Future of the Catholic Church
Madam, – I take exception to the insulting tone of your Editorial (May 12th). It is a travesty to describe the many hundreds of thousands of still-faithful Irish Catholics as people “accustomed to being told to pray and pay”.
We do have minds of our own, and have worked out for ourselves that churches are expensive to heat, and that priests need an income to support themselves; and we rather take for granted that prayer is important and necessary. Most of us would say, also, that we get excellent value from the church. The overwhelming majority of our priests are good and faithful servants. Some foolish journalists may suggest otherwise, but practising Catholics know that their priests are men of faith and not interested in either power or money.
I do not know a single fellow-Catholic who seeks to deny or cover up the failures of the church in the area of child sexual abuse. What we would like, however, is that the media would stop this endless recycling of events from many years ago, and would pay some attention to current instances of abuse. We are prepared to make reparation to victims, quietly and without fuss, but we are uneasy when even the sacraments are seen by victims as opportunities to protest their grievances.
For the rest of this letter I speak only on my own behalf. I think Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was correct to co-operate fully with the Murphy report, but that he has been misguided in his subsequent reliance on the media to push for church reform. I regard the media as enemies, not friends, of the church. Rightly or wrongly, I feel that Dr Martin is letting faithful Catholics down every time he is portrayed in the media as a hero who alone is concerned for justice and reform. – Yours, etc,