No one expects the Inquisition

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

As a rule, I enjoy the opinion pieces of professor Henry Srebrnik, but his thoughts in today’s paper caught my eye especially.

Although his argument’s logic seemed to rove just a wee bit, I was taken by his attribution of the concept of the separation of church and state to my own form of Christianity odd indeed, and his seeming criticism of their acting in unison even more so.

Has he forgotten the history of the Papal States? Does he fail to note the sad actions which — so often — even now mar the activities of governments in the Near East (such as some Arab states and even, alas, Israel)?

Or can he or anyone ignore the policy of 19th-century Britain, which allowed my ancestors to starve to death in the Great Famine unless they joined the state church and doing so became “the soupers”?

As I considered such moral lapses, I took heart in the knowledge that belief and mercy as well as belief and cruelty can exist at times in even the kindest of hearts, and that the hilarious Monty Python sketch in which those superb clowns announced that “No one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our weapons are surprise and fear, fear and surprise, and a fanatical devotion to the Pope!”

What drollery!

Colmán O’Hare,


Geographic location: Papal States, Near East, Israel Britain Great Famine Charlottetown

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page