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Don't judge the past by the present

I often feel that we lose a lot when events are related years later without being placed in the context of their time.

I read with interest the experience of the Presbyterian lady in a 1940s' mixed marriage (News, March 1). By today's standards, the reactions may seem extreme, but with some thought given to the prevailing attitudes of the time they take on a different hue.

So the minister was against her marrying a Roman Catholic? Hardly surprising at a time when church and faith took a higher priority in family life.

I can imagine the reaction of her husband's priest and family had the shoe been on the other foot. I suspect the question never arose. Catholics marrying into the Protestant faith were, and remain, akin to hen's teeth.

The militancy of the Catholic Church in these situations is not touched on, but she married only after the cardinal gave permission.

A mixed marriage in Ireland did not just mean a different church; it meant a different culture and identity. It is not for us to judge the attitudes, or actions, of people living in different times.

It is the same when politicians apologise for events that happened hundreds of years ago. We have no need, nor right, to make such apologies using today's standards as our measure.


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