In order to survive, the beleaguered Catholic Church must now try to save itself somehow.


It was heartwarming to read the story of Emma Doran and her daughter Ella (“I was a teenage mum, now I’m a teenage mum”, Irish Independent, June 22).

or women who have had babies out of wedlock, our society has moved from the dark days of mother and baby homes, residential institutions and Magdalen laundries to an era of non-judgment and support.

For the past 20 years or so, our governments have apologized for the failure of the state to provide adequate support to women with children out of wedlock.

However, the church and religious orders never did. In general. Their response to the mistreatment of the women and children in their care has been ungenerous and legalistic (as in the residential appeal system) or simply denied responsibility, as in the Madeleine laundries.

Despite being extremely wealthy, they refused to pay a penny in compensation to the former residents of Magdalene Laundries.

Invariably, when the religious orders that ran these homes are criticized for their treatment of the women and children in their care, they cite the mores of the society at the time and say they are just preying on the problems that society would not take.

But this argument fails to recognize the church’s role in creating and strengthening these mores through the bishops’ influence over politicians and the church’s near-monopoly control over education and health care.

It is deeply ironic that it was only with the huge reduction in the power and influence of the Catholic Church that Ireland finally became a Christian country, as the story of Emma and Elle.

What to do to stop the decline of the church? Connect again with citizens. Accept the primacy of the law of the country in civil matters. The Vatican’s involvement in the National Maternity Hospital decision is a national embarrassment to church and state.

The church should apologize for its past behavior and be generous in settlements with those it has mistreated. The church may lack kindness, but it doesn’t lack money.

It should end compulsory indoctrination in Catholic schools – which at present is clearly not creating enough practicing Catholics or vocations.

Let those who want to stay for religious indoctrination do so, there is nothing to lose. Stop using Church property rights and public funding in Catholic hospitals to deny women of childbearing age routine medical procedures like tubal ligations — a practice that benefits neither hospitals nor the public .

Above all, stop making religion compulsory in any form. It is this constraint which leads to the virtual disappearance of nuns and priests in Ireland.

Anthony O’Leary

Portmarnock, County Dublin

Rights are eroding in the so-called land of the free

The Netherlands has the lowest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe. The abortion rate there is half that of the United States, contraceptive services are widely available and sex education in elementary school and at home for young people is the norm in this bastion of liberal democracy. .

Women are considered strong and very independent.

It is not uncommon to see a Dutch woman riding a bicycle, an umbrella in one hand and an ironing board in the other.

Yet some conservative writers in this Irish publication and others believe the term ‘liberal’ should be belittled or even ridiculed.

They seem emboldened by the latest events in the United States, where they hear Trump and other right-wingers cite God and religion as the reason to overturn Roe v Wade.

Yet in the same country, with a supposedly functioning democracy, an 18-year-old can legally buy high-powered semi-automatic machine guns, countless cartridges, and extinguish the lives of innocent little children in an instant.

Under federal law, that same person cannot be served alcohol until age 21.

Why do women, in particular, vote for these people – mostly men – who adopt these kinds of autocratic policies and deprive them of their own rights to bodily autonomy?

An online survey suggests that many are in the grip of their partners or male colleagues; that misogyny is not purely a male construct.

Others see it as a desire to dominate their marginalized and poorer female counterparts.

Some rail against smug progressives forcing everyone to drink skinny lattes through paper straws.

Pete Buttigieg, former presidential candidate and now US Secretary of Transportation, once said, “The right to religious freedom ends where religion is used as an excuse to harm other people.”

If Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ statement is to be believed, the conservatives are just beginning their hyper-partisan crusade of imposing personal and religious beliefs on others in the land, apparently, of the free.

Thank God we are in Europe.

Tom McElligott

Listowel, County Kerry

Absence ratio of staff to passengers does not add up

The current events at Dublin Airport leave me perplexed.

With so much disruption caused by conscientious employees staying home due to Covid, then surely the same percentage of passengers should be canceling their flights for the same reason and easing

Ray Dunne

Enfield Co Meath

Questions about morbid curiosity are best left unsaid

I was discussing the joyous matter of funeral eulogies with a friend recently. He wisely suggested that sometimes we say better when we say nothing at all.

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9

Send in the elite division to deal with the Garda pest problem

It is surprising that a pest control expert found no trace of the suspected rodent at Garda headquarters (“Rodent with a taste for milk tray among pest problems at Garda headquarters”, Irish IndependentJuly, 1st).

Maybe the gardaí are barking at the wrong tree?

Maybe it’s a KGB mole rather than a loose mouse? If that is the case,
this is surely a job for the elite ranger wing of the army with their high-tech surveillance gadgets.

Or has Defense Minister Simon Coveney already sent them to sweep the aisles and empty the bins at Dublin Airport?

Karl Martin

Dublin 13

How can we stand back while the Taliban is suppressing women?

Unfortunately, for women and girls in Afghanistan, there will never be equality or democracy based on an Islamic ideology that treats them as second-class citizens or uses them only for reproductive purposes. .

That women are denied an education shows an ideology that fears women in charge.

The conference of 3,000 male Taliban figures, without a single woman in sight, tells all there is to know about an Islamic ideology that rejects any form of Western ideology, equality or basic human rights. This kind of insular attitude will only create deep mistrust and division in the months and years to come.

The Taliban want to impose an extreme ideology on a people who have known and tasted freedom for more than two decades.

As with the war in Ukraine, the world is watching that country and its people being denied the rights and freedoms that we all take for granted.

These people have been intimidated once again by a terrorist organization of fanatics.

When will we, as a united front, confront this inequality or will we turn around and talk diplomacy when a population is forced into submission?

Christy Galligan

Letterkenny, County Donegal

All about participation, except against the All Blacks

It is true that winning is not everything. Except, perhaps, when Ireland take on New Zealand.

Hopefully signs of green shoots against the All Blacks.

Ed Toal

Galway City


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