Sir, – Your headline over Breda O'Brien's column is seriously incorrect ("All the Sisters of Charity achieved was ramping up anti-Catholicism", Opinion & Analysis, May 21st).
Many of us who were baptised as Catholics as babies, but have since moved on to agnosticism on religion, know many kind-hearted practising Catholics, lay and clerical, and appreciate their contribution to society.
We have no objection to Catholicism as such. A Catholic is as much entitled to believe in Jesus as a Muslim is entitled to believe in the writings of the Prophet.
What many of us find incomprehensible is that the Catholic Church seems to be unable to accept that the days when they could use State funding and laws to impose their teachings on the populace in general are coming to an end.
Essentially, nowadays, the Catholic Church is relying on its property rights to impose its moral view on our citizens – in our State-funded Catholic schools, where a third of parents would prefer a non-denominational education for their children, and in our State-funded Catholic hospitals, where the vast majority have publicly, through recent referendums, rejected the Catholic Church’s position on sexuality, reproduction and marriage.
Reliance on property rights to promote moral values is doomed to failure – as can be seen by the collapse in religious practice in the home, the collapse in attendance at Mass, and empty seminaries and convents.
It really is time for the Catholic bishops and religious orders to accept that the days of compulsory religion are gone and the use of their property rights to impose their moral views are simply accelerating the demise of genuine, individual Catholicism in Ireland. – Yours, etc,