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ICABS correspondence circulated to bishops
06 July 2011

ICABS has thanked the Irish Episcopal Conference for highlighting our concerns about hunt blessings at its meeting last month. The Conference says that a letter we sent drew the bishops' attention to the issue of cruelty to animals.

"The correspondence was circulated to all the Bishops at the June 2011 meeting of the Irish Episcopal Conference in order to draw to the Bishops' attention the issue of cruelty to animals," Executive Secretary, Fr Gearoid Dullea, stated.

In our letter to the Conference, we expressed dismay at a clergy blessing of foxhounds which was broadcast on TV3's "The Truth About Irish Blood Sports" programme in March. The blessing is understood to have taken place at a meeting of the Laois hunt in Abbeyleix.

We pointed out that priests blessing hunt hounds conflicts with the Catholic Catechism and also with a 2005 statement from the Irish Bishops Conference that the conference "would not condone the practice of priests blessing foxhunts". Paragraph 2418 of the Catechism states that "it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer and die needlessly."

"We appeal to the Irish Bishops Conference and local church authorities to remind priests that blessing hunt hounds is contrary to the Catechism and that they should denounce hunting and all forms of cruelty to God's creatures and spread a message of compassion," we said.

The Episcopal Conference has been thanked for highlighting our message. We hope that it will lead to an end to hunt blessings.

A fox is attacked and killed by dogs at the end of a foxhunt. Hunt blessings are contrary to the Catechism.


Urge the President of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference to act to end clergy involvement in hunting, coursing and hunt blessings.

Cardinal Sean Brady
Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
President, Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference
Ara Coeli, Armagh BT61 7QY
Tel: +44 (0)28 3752 2045
Fax: +44 (0)28 3752 6182
Please note: When calling from the Republic of Ireland there is a direct code 048 before the local number

Send a copy of your correspondence to the Papal Nuncio

Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza
Apostolic Nuncio
The Apostolic Nunciature
183 Navan Road
Dublin 7
Tel: +353 (0)1 838 0577
Fax: +353(0)1 838 0276

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