Pride in spiritual legacy

Sir, – Like Emer McLysaght ("I haven't been to a Christmas Mass in years", Magazine, December 24th), my attendance at Mass has become more sporadic over the years and even though no one could defend the church in the wake of the abuse scandals and social control exerted by the church over the years, I found her comment that the church "is packed to the rafters with hypocrites and ignorant bigots" to be unnecessarily harsh and vindictive.

Growing up I had two aunts who, as teaching nuns, devoted their lives to their students, and I followed their lives and careers long after they left their schools.

I had an uncle, a parish priest, a quiet and unassuming man, who was a pastor in the truest sense of that word to his parishioners, and the many letters we received after his death being testament to this.

I was educated by the Salesians, many of whom I remember fondly for their inspirational teaching.


I have met many missionaries over the years who worked in the developing world when this involved considerable hardship and deprivation and, in the absence of air travel and the internet, a life lived in exile.

At home, we have our own “missionaries” like Fr Peter McVerry, Sr Stan, Br Kevin, etc, who have worked for decades in the field of social justice, holding up a mirror to the failings of our society.

I would hate any of the above to read Emer McLysaght’s article and feel that their life’s work in the church was wrapped up in that careless comment. Even though the church as an institution has an uncertain future, these individuals can be proud of their legacy. – Yours, etc,



Co Leitrim.