Bishop Cahal Daly of Down and Connor had an article in THE GUARDIAN in 1984  which prompted a letter of mine to its Editor, which it published –


 Bishop Cahal Daly of Down and Connor has been given space in your columns to issue what you interpret as a challenge to Sinn Fein.

Bishop Daly explains the apparent inconsistency of his wish to speak with “the leaders of Sinn Fein” with his refusal to meet with the Party’s President, Gerry Adams (who has been twice in the space of a few months elected as a political spokesman for many of the Bishop’s own flock) with the plea that he was speaking in a spiritual and Sinn Fein in a political context.

Bishop Daly must know the use to which his kind of homily is put by British Government spokesmen and their media collaborators: indeed he must approve their use, for unlike his brother Bishops in Armagh and Derry he has not recorded any disapproval.

He has been challenged by Sinn Fein to state whether British Government in Ireland has any moral basis.

As a Catholic who is not a member of Sinn Fein, I would like his moral guidance on this matter.

Donal Kennedy


I wrote sincerely to the Bishop enclosing a copy of that letter. I got a reply from his address –


                                                                                                                                            Somerton Road

                                                                                                                                                  Belfast BT 15 4DJ

                                                                                                                                                  From the Bishop of Down + Connor

                                                                                                                                                 8th May 1984

Dear Mr Kennedy,

I received your letter, with the enclosed copy of the letter which you sent to THE GUARDIAN. I receive letters of this kind from time to time; but they are not as numerous as the letters I receive from Catholics denouncing violence and calling attention to the intolerable oppression exerted upon Catholics by paramilitary organisations claiming to be their “liberators”.

In any case, my responsibility is not to the “electorate” but to Our Lord. It is to Him that I am answerable, and I cannot allow letters such as yours to deflect me from my duty to proclaim the law of God. It is He who will judge me in the end, and my only concern in life is to try to be true to the commission which He entrusted to me. Bitter though your letter is, you might still, in your charity, find time to say a prayer for me, that I may indeed be fit to appear before the judgement seat of God.

With kind regards

Yours sincerely

+Cahal B. Daly”

Readers may make of these letters what they will.

God forgive me, but I think the Bishop could not give a straight answer to the question put to him by Sinn Fein or by me. He persuaded me that he was slippery as an eel, a moral coward and a sanctimonious humbug.

 I haven’t got around yet to appreciating his kind regards or praying for him.

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