Letters to the Editor: Mary McAleese playing to the gallery with remarks on the Church

Readers respond to the former president's comments about the Catholic Church, while others reflect on remarks made by President Michael D Higgins about Israel's actions in Gaza
Letters to the Editor: Mary McAleese playing to the gallery with remarks on the Church

Mary McAleese receiving an honorary degree at Trinity College Dublin to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. File picture: Maxwells

I am really perplexed by comments made in Rome by our former president, Mary McAleese. In her speech to the ‘alternative’ Synod, she lambasted the Church’s failure to uphold the “inalienable and indivisible human rights” of each member. Then at the follow-up press conference, Ms McAleese castigated the Church’s support of the right-to-life provision of the Constitution, citing the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar.

Sometimes it seems to me that such outbursts, ridiculing the Church, are fuelled more by playing to the gallery than praying to God. Sometimes we can become so fixated with our demands for equality, that we become blind to life’s eternal significance.

It’s so reminiscent of that Gospel passage where Jesus visited the sisters of Lazarus; Martha was in ‘complaint mode’, demanding structural reform of the catering work while her sister Mary persisted in prioritising listening to Jesus.

I hope the Synod called by Pope Francis will likewise listen and obey God.

Invariably, being a Christian involves letting go of many good things — including our own way of seeing things — in order to receive even greater gifts from God, which allow us to live with that attitude of gratitude and generosity so essential to a vibrant Church.

Gearóid Duffy, Lee Road, Cork

Who cares about irrelevant Church?

Mary McAleese continues to vent her spleen ad nauseum about her perceived lack of equality and oppressive laws in the Catholic Church — ‘Equality is a right, not a favour’ ( Irish Examiner, October 13).

Given the growing irrelevance of the church and its recently divulged toxic and destructive history, does anybody really care, least of all the vast majority of those of the younger more enlightened generation?

John Leahy, Wilton, Cork

McAleese criticism offends the elderly

Peter Declan O’Halloran may have a point, suggesting Mary McAleese “uses a scatter-gun approach” in attacking the Catholic Church — 'Nothing new in Mary McAleese’s comments on the Church' ( Irish Examiner, October 17).

But regardless of what one thinks of the church, it is extraordinary, given Ms McAleese’s education and life experience, that she seems not to realise the deep offence and hurt she sometimes causes, particularly to our elderly.

Jim O’Sullivan, Rathedmond, Sligo 

Dublin airport needs to cop on

It's funny the things you notice when you’re out and about. I was in Dublin Airport the other day and I saw a man in a garda uniform with “police” on it, then when I went to the Aer Lingus check-in machine, I’m confronted with a union flag smiling up at me, I was momentarily confused as I thought I had some sort of blip and unknowingly reached my destination — Heathrow.

Dublin Airport is a state-owned facility and you’d imagine if any flag were to be on display it would be the tricolour?

Anyway, I spotted the “policeman” coming past and decided to have the craic with him: “Excuse me, sir, I’m just wondering why you’ve got that ‘police’ lettering displayed on your back and not ‘garda’?”

He adopts a crossed-arm position, leans back, looks up at me, and begins to explain that it’s for the many visitors who go through the airport who may not understand what “garda” means. "We only have authority inside the airport perimeter," he further explains.

I've been in many airports and I’ve seen many variations such as Germany’s Polizei or Bundespolizei. In Italy, it’s Polizia di Stato or Carabinieri. In France, it’s Police Nationale or Gendarmerie. So why isn’t Dublin Airport security called “police Gaelach”? 

I then asked the man what he thought of the union flag on the check-in machines rather than the tricolour. He laughed and said he’d been working there for 20 years and never noticed it.

I’m just wondering if there are any other travellers out there as curious about such things as I am because when I checked out the same machines in Heathrow there was neither sight nor sound of a union flag on any of them, a case of stranger than fiction.

James Woods, Gort an Choirce, Dún na nGall

President is right about Gaza

Our politicians are not happy with our President, Michael D Higgins, expressing an opinion. Over 55% of the electorate voted for him. His criticism of Ursula Von Der Leyen’s blinkered blanket support for Israel was correct. Israeli aircraft are committing wholesale genocide in bombing Gaza. 

Israel illegally ordered over 1m Palestinians out of Gaza and bombed the area, killing over 3,000residents with nowhere to go to, nor means of escaping. Israel shut off electricity and water, and will not allow outside agencies to send in medicines and food. 

Gaza is only a distraction from what is going on in the West Bank. There are over 100 illegal outposts in the West Bank. In total over 450,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem, with an additional 220,000 Jewish settlers residing in East Jerusalem. 

Additionally, over 25,000 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights. As far as I can see, Israel wants all Palestinians in Gaza and the West bank to become refugees in other countries, joining millions of other Palestinian refugees around the world. Time to take note and stop this inhuman treatment.

John Fair, Castlebar, Co Mayo

Michael D captures pulse of the nation

Once again President Michael D Higgins captures the pulse of the nation and offers guidance, this time to an unelected EU Commission president and to the Taoiseach, both of whom should know better.

Long may he continue to offer free moral guidance to national and world leaders in these dangerous times of increased terror, warmongering, militarisation and threats to Ireland’s neutrality.

Jim Roche, Irish Anti-War Movement, Dublin

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