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Church asked to reject hunters' "blood money"
20 March 2009

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The Irish Bishops Conference has been asked to intervene after a Wexford parish accepted a donation from a hunting group. In a letter of appeal, ICABS highlighted that hunting is contrary to the Catechism and that clergy should never accept money from those involved in terrorising and killing God's creatures.

Brought to the bishops' attention was an Irish Field report from February 28th 2009 which tells of how the hunt set off from Mayglass Church on a "great day's hunting" which brought them across a road, stream, dyke and river in their merciless pursuit of foxes. Alongside the article was a photograph of the parish priest standing next to the pack of killer hounds before the hunt began and shaking hands with one of the mounted hunters.

In a report outlining our objections, the Wexford People quoted the parish priest as saying that he was happy to accept the hunt's donation (scroll down to read full report).

The hunt in question - the Killinick Harriers - is responsible not only for the killing of wildlife but also for the violent savaging of a cat (a favourite animal of Pope Benedict XVI, we hasten to add). A report from the Wexford People in January outlined how the family pet was "torn to pieces by the hounds" while they were on the trail of an unfortunate fox. The traumatised homeowner told of how the dogs "came up the driveway and pinned the cat against the garage door and massacred it". The side of her house was left splattered with blood.

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Cruelty and the Catechism

The cruelty of foxhunting is clearly condemned in the Catechism. According to paragraph 2418, "it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer and die needlessly." Paragraph 2416, meanwhile, 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."

Chased to the point of exhaustion and viciously ripped apart, foxes and other creatures suffer the most horrendous deaths during hunts. The orchestration of this animal abuse by hunts is utterly contemptible and undoubtedly, as one Bishop Bellord affirms in A New Catechism of 1901, a "very cowardly and disgraceful sin".

ACTION ALERT - SAMPLE LETTER

Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference
Columba Centre
Maynooth
County Kildare, Ireland

Email: columbacentre@iecon.ie
Tel: +353 (0)1 505 3000
Fax: +353 (0)1 601 6401

To whom it concerns:

I am writing to express my concerns following the acceptance by Mayglass Church in Wexford of a donation from a hunting group.

There is no doubt that the appalling terrorisation and killing of animals during hunts is contrary to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Paragraph 2418, for instance, makes it clear that "it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer and die needlessly." It is entirely inappropriate, therefore, for clergy to accept money from these groups.

The hunt which made this donation was previously featured in the Wexford People after their hounds violently savaged a cat to death (cats, it is appropriate to add, are one of Pope Benedict XVI's favourite animals). The People report from January outlined how the family pet was "torn to pieces by the hounds" while they were on the trail of an unfortunate fox. The traumatised homeowner said that the dogs "came up the driveway and pinned the cat against the garage door and massacred it". The side of her house was left splattered with blood.

I urge the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference to please intervene to ask the clergy in Ballymore and Mayglass to reject this "blood money" and to instead publicly condemn the cruelty of hunting.

Thank you very much. I look forward to your reply.

With best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

[* * * Name / Location * * *]

Hunt donation denounced as 'blood money'
Wexford People - March 11 2009

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has claimed that a donation accepted by the community of Ballymore-Mayglass for the restoration of a church is 'blood money'.

'We wish to express our great disappointment that the church authorities have deemed it appropriate to accept a donation from a hunting group whose terrorisation and killing of local wildlife is in clear contravention of the Catechism of the Catholic Church,' said Philip Kiernan.

A cheque for Eur 6,000, the proceeds of a hunt, was handed over by the Killinick Harriers recently towards the restoration of the church in Mayglass, a project which will cost in excess of Eur250,000.

The fundraising committee, led by Fr. Murty Byrne, have been making great strides in recent times, with even Munster captain and Irish lock Paul O'Connell lending his support to the cause, as his aunt is on the committee.

However, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports has objected to the donation from the Killinick Harriers and says hunting is 'clearly condemned in the Catechism', paragraphs of which Mr. Kiernan quotes to support his arguments. 'Instead of fraternising with hunters, the clergy in Ballymore and Mayglass should outrightly condemn their coldhearted cruelty and refuse to allow the contributions of decent people to be tainted by blood money,' said Mr. Kiernan.

Fr. Murty Byrne said that Killinick Harriers are noted local fundraisers who give to worthy causes. While acknowledging that everyone, including the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, is entitled to their opinion, he said they were happy to accept the generous donation to their restoration fund when it was offered.

Video: Foxhunting cruelty

Foxhunting: More information

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