We must honour our religion
AS a Catholic I must comment on the outpouring of criticisms of my church in recent days.
The physical and sexual abuse of children by so many religious has once again dominated the headlines. It seems that the children who were abused are being used as "stepping stones" by some in our society who wish to damage the church.
The priests, bishops and the rest of the hierarchy are respected and honoured by us Catholics, not for who they are but for what they represent. They are the figureheads of our church.
If individual priests or bishops -- or even the Pope -- are guilty of sins, we still honour the office that they hold.
History tells us that there were many bad popes, or even downright evil popes, but this has not prevented the church from thriving over many centuries. In Ireland, after the foundation of our new state, those in government effectively handed over the running of our education and health systems to the church.
Can anyone deny that on balance, we, in the main, were well-served by the church in these two areas of our society?
I, for example, would not have had a secondary education were it not for the Christian Brothers and there are many, many thousands like me.
Where are the voices of those who benefited from the goodness of the church now, when their support is needed?
I am not, in any way, trying to downplay the horrors that the little ones suffered at the hands of the clergy.
I have a large family myself and six grandchildren and I cannot imagine what I would feel if any of them had been abused. But I feel that the other side of the story must also be told.
Celbridge, Co Kildare