that part of you that puzzles us. It is your secret self.” – Edward Gordan Craig (Ellen Terry’s son) from ‘Ellen Terry and Her Secret Self’.

Well, I’ll certainly continue reading the novel. In the meantime, I just thought these amazing words were well worth sharing.

Brian McDevitt

Glenties, Co Donegal

Irish Independent

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