Ne Temere where are you?

Published in 20th Century Social Perspectives, 20th-century / Contemporary History, Letters, Letters, Volume 8

Sir,—Being a child of the early twentieth century, I was surprised, andat first annoyed, to find the Autumn issue of History Ireland a vehiclefor the setting out of Roman Catholic opinion of itself in the newcentury, with historical justifications from the past. As a, what usedto be condescendingly described in the Ireland of my youth,‘non-Catholic’, I could recognise the religious events described verywell. However, I did not see a reference to the taoiseach and hisministers standing outside St Patrick’s cathedral on the occasion ofthe burial of our first president. Nor to a later taoiseach and hisforeign minister bowing to the wishes of the Roman Catholic hierarchyin a very public way. Nor did I see reference to the decree Ne Temere,which ensured that in the South of Ireland the ‘non-Catholic’ communitywould wither away like a plant watered with weed killer; and in theNorth of Ireland would be nearly as big a divisive foreign body asdenominational education. We must all be tolerant and understanding butthere is no use pretending that certain things didn’t happen. Was theIreland of the priest with the blackthorn stick a better place thanthat of an undisciplined, drug-oriented, self-centred, mé féin, youth?I wonder.—Yours, etc.,


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