Dear Editor, As someone Irish now living in the United States I feel the call to enter the debate over the US Presidential election that has been raised recently in your columns.
If indeed abortion was the only issue at stake in the election, a Catholic would have no option but to vote Republican and for President Donald Trump. A Catholic however has to be concerned for a raft of issues including climate change, refugees, the coronavirus pandemic and how to face this as a world issue with the World Health Organisation, the death penalty, the gun lobby, access to health care, race relations issues, international relations and cooperation, the fate of undocumented migrants…to name but a few.
While we might wish to vote against abortion, are we also deciding in doing this that we should only help ourselves with any vaccine that is developed for prevention of coronavirus and leave the poor of the world to have little or no access to vaccine?
President Trump has withdrawn the US from the 170 countries who have pledged to share the vaccine globally with the World Health Organisation. He has also withdrawn from the Paris Accord on climate change. Can this be something we can vote for in conscience?
The Church indeed has the best answers to these questions and should lead the discussion on all the issues. In this light I was glad to see that strictly non-partisan materials to help guide the faithful have been produced by our local diocese.
Pope Francis said in 2013: “We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”
Dr Cormac O’Duffy,
South Carolina, USA.
Insurance rebates are great, but how much?
Dear Editor, The insurance company Allianz, which is the main insurance company for the Catholic Church in Ireland, did well to highlight that they will be refunding parishes, saying there will be a “premium rebate” [IC 10/09/2020]. Fair play to them of course, but I must point out that they are doing what they clearly should do when parishes have been paying for public liability insurance despite the fact that no members of the public – or very few in the churches that remained open for private prayer – were in their buildings for months. The risk at that time to the public was obviously very limited to zero.
Kudos to The Irish Catholic for publishing this story but what I would like to know, and it seems the insurance company in question has been rather fluffy about it, is just how much a parish will receive as a rebate. Obviously the rebates will vary depending on the size of the premium from parish to parish, but will it be 5%, 10% of the insurance bill? I hope this wasn’t just an empty gesture, and the size of the rebate will reflect the significant drop in risk, any amount of financial support parishes receive will no doubt be welcomed with open arms in these difficult times.
Our role in protecting the natural world
Dear Editor, The article entitled ‘‘We cannot be healthy if our planet isn’t healthy’ – Bishop Duffy’ [IC 10/09/2020] in your paper was important in that it highlighted how the Church is trying to spread the message that humanity has a role in protecting and conserving the natural world.
There are many ways parish communities can do their part in halting environmental decline and although it may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, each person has a part to play and so does each parish and if enough people take action then it will make a difference.
Planting a native Irish tree and setting up a Laudato Si’ reading group are both measures parishes can take quite easily as Bishop Duffy suggests in his pastoral letter.
There are much more things individuals can do by just going back to basics, recycling and reusing, making sure no energy such as lights and heating are used needlessly and trying to make churches and parish centres greener – perhaps by installing solar panels which the Irish Government give grants towards.
This isn’t something we should put on the back burner as future generations will thank us for how we responded today – if we respond with gusto.
Online Mass a ‘crutch’ during uncertain times
Dear Editor, The new research that indicates 19% of Massgoers are unsure whether they will return to Mass after the pandemic on your front page [IC 17/09/2020] is deeply disturbing. Online Mass was but a crutch for those desperate to participate in some way while we were denied the Sacrament due to the restrictions placed on the public by Government – which I do not refute were necessary.
This was in no means a replacement for physical attendance at Mass, and receiving the Eucharist. People who do not believe in Catholicism and know nothing about it – or are indifferent to it – will never understand how important it is for people to be physically present.
Risk is a part of our lives no matter what, we should not endanger our lives stupidly in meaningless pursuits but when the risk is minimal there should be no question when our Church calls us back for Mass that we should return –such as when the dispensation of the Sunday obligation is lifted.
Although staring at a screen may be easier and requires less effort, particularly if there’s a big family involved, it should be made clear in no uncertain terms the importance of attending Mass in person – there can be no half measures when it comes to saving souls.
The bishops, many of whom have been extremely cautious in these uncertain times, must be prepared to sound the call far and wide and not abandon Catholics to a lazy mediocrity.
Carrigaline, Co. Cork.
Teaching children about sex
Dear Editor, Maria Steen, in her article in discussing sexual morality [IC 17/09/2020], hit the nail on the head regarding the consensus regarding what is deemed permissive in todays ‘compassionate’ Ireland.
The dangers of pornography are only really discussed when it comes to children viewing it, when addiction to pornography among adults is a huge concern. There is no such thing as viewing pornography in a healthy way and the harms should not be whitewashed. Young men in particular are viewing content that is extremely degrading to women and expecting to re-enact this with girlfriends or people they have met just once.
Consent is not the only thing we should be teaching children, a ‘one-night stand’ isn’t something we should be teaching is normal, and frivolous relationships based on sex and nothing else is not something we should teach is ‘healthy’ – at any age.
The best position for any person to be in when it comes to sexual activity is when they are in a loving relationship and they are married and devoted to each other, this is what must be instilled in youth today.
Much to be desired in Irish politicians
Dear Editor, Although I have some doubts about Mairead McGuinness due to her stance on abortion, she was certainly the best candidate to be the new EU commissioner [IC 10/09/2020]. It seems increasingly that Christians have to make do with politicians that leave much to be desired, particularly in Ireland.
It’s a positive development though that Mairead has been chosen considering how she is Catholic, is knowledgeable about interreligious dialogue and has been outspoken about Christian persecution which is a plague in the modern world.
You won’t hear many Irish politicians bringing up the horrific struggle of Christians in the Middle East and many other parts of the world in the Dáil – although there has been some to be fair – but the Government fails to recognise that Christians are the most persecuted in the world, instead favouring to talk about all religions rather than singling out one: despite the facts.