Voting and sinning


Sir, – I was quite surprised at the simplistic nature of Bishop Kevin Doran’s statement that Catholic Yes voters should consider going to confession. As a theologian, the bishop is surely aware that conscience and Catholic teaching has long been a matter for debate and tension within the church and among theologians. Thomas Aquinas tells us that even an erring conscience is binding, and then there is Cardinal Newman’s often-quoted “I shall drink to the Pope, if you please, still, to conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards”.

Catholics whose conscientious decision was to vote Yes have nothing to confess. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.

Sir, – I wonder whether, if I had voted Yes in the recent referendum but did so with a “mental reservation”, would the Bishop of Elphin still consider that I had sinned. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 18.

Sir, – May I plead with the Bishop of Elphin, Dr Kevin Doran, to put emergency measures in place to cope with the forthcoming rush on confessions for the vast swathes of Catholics who voted Yes?

With the anticipated rush, security, medical facilities, soup kitchens, sleeping bags, tents, etc, will be required for those having a crisis of conscience, following his spiritual guidance.

We know that sinners we will be treated with compassion.

I am sorting my all-weather gear, and have organised a professional “queuer” to hold my place. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – Full marks for the marketing masterclass from Bishop Kevin Doran, who said that Catholics that voted Yes in the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment should consider going to confession.

It reminds me of those General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) emails that poured into my inbox last last week offering an opportunity to continue to receive the brand message, yet under the guise of a concern about my personal data also took advantage of the communication to direct me to their latest products and services online.

Who says the Catholic Church does not move with the times! – Yours, etc,


Donnybrook, Dublin 4.

Sir, – Is it to remind all those who voted Yes to go to confession that so many No posters are still up? – Yours, etc,



Co Meath.