From time to time I receive responses to letters published in various newspapers. Religious matters, in particular, seem to trigger strong responses.
I received the following letter from a Fr. James Good in response to my letter regarding a law that makes it a criminal offence to sell a Mass card without first getting the permission of a Catholic bishop.
I’ve reproduced my letter first and then an unedited copy of Fr. Good’s letter to me.
ARTICLE 48 of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights says: “Everyone who has been charged shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.”
Part 7, Section 99 (2) of the Charities Bill 2009, recently signed into law here, makes it a criminal offence to sell a mass card without the permission of a Catholic bishop. The act states:
“In proceedings for an offence under this section it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved on the balance of probabilities, that the sale of the Mass card to which the alleged offence relates was not done pursuant to an arrangement with a recognised person.
The clear contradiction begs the question: are we living in a liberal democratic republic or a theocracy?
Dear Mr. Sheridan,
I was delighted to see your letter in the Irish Examiner (14.03.09). Since I had not seen a contribution from you for quite some time, I was beginning to fear that you might have departed to meet your Maker. An interesting meeting, indeed.
On the minus side, of course, one could say many things: your little letter, filling a bit of empty space at the foot of a page (as usual), was as bitter and irrelevant as always.
What saddened me, however, was the sight of a supposedly “good” atheist writing to support a MEAN FRAUD. Recent investigations show that the vast majority of Mass Cards sold in shops are legally fraudulent. Could you not perhaps use your God-given gifts to stop THEFT and FRAUD rather than sneering at our government in its effort to eliminate them?
Re-reading my letter of 2nd February suggests that in the intervening three years you have learned nothing about either Mass stipends or a ban on discussion of clerical celibacy. The latter controversy is still ongoing, despite your belief that it is banned.
I notice that your address in the Cork Examiner has dropped the Rock of Eoin. Protection for the writer – from the editor or from the writer?
Fr. James Good
Just a few things:
Fr. Good didn’t address the central point of my letter which is that the widely accepted principle of innocent until proven guilty has been reversed by this religious law.
His comment on celibacy concerns a previous letter of mine regarding the ban on theologians from discussing the matter by Pope John Paul II
His comment about my address displays an ignorance of the editorial practice of editing for space.
Fr. Good is also convinced that The Irish Examiner and The Irish Times are supporters of what he calls the “Anti-Catholic Bigotry League” only printing letters from ‘anti-Catholic bigots’ and refusing to print replies. In previous correspondence to me he says:
“The Irish Examiner prints only the letters of anti-Catholic bigots, and refuses to print any reply to these bigots. And of course the newspaper which replaced the Irish Times at the top of the Anti-Catholic Bigotry League is delighted to get nasty little pieces from the Rock of Eoin to fill up small empty spaces in its hate-sheet: that’s why they frequently end up a the end of a page.”
I wonder why editors don’t publish letters from this priest?