Dear Editor, I read that according to a recent poll, most Americans support life in jail over the death penalty (IC 05/12/19). At its root, this perspective is based on the idea that every single person has intrinsic human dignity independent of their behaviour. It doesn’t matter if you’re a thief or a murderer; you still have the right to live until your natural death.
By being given this chance to carry out their last years in prison, convicts have a chance to reflect on their actions and seek forgiveness not only from those affected by their crimes, but also God. It’s important to remember that key figures like St Paul – once Saul – killed Christians before his conversion. Likewise, we read the story of the penitent thief in the Gospel of Luke, where Jesus assures him that they will be together in heaven. Jesus wasn’t interested in focusing on his wrongdoings, but how he responded to God’s call to believe.
Whereas the world might shun the outcasts, the lowly and the imprisoned, the God we believe in does no such thing. Capital punishment attempts to replace what no human institution can ever fully do: judge someone for their sins.
Remember vulnerable at Christmas
Dear Editor, While Christmas is a joyous time in our liturgical calendar, we mustn’t forget those people who have no family and friends to keep them company during the holidays. The elderly are the majority demographic prone to loneliness during Christmas.
If you have an elderly neighbour, reach out to them, ask them how they are, and if possible, invite them over for Christmas dinner. It might seem like a small action, but it will make a world of difference to them.
Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.
Good to see people at Mass for Christmas
Dear Editor, I often think about the psychology of the people who only attend Mass on occasions like Christmas and Easter. Why do they only go at this time of year? It might be because they’re with their family and there’s an expectation to attend as they did in childhood.
Others might simply want to please their parents. Perhaps some go to Mass only when they’re home because they’ve never bothered to integrate into a parish after leaving for university or for a new job. These are all potential explanations. I like to believe, however, that people go to these special liturgical events because there’s a niggling calling within them that they should. It’s not created by a sense of guilt, but more of an internal feeling that there is truth to be found in the Church and in Christ’s story.
While it’s upsetting to see Mass numbers decline, we should rejoice in the fact that these ‘part-time Catholics’ still attend these important services.
There’s something working within them. Give it time.
President Trump cannot be regarded as pro-life
Dear Editor, Your letters page (IC 05/12/19) carried two lengthy letters in defence of Donald Trump. Both letters praised the pro-life credentials of Mr Trump (“… the most pro-life president since Ronald Reagan.”) Really? Most of us who are pro-life are pro-life at all stages of life; opposed to abortion, opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide and opposed to the death penalty.
Whatever else he may be, Mr Trump is definitely not pro-life.
Regrettably, when I see the word “hate” in reference to Mr Trump, I think of his hate speech, his utter disrespect of women, his boasts about his cruel immigration policies on the US southern border that separate children from their mothers, and incarcerates them in cages and warehouses (where some have died). And, of course, I think about his hatred for Muslims and his incitement of hatred towards them. I could go on.
Being religious suggests a belief in God, but I don’t know of a single God that would support and encourage such hate. Adulation is one thing; facts another.
Theft of religious items show how tough we face it
Dear Editor, It’s sad to see that no one has come forward to supply information about the decapitation and theft of the statue head of Archbishop Patrick Leahy in Thurles. In the last few years, we’ve seen a soaring increase in the number of churches and religious iconography being vandalised, damaged or stolen. The deplorable thing about this attack is that is was clearly planned out and took some exertion. It’s fast and easy to graffiti a wall but this incident probably required the efforts of more than one person as well as the use of a saw or cutting equipment.
I suspect crimes like these will become even more frequent in the coming years as Christianity continues to be systematically pushed out of Ireland. There are tough times ahead.