An argument on behalf of the Catholics of Ireland

Published in Issue 5 (September/October 2018), Letters, Volume 26

Sir,—Your last editorial (HI 26.4, July/August 2018) provides an interesting summary of the evolution of Irish society and its relationship with Catholicism. From a position of being overly deferential towards Catholicism, the majority of Irish people have now gone full circle and adopted a child-like, naïve faith in secularism. Much thinking in this country is now predicated on the principle—‘If the Church is for it, I’m agin it’. Which is not too serious, until one comes to a life-and-death issue like abortion, where the stakes couldn’t be higher. Embracing liberty and taking positions independent of your religious leaders may sound very daring, but if it’s merely rejecting religion for an uncritical secularism then we are in even worse trouble. What happens if your religious leaders are right? For example, in 1933 the Catholic bishops in Germany preached strongly against voting for the Nazis. The vast majority of secular and Protestant Germans rejected this advice and ‘embraced liberty’ by voting for the Nazis. The two predominantly Catholic states of Germany, Bavaria and Rhineland-Westphalia, took the bishops’ advice and voted overwhelmingly against the Nazis. On a broader picture, any study of history will show that secularism is the primary cause of war and societal mayhem. Secularism always fails to learn the lessons of its own past. Thus the rejection of religion by the French Revolution resulted in the Reign of Terror. The twentieth century brought us those other great secularists the National Socialists and their international socialist rivals in Russia. Both had their roots in the anti-Christian secularist philosophies of Nietzsche and Marx. Neither of them resulted in heaven on earth. Essentially secularism holds the past in contempt and is obsessed with the intellectual fads and fashions of its own time. The evidence is blatantly obvious—secularism in any of its guises is deadly. So cast off Catholicism by all means, but be very careful what you put in its place.—Yours etc.,

ERIC CONWAY

 

Sir,—When I first saw the headline of your last editorial (HI 26.4, July/August 2018), I was both surprised and delighted … until I read the piece. The Catholic Church certainly has lost influence in Ireland but this recent vote has been a deep wound to Ireland’s humanity. This is not a ‘Catholic issue’ but a human issue. This vote has dealt a devastating blow to the sanctity and dignity of human life, which has been the glory of Irish tradition since she embraced the Christian faith. Even Tone’s ‘secular vision’ would recoil in horror at the thought of killing unborn Irish children and wounding their mothers in the name of ‘compassion’. True freedom, like true compassion, can never be divorced from the true and the good.—Sincerely in the Heart of Christ,

Dr TIMOTHY O’DONNELL
President, Christendom College
VA, USA

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