Dear Editor, Mary Kenny’s discussion of the pros and cons of censorship, and how her own views on the subject have varied over the years (IC 31/1/2019) was the sort of honest analysis Ireland’s media sees too little of.
Too often our airwaves and newspapers are rife with dogmatic claims that censorship is never right, and never acceptable, and indeed such claims were rife in the short and shallow Oireachtas debates ahead of last year’s blasphemy referendum. The fact that those scorning any limitations on blasphemy tended to be silent around the issue of limitations on pornography was a powerful testimony, for those who were genuinely paying attention, to how poorly thought-out arguments around freedom of expression typically were.
The failure to think through this issue looks set to come back and bite its advocates now, however, as Ireland’s chattering classes clutch their pearls at the prospect of pro-life witnesses outside clinics where abortions are performed. Should people holding vigils there be allowed to show the reality of abortion, be allowed remind people that human lives are at stake, be allowed offer help to women who feel forced to seek abortions, be allowed stand and pray quietly?
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, then we are talking about censorship, and anybody who supports ‘exclusion zones’, as they’ve tried calling them in the UK, is really an advocate of ‘censorship zones’. I doubt there’s a case for that, but let’s be honest about what’s being discussed.
Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.
‘Consent’ and the trivialisation of relationships
Dear Editor, Recent proposals to impose ‘Consent’ courses upon schools, irrespective of parental wishes or the ethos of the school, are totally repugnant to the Constitutional rights of parents to be the primary educators of their children.
‘Consent’ is a lie, deceptive to its very core. It trivialises sexual relationships as no more than transactions, divorced from love, any concern for the wellbeing of the other and any child conceived. Aspiring to marital life and preparation for this, by keeping oneself for one’s spouse alone, is presented as neither desirable nor possible. It normalises promiscuity.
Catholic teaching based on Jesus Christ, emphasises the three M’s. Marriage – founded upon fidelity, faithfulness, and fruitfulness, where any betrayal before or after the wedding, poaches from the happiness of that marriage. Modesty – an awareness of our immense value, that our bodies are special, to be treasured, and we are curators of them; here the emphasis is upon the 3 R’s Respect, Responsibility, and Resilience. Morality – where every talent, endowment, e.g. our fertility, is seen as a gift not to be rejected or suppressed, every baby conceived is to be welcomed, irrespective of the circumstance in which he or she was conceived.
‘Consent’ places the onus of decision making entirely upon individuals, perhaps 19-year-olds, with impaired lucidity due to alcohol, where peer and social expectations can be overwhelming.
It must be noted that every initiative so far, to take relationships and sexuality education out of the context of family commitments and a supportive religious perspective on life, has exacerbated STDs and diminished the esteem for marriage among young people.
All of us aspire to happiness. But this cannot come about without integrity. Without living responsibly, we can neither enter nor sustain relationships, nor develop fully as persons.
Lee Road, Cork.
Most of our spuds are Irish
Dear Editor, Almost every week The Irish Catholic makes a contribution to the man-made climate change and global warming ideological propaganda. The latest under the heading of ‘environmental catastrophe’ in Mary Kenny’s column (24/1/2019). No evidence is ever produced in support of the propaganda. Mary Kenny’s assertion that “Ireland imports nearly all its potatoes, mainly from Cyprus” is arrant nonsense (but par for the course for articles on climate change).
The truth is Ireland has about 9,000 hectares devoted to potato production. The yield per hectare is about 40 tonnes, giving a total annual production of 360,000 tonnes. Exports are negligible. Imports are 72,000 tonnes of which two-thirds comes from the UK. Total annual Irish consumption of potatoes is about 430,000 tonnes which is 4.5 times the annual production of potatoes in Cyprus.
Our Faith’s difficulty with the Book of Common Prayer
Dear Editor, I am writing in response to the book review of the Book of Common Prayer by Peter Costello in your January 17 issue. Mr Costello is quite mistaken in his inference that Catholics belonging to the Ordinariates established in accordance with Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus can use the Book of Common Prayer as an official text for public liturgies or sacramental celebrations within the Roman Catholic Church.
This is simply not the case. The Book of Common Prayer is a venerable source of spirituality and an example of poetic beauty. I don’t want to criticise it or cast any aspersions on those Christians belonging to the Anglican communion that use it, however, it is unsuitable for Roman Catholic worship and the valid celebration of many of the Sacraments as understood by the Roman Catholic Church.
Those Catholics who belong to the Ordinariates are full members of the Roman Catholic Church and can attend any Catholic parish for their sacramental needs. However, when there is a community of these Catholics they have the option of forming their own parish that would belong to one of the Ordinariates, which function like military dioceses.
When one of these personal parishes has been properly and canonically set up their priest is welcome to celebrate using the Ordinary or Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite, as any other Latin rite parish.
The parish also has the option of using a new form of the Roman Rite that is often called the Anglican Use. This liturgical usage is a sub-section of the Roman Rite that retains certain elements of the Anglican liturgical and spiritual heritage and has entailed the composition of a completely new set of liturgical books that are approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome and have no legitimate standing in the Anglican Communion.
Fr Neil Xavier O’Donoughue,
St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.