St Therese of Lisieux ( Irish Times)

Irish Times

Letters to the Editor

Dear Sir,

My admiration for people who see things which others fail to see, is only surpassed by my admiration for those who see things from the perspective of others.

On that basis my admiration for Kevin Myers knows no bounds.  In his opinion piece on April 24th, he deserves my double admiration for having highlighted an event which passed off with little comment, and seemingly little concern, for the message which this event sent to northern Protestants.

The appearance of members of the Defence Forces in full dress uniform, carrying the casket containing the relics of St Therese of Lisieux, sent a very definite message to northern Protestants.

Not only did it take us back to 1951 as Kevin Myers suggests, but it tells us that all we have heard about the Irish Republic being a pluralist society, where there is no longer a special place for the Roman Catholic Church and where it has ceased to be a “Catholic State for a Catholic People”, has all been a sham.  In fact it says that we, of the northern Protestant Unionist community, have been having the wool pulled over our eyes in recent years.

This display of “Catholic power”, coming as it does following a similar involvement some months ago, of the Defence Forces in the enthronement of a Bishop, only serves to confirm in the minds of northern Protestants and Unionists that there is a “cold” welcome in the “Catholic State”.

I wonder can your readers imagine the outcry there would be, from northern nationalists, if some relics of William of Orange were to be carried off the boat at Larne, by members of the British Army, or worse the RUC?

The message which this involvement of the Defence Forces in a “Roman Catholic Ceremony”, sends to the northern Protestant community is that in spite of all the talk – nothing has really changed!

Brian Kennaway (Rev.)

Crumlin Presbyterian Church

Former Convenor: Education Committee, Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.


This Letter was published in the Irish Times on 26th April 2001