Separating church and state


Sir, – David O’Shea (May 17th) asserts that “church and state are already separate in law”. The Constitution makes it clear that this is far from being the case. “God” is the ultimate source of all authority in the State (Art.6.1). The President (Art.12.8) and judges (Art.34.5.1) on their assumption of office must do so publicly “in the presence of Almighty God ” whom they ask to “direct and sustain” them. Moreover, the constitutional prohibition on blasphemy (Art. 40.6.1.i) implies the State’s acceptance of the existence of a deity.

Above all, Mr O’ Shea’s assertion about separation is flatly contradicted by Art.44.1. whereby “the State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God”.

Mr O’Shea’s contention that the Preamble to the Constitution, while “explicitly Christian”, is not “narrowly Roman Catholic”, is also unsustainable. In a key phrase, the Irish people “humbly” acknowledge “all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial”. Here, the Catholic nation is clearly depicted as struggling for “centuries” against its Protestant and English oppressor. – Yours, etc,