COI Gazette – 15th March 2012

New All Ireland Mothers’ Union President commissioned in St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny

MU President COmmissioned

Phyllis Grothier (4th left) is pictured following her commissioning as MU All Ireland President
with (from left) Ruth Mercer, Lynne Tembey, Archbishop Richard Clarke, George Grothier,
Bishop Michael Burrows, Dean Raymond Ferguson (All Ireland MU Chaplain), Dean Katharine
Poulton and Bishop Trevor Williams. (Photo: Herbie Sharman)

Phyllis Grothier was recently formally commissioned as the new All Ireland Mothers’ Union (MU) President in a service in St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny.

Prior to assuming her new role on 1st January, Mrs Grothier had served for six years as Diocesan President of Cashel and Ossory.

Mrs Grothier, who was supported by her husband, George, and her family, Albert, Noelle, Elaine and Graham (another daughter, Louise, was in Australia), was born in Clonegal, Co. Wexford, and now lives in Fenagh, Co. Carlow.






What would St Patrick, were he once again to travel through this island as one of us, make of the Church and of Ireland today? Naturally, one can only surmise.

Quite apart from noticing the transformation of the landscape, with our great cities and developed network of roads, perhaps our patron saint’s first focus would be on the Church itself, with its divisions and its scandals. To see the Church often alienated within itself and floundering is surely a disappointment, but then the determination of truly good people to make things better comes as a new source of inspiration.

Then again, Patrick’s own example of simple piety, let alone his experience on Slemish, certainly contrasts with the materialism that is all around, even in a time of deep recession when the gap between rich and poor is becoming more and more pronounced. Patrick’s example, however, is very clearly one of prayer that leads to action. It is a clarion call to those who have resources of all kinds to reach out with commitment to those who really need their help.

Our demons are surely too many to mention but include corruption, greed and sectarianism. By contrast, Patrick’s way is the way of holiness and selfgiving and the communication of the Gospel of Christ that itself breaks down barriers of the deepest kind. Patrick would surely want us to share our faith in the spirit of unity and also to share this land, this island, in loving and respectful ways. Sectarianism is a counter-Gospel phenomenon, for it divides people deep in their hearts, whereas it is Christ who makes us one.

Patrick, of course, was a stranger in a strange land and so would feel for those who arrive on these shores and know no one, lonely and perhaps with very little in the way of possessions. He encourages those of us who already are at home here to welcome the stranger, to make the Irish people’s renowned friendship more than a legend but also a lived reality here and now.

Patrick’s memory comes as an inspiration to steadfast and faithful devotion, as well as to active concern. St Patrick’s Day is a day of both deeply religious and also more secular celebration; may it be a day of blessing for everyone who thanks God for the life of Patrick.


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Letters to the Editor


I have read with interest the recent correspondence on the subject of Freemasonry and, with amusement, the comments on my supposed lack of knowledge about this institution.

I would like to say that I had a grandfather and a father-in-law in the Order who subsequently left for various reasons, so I am not totally naïve or uninformed on this issue. I must add that they lost nothing in leaving!

It is understandable that some people with family members in the Order try to defend it, but their arguments are often very weak. Why do I object?

Let us take the issue of the oaths. How can any Christian who reads the Bible ignore Jesus’ teaching from Matthew 5: 33-37 against the taking of such oaths? They seem to me ridiculous that no sane or mature man would take.

There is also the issue of allegiance. Freemasonry, it seems to me, replaces allegiance to Christ with another rival which assumes first place. It seems to me to be a philosophy of good works which replaces justification by grace through faith alone and reliance on faith in Christ alone for salvation.

By the way, my mother was widowed in 1964 and was left with three young children, but managed with the love of family and the wonderful support of her Church. It seems to me that Christians are being told that we need something more than Christ and his Church.

Is Freemasonry compatible with Scripture?

The Book of Common Prayer (page 779), in the Article of Faith: Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation, says: “Holy Scriptures containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required by any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.”

I would be fascinated to know if any member of the Order could show me how the Masonic Order is compatible with Scripture and in the belief that Salvation is through Christ alone.

How can a Christian be part of an organisation which refuses to confess Christ in its teachings and ceremonies? Are we talking about an alternative allegiance after all? I remain to be convinced otherwise.

Nigel Baylor (Canon) The Rectory Co. Antrim BT37

Same-sex marriage

RICHARD O’LEARY (1st March) takes issue with the Gazette’s earlier editorial on same-sex marriage (15th February), saying that fears for families of same-sex couples “are sadly based on ignorance”. The most recent research (Regnerus, 2012), however, found that outcomes for such children were, on average, “suboptimal”.

How can this be, since the American Psychological Association (APA) claims that “not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents”?

The answer lies in a recent review (Marks, 2012) of the studies underlying the APA’s statement. It found that “not one of the 59 studies … compares a large, random, representative sample of lesbian or gay parents and their children with a large, random, representative sample of married parents and their children”.

In a word, bad science.

Dr O’Leary refers to “the true nature of our intimate, committed, same-sex relationships”. The true nature of gay relationships in Vermont (Solomon et al, 2005) turned out to be that, in the state’s first year of civil unions, 60% of partnered gay men had sex outside their primary relationship. Such values will undermine marriage from within.

The editorial is correct that ‘equal marriage’ is not equal. UK legislation will give homosexuals, but not heterosexuals, a choice of civil partnerships or marriage. This will not withstand legal challenge and if we equalise ‘upwards’ and allow heterosexuals to have ‘no promises’ civil partnerships, many will surely opt for these rather than ‘costly lifetime promises’ marriage, just as most people would rather acquire a house for nothing rather than pay the full price for the similar one next door.

Sadly, many no-promise houses will turn out to be built on sand. The main casualties will be women and children.

Dermot O’Callaghan Hillsborough Co. Down BT26


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