Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Housing benefits for the clergy

Letters to the editor should be sent to: 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1EB. E-mail: writeback@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

I am sorry if R Williams (Write Back, October 29) was offended by my revelations regarding the comfortable living standards enjoyed by the clergy.

In Newtownabbey I know of no clergy living in a Housing Executive flat or house, but am well assured their manses are located in high income areas and most certainly not next door to their churches.

Conversely, I have found, in the majority of cases where a pastor owns his own private home, invariably this home is opened to the congregation on a regular basis. I have been the recipient of a pastor and his wife opening their private home regularly on Boxing Night and New Year.

It would appear to be the organised churches, whose lifestyle is enviable and whose houses are, apparently, out of bounds to parishioners, whose mortgages are paid by their Housing Executive congregation.

Overseas, the clergymen send their children to the local rough and tumble school within the jurisdiction of their parish and their modest home. This is called equality or unity. Here, they mostly send their children to the elite grammar schools. What a glaring difference.

Perhaps if R Williams had lived overseas she too would be enlightened. The majority of Catholic clergy and nationalist politicians live within walking distance of their congregation and their constituents.

Enlightened, Newtownabbey

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