Mary McAleese and the church


Sir, – While I empathise with Mrs McAleese, I would implore her not to leave the Catholic Church, despite the latest shocking revelations (“McAleese threatens to leave the Catholic Church”, News, March 4).

The Catholic Church needs her, and we need her.

Intellect, expertise and a voice of reason are crucial, now more than ever before. – Yours, etc,



Co Kerry.

Sir, – I regret, but fully understand, former president Mary McAleese’s threatening to leave the Catholic Church if it transpires that the Holy See failed to protect women associated with L’Arche Community from the sexual transgressions of Fr Thomas Philippe and Jean Vanier.

As these crimes were committed in an era when the Catholic Church was villainously irresponsible in dealing with its sexual predators, the chances are that Mrs McAleese may have to follow through with her warning.

For many of us who are just about holding with the church, despite all the revelations and betrayals, this would not only be regrettable but further disempowering because she is one of the few who has the integrity and credibility to call the church to account in this modern era. She thereby minimises its facility to recommit the offences of the past, among other empowering benefits for a concerned laity.

No doubt there is a coterie at the highest echelons especially in Rome who would like to see “the back of her”. So, both on their account and on the account of the “hanging on” members, perhaps she may reconsider. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – As one of your oldest readers, I would like to comment on the report in your paper that former president Mary McAleese has written to Pope Francis about possibly leaving the Catholic Church for a number of good reasons.

I left the church at the time of the Tuam babies scandal, but did not see any need to involve the Pope. I merely wrote to my local priest.

I left, and I will tick the “no religion” box in the next census. However, I see no merit in the suggestion by Lorcan Roche (Letters, March 5th) for women to “establish their own church”.

Why not just try a different one, such as the Church of Ireland or the Presbyterians? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.