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Irish Bishops don't condone hunt blessings
13 May 2005

The Irish Bishops' Conference have announced that they do not condone the blessing of hunts by members of the clergy.

A letter to ICABS from Executive Secretary, Reverend Aidan O'Boyle, confirmed that the "involvement of some members of the clergy in blood sports" had been discussed in recent times by the bishops at their quarterly meetings in Maynooth. However, while stressing that the Bishops' Conference "would not condone the practice of priests blessing foxhunts", he indicated that it was an issue to be dealt with locally.

"The Bishops' Conference is of the view that the practice of priests blessing foxhunts, and indeed the regulation of access to Church land for hunts, is a matter for the local diocese where these practices are happening," he wrote.

ICABS welcomes the bishops' condemnation of hunt blessings and hope that the individual bishops which make up the Conference will act at a local level to prevent further such blessings.

We will continue to press the Catholic authorities to unequivocally denounce blood sports and to prevent priests from partaking in these cruel activities. A small minority of priests around Ireland continue to flout the Catechism of the Catholic Church by supporting or partaking in foxhunting and hare coursing activities.

According to paragraph 2418 of the Catechism, "it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer and die needlessly." Paragraph 2416 states the following: "Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals."

Action Item

Please contact Reverend O'Boyle to express your approval of the Irish Bishops' condemnation of hunt blessings. Ask him to convey to the bishops that the time has now come for the Church to join the call for a ban on blood sports in Ireland. Quote paragraphs 2416 and 2418 of the Catholic Catechism.

Reverend Aidan O'Boyle
Executive Secretary
Irish Bishops' Conference Secretariat
Columba Centre
Co Kildare

Tel: +353 (0)1-505 3020
Fax: +353 (0)1-629 2360

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