Dear Editor, Garry O’Sullivan’s shocking article on the recent Killala ‘assembly’ affirms the fact that votes were taken that showed majorities in favour of questioning Catholic doctrine on the sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony, and on sexual ethics, and indeed on the very structure of the Church itself. This questioning aims at significant and wide-ranging reversals of Catholic teaching and practice.
The article clearly shows why the ‘synodal process’ is so dangerous. Even if the bishops (and/or priests, deacons, laity) try to bracket off matters of doctrine, such as the impossibility of ordaining women or of blessing same-sex relationships – the ‘hot button’ issues – this will be criticised by radical dissenters as a failure to really listen to, and effectively welcome, the whole community. They want local synods/assemblies to be used as a parliamentary-type process to pressure Rome to substantially change Catholic teachings, all on the unsound basis that ‘the faithful’ have been consulted and a majority of them favour change. But neither Catholic doctrine nor ‘the sense of the faithful’ are matters of majority vote. Radical questioning of doctrines is not accurately understood or honestly presented as merely the promotion of better ‘policy’. Thus, the Killala approach to the synodal process is never going to promote true unity in faith or genuine participation of all the laity, women and men, in the mission of the Church.
The lesson to be learned from the Killala assembly is not what Mr O’Sullivan claims. Rather than showing that the ‘hot button’ issues must be discussed with complete openness to effectively reversing Church teaching, it shows that there exists a huge need for teaching Catholic doctrine clearly, wholistically, energetically, and honestly, and calling all Catholics, and indeed all people willing to listen, to personal conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Dr John Murray
Dublin City University, Dublin 9
Questions about Pope-Biden meeting
Dear Editor, According to President Joe Biden, who visited Pope Francis at the Vatican recently, the Pope told him that he (Biden) was a good Catholic and he advised him to continue receiving Holy Communion. This has not been refuted by the Vatican.
The US bishops are trying to stop Biden causing scandal by receiving Communion at Mass because of his support for abortion.
Am I the only one who is at a total loss to understand why Pope Francis would offer support to a president who supports abortion rights, like Roe V Wade, and also economic sanctions on the Syrian people which are causing dreadful suffering and starvation in that country? Both Biden and Trump are responsible for this great suffering. Could the Pope not have spoken to Biden about the evil and cruelty of abortion?
Can there be a reasonable explanation that evades me?
Heeding the sublime teachings of Christ
Dear Editor, On our TV screens we have gazed with horror at the destruction of the twin towers in New York by cowardly callous terrorists with the loss of thousands of civilian lives, have seen barbaric beheadings, prisons where thousands were caged like circus animals, many of them tortured. Newspapers tell us of a sharp increase in rapes, robberies, domestic violence, attacks on women and the elderly, child sexual abuse, abortions, sexually transmitted diseases, of millions of people starving because of ongoing wars and threats of reprisals.
What a difference it would make if people all over the world would read, re-read and heed the sublime and unrivalled teachings of Jesus Christ who said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. Give to everyone who asks you. Be compassionate.” (Luke’s Gospel 6:37-36). His teaching is rooted in love. Jesus said: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no greater commandments than these.” (Mark’s Gospel 12:29-31). And in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) the Lord Jesus teaches that our neighbour is anyone who needs our help, no matter what his/her nationality or religion.
Fr Sean O’Shaughnessy CSSp
The power to dispense God’s mercy and forgiveness
Dear Editor, Fr Ron Rolheiser makes interesting and ‘broad-stroke’ general points in the article ‘Including a loved one in heaven’ [The Irish Catholic – November 4, 2021].
He makes the point initially that as Christians we have the power to dispense God’s mercy and forgiveness. Is this not a requirement for us in relation to others who have hurt us? But, this hardly extends to our being able to forgive others for their wrongs against third parties we may not even know.
This raises another question in relation to the Sacrament of Penance and indeed ordained clergy. Are they required?
It’s worth bearing in mind the beautiful words we use in the two prefaces at Mass on the feasts of Apostles. Preface 1: “So that it (the flock) may be governed by those you have appointed shepherds to lead it in the name of your son.”
Preface 2: “For you have built your Church to stand firm on apostolic foundations, to be a lasting sign of your holiness on earth and offer all humanity your heavenly teaching.”
It looks like they are.
Renmore, Co. Galway.