Dear Editor, Archbishop Eamon Martin’s call for a ‘listening Church’ (IC 1/11/2018) is a brave suggestion, though it’s hard not to feel that there’s a risk that this may be brave in the sense that Sir Humphrey of television’s Yes, Minister might have used the word: who knows what such a proposal might unleash?
Back in the 19th Century, Blessed John Henry Newman talked about the wisdom of consulting the laity in matters of doctrine, saying that Rome shouldn’t consult them for advice on how it should define things, but in the same way as we would check a train timetable or a watch, simply to find out what ordinary people believe the Church teaches. He also made a point of pointing out in his writings that ordinary Catholics in one place might not be of one mind as ordinary Catholics in another.
A key part of this, he said, was that for ordinary Catholics to be credible in this area they needed to have been well catechised, and I think that if we’re honest we’ll admit that catechesis has not been a strength of the Irish Church for decades, if not for rather longer.
At the same time, Pope Francis regularly speaks of meeting people where they are, and the fact is that Dr Martin and his brother bishops have the job of tending for the flocks they have, not the flocks they might like to have.
A more synodal Church might at least help our clergy to hear the deepest needs of those in their care and might also encourage young Catholics to come forward to take up leadership roles in the Church, helping us grow into a renewed community of faith.
Let’s pray this courage is rewarded.
Drogheda, Co. Louth.
Wrong to put power before principle
Dear Editor, I accept that the majority of those who voted in the referendum on abortion voted ‘Yes’ even though they only represented 42% of the total electorate. However, to say that every ‘Yes’ voter voted for absolutely no reason abortion up to 12 weeks is simply wrong and wholly dishonest.
It appears though that some pro-life politicians are using the result to justify them changing their mind and voting for abortion legislation as they ‘must abide by the will of the people’.
Can I remind those politicians that the people only voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment and place the issue of abortion legislation with the Oireachtas? The people didn’t vote for the legislation because it was not on the ballot paper.
Those who were elected by the electorate for their pro-life views need to still respect their supporters and themselves and vote accordingly.
They need to differentiate between what are two completely separate issues. To do otherwise would not only be a travesty of justice, it would be fundamentally a flawed interpretation of the result, as based on the exit poll many ‘Yes’ voters clearly demonstrated they did not agree with the 12-week period proposed.
For politicians to vote in favour of something they clearly disagree with could only be perceived as putting power before principle.
Send in the clowns
Dear Editor, One interesting aside in the debacle about recently-constructed schools that now need emergency remedial work for safety purposes is surely the fact that the buildings were passes as safe by State inspectors. It would certainly make one think twice about handing education and healthcare completely over to the Government. As Stephen Sondheim might put it, “send in the clowns…don’t bother, they’re here”.
Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.
The Angelus is more necessary than ever
Dear Editor, I hope and pray that the spiritual soothing sound of the Angelus bell will not be taken from us. It is a timely reminder to us each day to pause and reflect for just a few moments and I think that is good for soul and body, whatever religious persuasion we adopt.
It is heartening to see on screen all work paused for a brief spell of our busy daily schedule and that short break to clear our heads and find time to think. I believe there are still dedicated people who operate the Angelus bell manually in Churches twice daily; I recall our local sacristan many years ago, walking to such midday duty whatever the weather and the workman lifted his cap in reverence, the housekeeper rested her kneading hand from the mixed dough.
It helped slow down the brisk pace of everyday business and God knows that pause is more necessary than ever in present day demanding times.
Long may the Angelus bell toll
Eilís Uí Bhriain,
Young people need true Catholic instruction
Dear Editor, When will our hierarchy wake up to the fact that there has not been any religious instruction in our national schools since Vatican II and to immediately start implementing true Catholic instruction to our deprived young people?
I suggest reprinting the Catechism of the pre-Vatican II days and issue them to every Catholic home in our country. At the same time as teaching their children, the parents would learn what should have been taught to them in the days gone by.
When the Truth is made known we would see vocations to the priesthood and religious life flourish once more in Ireland.
Alive-O is a disgrace – and you can judge the book by the cover in this case.
Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan.