Religion and reason should go hand in hand
A key principle in any organisation, including churches, is to find out what is wrong with what you are doing before others do.
Organisations thrive on honest, transparent evaluation on the assumption that the truth will set us free. We all tend to conspire to allow our whispered discontent and suspicion that all is not right with Church, or state, to fizzle out in a general haze of unease.
Instead of harvesting these secret murmurings of disillusion, we collude in silencing them.
What I find sad is that opportunities to reinvigorate our commitment to the world around us are often wasted by turning our faces heavenwards, while ignoring the realities of everyday life.
Pope Francis has recently reiterated his desire to see an increasing focus on life at the parish level. The abuse scandal was not so much the cause of discontent in the Church, but the trigger for the escape of years of repressed anger at the failure to engage the intelligence of our people.
The role of the bishops has become dysfunctional and will be difficult to redeem. Thankfully, we have gone beyond the day when we allow religion to morph into various forms of benign dictatorship from which many turn away with angry declarations of disbelief in God.
The separation of religion from reason eliminates rational debate and promotes idolatrous worship of scientific reasoning, restricting the infinite range of human intelligence and imagination.
Article on crisis loans fails to address truths
Your article 'Call for clamp-down on crisis loans system as £30m still outstanding' (News, March 10) fails to highlight this debt is largely owed by existing claimants and is thereby being repaid through the benefits system.
The claim that 'fraud is a significant contributing factor to the large sums of money involved' is not supported by any substantive evidence; rather, it is based on unattributed comments.
Processes are in place for making and recovering loan payments, which take into account whether a loan is appropriate.
The article fails to mention total deductions from someone's benefit are controlled by legislation. The article further incorrectly states that, 'When an individual leaves the benefit system, there is no way to recover cash'. Robust processes already exist to pursue recovery of crisis loans and the Welfare Reform Bill (2012) will provide powers to make deductions from an individual's salary.
Crisis loans help people when an emergency occurs and the minister for social development is committed to crisis loans remaining as part of the welfare system.
Chief executive, Social Security Agency
DUP must state their position on key issues
The Ulster Unionist Party has clearly spelt out its alternative to the status quo on flags, parading and dealing with the past.
The DUP's reaction is to attack fellow unionists. The DUP has failed to outline its position in regards to these issues. This is a complete abrogation of their responsibilities as the largest party.
The UUP is providing leadership in response to the vacuum left by the DUP's refusal to spell out their position. I call upon the DUP to publish its own position and enter into an honest debate.
I find it particularly hypocritical that they have attacked the UUP for pulling out of the party leaders' meetings over the on-the-runs scandal. The DUP was prepared to walk out of the office of first minister over the same issue.
CLLR ALEXANDER REDPATH (UUP)
Lisburn City Council
Heartfelt thanks to the RVH staff
I wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the staff for their care and attention during my recent visit to the RVH.
I wish to commend them for their commitment, competency and overall caring demeanour.
F J SHEKLETON
Blackrock, Co Dublin
Jail farmers who pollute our rivers
It is reported that a slurry spillage of more than 400,000 gallons has polluted a river in Co Tyrone (News, March 11).
Why should the person – or persons – responsible for this spillage get less than three years in prison?
If farmers are allowed to destroy our rivers with impunity, they will keep on destroying them.
DAVID Z CROOKES
South wants a united Ukraine
I am from the city of Mykolaiv, in the south of Ukraine, near Odessa. I think it is important for people in your country to know what is going on in the south of Ukraine.
Yes, we're predominantly Russian-speaking, but the vast majority of us are true patriots of our motherland Ukraine.
Russian-speaking Odessa and Mykolaiv are for a united Ukraine.
All slaughtering is unacceptable
Quibbling over which is worse – botched stunning, or no stunning – detracts from the main issue: all slaughter is horrific.
Undercover footage shows terrified animals desperately searching for an escape.