Letters to the Editor: Nothing new in Mary McAleese's comments on the Church

One reader challenges Mary McAleese's comments about the Catholic Church, while others consider issues including the conflict in the Middle East
Letters to the Editor: Nothing new in Mary McAleese's comments on the Church

Former president Mary McAleese with Patrick Kielty on the first episode of the 61st series of the Late Late Show. Picture: RTÉ

Mary McAleese uses a “scattergun” approach in her latest attack on Catholic Church teaching. Speaking at the Spirit Unbounded conference in Rome, Dr McAleese lists what she describes as the failings of the Church, including issues of “human rights, outdated … governance, inequality, restricted … freedoms of expression, opinion, conscience and religion”. She also refers to the church as “un-Christian”.

It’s obvious that in Dr McAleese’s world, nothing is sacred. Or perhaps “all’s fair...in war”?

I would have thought that, given her background in Belfast, and all that encompassed for her on a personal level, that “open hostility” was not the way forward? 

Dialogue, which Dr McAleese implored in Northern Ireland’s Troubles on many occasions, could be the only solution in any conflict. Further, Dr McAleese rolls out the usual tropes regarding the Catholic Church — “misogynistic, homophobic, judgmental, sexist”.

Nothing new there, of course, but, as mentioned, every “failing” associated with the Church. Perhaps Dr McAleese regards the “dialogue” emanating from such a failed entity not worthy of discussion.

Peter Declan O’Halloran, Belturbet, Co Cavan

Reductive view of dementia

Terry Prone, ('Who is protecting the privacy of vulnerable people, or the dead?', Irish Examiner, October 16) while calling for protection of the privacy of deceased or vulnerable people, such as those with Alzheimer’s, suggests that people suffering from dementia are not sentient (“Iris Murdoch’s previously obscure husband achieved a saintly revenge for her flagrant infidelity to him when she was sentient.”)

This is reductive, insensitive and, not to put too fine a point on it, ignorant. People with dementia, even in the later stages, are still capable of feelings and emotions.

Anyone suffering cognitive decline is fully deserving of privacy, as Ms Prone suggests, but in addition deserves respect, dignity and not to be belittled or written off.

Your columnist should choose her words more carefully.

Bernie Linnane, Dromahair, Co Leitrim

Time to recognise Israel’s apartheid

Mick Clifford criticises the overwhelming solidarity that so many people in Ireland feel with the people of Palestine, saying that “if you didn’t know better you would think that the outrage which had sparked this latest phase in the conflict originated with the Israelis” ('Too simplistic to say Israel-Hamas war is a good versus evil conflict', IrishExaminer.com, Sunday October 15).

He is keen to contextualise the Israeli state’s dispossession and subjugation of Palestinians — which he admits amounts to apartheid — but when it comes to the inevitable anti-colonial retaliation of Palestinian fighters, his analysis reads as though history began just over a week ago.

I agree that “understanding and explaining is the only way to begin some attempt to arrive at a just accommodation”.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and prominent Israeli human rights body B’Tselem have released reports which thoroughly document the apartheid regime that the Israeli state has imposed on the Palestinian people.

The Irish Government cannot dispute the facts, but have, as yet, refused to use the term “apartheid” to describe them.

Now, as over a million Palestinians leave their homes for the last time, and as medical professionals frantically attempt to move incubator-bound babies and intensive care patients to overstretched hospitals further from the Israeli military onslaught, our political leaders must urgently recognise Israel’s apartheid regime for what it is, and to respond accordingly.

Brian Ó Éigeartaigh, Donnybrook, Dublin 4

Not condemning is condoning

Yet again Mick Clifford has made an important point. I wholeheartedly agree with him. He is, as I understand it, condemning moral equivalence, often referred to as “whataboutery”.

It conceals an underbed of callousness towards what Susan Sontag described as “the pain of others”. Let’s keep it simple guys; if you don’t condemn or do so with a proviso, you are actually condoning.

Are we allowed to say this is unspeakable action, that at every level it must be fought and quashed every time and wherever it occurs? Or is your world so binary, to use a fashionable term some might warm to, that we only condemn selectively and thus condone, as and when it suits us? 

There is a simple basic principle at stake: Do you consider all humans equal or are some deserving of more than others? I condemn Hamas. I condemn terrorism, just as I condemn the Kremlin’s genocidal war against Ukraine

I feel for the suffering of Palestinians as well as for how again and again, this time on a gigantic scale, Hamas is cowardly using the Gaza Strip as a human shield of civilians. With no “ifs” and “buts”. Wrongdoing is wrongdoing.

David Brancaleone, Glasheen, Co Cork

There is no military solution to war

Israeli historian Ilan Pappé once described Israel’s 17-year long siege of Gaza as a slow genocide.

Israel is now using the excuse of the Hamas attack to accelerate this genocide, a policy openly supported by the US, EU and other western powers. The killing by Israel of thousands of Gazan civilians, including over 700 children so far, and the forced displacement and ethnic cleansing of over 1,000,000 Gazans, who have literally nowhere to go, are blatant war crimes.

The revenge onslaught only assures death, injury and destruction for tens of thousands of Palestinians.

Israel’s vengeful attack could in fact make Hamas stronger and create a wider war in the region. What do the Israeli military strategists think will become of the thousands of Gazan children, many of whom have already endured four wars, when they reach fighting age?

There is no military solution to the Israeli Palestinian war. The Irish Government must strongly condemn this escalated genocide and call for an immediate ceasefire.

Any ensuing negotiations must address the root cause of the decades long violence which is the continued subjugation of the Palestinian people by successive Israeli governments, informed by supremacist and racist ideologies.

Jim Roche, Irish Anti-War Movement, PO Box 9260, Dublin 1.

McEntee’s divisive ‘dog-whistling’

It was extraordinary to Justice Minister Helen McEntee repeat the oft-used derogatory remark on the RTÉ The Week in Politics programme that the citizens who will enjoy gains from the taxation changes in Budget 2024 are the cohort that “pays for everything”.

You cannot live in Ireland, regardless of income, and not contribute to Government coffers.

Her comments are nothing other than vile and divisive dog-whistling and she must either remove herself from high office or be removed.

Jim O’Sullivan, Rathedmond, Co Sligo

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