Attempt to break silence of confessional

 

Sir, – Bruce Mitchell’s call (Letters, December 18th) for the State to attempt to abrogate the secrecy of the confessional is little more than an intensification of the nascent persecution of the Catholic church increasingly prevalent in so-called liberal western democracies.

Bearing in mind that the priest in confession is merely taking the place of Christ, it is a sinister development that one’s most secret communication with God should be subject to eavesdropping by an increasingly intrusive state.

Similarly, the call for the State to mandate that celibacy be optional is an intrusion into the belief system of the church which would be classed as religious intolerance were it directed at any other faith community.

The Catholic church has weathered many persecutions across many cultures in many ages, from Roman emperors such as Diocletian, to our own penal laws, to French revolution, to Bismarck’s  “kulturkampf”; and numerous other instances.

All these other systems have disappeared in time while the Catholic church has emerged stronger if not triumphant. As Pope Saint John XXIII said, the Catholic church has many enemies, but is itself the enemy of no one. – Yours, etc,

COLM FITZPATRICK,

Castleknock, Dublin 15.