Religious orders and school lands

 

Sir, – The Bishop of Ferns recently spoke of the “hostility people feel towards the church in general” (News, June 12th).

Your pages have recently highlighted the attempts of two religious orders to deprive young people of school sports facilities. If this were not enough to work against the public good, there were the less than edifying business methods employed. In the case of the Christian Brothers and lands at Clonkeen College, negotiations with developers were conducted behind closed doors for about a year before anything was known to the public. Quite apart from the ethics of this proposal, the Christian Brothers lacked the honesty, the business decency and good manners to inform the school board of management, the principal, the parents or the local community.

What idea will the boys in that college form about religious orders or churchmen in general? Are boys in that school expected to see the actions of the Christian Brothers as “Christian”? Are they expected to see in the dealings of the Christian Brothers and the Edmund Rice Schools Trust an ideal business model? Are they to apply these methods when, in years to come, they contribute to Irish society? Or will they turn their backs on an increasingly out-of-touch church where they see only hypocrisy?

And the bishop complains of “hostility”. – Yours, etc,

JIM BYRNE,

Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – I suggest that The Irish Times should add a “Religious Property” section to its portfolio to help religious orders get the best possible price for their fields and buildings. – Yours, etc,

ULTAN Ó BROIN,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.