God and the Constitution

Published date23 March 2023
Publication titleIrish Times: Web Edition Articles (Dublin, Ireland)
Fintan O'Toole has every right to disagree with matters to do with religion, and the Catholic Church, just as he has a right to be critical of policies and actions of the Government of this State, as I do myself. What is out of place is the derision and ridicule with which he expresses it. He wrote (March 21st), "I hope I sloughed off in my early teens the hatreds I imbibed as a child of Catholic Ireland: of Protestants, queers . . . and communists." It seems he replaced those "hatreds" with an alternative bitterness and anger

I too am a child of Catholic Ireland. Growing up in my family, and in the years in primary and secondary school with the Christian Brothers in Synge Street, and in my parish then and in the intervening years, I had no experience of imbibing the hatreds he speaks of. Whatever is at the root of his bitterness, it is sad that it still expresses itself in insulting language.

As it happens, I agree with him about the need to re-examine our Constitution for the realities of today. I am a Catholic and a priest, and agree, for example, that the terms of the affirmation made by presidents, members of the...

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