A trip back to the 1950s?


Sir, – Fintan O’Toole appears to have had a very long weekend (“State has taken a bizarre trip back to the 1950s”, Opinion & Analysis, May 11th).

He is clearly as confused about what constitutes the Catholic Church as most of those who see themselves as opinion formers. The church is anyone and everyone who has been baptised, confirmed and who may – and, increasingly may not – have attended Mass.

But, so as long as it is perceived to be a “them”, a bunch of guys in long black frocks, then a target is easier to identify.

It may well be that there is some confusion in public life, in a period of tense and occasionally, and unnecessarily, vituperative public debate.

It is disappointing to the liberal elite that much of the very good work done by the very many cannot be wished away; but it did happen. The church – and in particular of course those who have suffered – has been badly let down by the actions of those from it had a right to expect much more.

However, I don’t see the absence of Christianity as likely to add to the quality of public decision-making. There is enough dog-eat-dog in the world, with binary special interests vying for supremacy in control of wealth and resources, and increasingly in policing what we can think and say.

What we need is for Christians to behave as Christians. If they all did, our debates would be taking place in a more restrained and generous manner, where we were focused more on outcomes. Divide and rule comes in many forms. – Yours,etc,


Downpatrick, Co Down .

Sir, – I agree with Fintan O’Toole’s view that we are witnessing a return to the mentality of 1950s Ireland (Opinion & Analysis, May 9th). However, I think he fails to recognise the core issue, which is the rise in censorious scapegoating, of which much of his recent writing has been at the vanguard. – Yours, etc,


Carnew, Co Wicklow.