Anti-Catholic views and sentiments

Sir, – David Thunder claims that Irish Catholics are painted as "simpletons, intolerant bigots or religious fanatics" by liberals ("Irish Catholics are not simpletons, intolerant bigots or religious fanatics", Opinion & Analysis, October 17th). It would seem that your columnist fails to understand what liberalism actually entails.

In a secular republic such as ours, Catholics, along with every other religious group, should be free to believe and worship as they see fit. They are entitled to be respected. However, no belief is inherently worthy of respect, regardless of the sincerity with which it is held. No belief is above criticism. We are free to ask questions. We are free to comment. We are free to criticise. The days of unquestioning deference to a particular religious grouping are gone. The withdrawal of same does not constitute persecution. – Yours, etc,




Co Leitrim.

Sir, – Contrary to what David Thunder argues, I don’t believe that there is a culture of disrespect for Catholic values per se or for those who live their lives conscientiously in accordance with such values.

Most people, however, now reject – and have scorn for – the idea that these values should be imposed by legislative or other means on those who do not share them. That is very different from disrespecting the values themselves, and it shows respect for other values just as we expect – and are entitled to expect – Catholic values to be respected. Tolerance should be reciprocal. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 18.

Sir,– As one who has been an Irish publicly disparaged Catholic for many decades, I found David Thunder’s analysis fine in many respects but superficial in a significant respect.

He doesn’t identify the particular Irish people who so disparage. My ongoing analyses tell me that mainly they are baptised Catholics who don’t attend Mass to listen, reflect and petition. They now account for about 70 per cent of baptised Catholics nationwide and about 90 per cent in Dublin. They account for similar percentages of the population overall in this part of Ireland.

Their disparagement is rooted in unawareness.

Few if any have, for example, read and reflected on the 2,865 paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church issued in 1992. It updated Catholicism after allowing for the decrees of Vatican II. That unawareness makes them feel insecure when they encounter Catholic views. So they take refuge in disparagement.

The situation is as simple as that. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.