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Life can be lived without religion

Ray Behan has built a wall around himself in assuming the Catholic Church has imprisoned him and refuses to grant him his freedom from what he experiences as its shackles ('Catholic Church must set us free', Letters, October 19).

This seems to be the way many disillusioned Catholics experience their relationship with the church.

One does not need the permission of anybody to follow the dictates of one's conscience. However, one must be prepared to take the consequences of one's actions. Mr Behan should not feel obliged to make a public plea for liberation.

Mr Behan is more than adequately covered by the law.

The Constitution guarantees freedom of worship and forbids the State from creating an established church.

Mr Behan does not have to seek the permission of either church or State to live his life according to his newfound beliefs.

It is a shame that many Catholics confuse the institution of the church, which clearly needs reforming, with the community of those who believe in God, often moving from devout Catholicism to aggressive atheism, bypassing some intermediate stage of thoughtful reflection.

Philip O'Neill

Irish Independent