Afghanistan and the dilemma facing liberal secular humanism

Afghanistan and the dilemma facing liberal secular humanism

Dear Editor, With his customary clarity David Quinn describes the dilemma facing liberal secular humanism [IC 26/08/2021] in light of the Afghanistan debacle now unfolding: should Western democracies try to change societies which inherit centuries of tribal customs and loyalties, or leave them alone?

They believe that their human rights gospel must be extended to the whole world.

Mr Quinn points to a similar dilemma which faced Christian missionaries long before it faced “UN-type human rights type activists”. Should they bring the Gospel to nations which had not received it or not? For centuries this was no dilemma at all; missionaries never doubted that they should bring the Good News to all nations in accordance with the original commission given by the Lord.

It is true that the Christian faith was often brought to non-Christian countries in tandem with the colonial conquest of those countries. Its acceptance – despite this fact – testifies powerfully to its uniqueness. Paul was both an out-and-out Jew (Ph 3:5) and a tireless missionary to the non-Jews or Gentiles, championing them against his own people, who had rejected the Gospel. He tells the Thessalonians that he thanks God, “that as soon as you heard the message that we brought you as God’s message, you accepted it for what it really is – God’s message, and not some human thinking” (1 Th 2:13).

Blessed Fulton Sheen in his book on Our Lady devotes a chapter to ‘Mary and the Muslims’. It has this intriguing sentence: “Because the Muslims have a devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied to expand and to develop that devotion with the full realisation that Our Blessed Lady will carry the Muslims the rest of the way to her Divine Son.”

Yours etc.,

Fr John Joyce SPS

Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow


Taliban victory a ‘major step backwards’

Dear Editor, One can only hope that the article ‘Taliban’s victory will embolden Islamists, warns ACN Ireland’ [IC 26/08/2021] is more of a worst-case scenario, or at least that it won’t be a large scale, worldwide phenomenon. Religious extremism has been a blight on the world since the dawn of humanity, across all religions. I pray for peace in the Middle East and between all religions but the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban seems to be a major step backwards.

Yours etc.,

Patrick O’Connor

Drogheda, Co. Louth


More will be lost by abandoning priestly celibacy

Dear Editor, In response to Mr Browne’s thoughts on the future of the priesthood [IC Letters 19/08/2021], I feel compelled to point out that, as such, celibacy is not a “traditional rule of the priesthood” but is an essential prerequisite for the consecration of the holy Eucharist, which we as Catholics believe to be the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the true presence of Jesus on the altar.

Celibacy is required of a priest in order to have “consecrated hands” and elevate the Host in the offering. There is also an issue here regarding the utilisation of extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist.

In bygone times when priests were married, they were required to abstain from any form of intimacy in the days leading up to the celebration of the Eucharist which was much less frequent then. Today a priest could have a number of Masses per day, therefore requiring celibacy as part of the efficacious preparation to celebrate Holy Mass.

If celibacy is abandoned by the priesthood, then we will lose much more than could possibly be gained.

Yours etc.,

Aidan O’Brien

Lisnalong, Co. Monaghan.


Protecting impartiality and tackling RTÉ

Dear Editor, A fundamental principle of journalism is impartiality, which protects truth, justice and freedom of speech. I was astounded therefore to watch the unbalanced report on the repeal of the 8th Amendment presented as a documentary, The 8th, on RTÉ One on 04/08/2021. What RTÉ favours today could be its opposite tomorrow so it is in everyone’s interests to insist on impartiality. As mainstream media have such power to shape opinion and influence behaviour, I believe urgent, strong and sustained action by Irish citizens is required to protect ourselves, particularly in light of multiple complaints to the BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland) having little or no effect. Some options to consider: Complain again to BAI, don’t watch or listen to RTÉ, litigate RTÉ if that is possible, do not pay the TV licence fee and remove all devices capable of receiving a TV transmission from one’s home, litigate or lobby our government that supports the unjust legal requirement to pay a TV licence fee. I do not need a licence to own other appliances so I do not need one to own a TV. I do however need to pay for any service provided through the appliance, unless it is free. If I want to watch RTÉ, I need an RTÉ licence, not a TV licence.

Tying access to other TV networks to payment for the RTÉ service, is bribery for consumers who do not want the RTÉ service but do want access to other networks, while compulsory payment for an unwanted service is extortion. Obstructing access to other networks must also be an offence.

Yours etc.,

Mary O’Regan

Millstreet Town, Co. Cork