COI Gazette – 22nd December 2017

22Dec17Social media guidelines


Every new post or tweet adds to the conversations and stories shared on social media with our friends, followers and potentially the wider world. Social media is increasingly influencing how people and organisations interact with each other. Its speed is both a delight and a danger.

To help members of the Church of Ireland navigate this new landscape, the Central Communications Board (CCB) has produced a set of guidelines for using social media and digital communications, which can be downloaded from www.

The aim of the guidelines is to foster healthy and active online and social media engagement. As far as possible, they are based on trust and all are encouraged to use them.

Bishop Pat Storey is chair of the Central Communications Board. Speaking of the guidelines, she said: “We have witnessed a revolution in communication over the past 10 years. At the forefront of this has been social media – something that can give great pleasure. However, just because we use different methods to communicate doesn’t lessen our responsibility, as people of faith, to treat our neighbour the way we would want to be treated ourselves.




The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland recognises the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn child. When it was passed by referendum in September 1983, it created a constitutional recognition of an unborn child’s life and so makes it impossible for any government to introduce legislation allowing for terminations in the womb except in exceptional circumstances.

It was brought into Irish Law by the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution Act, 1983, following the referendum, which was passed by 66% for – 33% against. Abortion is technically legal in Ireland since The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act was passed in 2013, allowing for abortion only if there is an imminent and substantial risk to a woman’s life, including suicide.

It would be a mistake to think that the result of any vote in a future referendum on the issue is a foregone conclusion – it is not. But, how is the average Irish voter to make an informed decision if a new referendum on abortion is held? There are many voices in a national discussion of an issue that inspires strong opinions.

The voter will ultimately have to distinguish between one voice and another. They will have to vote on an issue they may or may not ever be directly affected by. What of the women who face unwanted or traumatic pregnancies, that cause them to contemplate abortion? Their experience brings us face to face with the pain and complexities that an unwanted or traumatic pregnancy can bring.

Or, what of the women who face unwanted or traumatic pregnancies, but choose another path rather than that of abortion? Their experience brings us face to face with the fact that there is an alternative to abortion.

There is another voice that needs to be heard. It is difficult to hear because it cannot speak – but it still has a right to be heard. It is the voice of the child yet to be born.

Band of Brothers is a remarkable, but disturbing, TV series based on real events. It follows the experiences of Easy Company, a company of the US Airborne as they fight in World War II. It brings us through their part in D-Day, Operation Market Garden (in Holland) and their battles in Belgium.

In a remarkable piece of cinematography, towards the end of the series, it shows a scene where the surviving members of Easy Company spend their first night in shelter after many months of fighting. As the camera slowly pans around the assembled soldiers a narrator lists names. As the names are read out particular soldiers are faded out of the scene. These are the soldiers that lost their lives in the battles fought by Easy Company. The names and slowly disappearing faces are a powerful image of loss.

We need to hear all the voices that are affected by the discussion, leading to a referendum. We need to hear from those women who face unwanted or traumatic pregnancies that cause them to think of abortion or to choose an alternative.

We also need to hear from those who cannot yet speak for themselves – those as yet unborn. They too need to have their voices heard.


Home News

  • Dublin’s Black Santa Sit-out gets under way
  • SAFE meeting discusses Christmas in the parish
  • Cheque presented to Choir of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh
  • Connor trio depict Christmas story
  • Eglinton Community ‘bears’ witness at Christmas
  • Dedication of St Mary’s, Howth, following extensive work
  • Festivities as Connor youth converge on Ballymena
  • Tribute – The Revd Adrian P. Moran
  • Diocese of Down parish celebrates 175th anniversary



  • In Perspective – Mary, did you know?
  • Insight – ‘What about all the other kids?’ – By Alison Miller
  • Focus on Limerick and Killaloe


World News

Trump decision on Jerusalem could have deep repercussions

Salvation Army bell-ringer brings heart to the job


Letters to the Editor

US Embassy move to Jerusalem

AMID THE clamour to condemn US President Donald Trump for wanting to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thus recognising Israel’s claim since 1949 for Jerusalem to be its capital city, no one questions how absurd it is for all of these world embassies to be in Tel Aviv at any rate as it is not Israel’s capital.

That would be like insisting on having an embassy in Birmingham instead of London or, in Ireland’s case, in Limerick instead of Dublin.

The Palestinian Arabs (as Jews were ‘Palestinian’ too before 1948) also claim the Old City of Jerusalem as their ‘eternal’ capital of a future Palestinian (Arab Muslim) state as if it was their divine right, when in fact there never existed an Arab Palestinian capital there ever, never mind an Arab Palestinian state.

The geographical area of biblical Israel, renamed ‘Palestine’ by the Romans as a slur against the Jews after they forcibly ejected the Jews in 135 AD, was occupied by various foreign forces, including the Turks for 400 years until 1917, then the British until 1947. Jordan then illegally occupied East Jerusalem until 1967, when Israel miraculously won a war in six days with multiple Arab armies meted against her.

None of these governances were Arab Palestinian, but 3,000 years ago you have records of King David ruling Jerusalem as a Jewish city.

The Bible predicts that Jerusalem will be at the centre of the world’s attention with the solemn warning found in Zechariah 12: 2: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; all who would heave it away will be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”

We could be living in the days of Armageddon.

Colin Nevin, Bangor Co. Down

Transgender and Women’s Sport

CANON GINNIE KENNERLEY thinks that my account of the sporting consequences of allowing men to identify as women is “grotesque”, and that the Gazette should move on to other things.

The Revd Rupert Moreton would like me to focus on matters such as “systemic injustice” rather than “who may wrestle whom in the Olympics” (both in Letters, 1st December). May I make my defence?

On 30th May this year, Kate Hall was beaten in sprint events at Cromwell High School, Connecticut, by a male athlete who ‘identified’ as female. Kate said tearfully: “It’s frustrating, but that’s just the way it is now … I can’t really say what I want to say.” blogs/a-bloody-punch-to-the- nose-and-you-quickly-realize- ladies-cant-compete-agai

Also, Fallon Fox, a male who has had transgender surgery, broke an eye socket and caused the female Tamikka Brents to have concussion in a martial arts bout. The fight can be seen on watch?v=PX3f3KnRvAk. It is not edifying.

Grotesque? Yes indeed. I said previously that I would genuinely like to hear how Prof. Barker would address this question. That is still the case.

I would hope to persuade her, and also Canon Kennerley and Mr Moreton, to stand with me against what is surely a matter of systemic injustice.

I don’t think I shall find myself “increasingly lonely”, as Mr Moreton predicts. I believe that in due course we shall all be on the same side. But the Church must wake up and be willing to take a stand.

Dermot O’Callaghan Hillsborough, Co. Down


Book Reviews

LET THE WORD OF CHRIST DWELL IN YOU (WEEKDAY REFLECTIONS FOR LITURGICAL YEAR 2017/18) Author: Father Martin Hogan Publisher: Messenger Publications



News Extra

Christmas Messages 2017

A joint Christmas Message from the Archbishops of Armagh, the Most Revd Richard Clarke and the Most Revd Eamon Martin.

From the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Michael Jackson